In today’s online media environment, fashion has fused with technology to create a space in which everything and anyone can happen. Yet isn’t it all beginning to look a bit… predictable? As the choir of influencers grows ever louder, what does it really take to break through the noise?
Coinciding with the Paris Fashion Week, Italian footwear designer Cinzia Araia will be exploring questions of relevance, visibility and communication in a postmodern world through a subversive campaign mixing performance art, contemporary dance and guerrilla marketing techniques. In a series comprising video, photography and live stunts, the gritty urban context that inspires Araia’s designs becomes the setting for a bold, physical confrontation with the ephemeral nature of today’s fashion markets.
(OUTSIDE OF LANVIN’s SHOW at L’ECOLE DES BEAUX ARTS)
(GUERRILLA MARKETING OUTSIDE OF VETEMENTS SHOW at LE PRESIDENT)
(GUERRILLA MARKETING OUTSIDE OF YOHJI YAMAMOTO’s SHOW at SALONS DE L’HOTEL DE VILLE)
SEE THE FOLLOWING LINK FOR THE VIDEO CAMPAIGN, directed by Andrea Labate: https://vimeo.com/141030957
Fashion thrives on subversion and boundary pushing, on creating waves that connect people on deep and emotional levels. But in the midst of today’s chaotic media and consumer environment, are there too many voices to truly stir the waters? What does it mean to be an influencer today, and what constitutes meaningful modern communication?
These are questions that Italian footwear designer Cinzia Araia will explore in a forthcoming campaign coinciding with Paris Fashion Week. Consisting of a short film shot in the abandoned wasteland surrounding the northern Italian town of Consonno, as well as a series of guerrilla stunts to be unleashed during Fashion Week, the campaign evokes post-apocalyptic anarchy to raise questions around what it means to be visible and relevant today.
In line with the philosophy fuelling Araia’s designs, the forthcoming campaign explores the balance between structure and deconstruction through the lens of modern technology. Most importantly, it draws inspiration from a long history of guerrilla marketing, a campaigning technique built around the principle of using low-budget means to create high-impact and deeply emotional reactions.
Guerilla marketing has been immortalized in fashion through the stunts of designers like Martin Margiela, whose early shows saw him stage impromptu shows in places such as an abandoned Paris playground, allowing neighbourhood children to interact with the models and ultimately become parts of the performance. The practice itself, however, goes back far longer: already in 1918, the Italian writer and poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, who was also a soldier during World War I, left indelible marks on the world’s consciousness when, during an air-raid now known as the Flight on Vienna, he dropped 50,000 leaflets celebrating the Italian victory over Germany across the city.
Stunts such as these were, and continues to be, about breaking the sound barrier; about connecting in times of chaos on a truly emotional and meaningful level. In this spirit, Araia will launch a series of stunts that will see a towering figure – provocatively styled and equipped with cutting-edge light and audio technology – make interventions in a number of scheduled Paris Fashion Week events. The accompanying short film, which incorporates elements of contemporary dance, techno music and performance art, can be viewed [HERE].
In sum, the campaign raises a number of questions that will continue to loom large long after the fashion week dust has settled:
- In a world where everyone can so easily be seen, what constitutes true visibility?
- Where does this new techno-reality leave the until-now powerful armies of fashion influencers? What role do influencers really play today, and are they still having an impact?
- Does the abstractedness of an online presence lend even more impact to forceful, physical interventions?
- What happens when we go offline?
- Now that everyone can participate in the conversation, how is communication evolving? And how is fashion responding and reshaping the process?
- Is loud and aggressive guerrilla-style marketing the only way to cut through the noise and truly connect?