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technology

Google and the BFC launch educational platform for British fashion

Google and the BFC's new platform for British fashion
Google and the BFC’s new platform for British fashion

The British Fashion Council has partnered with Google’s Arts & Culture team to celebrate British fashion via a new educational platform that includes several virtual reality experiences.

Launched ahead of last night’s new Fashion Awards, which honoured designers and other industry players from around the word, the g.co/britishfashion site is designed to inform and inspire future generations of young fashion creatives and students.

Support the BFC’s Education Foundation, it brings to life the creativity, heritage and craftsmanship of British fashion, pulling together content from big names in the space – including brands, designers, craftspeople, photographers, stylists, models and more – and using technology to tell their stories.

There are immersive digital exhibits from the likes of Burberry, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood for instance, a virtual reality experience of Manolo Blahnik at work in his atelier, and a high resolution capture of a couture dress from Alexander McQueen’s SS17 collection, allowing people to zoom in and see its threadwork in never-before-seen detail.

To mark the launch of the project, Paul Smith has also designed a special-edition Google Cardboard to enable the virtual reality viewing, and created online exhibits around five objects that represent his creative vision and brand.

Caroline Rush CBE, CEO of the BFC said: “The internet has been an incredible resource for opening up the fashion industry to a new audience, giving young people access to information not previously available. This collaboration represents a new step, bringing together diverse information into one, engaging place. We hope this legacy project will not only inspire but also educate – allowing young people wanting to get into fashion to see the breadth of individuals, skills and careers that make up this multifaceted industry.”

In total, there are over 1,000 assets to explore, including 20 multimedia exhibits, 25 videos and three virtual reality experiences, all accessible from anywhere in the world, on desktop, laptop or mobile.

Sarah Mower MBE, American Vogue chief critic and BFC ambassador for emerging talent, has also directed a short film captured in 360 VR so viewers can come face-to-face with industry luminaries. Included are Naomi Campbell, Anya Hindmarch, Edward Enninful and Joan Burstein.

Users can also search archive material from British fashion houses by colour and chronology, explore profiles of numerous of the industry’s other key players, and go behind-the-scenes with top craftspeople and producers of British fashion, including the Royal School of Needlework and Brora Cashmere.

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social media

Former Topshop, Burberry exec launches Tunepics – an image-based music sharing app

Tunepics on the iPhone

Will.i.am, Kate Bosworth and Jamie Oliver are among some of the first celebrity names to be using a new music discovery app called Tunepics, while brands including Paul Smith, Chloé and asos are also on board.

Ever wanted to share a song with your photograph to help sum up the mood of the scene more than a filter alone can do? Now you can. Tunepics – launched in the app store for the iPhone and iPad today – enables users to pair images with relevant songs thanks to the iTunes API.

“Over 500 million pictures are uploaded to the internet every day, and over 100 million songs are downloaded each week. Together, that’s dynamite,” says the brains behind the new social network, Justin Cooke, former CMO of Topshop, now founder and CEO of innovate7. His aim is to help create the “soundtrack to your life”.

The experience is an intuitive one: you upload an image, place a filter over the top, then search the 35 million songs in the iTunes library by keyword to add them to your shot. The result appears in a feed alongside those from the friends you opt to follow; each one auto-playing a 30-second preview of the track as you scroll over it, as well as offering a ‘download’ button to buy the full version.

Posts can also be ‘re-tuned’ to your own followers, and shared via Facebook and Twitter where they will appear as a ‘tunecard’. For the likes of Will.i.am, that of course makes the app an appealing proposition for its potential to help drive record sales. It also provides a revenue stream for innovate7 through affiliate sales from iTunes (there’s no advertising model planned on the platform for now otherwise).

Cooke is particularly excited for the opportunity that lies in music discovery, both for consumers using the app and for young, emerging talent to start gaining recognition in a new way. On that basis, it launches with a specially commissioned soundtrack from British band, Ellerby, called Colour Me In.

But the premise of the app, which was built by agency AKQA, otherwise goes further than just being about music sharing and discovery. The aim is to provide multisensory experiences that evoke an emotional response.

“When you hear a picture, it changes everything; it awakens your senses. We want [Tunepics] to be like a cinematic celebration of your life,” said Cooke. “Music is the most powerful way to express the things we see and feel; nothing else comes close.”

To that end, the emotional response that posts receive from followers is also fully visible. Each is accompanied by an ‘emotion wheel’ (the design of which also makes up the app’s logo). This features a spectrum of 16 colours users can choose from, representing different feelings such as happy, moved, jealous and heartbroken.

Said Cooke: “A like doesn’t tell a story on its own anymore. When [Nelson] Mandela passed away, we didn’t want to say that we liked it, but that it moved us. This is all about enabling an emotional experience.”

Which is why this app also makes sense, from the off, for brands. Beyond the initial celebrity appeal, there are also the likes of Paul Smith, All Saints, asos, Dazed and Airbnb already on board.

The expectation is that embedding music into their social content will help heighten the moments they want to talk about. An example post from Paul Smith featured a collection of paint pots and the Rolling Stones track Paint it Black. “His response was that he couldn’t imagine life without music. That’s so powerful, and so true,” Cooke explained. In fact, a similar quote from philosopher Nietzsche features on the Tunepics introductory video from the innovate7 team: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Clare Waight Keller, creative director of Chloé, said the choice to join Tunepics from day one was an instant decision after a two minute pitch. “I just loved the added layers of emotion, simply adding music to an image really brings it to life. It’s like a way to capture what was going through your head in that moment.”

She also appreciates the emotion wheel. “[It] will be really interesting. ‘Likes’ have almost become empty gestures now, it takes no real thought to ‘like’ a picture. But to take the time to select the feeling the image inspired in you, shows real engagement. It’s a great way for Chloé to connect with our audience,” she explained.

Brands will also begin to benefit from the data said emotion wheel collates. Mood charts are displayed beneath each tunepic showcasing people’s responses, which suggests valuable consumer insights could be gleaned should the numbers creep high enough. Unlike Instagram, it is also possible to add hyperlinks to every post, which will prove quite the draw for the likes of Paul Smith again, and all those others with e-commerce capabilities.

It may come as no surprise to learn that prior to his role at Topshop, Cooke spent six years helping to lead the charge at Burberry – a brand not only with a longstanding music initiative in Burberry Acoustic, but with an unquestionable focus on emotive content tied to measurable business results.

Topping it all off is the fact those aforementioned filters are based on the weather – another theme familiar to Burberry fans. Every photograph uploaded can be enhanced with true-to-life overlays of the snow, raindrops, sunshine or even a rainbow.

“I’ve always had a fascination with music, colour, images and the weather, and how they influence our mood and emotions. I want people to be able to share the depth behind the moments they experience and to articulate all the ones that they dream of having,” Cooke explained.

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social media Uncategorized

Vine, Google+ take center stage at London Fashion Week

This article first appeared on Mashable

Twitter’s new video-sharing app, Vine, took off in a big way at New York Fashion Week. Designers and editors alike logged in to Vine to capture and share six-second scenes from the shows.

London Fashion Week (LFW) attendees are poised to pick up where New York left off. Design houses including Burberry, Jonathan Saunders and Paul Smith, as well as the British Fashion Council, are all expected to use the app to bring followers behind the scenes and front of house.

It’s Matthew Williamson’s feed, however, that’s the must-see. The designer, known for his intricate, handcrafted garments, will use Vine to showcase details up close during Sunday’s show. As the looks hit the runway, backstage shots by photographer Sean Cunningham (of Burberry Tweetwalk fame) will be posted to Twitter, magnifying the embellishment and beadwork in a bid to bring followers a more detailed view than those available to the front row.

The initiative takes its inspiration from Williamson’s #MatthewMagnified campaign on Facebook, which makes use of the Pic Jointer app to show catwalk images alongside close-up detail shots of the fabric work. Vine will see them in motion, as introduced by the designer below:

Rosanna Falconer, head of digital for the designer, referred to the idea as “Cinéma vérité,” a French term for true-to-life documentary filmmaking. “I love the way it’s such raw footage. Rather than being a final polished campaign image, it’s about what’s going on right now, live from backstage,” she says. “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.”

Up close and personal

This idea of a digital go-see, or bringing fans and followers even closer to the Fashion Week action, is also part of Topshop’s plans for the season. As part of a partnership with Google, the British retailer will be providing viewers with live access to every aspect of its show using dozens of cameras, capturing fittings, “red carpet” arrivals and the show itself from multiple points of view. The aim is to offer the experience of what it’s like to be the model, the buyer, the makeup artist or even the designer.

Central to this is its model-cam, which will see Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Rosie Tapner and Ashleigh Good all wearing real-time, HD micro cameras so followers can see the show from their perspective. Pre-stitched into the clothes and bags, these cameras will show detailed footage from the runway as well as backstage. They have been developed with satellite broadcasting company, SIS Live, and make use of the “Hawkeye” technology from major sporting events like Wimbledon.

Justin Cooke, Topshop’s chief marketing officer, says he expects it to steal the show. “The models will become the protagonists. Viewers will search for ‘Cara on the runway,’ and their content will get propelled around the world,” he says.

In addition to Topshop, a new partnership between the British Fashion Council and YouTube will serve up live streams of 20 shows through the LFW channel at youtube.com/lfwtv. A further 13 will also be streamed at londonfashionweek.co.uk/live.

Topshop is adding to its event with pre-show coverage also live-streamed through a customized YouTube page. Hangouts will air from the red carpet, backstage and the front row. “We’re using it as a live broadcast, like the Oscars, like a live behind-the-scenes documentary,” says Cooke.

Catwalk countdowns and live Q&As

Last season saw a big focus on visual diaries in the build-up to London’s shows, and the same goes for the Autumn/Winter 2013 shows.

Julien Macdonald returned to London Fashion Week following a two-season break, and in so doing shared preparation images over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram leading up to his show on Saturday. There was also a time-lapse video of the show space being constructed.

Peter Pilotto, meanwhile, who arrived on Twitter just last week, is likewise posting images in the buildup to his Monday show in what he’s calling his “Catwalk Countdown.”

Back at Topshop, the four aforementioned models will all be featured in a “Road to Runway” digital diary on Google+, documenting everything from their first fittings to the moment they hit the catwalk. There’s also a Google Hangout inviting viewers to see behind the scenes at Topshop’s headquarters ahead of the show and ask the design team questions as they apply their finishing touches.

Expert Q&As are also a go-to for the British Fashion Council again this season. Twitter sessions will this time be held with British Vogue’s Alexandra Shulman, designers Manolo Blahnik and Henry Holland, and blogger and DJ Bip Ling, using the #AskLFW hashtag.

Personalization meets pre-orders

There’s much in the way of shoppable activity set for London this season, too. House of Holland has developed a capsule collection exclusively for eBay.co.uk, comprised of a dress, an oversized slogan t-shirt, an iPhone cover and a pair of tights, each emblazoned with the signature House of Holland Autumn/Winter 2013 “rave wave” print. The micro-line is available for purchase until Sunday, Feb. 24, with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK.

Burberry, meanwhile, has rebranded its “Runway to Reality” shoppable concept as “Runway Made to Order.” Still a pre-order service for early season delivery on coats and accessories, it will also offer fans a personalization element with nameplate engravings available on each item. The rest of the brand’s show plans will be announced closer to showtime on Monday.

Topshop is enabling followers to buy straight from the catwalk again too, offering items from the collection for pre-order as well as makeup and nail polish for instant delivery. Its “Shoot the Show” and “Customize the Catwalk” initiatives from last season are continuing also, this time refined and modified according to people’s behaviors, i.e. how they interacted with the features during the Spring/Summer 2013 show.

In addition, Topshop and Google have developed a “Be the Buyer” app on Google+ that will allow fans to create moodboards of their favorite items from the runway while seeking video advice from Topshop’s own buying experts, as well as those from department stores Selfridge’s and Browns. The results, says Cooke, will help feed data back to Topshop on what items or colors are the most popular, cleverly shaping its decisions about what to put in store.

Such movements are proving that digital innovation at LFW aren’t solely about gaining fans and building awareness of current collections, but are an opportunity for getting consumers to help determine what will actually hit the shop floor. It doesn’t get much more personal (and for the retailer, efficient) than that.

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film social media Uncategorized

Paul Smith partners with artist Kate Moross for #LFW Vine clips

Another example of how to use Vine to beautiful effect has just come in from Paul Smith. The British designer has partnered with London-based artist Kate Moross, who is shooting a series of imaginative six-second clips in the run up to tomorrow’s London Fashion Week show.

The first, called BLINDS and shown above, sees shutters opening and closing on the Paul Smith logo. Others so far, and as below, have been titled REFLECT and INFINITE, hinting at the venue and print and pattern respectively,

“We’re drawing influence from the themes and palette of the collection revealing glimpses of what’s to come in Sunday’s catwalk show,” said Moross. “The format is so immediate, all professional video tools are off limits, instead we’re creating animations, loops and video effects using colour filters, miniature lenses and simple objects.”

You might also like:

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

Vine scores big with #NYFW crowd

Take a look at Calvin Klein’s Vine posts during Super Bowl XLVII

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Uncategorized

JWT turns brands into cute virtual animations

I love this concept from JWT – the New York-based communications agency  has transformed some 3,000 brands into animated characters as a way of comparing  characteristics.

Referred to as a ‘brand visualisation tool’, Brand Toys as it’s called, includes everyone from Apple to Nokia, with all sorts of teddy bears, cartoon characters and monsters resulting.

It’s not however merely a subjective project, each toy has been created based on quantitative research, with character and personality determined by Millward Brown’s famous BrandZ study (this year led by Apple), and real-time, online buzz data by Social Mention.

Varying body shapes, for instance, depend on scores for familiarity and potential. There’s even a weather backdrop representing online sentiment.

Brands can be compared with others (see my screen grab above of a few choice fashion brands including Bottega Veneta, Christian Dior, Roberto Cavalli, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Marc Jacobs, Paul Smith and Ralph Lauren – not sure they’d be wholeheartedly enamoured with the designs themselves mind), as well as across the 23 countries included.

According to Brand Republic, Guy Murphy, worldwide planning director at JWT, said: “To ensure a rosy future for brands, it is crucial to consider marketing as a creative discipline. Brand Toys represents brands as consumers feel them—with personality and character, not as a series of numbers or complex mechanisms.”

For those interested in having a play, it’s also possible to customise the toys. Users can then share their creations via social media.