Podcast technology

Nick Knight on why AI cannot simulate creativity

Artificial intelligence is not yet good enough to simulate creativity, says British fashion photographer Nick Knight on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global.

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Speaking live at a FashMash event in London, he explained that AI as it stands today, is a long way from what creativity is: “When you create a picture, it is done through desire, accident, failure, fear, love, and arousal. Predicting what I will do by how I did past steps is not a good way to create my next piece of art; it’s not a good way to simulate creativity.”

He was referring to the way in which AI looks back at past behavior in order to work out what is probable next. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t one day figure out how to do so, he noted, adding that he is working on new projects that will keep him on the frontline of it so as to have a say in what it could look like down the road.

Knight has built his career on pushing the boundaries of image making. He has photographed some of the world’s biggest celebrities and models – from Lady Gaga and Bjork to Kate Moss and the late Alexander McQueen. Almost two decades ago, he launched SHOWstudio, an online platform celebrating fashion film, and changing the way fashion was consumed through the internet.

Now his next act is understanding how technologies like AI and robotics will impact creativity, and how he can become a part of such a movement.

During this conversation with guest host Rosanna Falconer, Knight explains what the smartphone has to do with Shakespeare; how SHOWstudio broke the internet but created history with the first ever live streamed fashion show for Alexander McQueen in late 2009; and why he is an eternal optimist about the future.

Catch up with all of our episodes of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by the Current Global, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

Campaigns Editor's pick Retail technology

Gucci employs VR and AR experiences for spring campaign

Gucci SS18 campaign
Gucci SS18 campaign

Gucci has introduced a new digital campaign for spring 2018, featuring scannable ads, as well as augmented and virtual reality experiences.

The campaign began with a film called ‘Gucci Hallucination’, in  which the artist Ignasi Monreal, whose work is the basis of the campaign, stars as the curator of the Gucci gallery. The story sees him stepping into one of his paintings to reveal the details of a gold sequin Gucci dress worn by its inhabitant.

The Spanish artist’s surreal work now features as the backdrop to interactive store window displays, which feature animated digital illustrations. His pieces also then feature as scannable stickers on the windows that provide access to a microsite where content including downloadable wallpaper, a catalogue of Gucci products and the Monreal illustrations can be accessed.

Gucci's SS18 campaign in-store
Gucci’s SS18 campaign in-store

At 52 selected Gucci stores, customers will also receive Monreal’s artwork in the form of tickets with their purchases. This then gives them access to VR devices, which show a 360-degree panorama of Monreal’s campaign artwork.

For those unable to make it into a physical store to experience the VR artwork, 15 out of the 20 campaign illustrations also appear in print magazines and newspapers, also scannable via the Gucci app to reveal augmented reality effects on top.


Fendi enlists six artists to makeover HQ rooftop

The Ring of the Future, Fendi
The Ring of the Future, Fendi

Fendi has enlisted six global street artists to transform its HQ rooftop in Rome, Italy, in celebration of the one year anniversary of its “F is For…” online communications platform aimed at millennials.

Artists hailing from the US to Korea got together to write the word “Future” in their own native language, creating a ring that represents inclusion and diversity, titled The Ring of the Future.

To celebrate the launch, Fendi has also launched its first “F is For…” product, a genderless t-shirt sold exclusively at its online store.

The “F is For…” hub can be accessed via, with content split into five different verticals: Freaks, explaining the platform’s vision; Fulgore, featuring fashion editorials shot entirely on the iPhone 7; Faces, introducing models and other members of the brand’s ‘young crew’; Freedom, listing places to eat, drink and have fun; and Fearless, introducing new art and music.

In the physical world, “F is For…” is also hosting events, parties and fashion shows, while hoping to establish Rome, its hometown, as a fashionable location.

Editor's pick Events social media

Burberry reveals new photography exhibition celebrating British social portraiture

One of the shots in Burberry's new Here We Are exhibition - Ken Russell's In Your Dreams, January 1955 © TopFoto / Ken Russell
One of the shots in Burberry’s new Here We Are exhibition – Ken Russell’s In Your Dreams, January 1955 © TopFoto / Ken Russell

Burberry is to stage a major photography exhibition celebrating British social portraiture and bringing together the work of over 30 of the 20th Century’s best documentary image-makers.

Here We Are, as it’s called, is curated by Christopher Bailey, president and ?chief creative officer at Burberry, and Lucy Kumara Moore, writer, curator and director of fashion book store, Claire de Rouen. It will be displayed over three floors of the brand’s ?new show venue at Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell, which will open to the public for the first time since its restoration.

It features works from photographers including Dafydd Jones, Bill Brandt, Brian Griffin, Shirley Baker, Jane Bown, Martin Parr, Jo Spence, Ken Russell, Charlie Phillips, Karen Knorr, Janette Beckman, Andy Sewell and more.

It also marks the start of a new creative collaboration with photographer Alasdair McLellan, who will be involved in capturing portfolios of images for Burberry; set to be revealed via their social media platforms over the coming months. A presentation of 70 pieces of his work will additionally be included in the exhibition, for which he further served as co-curator.

That curation sees all of the work divided into themes that reflect different aspects of the British way of life, as well as monographic presentations of individual photographers.

Said Bailey, who introduced the concept to Burberry fans via Instagram yesterday: “When we started thinking about curating “Here We Are”, I knew I wanted it to celebrate a certain strand of British photography that I have always loved – one which documents the many and varied tribes and clans and classes that make up this island of ours. It has been an extraordinary privilege to gather together this collection of photographs that have influenced me so much over the years. They provide a portrait of British life, in all its nuances, both exceptional and mundane, beautiful and harsh.”

The “spirit captured in British social portraiture” as well as the various “tribes, clans and classes that make up this island of ours”, serves as inspiration for the brand’s next collection, he explained, to be revealed at the venue on September 16.

The exhibition will run from September 18 – October 1, 2017, while the space will also host a programme of events and activities alongside as well as temporary versions of Burberry’s all-day café Thomas’s and a Claire de Rouen bookshop.

Editor's pick film

Prada unveils “cinema poem” in Dada-inspired silent film

Prada Past Forward
Freida Pinto in Prada’s Past Forward silent film

Prada has released a short black-and-white film set in a futuristic silent dreamscape. Referred to by the brand as a “cinema poem” and a “complex collage”, it simultaneously stars Allison Williams, Freida Pinto and Kuoth Wiel in the same role, flicking seamlessly from one version of the lead character to the next.

The same goes for their male counterparts in John Krasinski, Jack Huston, and Sinqua Walls. Also featuring are Connie Britton and Paula Patton as adversaries, and Sacha Baron Cohen as a mouthless doctor.

On that level, “Past Forward”, as it’s called, is a surreal tale that includes everything from a chase and a fight scene, to a roll around on the beach and a particularly unique dance sequence.

There are tears, laughter, frights and more. There’s even a sci-fi twist with a triangular piece of glass that serves as a future smartphone device, and a direct reference to René Magritte’s The Lovers II painting from 1928, where a piece of fabric blocks two lovers’ embrace. It’s a “Dadaist plot”, as Vogue refers to it.

You have no idea if what you’re watching is a dream sequence, a series of memories or a reflection of chaotic modern (or future) life. And that’s the point. “The viewer is left to decode what is experience, what is memory, what is dream and discern the overlap and differences between them,” says the release.

But more than that, the entire 12-minute piece really is intended as a piece of art. Director David O Russell (known for big films including Joy, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) said: “Here was the opportunity to make a journey guided by layers of movie memories, life images and emotions, with no aim except to create art – as if it were a painting or a sculpture – free from normal narrative or audience expectations. The cast and I worked simply for the joy of making art.”

In an interview with Vogue, he added: “It coalesced into this memory that’s also sort of a future. I almost think the whole thing is almost a premonition of how the country feels right now to me. Because the movies that I love, the dreams that I love, have a feeling of uncertainty in them.”

Prada Past Foward
Inspiration from René Magritte’s The Lovers II in Prada’s Past Forward silent film

“It’s almost like a painter experimenting with paint. And I was surprised in the edit room to say, ‘Look how different this feels when Freida is doing it. Look how this feels when Kuoth is doing it. How does it feel when Allison is doing it?’ It’s a process of discovery. I feel something different every time I watch it when it changes from one person to the next. I feel something inside me that says something about identity or culture or race, and in time they change.”

As Vogue explains, he references Alfred Hitchcock’s classic North by Northwest; the work of Franz Kafka; or automatic writing as popularized by André Breton, Robert Desnos, and their Surrealist crew in the 1920s as inspiration.

Prada isn’t the only fashion house working with Hollywood names of late. Burberry revealed The Tale of Thomas Burberry for the holiday season written by Matt Charman and directed by Asif Kapadia; Mulberry’s festive campaign was written by Hugo Guinness and directed by Albert Moya; and Moncler has also released a short film called Brave, Vision from Spike Lee.

data Editor's pick

Data visualisation dress maps human displacement at London’s Science Museum

Dress For Our Time
Dress For Our Time, by Professor Helen Storey MBE RDI

With every piece of data out there today, there is – more often than not – a human story behind it. That’s the idea behind Dress For Our Time, an installation unveiled at the Science Museum in London that delves into the global refugee crisis and the complex matter of human displacement in a bid to change the social narrative of the topic.

Created by award-winning artist and designer, Professor Helen Storey MBE RDI (London College of Fashion, UAL Centre for Sustainable Fashion), the dress itself is a decommissioned refugee tent that once housed a family in Jordan. It was gifted to the project by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Projected onto it is an animation formed of 80,000 individual points of lights, each of which represent 100 human lives and the movements they’ve made around the globe, as per UNHCR statistics collected during 2015. That’s eight million lives in total.

Developed by creative technology agency Holition, the data visualisation aims to show the true human element of the crisis, creatively mapping the journeys people are making in search of a better life.

Head over to Forbes to see a video of that data in action and read the full story about the project.

mobile social media

Anya Hindmarch introduces digital art app inspired by 8-bit graphics

PIX by Anya
PIX by Anya

British designer Anya Hindmarch has launched an app tied to her autumn/winter 2016 collection focusing on pixelated artwork.

The PIX by Anya mobile experience, invites fans to share in the collection’s inspiration of “8-bit graphics and the origins of digital art” by distorting their own images.

Users can upload and convert their shots into an artistic blur created of circles, squares, triangles or cubes. There are four different pixel styles to choose from, each “pinchable” to adjust the pixel size. Needless to say, selfies are proving popular.

PIX by Anya
PIX by Anya

The interactive app asks users to share the #PIXbyAnya hashtag with their resulting artwork. In addition to the app’s main function, other features include inviting the user to read about the collection, watch a stream of the AW16 runway show, peruse collection images and connect to the online store.

The collection itself (as below) features innovative leatherwork techniques such as heat-fusing and leather marquetry to showcase the “building blocks of digital design”. Moving beyond simple mosaics, designs include famed characters from first generation arcade games such as Space Invaders and Pacman, not to mention an overarching striking resemblance to Tetris.

In speaking on the collection as a whole, Hindmarch says it “explores the development of artificial consciousness and poses the question, do computers dream when they sleep?”

PIX by Anya
Anya Hindmarch AW16

PIX by Anya
Anya Hindmarch AW16

Editor's pick social media

#DGfamily campaign hits the streets (literally) of New York, London, Milan and Paris


Dolce & Gabbana has turned the illustrations from its autumn/winter 2016 accessories range into stencils that will appear as branded street art in the four fashion capitals of the world.

Starting in London and then hitting New York, Paris and Milan, the graffiti will be placed onto footpaths in 100 different locations in each city. The design, which features designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana and their pets, is accompanied by the #DGfamily hashtag in a bid to encourage social sharing.

So far, just one post exists on Instagram from someone spotting the stencil in Paris (as below).

A photo posted by mdm2992 (@mdm2992) on

Each city will also see the artwork created in a different medium. In Milan, for instance, it will comprise a seven-colour palette of “green graffiti paint” made of clay and gypsum, which contains no harmful chemicals and will fade in a few weeks, according to Vogue. In the other fashion capitals, the images will be reverse-stenciled via high-pressure hoses.

data mobile

Digital artwork visualises data trends from Grabble’s mobile commerce


Data has its place front and centre at this week’s Millennial 20/20 Summit in London with a live projection tracking real-time info pulled from shopping app Grabble.

Created as a piece of art in collaboration with digital studio Holition, the visualisation tracks the £50m worth of items saved into people’s digital wishlists in the app over the last seven days.

Much like a similar project between Holition and Lyst in 2014, trends are identified ranging from key shopping times through to differences between male and female consumers.

Peak “grabbing” time on Grabble for instance is late Sunday afternoon, when a quarter (26%) of the week’s saves into the wishlists are made. Pre-work grabbing is most popular with women, who particularly like to do so at 8am, while men by comparison tend to do their grabs (65% of them) at 9pm at night.

grabble - holition data

All of this is brought to life in the digital artwork by pink (female) and blue (male) dots – further demonstrating such ideas like men being more willing to buy from retailers they already know, by the fact they’re clustered around well-known names. Women in contrast are more randomly spread across brands, including smaller ones, illustrating they are more experimental in their shopping and open to using the app as a means of discovery.

As Dan Murray, co-founder at Grabble, says: “We see at least 1m interactions per day through the app but with Holition’s help, we’ve been able to transform dots and dashes into a stylish and engaging piece of art. It’s not only aesthetically appealing but will be useful for the many retailers we work with in helping them visualise the buying patterns of our audiences at different times of the day/week.”

Check out the video, below:

Editor's pick film

Mat Maitland brings surrealist style to Hunter campaign film

Hunter has collaborated with visual artist Mat Maitland for a surreal, technicolour film as part of its autumn/winter 2014/15 campaign.

The spot features models including Charlotte Wiggins and Neelam Johal hiking through a forest, set against a mountainous backdrop as driving rain, flashes of lightning and a collage of floating Hunter boots arrive. A cast of animals referred to as “icons of the British countryside” including lambs, foxes, fish and geese also appear.

Maitland, who is known for his surrealist imagery and distinctive style of multi-layered compositions, said of the piece: “My focus was on depicting a mysterious dreamlike world reminiscent of the Highlands. I tried to explore the relationships between animals, people, landscapes and fashion, an idea which emerges from the collaged and abstract images pulsating on the screen.”

The film showcases new footwear, outerwear, knitwear and accessories from the Hunter Original collection, including the Original High Heel, Original Chelsea and Original Poncho. A series of stills from the video are shown below.

Maitland also created a short film that was projected onto the central surround of the Hunter Original spring/summer 2015 show during London Fashion Week last month.