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Lo-fi tech a winner at #NRF15 show

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

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One of the wonderful things about technology in the store is of course the way it can surprise and delight shoppers. While the expo floor of the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York this week is comprised of all manner of impressive front and backend IT solutions for retailers, there’s a flurry of much simpler ideas that also seem to be grabbing our attention.

Take Panasonic’s Ultra Short-Throw Lens. Attached to a projector, this enables retailers to map content against any surface they like. It’s not a new idea – projectors have been around for years – but the short throw of this one allows very precise placement and the ability for some great detail on things like shirts and trousers (as pictured), down to even a pair of shoes.

Needless to say this booth was heavily surrounded. Accordingly, it’s a nice reminder of the benefits of a lo-fi approach to technology in an ever-pressured world to go guns blazing with impressive consumer facing work.

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social media Uncategorized

Dolce & Gabbana: #MFW’s social media winner

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I started this post with every intention of writing only about the beautiful videos Dolce & Gabbana has been posting on Vine surrounding its Milan Fashion Week show this week. Three in particular stand out – each of them zooming in on the intricate detail of the brand’s autumn/winter 2013/14 collection; the Byzantine and Venetian mosaic dresses, the elaborate jewellery and the beautifully beaded accessories.

Alas, those six-second loops are only viewable within the app itself and not on the brand’s Twitter or Facebook pages where they could also have been posted. On those instead however, is such a wealth of rich and relevant content on the collection otherwise, that it still seemed worth highlighting.

The craftsmanship and the inspiration behind the line – that would be the golden mosaics of Sicily’s Cathedral of Monreale – are the focus.

“It’s all in the details: the shoes of the Mosaics Collection are as intricate as the clothes,” reads a photo album dedicated to footwear images on Facebook. It was posted less than 12 hours ago and already has 30,000 likes and over 5,000 shares. The shot below by itself, meanwhile, has 7,000 likes, nearly 2,500 shares and over 500 comments.

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There are also albums dedicated specifically to the collection as a whole, the handbags individually, and the action backstage at the show. Each were originally posted on Swide.com, the Italian brand’s editorial property, which also hosts pages all about the sunglasses, the jewellery and the textures, not to mention the architecture and the mosaics of the cathedral itself.

For record – albeit a little repetitive by this point – there are also multiple posts on the brand’s Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr pages.

A pre-show video meanwhile documents in a beautiful 30-seconds the artisans at work on their “slow and precise” mosaic-making. “The Mosaics Collection is perhaps one of the most intricate yet by Dolce & Gabbana which makes the video and crafts displayed all the more special,” reads the write-up.

And that’s the point here – the craftsmanship, talent and beauty of fashion is what so often makes it speak for itself if you just push the content out in the right direction. You don’t even have to like this collection to see why it works so wonderfully on social media.

 

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social media Uncategorized

Matthew Williamson to magnify intricate garment detail in #LFW Vine strategy

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Vine might have been the big hit at New York Fashion Week, but the majority of posts lacked somewhat in the innovation, quality or insight department. Monotony was the main issue as six-seconds of finale or panning audience shots were uploaded one after the other at every show.

Here’s a heads up then – the Matthew Williamson show in London is set to approach it with much more in the way of a strategy. Known for his intricate handcrafted garments, the designer will use Vine as a means of showcasing details up close to real, raw and beautiful effect, as introduced by the designer here (and see below). As the models head down the runway on Sunday, February 17, animated backstage shots by photographer Sean Cunningham (of Burberry Tweetwalk fame) will be posted to Twitter that zoom and magnify in on the embellishment and beadwork in a bid to bring followers a more detailed view than those on the front row.

The concept takes its inspiration from Williamson’s #MatthewMagnified campaign on Facebook, which uses the Pic Jointer app (as above) to show still catwalk images alongside close-up detail shots of the fabric.

Here’s what Rosanna Falconer, head of digital for the designer, had to tell me about their plans:

“#MatthewMagnified has been hugely successful for us, our most popular campaign but also what we really wanted to drive home about the brand; it shows and conveys the luxury of Matthew, which you just can’t find on the high street.

We were trying to think of how to do this in a dynamic way for our show at London Fashion Week. We’re working with photographer Sean Cunningham who has created incredible GIFs in the past for Burberry and SHOWstudio, but we wanted to find something unique for Matthew. Sean got incredibly inspired by #MatthewMagnified, and the idea of an animated image that zooms in and shows the detail.

So we came up with our own kind of animated GIF concept, which is about being able to see closer than the front row. The issue was finding the ideal tech to show it, and Vine really was that. Better yet, being able to show over Twitter really made it all very achievable; it’s one very simple step.

Sean started having a play with it, and has created some beautiful work already. I love the way it’s such raw footage; the idea of it being Cinéma vérité, which is a French term for true-to-life documentary filmmaking. Rather than being a final polished campaign image, it’s what’s going on right now, live from backstage. It’s really special being able to capture that. Six seconds is the perfect length too – from full look to the magnified detail. Our attention span is getting ever shorter and these quick clips will show the catwalk condensed in its raw, backstage form.

We’re trying to give our followers better than ever access with a real, up-close quality. In many ways, it’s like a digital version of the go-see, which are the appointments made by press and buyers after the show to view the collection in greater detail. It’s the beadwork, the detail and the craftsmanship of the product right there.

It’s also not about tech for tech’s sake. I’m a great believer in only using digital innovation where it’s a good brand fit and not just for the sake of it because something is new and hip. Obviously everyone is speaking about Vine, but the important thing here is that we’re using it with an established campaign, the most successful thing we’ve been doing on social so far, and a concept we’ve been wanting to take further. We were looking for the means to do so and it’s a happy coincidence that this came together with Twitter so well.”

The show takes place on at 6pm GMT on Sunday, February 17. Follow @MWWorld on Twitter, search for him via Matthew Williamson on Vine, and watch out for the hashtag #MatthewMagnified.