Fashion is, above all, visual. But to say the fashion world jumped headfirst into the realm of digital media would be a stretch; early adopters, we were not. One of the key hesitations to this was a fear of seeming too accessible – a valid fear, as digital has a democratizing effect. Anyone can access you, anywhere. Vast audiences can be reached in the digital realm, but brands have worried that videos may foster a loss of intimacy between them and their core customers. Fashion marketers also worry that their brand will be just another brand screaming for attention in the digital ether. Many recent successful forays into digital video have been seen lately, and many fashion brands have begun to see a distinct opportunity to establish a new kind of relationship with their audiences through video. This relationship can evoke a deeply intimate connection, not at all unlike the one that many brands were striving so hard to maintain – all through the medium of film.
Top 5 Keys to Success in Fashion Videos
- Feel it.
We’re all looking for something that resonates with us, makes us feel alive, and strikes a chord deep within – the intimate connection. Video harnesses the emotions, develops intrigue, and creates the opportunity to establish a connection with an audience. Viewing a video can be a profound visual journey causing a deep stirring of emotion; it can elicit feelings of nostalgia, excitement, lushness, or cause a craving or a desire. We mentioned the exclusivity factor; many fashion brands feel as though digital media is contributing to their descent from serving the privileged to serving the masses. What many of these brands don’t quite realize is how much this can paradoxically work in their favor, helping to grow digitally yet still retain their desired image. Historically, going to a film was an escape – a moment in time providing a chance to escape one’s mind and go into a reverie, to dabble in scenarios that make you feel alive. This is the aspect that we should be aiming to capture. At the core, humans want to feel included in something special; film taps into the vicarious thrill of that.
Best in class example: Kate Moss for Yves Saint Laurent Perfume “Parisienne”
- Know thyself.
You will attract your ideal audience when you know who you are as a brand. Know the specific feeling you want to convey to your audience; understand everything that you can about your target consumer – then use this specificity to embrace a creative direction. The brand’s message must be clear; confusing your market can be damaging. The market is saturated with endless media, but if you can effectively refine your brand’s voice through video, you’ll find that those who you want to reach will be drawn to you. Once you know your strategy, your vibe, and your message – collaborate! Make sure you work with a face or company who organically identifies with your brand and respects your core initiative. An appropriate collaboration will increase your visibility to your shared market.
Best in class example: Lanvin FW 2011/12
- Leave them wanting more…. and then give it to them.
The ultimate goal is to make films that are short, sweet, and to the point. Creating a one-to-two minute video where every second is dense with imagery will be much for effective than a five minute video that seems uncommitted to any particular angle. Research has shown that you have about seven seconds to capture a viewer’s interest before they move on; they are searching for something that immediately resonates with them. We are all a part of the instant-gratification era, immersed in immediacy. Some fashion labels have gone so far as to make it possible for people to watch their creations walk down the runway while simultaneously purchasing the items. When it comes to fashion film, it’s vital to not only grab the viewer’s attention immediately, but to intrigue them enough to keep them engaged.
Best in class example: Net-a-Porter SS 11 Bag Collection Video
- Let film be film.
A phenomenon in fashion film today is the practice of filming images that are meant to be static. Sometimes this can be good: using the appearance of static images as an editing technique can be beautiful. Some of the best brand videos circulating today have a disarming and intriguing choppy feel to them, as though frames have been frozen inadvertently. We’re referring instead to situations in which the video is ‘backstage footage’ from photo shoots for print ads. Brands, trying to move with the immediacy of the time, rush to film such an event because they believe it will give them quick content to share. The reality of this is that it waters down both their print ads and their video by overlapping the static with the flowing. Behind-the-scenes footage can have its place, but in general, we recommend that you let print ad shoots produce what they’re meant to (incredible editorial images of the product), and then embrace creative direction in film. Commit yourself to creating a clean, intriguing, well-edited short film instead of a print shoot recap video. Remember: you only have seven seconds.
Best in class example: YSL FW 2011-12 Campaign Video
- Music. Music. Music.
We love Fashion’s Collective founder Elizabeth Schofield-Canon’s take on the importance of video:
“If digital has created a new world with its own language and code of communication, then video is our equivalent to song. It is the most potent tool available to strike a connection and evoke emotion in this new language.”
Not only is this completely applicable to the effect video can have on your audience, but music choice is absolutely essential to the efficacy of the fashion film. Music possesses the same emotion-eliciting attributes that video does AND you’re merging them together. Potent tools, indeed.
Best in class example: Prada SS11Video Campaign
Bonus pro tip: It is also to your brand’s benefit to create videos that translate well to the mobile platform, as we’re all naturally becoming more mobile-centric.
To summarize: intimacy is attainable with videos. Know your brand; stay true to its core beliefs; emphasize, concentrate, and celebrate those beliefs through your film, and you’ll have much more than your seven seconds of fame.
Miu Miu FW 2010-11 Ad Campaign
Seven Henrietta Street, a Film by Kinga Burza for Kate Spade New York
The image on this post was taken from ‘Sexy, Shocking, Seductive’, Brian Atwood’s blushworthy Resort 2011 video.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.