The ever-changing world of fashion

From famous faces interacting with CGI models, the argument over whether influencers are helping or harming fashion’s creative output, and the increasingly surprising use of celebrities, Noel Bussey examines the this season’s thoughts on fashion advertising.

How has fashion advertising changed? Earlier on this year an ad broke for Calvin Klein in which real model Bella Hadid and a CGI model called Lil’Miquela made global news by kissing.

In the old days of advertising, a non-human model was called a mannequin. A small one might have been called a lil’mannequin. In the brave new world of fashion, though, new opportunities abound – even for models who don’t technically exist.

Above: Bella Hadid’s kiss with Lil’Miquela, a CGI character. 

There is a temptation to assume fashion advertising is all glossy photoshoots in Vogue or highly stylised, wistful films starring, as one person said (firmly tongue in cheek, by the way) “vacuous models starring into space”. But this is an outdated view of an industry remade through massive change – mainly driven by either societal issues, technological advancements or consumer attitude shifts.

Body positive

Gijs Determeijer, a Partner and Producer at film and photography agency

HALAL, says: “In terms of body positivity, gender fluidity, age and race, fashion is doing a fantastic job in paving the way where other sections of advertising are still only following. It’s allowing filmmakers the ability to surprise the viewer by being original and fresh with their cast. It makes the content stand out, makes it more memorable and, at times, empowering.”

It’s no longer enough to do a couple of standout films featuring a big name and a photography campaign.

“Which, in turn, means you can speak to a wider audience,” adds Melissa Weston, UK and Ireland Marketing Lead at online fashion chain Zalando, “showing that CSR and profit don’t need to be mutually exclusive.” She also points out that “an increase of more bite-size pieces of brand messaging, often through social media and an increase of video content” has had a significant impact on the direction of the industry.

It’s no longer enough to do a couple of standout films featuring a big name and a photography campaign to go with it. Campaigns now need a host of add-ons from social, vertical and out-of-home to more adventurous projects such as behind-the-scenes films or documentaries.

This rapacious content monster has seen an influx of creatives and directors enter the space from non-traditional backgrounds, weaving in their new ways of thinking.

And this rapacious content monster, and the desire to give the creative output its own make-over, has seen an influx of creatives and directors enter the space from non-traditional backgrounds, weaving in their new ways of thinking.

Aaron Duffy, a creative at fashion label rag & bone, says. “I was pretty clear when I started working with Marcus [Wainwright, the company’s founder] and his team that I know absolutely nothing about fashion. They said, “that’s exactly what we’re looking for”. Something tells me that’s a part of the evolution, and it’s a good evolution.”

In terms of body positivity, gender fluidity, age and race, fashion is doing a fantastic job in paving the way where other sections of advertising are still only following.

And nothing creates more pride in fashion’s leading protagonists of change than the strides made by the industry in positively remodelling casting diversity.

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