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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.

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Blocks Comment social media technology

Topshop and the BFC talk digital innovation with WGSN during #LFW

The latest in a longstanding series of Google Hangouts hosted by my team at WGSN, saw Topshop CMO Sheena Sauvaire, the British Fashion Council’s head of marketing Clara Mercer, and myself talking about the role of digital and fashion week.

Held on the final day of London’s spring/summer 2015 shows, this was an exploration of innovation versus sales, the importance of extending a campaign beyond the 10 minutes of the show and into the six months ahead, and the role that social commerce and shoppable runways are playing this season for designers.

We also explore some tips and tricks for emerging talent in approaching their digital strategy, and the need to carefully balance the role of innovation with what feels authentic to your brand.

Do watch it back below…

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Blocks Comment film social media

Live streaming fashion week – a classic case of quality over quantity

J. JS Lee spring/summer 2015

Last September I wrote a piece for Mashable about the role of live streaming during fashion week today – the engagement it does and doesn’t afford, and ultimately whether the cost involved is worth it for designers.

There were varying viewpoints. Live viewership isn’t especially high, but numerous brands suggested reaching the ‘super fan’ makes it worthwhile. Furthermore, understanding the ROI is a bit of a grey area anyway – many designers record videos of their shows regardless of whether they’re streaming it, so the greater part of the financial investment live streaming requires is already there. Likewise, many have that cost soaked up as part of their show package at say the Lincoln Center with IMG in New York or Somerset House with the BFC in London.

Regardless of that fact, live streams have become so prevalent, they’re also somewhat mundane. Overall there was also a consensus therefore that a point of difference and a specific content strategy beyond just the 10-minutes or so of the show, would help too.

In New York this season, however, quite a few of the big shows, including DKNY and Diane von Furstenberg, who have live streamed for a good number of seasons in the past, opted not to. Similarly, Made Fashion Week didn’t include live streaming as standard with any of its shows from Milk Studios either.

There was quite a response on Twitter; fans complaining about the fact they weren’t getting to see their favourite shows, using choice words like ‘disappointed’ and ‘annoyed’.

The numbers may not be enormous, but seemingly the engagement of those fans that do tune in has the potential to make it worthwhile. The idea of that super fan again, is loud and it’s strong. Even if they’re not yet customers, at the very least they aspire to be.

Which is why it should be credited that the British Fashion Council is fully backing live streaming for its designers this season, with a record 90% of the schedule set to be available to watch online. Even Tom Ford is – for the first time ever – set to live stream on Monday, September 15, which is a significant shift in strategy comparative to his first show for spring/summer 2011 when he only invited one photographer (his own), turned away all the bloggers, and set a strict embargo on information about the collection so as to relate it more closely to the date the garments hit store.

The British Fashion Council estimates the LFW live streams are watched from 190 countries worldwide. Click here for the full schedule: www.londonfashionweek.co.uk/schedule

Pic: J. JS Lee spring/summer 2015

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Comment Editor's pick technology

Diesel next fashion week brand to jump into wearable tech game

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Diesel Black Gold has announced a wearable tech partnership with Samsung in time for its New York Fashion Week show today at 1pm EST, in doing so becoming the latest in a long line of designers associating themselves with wearables this season.

The brand will reveal a custom line for the Samsung Gear S – the new curved screen smartwatch. In essence the launch is a line of accessories that feature the device. Seen in red, white or black leather cuffs, some of them embellished with studs, they reportedly take their inspiration from the brand’s spring/summer 2015 collection which references “highly stylised New Wave rock stars and tough rockabilly heroines”.

Creative director, Andreas Melbostad said: “I wanted to take the Gear S and inject the DNA of Diesel Black Gold. It has been an inspiring challenge to create a personalized version of this device making it an extension of the person and her individual expression.”

Unfortunately, the result leaves a little to be desired. Like many of the options now out there – including the Tory Burch and Fitbit collaboration, and Intel and Opening Ceremony’s MICA, the product is still a clunky exploration of hardware and not an accessory that fits with the sort of aesthetic the fashion week crowd expect.

Let’s also call a spade a spade. This is a leather band with a clip, not a piece of true wearable tech.

Younghee Lee, EVP of global marketing, IT and mobile division at Samsung, said: “Our partnership with Diesel Black Gold is very crucial as it further showcases the union of fashion and technology, and the way in which wearable devices continue to become more intertwined in daily life.”

I’d agree with that fact, but we’re a long way off fashion and technology truly being seamless bedfellows. Over to you now Apple…

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Editor's pick social media

Non-fashion digital influencers to capture Tommy Hilfiger’s #NYFW show

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In a continuing bid to democratise the fashion week experience, Tommy Hilfiger is giving a group of digital influencers from outside the fashion industry access to actively participate in their first ever show this season.

The First Timers campaign, as it’s being referred to, will see experts from the worlds of music, art, floristry, travel and architecture invited to document their different perspectives throughout the event on Monday September 7.

They include Amymarie Gaertner, Vine artist and talented dancer (music); Micaël Reynaud, award-winning GIF artist (art); Justina Blakeney, stylist and conceptual artist (floristry); Murad Osmanov and Natalia Zakharova, photographers, partners and world travellers (travel); and Nicanor Garcia, teacher and photographer (architecture).

Each will focus on a different element of the show to incorporate their personal areas of expertise. They will post across their own blogs and social feeds, as well as be amplified by the Hilfiger social channels. All of the coverage will also be aggregated through “The Conversation” – a live social media feed running on Tommy.com and featured in real-time on LED screens backstage at the runway show.

“Each season we strive to develop digital programs that engage new audiences,” said Avery Baker, CMO of the Tommy Hilfiger Group. “By introducing our First Timers program, our runway show is becoming an increasingly democratic experience, answering our consumers’ demands for immediate access and original information.”

The brand is also handing over the reins of its Instagram account to Alexa Chung on show day. The model and TV presenter will provide behind-the-scenes access directly from the Park Avenue Armory venue before, during and after the show, sharing everything from the models getting ready to sneak peeks of the key accessories, guests at the show and Tommy himself making last minute tweaks to the collection.

Backstage will additionally play host to a Vine booth where the models, VIPS and bloggers invited will be able to create bespoke 360º Vines for their followers.

For those wanting to gain their own little slice of access to the show otherwise, the brand’s social concierge campaign is continuing this season too. This offers anyone the ability to request bespoke assets from a dedicated team working on the ground as well as remotely – from an opening look of the collection to a close-up on a favourite accessory or even a handwritten message from one of the models.

The show takes place at 11am EST on Monday, September 7. The hashtag is #tommyspring15.

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digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick social media technology

All the digital activity (outside of live streaming) happening this #NYFW

If watching dozens of Hyperlapse videos from day one of New York Fashion Week is already starting to grate, here are some of the other digitally-enabled or tech-themed plans that might appeal instead…

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  • For those in New York looking to explore what else wearables currently offer, it’s worth checking out Chelsea concept store, Story’s new Style.tech installation in partnership with Intel. There’s everything from Ringly to Cute Circuit pieces on show, as well as 3D-printed heels from Continuum and more. It’s open until October 5
  • Back to Rebecca Minkoff, and social media is helping with decision making for tomorrow’s show. The designer posted an Instagram shot featuring two looks from the spring 2015 collection – a printed or an indigo pair of dungarees. The one that got the most likes will walk down the catwalk
  • Tommy Hilfiger is also focusing on social with the announcement of an initiative called First Timers, which will bring together “a diverse group of digital influencers from different fields and areas of expertise outside the fashion industry to document the unique experience of viewing a fashion show for the first time”. More details are reportedly set to follow on that soon
  • BCBG Max Azria meanwhile partnered up with Liketoknow.it to make its new collection shoppable instantly via Instagram today. Followers were encouraged to first sign up to Liketoknow.it and then to ‘like’ any image featuring the LTK link in the caption to receive an email with details of how to buy said piece online. This initiative came together in the end, but was a little confusing initially – reports around the campaign didn’t make it entirely clear the images wouldn’t be posted on the BCBG account but on that of a series of influencers involved. Finding them wasn’t therefore as straightforward as it could have been, although a significant number of them are now all featured on the @liketktit page as well
  • Michael Kors is expanding its All Access Kors social program this season – with behind-the-scenes photographs, in-depth stories on design inspirations and videos of the show all featured on Destination Kors. New for SS15 however is also the announcement of a campaign specific to China-based platforms Weixin and WeChat. Here users will be able to personalise a range of All Access Kors imagery – adding their name or uploading a photo that then becomes a bold silhouette against the New York City skyline. Shaking the phone or swiping the screen then reveals a different silhouette or city angle
  • Last but not least, here’s a particularly fab reminder from Véronique Hyland at The Cut for editors to spare us the typically poor fashion week images on Instagram. “The blurry runway photo is not really, strictly speaking, a picture — anyone who wants to can see better photos instantaneously online. No, the blurry runway shot is a trophy. It says, ‘I came, I saw, I sat front row, within 100 feet of Vanessa Hudgens’,” she writes.
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Blocks Editor's pick technology

Designers are jumping into the wearable tech space this #NYFW – should we care?

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Tomorrow marks the first official day of New York Fashion Week, and with it a month-long series of runway shows that will next travel to Europe – to London, Milan and Paris – to highlight what all we’ll be wearing for spring/summer 2015.

Attention won’t just be on the new clothes in New York on this occasion however, but on the wearable accessories set to hit the catwalks too. Designers including Rebecca Minkoff and Opening Ceremony are each expected to unveil new tech-enabled pieces, while simultaneously over at the US Open, Ralph Lauren’s biometric t-shirts are already being worn.

The question is, after all the hype that will no doubt follow – will any of the new releases actually provide something that has true market appeal beyond the early adopter set?

Read the full story via Forbes.com to find out.

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Editor's pick social media

WGSN’s social media news room to provide more access to fashion week season than ever before

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As fashion month kicks off in New York and continues around the globe, the team over at WGSN (that would be my day job) is set to provide more access to the collections, trends and data than ever before. We’ll be reporting live not only from the shows but from our first ever social media news room, giving everyone, not just subscribers, a front row seat to spring/summer 2015.

This #WGSNhub, a content command centre if you will, aims to engage, excite and educate followers with real-time commentary from our global editors, including in-depth critical analysis and commercial insights.

As well as our usual coverage across InstagramTumblrTwitterFacebookGoogle+ and our blog, we’ll be providing behind-the-scenes access to our team at work, as well as showcasing our focus on big data with trend analytics pulled from the shows as they emerge.

We’ll also be welcoming over 30 of our global editors – from offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Sao Paulo – to provide real-time commentary on all the collections. Look out for the #editortakeover hashtag on Twitter where their market expertise will be collated in live reviews of the shows in 140 characters of less. That logistical undertaking will span the whole of fashion week month, taking us from New York through London, Milan and Paris with more hands on deck than ever before.

We’re also planning a series of Twitter Q&As with some of our experts. On Thursday, September 4 (tomorrow) our senior womenswear editor, Jaclyn Jones, will be on hand to discuss some of the big trends we anticipate to see for spring/summer 2015. On Saturday, September 6, our VP of North American content, Sheila Aimette, will provide a behind-the-scenes look at fashion week through the eyes of a trend forecaster. Once we get to London, I’m set to take over with a conversation about what tech and digital innovations we’ve experienced from the shows and what more we hope to see. Expect that on Friday, September 12. You can follow all via #askwgsn.

Next up will be two Google Hangouts live from our #WGSNhub in New York and then in London. On Monday, September 8, our conversation will explore the role of a trend forecaster during fashion week, featuring WGSN editors as well as some very exciting external industry experts. Then on Tuesday, September 16, our discussion will move over to those digital innovations emerging during fashion week once again, both from a brand and a technology standpoint. Look out for the special guest panelists we’re due to announce soon, and follow all the activity via #wgsnhangout.

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Editor's pick technology

Avatars take to Björn Borg catwalk ahead of SS15 computer game launch

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Gaming was at the centre of Björn Borg’s spring/summer 2015 show at Stockholm Fashion Week last week, as models wore avatar masks striding down the catwalk with a series of robotic movements.

That strategy was part of a teaser for the brand’s own computer game launch – “First Person Lover”, as it’s called, due January 2015. Further details have yet to be released, though head of design James Lee refers to the premise of the game as being about “creating more love in the world”.

“Gaming and digital animation has a great impact on fashion today and we wanted to pick up on this in the collection and show,” he expressed. In a behind-the-scenes video ahead of the launch, he adds that inspiration was found in the different fictitious worlds of a computer game, from underwater scenes to temples and more.

Projections inspired by the game were placed as the backdrop to the Stockholm show by creative show director Bea Åkerlund, who added: “I was really inspired by Björn Borg’s SS15 collection and their ‘First Person Lover’ game and wanted to recreate the experience for the audience. My intention with the show was to merge the full emotions of falling in love with how it would feel if you would climb into the computer game just for a second.”

Check out the highlight reel below…

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Editor's pick social media Startups technology

Menswear label Ada + Nik uses Vyclone app for collaborative runway video during #LCM

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Live streamed fashion week shows are an interesting one – buzzworthy and exciting when they first launched despite poor user experience, now higher quality but still a proposition that require decent investment to make them stand out.

As previously reported for Mashable, while some show organisers have this cost rolled in to their packages, for those doing it independently, I was quoted in the region of $20,000 to $50,000 for a full video deal, depending on the production requirements. And on average that’s for just 14,000 views per show at the likes of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.

Which is why a free app called Vyclone is an interesting opportunity, especially for young up-and-coming brands who are in the early stages of being on the fashion week circuit. This start-up refers to itself as “a social video platform that lets you co-create, sync and edit multiple views of a shared moment, effortlessly”.

Enter then menswear brand Ada + Nik who showed at London Collections: Men last week, simultaneously capturing the experience of their spring/summer 2015 collection in real-time from multiple different camera angles using Vyclone. The resulting video isn’t the highest quality, but for an immediate piece of (free) content shot by five individuals with iPhones it’s one of the most efficient options we’ve seen. The collaboration was pulled together by digital consultant Taylor Kahan.

Check out the video here, and then read on below where we chat with NIk Thakkar, co-creative director for Ada + Nik, to find out more:

F&M: What was the benefit of choosing Vyvlone over the traditional live-stream option, other than the inevitable cost saving? 

NT: Innovation and interactivity. We wanted to engage a technology that is new and exciting for the fashion world, and put the live perspective at the vantage points of the audience actually attending the show. That way, instead of seeing one stagnant angle that is typical of live streams, viewers online got a more realistic idea of what it felt like to be at the show.

F&M: What’s the process involved with achieving what you did with the app? 

NT: We strategically placed five people around the runway to film and capture all of the most flattering angles of our pieces as the models walked the runway. The process of filming is simple: Vyclone is programmed to detect location so that anyone filming from the app in the same vicinity will have their videos automatically synced with others around them.

Is your resulting video a real-time replica or an edited version post show? 

NT: Real-time. The beauty of Vyclone’s technology is that it detects and automatically syncs all videos together based on sound.

F&M: Where does the video appear?

NT: Once processed the video is immediately viewable on the Vyclone app, which we then shared across our own social properties, as did Vyclone respectively on theirs. The video is embeddable and shareable to the public, so we now have an evergreen piece of marketing content that can spread on its own, and the beauty of social media has made it a potentially virally impactful takeaway from our show.

F&M: What sort of engagement does the platform enable? 

NT: The appeal of Vyclone is that anyone in the vicinity can participate, film from their perspective, and effortlessly contribute their video to the final mix. And once the video has been created within the app, anybody can go in and “remix” the angles to create their own favourite version of the show as well. The clip was featured within the app so all of its active users had a chance to view, and by sharing across our socials we’ve managed to garner hundreds of thousands of impressions on the piece.