Helping him do that was Formats And Mechanisms, a creative agency specialised in technology and media experimentation, who were very grateful with the opportunity to share their ideas. “Fashion can be very superficial,” explained Mark Prendergast, co-founder of Formats And Mechanisms. “Designers are led by emotion, which is not a bad thing, but decisions are often made on a whim. We prefer to think through an entire concept and want to implement it into the narrative of the brand. That just isn’t possible when technology is only brought in at the end, as an afterthought.”
“The problem is also structural,” his colleague Philip Schuette remarks. “An organisation is only as strong as its weakest link. Once those brands get too big, there is always one link in the chain scared to take risks. They hold back the creativity.”
Philip and Mark have a couple of fashion projects under their belt having done shows for Chloé, Raf Simons and the Antwerp Academy, but specialising in the field was never their intention. Yet, they analyse the industry like seasoned veterans and point at a stubborn behavioral pattern.
Our industry appears to be stuck in a system where a collection is illustrated through elaborate set design and eye catching models.
Indeed, fashion media are quick to label a series of jewel-encrusted handbags flown in by drones “a vision from the future”, but after a year of shows through screens, technology has proven more often a hindrance than an enhancement of creativity. Our industry appears to be stuck in a system where a collection is illustrated through elaborate set design and eye catching models. The technology only serves to document the story.
“That is why we were attracted to fashion in the first place, we can do so much more,” exclaimed Philip. Right, so how do you go about that? “It is important to understand the context of the project you’re working with. That allows you to start asking questions about the medium itself, letting the audience see the mechanism without becoming too dialectic.” Before you digitally communicate a fashion show, you need to question the purpose of that ritual, what it means to no longer have a physical audience present.