Nicholas Kirkwood on his social media arrival: exclusive interview

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British footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood has recently launched his social media presence, kickstarting with a focus on Instagram and YouTube, and anchoring it with a short film called Arcs of Orbit.

The move comes hot off the heels of LVMH taking a majority investment stake in the business in September 2013, which rapidly led to new hires and international growth including its first own-brand presence in China as of this month. As reported by the Business of Fashion recently, the big push for Kirkwood now is around brand awareness.

CEO Christopher Suarez said: “[This is] a real focus of the company, ‘How do we further develop the communication and messaging?’ An engaging language that has resonance; that has much more awareness — how can we develop a modern luxury brand that still carries a certain level of integrity and respect for product and craftsmanship?”

We caught up with designer Nicholas Kirkwood himself to find out what all his plans are for social as a part of achieving this up ahead.

F&M: You’ve just launched your social media channels – what can we expect?

NK: Social media is an important communications tool for any brand but specifically as we are a non-advertising brand it’s a vehicle to share the vision and create greater context for our growing customer base. It allows us to communicate the collections and products available, and our growth as a company, but also it’s a way to involve them in our world and engage with them on a more personal level, tapping into a more emotional side.

Social media gives you a certain amount of freedom to create and share imagery, like the ‘Arcs of Orbit’ film. I’d like to push this further and work on more creative content.

F&M: You’ve said you will focus heavily on Instagram, can you tell us why you feel this is suited to you as a platform and what we can expect to see?

NK: Instagram in particular has naturally been more of a focus purely because it is a more visual channel. A strong image is so powerful and can really capture someone.

I’m a very visual person. I get inspired by interesting shapes, form, detail, colour when designing so I’m more pulled to this. I’m wanting for our customers to share that response to imagery on our channels and relate to this when they wear my designs.

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F&M: With YouTube as your secondary key platform, can you tell us what all we can hope to see from a video perspective?

NK: Film again takes that emotive response and reaction to that next level. Sound is a compelling component and can change the tone in an instant to really communicate the story you’re trying to tell. These short films are ways to create impactful moments.

The inspiration behind ‘Arcs of Orbit’ was to interpret and celebrate the making of a shoe but again to show the more passionate side of what design and creation is. That opening image is quite mysterious, poetic and delicate. I wanted the sound to be like the vacuum of space to emphasise this otherworldly place to captivate the viewer.

F&M: How do you see consumers engaging with your content and what will be your measure of success on social?

NK: Our customers are people who are aware of and confident in their sense of style. I love seeing how people wear my shoes on Instagram with shoe selfies.

We’ve seen an incredible response already with people enquiring with our stores into the designs and collections that are posted. It’s amazing to see how followers react to posts as well with comments and emoticons. Obviously sales are a measure of success but I think that response is for me a personal measure of success.

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