For anyone heading to Austin for SXSW Interactive this year, you will no doubt be entering into those few days ahead where you realise not only how much else there’s still to be done at work before you go, but just how little time you’ve had to prep for what’s to come.
Never fear! On the one hand, there’s something incredibly beneficial about the serendipity of going with the flow at this event. Plus the app is pretty spot on for getting you figured out hour by hour. That said, on the other, there’s a need to do several RSVPs to make sure you can get in to the parties you want to etc, and having a rough idea of your itinerary for the week, never harms.
So on that note, here are our highlights for the best of each day, designed specifically with those working in fashion and retail in mind. There’s also a link at the bottom to my full schedule for the week should you wish to see a more detailed, but still filtered version of the programme.
Look forward to seeing lots of you there. Don’t forget, we have #FashMash drinks at 6.30pm on Friday, March 10. If you didn’t get an invite, do drop me a note. Last but not least be sure to check out the survival guide Olly Rzysko of Primark wrote for us last year, complete with insanely relevant Kanye GIFs throughout.
FRIDAY, MARCH 10
Friday is a real ease-in kind of day, with a slow start to allow you to get your badges, and only a handful of highlights throughout the programme. One of the true beauties of SXSW is stepping outside of your usual remit and learning from other worlds, so don’t miss Cory Richards’ keynote at 2pm – a climber and visual storyteller, he was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year (2012) and a National Geographic Fellow (2015).
Also worth checking out is the 11am session on how tech is shaping the future of entertainment. Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO of Mashable, will sit down with leaders in the entertainment and technology space to discuss how television and film are working hand in hand with Silicon Valley to not only reach consumers in the new ways they’re watching videos, but adjusting their creative process based on new advances in audience data.
Saturday is a real conundrum with multiple incredible sessions all planned at the same time. Here’s where the luck part comes in at SXSW: some of them will be the talk of the week, others will be a total fail, and some you may not even be able to get into (if it’s a popular subject or speaker, be sure to arrive at least 30 mins early). For the 9.30am session for instance, it’s a toss up between learning about where artificial intelligence is headed from Microsoft, the real application of it in Disney’s case, or a talk from Bolt Threads’ CEO on their progress with spider silk as a new fibre for the industry – an exploration of how his team is using biotechnology to design protein-based materials at the molecular level. That’s a tough choice.
Sunday is Decoded Fashion’s day, meaning if it’s really fashion content you’re after, you may not need to move from their Hangar Lounge location. That said, if you’re looking to mix it up and step out of your comfort zone, several other talks look very promising, including Fjord’s 2017 trends report examining not only trends that will impact consumers, but those set to impact design, business, organisation, culture and society in the next 12-18 months.
As for other events, ModCloth and Wrangler have teamed up for a reception early evening, while Intel also has their AI lounge (running March 10-12) to head over to and learn from. If that wasn’t enough: Liz Bacelar (founder of Decoded Fashion) also launches her new business, TheCurrent, with a VIP programme from 4pm-7pm looking at innovation in the fashion and retail industries featuring speakers from Under Armour, Ford, Google, Parsons and more. There’s also a live podcast recording on Saturday morning with Rebecca Minkoff.
MONDAY, MARCH 13
If you haven’t had too much in the way of tacos and magaritas yet, and you can still manage to get up early, kickstart Monday with Ford’s session with executive chairman, Bill Ford, all about smart mobility. Make sure to get out on time however, because Marc Jacobs is up at 11am in conversation with Vogue’s Sally Singer and the queue is likely to be popular. The discussion is around designing in the age of the social media, which isn’t exactly a new topic (for anywhere, let alone SXSW), but it is Marc Jacobs.
A true highlight of the day (in fact the whole week), mind you, comes from futurist Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google, with his daughter Amy Kurzweil, who works at the Fashion Institute of Technology no less, at 12.30pm. Ray is one of the best speakers I’ve ever seen, so all hopes are pinned on this session being one of the best.
The big hitter, however, will be Yasmin Green of Jigsaw (of Alphabet variety, not the British fashion store), who leads the team’s innovation efforts, overseeing projects on counter-radicalisation and fragile states.
And last but not least, it’s not a true SXSW experience until you attend one of Bruce Sterling’s closing keynotes. “The future: history that hasn’t happened yet”, as he calls his session, will whip the slider-bar between the unthinkable and the unimaginable, which is exactly what you’ll need to cap off your Austin week.
Giorgio Armani is continuing its Frames of Life campaign, this time with an initiative that calls for fans to create their own video using Swedish social platform VideofyMe.
Designed to push the brand’s sunglasses line, the #framesofyou campaign, as it’s named, invites users to capture stories of themselves or friends wearing their own eyewear using a colour filter developed exclusively for the occasion.
The VideofyMe app – which currently has over 750,000 users uploading more than 440,000 videos every month – allows anyone to shoot, filter, edit and share moving images. Unlike many other popular social video sites, however, it also allows users to overlay music from their iTunes’ library, and for up to five minutes in length.
Robert Mellberg, founder of VideofyMe, says: “We are really proud to be collaborating with a brand as globally renowned as Giorgio Armani, and believe that the creative tools offered by VideofyMe will result in some really beautiful videos for the #framesofyou initiative. The content produced by our users is continually innovative and original, and we are excited to see submissions taking advantage of the new Armani filter.”
The best submissions will be featured on the Frames of Life site, as well as across Armani’s social media channels. See an example of one of them here.
The main Frames of Life campaign for the season meanwhile, tells the stories of Luc, a writer, Carlos, a young barman, Nina, a talented cellist, and Lucille and Adrian, two successful young architects.
There’s nothing quite like the live commentary you get over Twitter when the #Oscars takes place, as everyone and anyone has some sort of say on the looks hitting the red carpet.
Fortunately then, there’s an infographic just landed (as below) from social media monitoring service, Sysomos, that sums up the sentiment of the evening when it came to the fashion.
Over 400,000 tweets were posted during the live arrivals of the Hollywood crowd, with Silver Linings Playbook stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper winning the titles of best dressed female and male for their respective Christian Dior Couture and Tom Ford looks at these 85th Academy Awards.
Lawrence, who went on to win best actress for her role (tripping up the stairs as she did so, which was instantly made a GIF of course), is also highlighted as the viewers’ favourite from the night with over 32,000 tweets. Anne Hathaway, who was wearing Prada, was labelled worst dressed by the tweeting public, despite stealing the number one spot on Vogue.com’s list.
The infographic also highlights US fashion brands deemed particularly “good at social media” (outside of the Oscars) by Sysomos, including Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Rachel Zoe, DKNY and Oscar de la Renta.
When it came to the big designers from tonight’s awards, however, there’s no doubt that winners lay in Dior, as already mentioned, but also worn beautifully by Charlize Theron, as well as Armani Privé who dressed best actress nominees Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts. Nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis also wore Giorgio Armani.
Versace was another noteworthy label worn by Halle Berry as well as Jane Fonda, who presented on stage with Michael Douglas. But it was perhaps Naeem Khan who truly stole the night, not for the stunning AW13 column dress seen on Stacy Keibler, but for that of First Lady Michelle Obama, who was the suprise presenter of the best picture award live from the White House.
Giorgio Armani is calling for consumers to share Instagram pictures of themselves wearing their favourite sunglasses, as part of its spring/summer 2012 Frames of Life eyewear campaign.
Frames of Your Holiday, as it’s called, invites users to upload shots of an unforgettable moment, place or scene using the #framesoflife hashtag. The pictures will then be included in a digital photo gallery on the armani.com/framesoflife site.
The aim is to create an “entertaining visual diary”, reads the write-up. It suggests pictures that signify life at its fullest, ranging from holiday shots on the beach or in town, with friends or in total relaxation, immersed in the pure enjoyment of nature and sport, or surrounded by the charm of some distant city.
Giorgio Armani is launching a series of live discussions surrounding the fashion industry entirely over Twitter.
Through #ArmaniTweetTalks, the Q&A sessions will feature notable guests chosen for their expertise as well as their number of followers on the platform. Each discussion will focus on a specific topic, with questions submitted in by Twitter users around the globe.
The first will take place on June 1 as part of the Armani One Night Only in Beijing event. Moderated by editor and author Peter Howarth, it will focus on China, and discuss “how this country is rapidly shaping up to be the most influential fashion market of the twenty-first century”.
Panellists include Angelica Cheung, editor-in-chief of Vogue China; Hung Huang, publisher, blogger and TV commentator; Godfrey Deeny, fashion critic; Federico Marchetti, founder and CEO of YOOX Group; Susanna Lau of stylebubble.co.uk; and Tommy Ton of jakandjil.com.
The entire series will also be accessible via Armani.com/tweettalks, where profiles of each of the participants also exist.
Consumers can also follow the action, tweet by tweet, via Armani’s Tweetwall.
A handful of brands in Milan and Paris have been using their fashion week shows as an opportunity to release campaign videos for their current collections.
First up is Giorgio Armani with a three-minute spot based on its spring/summer 2012 campaign called “One Plus One”. Directed by Luca Guadagnino in Italy, the narrative follows the “story of a suspenseful and unsettling love triangle”, reported WWD.
“Today, fashion needs to open itself to new languages,” said the designer. “Cinema is the form of expression I have always felt the closest to. Working with Luca Guadagnino, I have had the opportunity to transform the atmosphere of my collection into a story, and it has been a stimulating experience.”
Nina Ricci has similarly unveiled a new film based on its latest campaign. Directed by photographers Inez & Vinoodh, and shot in Old Westbury in Long Island, New York, it stars model Raquel Zimmermann.
The spot will be showcased during the designer’s autumn/winter 2012/13 show at Paris Fashion Week tomorrow. It is also being broadcast in Nina Ricci stores.
And finally, Dolce & Gabbana has released a video that depicts its spring campaign “in motion”. Monica Bellucci and Bianca Balti alongside their pseudo Italian family are seen dancing, playing, talking and laughing as they pose for Giampaolo Sgura’s camera.