For some people, the only goal in life is to have the latest gadgets they can get and impress everyone around them, and I have nothing against this. After all, not everyone can find satisfaction in having friends you can trust, a family, a job allowing you to be more than just a robot, and so on. Some people really need to be full of hi-tech devices, just to cover their inner emptiness, but this is not a problem for us now, because we’re not going to talk about the human-machine relationship. The topic is much easier to digest, and pretty interesting, I think – once you get a certain device, you need various accessories for it, but how many of these are really useful, and how many are acquired as a direct consequence of the fashion trends spinning around us?

First, let’s take the laptop as an example. Lately, I’ve seen a lot of people who really don’t need one, but end up buying it just to look smart, and impress their friends without one. Yes, it seems desktop computer owners are becoming one of the endangered species on Earth, but at least you can’t end up spending too much extra cash on accessories, once you have a desktop computer. I am not talking about expensive game controllers or sound systems, but about those little things only a laptop user can have – a carrying case, personalized vinyls, and so on.

To conclude this part, let me say that the only “fashion trend” that passed through my mind since I got my desktop computer was to paint my case, but I ended up dropping the idea, partly because of the price, but also because only a few people would have been privileged to see the work of art on the side of my computer case. If I had a laptop, then the designer & fashion freak hidden deep inside me would have surely pushed me to get at least a (black, obviously) leather case and a custom vinyl for it, but I am not there yet…

Next, our beloved (or not) mobile phones. As strange as it may seem, I know people who hate mobiles. I can’t say I love mine, either, but at least I don’t treat it like a poisonous snake. If you buy a $200 iPhone 3G, why not get a $500 leather case? Of course, one coming from Gucci or Louis Vuitton, not something from the merchant around the corner, but…is this really worth it? Get a $200 phone and a nice $30 leather case – that’s utility, but a case twice as expensive as your phone, that’s fashion trend slavery!

At last, (almost) everyone’s pride and joy, portable media players! There’s custom engraving, cases in all possible colors and styles, but when do you cross the line between utility and trend? For me, a pink case isn’t something I would use, but if its user likes it, and it’s not insanely priced, that’s useful, for sure. On the other hand, buying one of the Dior iPod cases available for exaggerated prices is nothing more but a waste of money. Don’t get me wrong – fashion trends are usually about wasting money, but an expensive case for your iPod is surely more useful than a pink hat for your dog!

Today’s gadget lovers, especially those on a budget, find it harder with each day to decide what’s useful and what can be dropped along the way, and the accessories market will always find itself stuck between providing useful, cheap items, and high-end accessories for those who have been conquered by the marketing assault pushing various fashion trends and brands forward. In the end, I think most important part is to see the gadget get the best accessories for it, disregarding the fashion trends!