London – playground for creativity

Two weeks ago the second-year Fashion & Branding students embarked on the journey to rainy England to get inspired by company visits, brands, exhibitions and the street. Celia Marie Freiling reports on the events.

 

First impression of London? Busy! People are running to their next appointment, grabbing some food on their way and continue running. The city is loud, full and pulsating. As our hostel is in Kings Cross, the first logical thing to do is exploring that area by foot. It doesn’t take long before we discover Shoreditch, an alternative area famous for street art, markets and pop-up stores. Walking through the little streets and getting lost at the same time, we find crowded bookstores, street food in an old garage and cafés that transform into clubs and vice versa.

Dressed in their fashion uniform – AMFI students exploring Shoreditch by foot.

We visited the creative agencies Nirvana and Checkland Kindleysides. Both are focusing on brand storytelling, creating a coherent identity from the head to the toe of the brand. Being a multidisciplinary agency means being part of every step from idea development until final execution.  An example for that is Beast, a beauty and fragrance store only for men originated by Nirvana. It is about sensing the concealed needs of your costumer to create something unique and distinctive.

Beast created by Nirvana. Unique because of its focus on beauty products and fragrances only for men.

We met Nike Lab which gave us an insight into their brand history, their marketing and their future plans of creating a community through a store in order to make the customer relate more to their brand. And we had a appointment at MagCulture, that started as a leading blog on indie magazines, but now translated to a store for independent magazines with a studio for editorial design. Founder Jeremy Leslie gave us an insight into the role of magazines today. Each magazine is a brand, even if their content might sound similar, their approach and personality is totally different.

We were SO lucky to have an intimate presentation on independent magazines by Jeremy Leslie at Magculture.

On our way to the V&A we had a walk through the Hyde Park, coming upon the British sunbeams and discovered Serpentine Galleries exhibiting John Latham, a pioneer of conceptual arts. With his holistic world view Latham experiments with sculpture, installation, painting, film, performance and theoretical writings to express his own philosophy about time.

Part of the work ‘Presursor to Story of the RIO’ by John Latham (1982).

The guided tour in the V&A thorough their collection of fashion was not only inspiring for us but also for creatives from all over the world, that come from time to time and have a look at the history of fashion. The huge collection of original pieces from more than hundred years ago gives an authentic impression, a history book could never give. It is about seeing the details of the clothing, their fabric, their silhouette what makes you travel back in time.

Display of costumes in the V&A Museum, where we could have easily spent the whole week.

What would a visit to London be without strolling around Soho and Covent Garden? Looking at innovative store environments and creative shop windows, as a Brander it is not only important to see those new trends but also to analyze them.  Stores are not working with mannequins and shelfs anymore, but use their store environment more as an exhibition space with clothing as the art. Shop windows are not revealing the collections anymore to make the costumer curious to enter and enjoy the retail experience.

The art of retail: shoe store Melissa.

Especially Dover Street Market, a retail space created and designed by Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons) has a completely new approach on visual merchandising and creating a retail experience which is rooted in the ‚beautiful chaos‘.

Spread over five floors, the settings in which the clothes are presented change, fitting the collection and the designer. Each season the store invites selected designers to create unique art installation-like spaces and pop-ups to house their offerings next to Comme des Garçons.

Dover Street Market – defining a beautiful chaos in a store environment.

And last but not least a visit to Tate Modern. Especially for branders it is sometimes important to take a step back from all the brands and concept we know and learn about everyday and get inspired by art in order to create something unique which has never been done before. Especially modern art and the artists vision provides a huge background, which turned out to be really inspirational for your next fashion concept!

Tate Modern – Sheela Gowda’s large scale installantion ‘Behold’ consisting out of two contrasting materials, steel car bombers and knotted human hair.

London is like a playground for creativity. It is full of inspiration, whether you get it from art or new concepts. London is never standing still, it is reinventing itself everyday which makes it so useful for us to come here and go with the flow of the city to get inspired. The city overcrowded by new trends and developments and invites you to become a part of it.

Text and images by Celia Marie Freiling.