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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.

Categories
Campaigns

JW Anderson turns to user-generated content for SS18

JW Anderson social media call-out for SS18 campaign advertising photographersBritish designer JW Anderson is crowdsourcing its upcoming SS18 campaign imagery from members of the public, with the slogan Your Picture/Our Future. Announced on social media, the call-out targets professional and amateur photographers aged 18 to 30.

“By asking for submissions in this way, it really feels like the right way? to find new imagery. We have taken a chance on image-makers in the past, and we decided to do it in an even bigger way now,” Jonathan Anderson, the designer, said.

The designer stresses this is a chance to give new talent a wider platform, and help the chosen photographer develop a more distinct voice. “I felt as if we were given a chance. We were all young, new and coming through together, particularly when we launched our campaigns. It felt right to give somebody else that opportunity. Fundamentally, it is about talent giving a chance to talent —this is something I really believe in.”

To select the winner, Anderson is working with Benjamin Bruno, the brand’s creative consultant, and creative studio M/M (Paris). He also has plans to curate the submissions for a show that will take place in London.

The campaign will be launched online, in select print publications and outdoor in the style of fly-posting.

Categories
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.

Categories
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

Categories
Editor's pick social media

All about the #belfie: Calvin Klein’s new SS16 campaign

mycalvins1
#mycalvins SS16

As a master of the rule “sex sells”, a certain level of innuendo comes as standard with Calvin Klein’s ad campaigns. In fact, anything outside of the suggestive, would almost be a bigger surprise.

But boy does its latest series for spring/summer 2016 remain firmly within that realm.

“Erotica” as the images are called, sees model Kendall Jenner posing with a grapefruit that “not-so-subtly resembles a part of female anatomy”, as Fashionista so eloquently puts it.

Another shot, as below, sees an anonymous model wearing a par of jeans backwards to show off her “belfie”.

For the record, Urban Dictionary describes this as: “A ‘bottom selfie’ – a photographic self-portrait featuring the buttocks, usually posted by female celebrities on social media networks.” It’s not a foreign move for the Kardashian/Jenner contingent already, of course.

Yet another shot sees model Abbey Lee Kershaw with her hands tucked into the front of her Calvins along with the phrase: “I pulse in #mycalvins.” The campaign was shot by Harley Weir.

mycalvins2
#mycalvins SS16

mycalvins3
#mycalvins SS16

Categories
Editor's pick social media

Nick Knight to Insta-shoot Topshop’s #LFW show

nickknight_ruthhogben

Topshop is teaming up with Nick Knight, founder of SHOWstudio.com, for live Instagram coverage during its upcoming London Fashion Week show.

The visionary photographer will shoot the “true atmosphere and unseen culture” of the Topshop Unique autumn/winter 2016 event at Tate Britain, and release the images in real-time to the brand’s 6.2 million Instagram followers.

This “Insta-shoot”, will cover everything from the setup through to the finale on show day (Sunday, February 21). The aim is to step away from the “ordinary, often ubiquitous documentation process” seen during fashion weeks, Topshop said in a statement.

It will also be possible to watch Knight in action by tuning into Periscope, where GoPro cameras will be broadcasting his creative process.

nickknight_topshop

Said Knight: “Fashion systems are developing so rapidly, and there are so many new and amazing possibilities. SHOWstudio has always championed change and innovation, so the challenge of posting real-time and live steaming from GoPro straight to Periscope is one we relish. SHOWstudio was also founded on the principal of championing fashion film and moving image, so we were delighted to accept Topshop’s offer to collaborate on capturing the Topshop Unique Show in the most dynamic way possible.”

Shoppers at the retailer’s flagship store at Oxford Circus in London will also be able to access a dedicated London Fashion Week area, and see a 3-D window installation by set designer Thomas Petherick.

Categories
Editor's pick film

Storytelling insights anchor Gap’s Dress Normal short film series

Gap_dressnormal

Gap has enlisted Oscar-nominated director David Fincher for a series of ads tied to its Dress Normal campaign for autumn/winter 2014/15.

Four spots have been released that play on a sense of narrative – teasing the viewer that they’re catching a snippet of a story, featuring everything from a soaking wet woman getting undressed in the back of a car, to a man dashing up a huge set of winding stairs to meet a woman at the top.

The third sees a couple making out in an apartment block while the female peers at herself in the mirror, and the final one is based on a dancer and a golfer.

Gap’s global CMO Seth Farbman, said: “What I wanted, because this is Gap, was positive anxiety — that was the brief. We wanted to make it more challenging than what people think of as a Gap commercial. Rather than a beginning, a middle and end of the story, we wanted to tell part of the story and leave a sense of wonder.”

Created by agency Wieden & Kennedy, New York, the black and white ads see taglines including: “The uniform of rebellion and conformity.” And: “Simple clothes for you to complicate.”

The campaign will span outdoor, mobile, direct, social, in-store and digital. The print ads were shot by Glen Luchford and star celebs including Anjelica Huston, Elisabeth Moss and Zosia Mamet in a series of vignettes.

Fincher is director of tales including Panic Room, House of Cards, Fight Club and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Read more about the Gap campaign strategy over at Advertising Age.

Categories
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.

Categories
film

Fashion names star in Apple Mac’s 30-years ad

 

Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen is one of several fashion creatives to star in a new ad from Apple, a spot filmed using a series of iPhones over the course of just one day.

1.24.12, as it’s called (for the day it was shot), is a celebration of 30 years of the Macintosh. When the Mac was introduced, it promised to put technology in the hands of the people, Apple says, launching “a generation of innovators who continue to change the world”.

Van Herpen is seen in her Amsterdam studio working on one of her elaborate creations at about 43 seconds in. While many fashion designers work on a Mac these days, she is one of a few who also turns her ideas into reality using a 3D printer.

“Iris van Herpen initially saw the computer as a strictly two-dimensional environment. For someone who often begins the creative process by sketching on a mannequin, that wouldn’t work. But when she discovered 3D printing, everything changed,” reads the write-up on the Apple website, where a timeline has been created documenting creativity for the past 30 years.

 

irisvanherpen

Van Herpen is included under the heading for 2014 on the site, but two further dates are also relevant to the fashion industry.

1996 is dedicated to Tinker Hatfield, who is the designer behind many of Nike’s most popular shoes. He said the Mac enabled him to experiment more freely in terms of different materials, contours and patterns, and to see all his designs instantly. “Apple gave us this amazing tool and a new way to do things. It was a little crazy, yet satisfying and liberating at the same time,” he is quoted.

The year 2000 is then focused on photographer Nick Knight, who created SHOWstudio.com, and in so doing, “changed how people saw fashion”. He pioneered fashion film, and was of course one of the very first to live stream a fashion week show. “I wanted to make fashion accessible to a broader audience. And I wanted to share more than static images,” he says.

Consumers are also invited to share information about when they first owned a Mac and how exactly they have used it, via an interactive portion of the 30 years microsite.

A short documentary about the Mac’s history has also been released, featuring Van Herpen, Hatfield and Knight, among others…

Categories
social media

Belstaff launches new Legends campaign portraits by Scott Schuman, starring Beckham

Belstaff_Beckham

Belstaff hosted an elaborate event that played on its motorcycle heritage this London Fashion Week to celebrate the opening of its new flagship store in the capital.

With David Beckham as host, the British-born brand closed off part of New Bond Street to welcome a parade of 50 authentic bikers.  They were wearing both new and vintage pieces from the brand, but as its supposed to be worn, on the road and getting dirty, which is exactly what the team wanted to capture.

As a result, they hired Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist to do so. The well-known street style photographer shot a series of intimate portraits of some of the bikers, seven of which, as well as one of Beckham, are now live on the Legends section of Belstaff’s website, which is also home to images of its oldest jackets and the icons who have worn them.

Each of the stars – David Parr, Nate Petre, Josh Wasserman, Hugo Jezgabel, Mark Phillips, George Barden and Pat McAteer – features alongside a mini interview saying who they are, what bike they ride and where they find their inspiration. Collectively they are referred to as the “modern legends of Belstaff”. (Clicking on their pictures leads to the corresponding product page too).

I’ve also been privy to an early cut of a video set to launch in a couple of weeks time documenting the bikers travelling from the historic Goodwood Estate to Mayfair. It’s a beautiful testament to both Britain and the brand. Look out for it.

Beckham will also front Belstaff’s spring/summer 2014 global advertising campaign. It will be photographed by Peter Lindberg and inspired by the late Steve McQueen, a long-time fan of  Belstaff. Further pictures of Beckham at the opening of Belstaff House in London are below:

Belstaff House - Opening Event Belstaff House - Opening Event