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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Vision To Visuals: Challenging The Norms

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Photos by Robert Whitman adorn the eryn brinié store in New York.

Photography always has played an integral role in the world of fashion. From early masters like Man Ray, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon to contemporaries like Juergen Teller and Karl Lagerfeld, photographers have elevated fashion brands out of their commercial milieu and rendered them timeless. A successful relationship between a fashion designer and a photographer such as the one between Teller and Marc Jacobs demonstrates that when a designer makes the photographer an integral part of his or her creative process instead of treating the photographer simply as an executor of a predetermined vision, the outcomeis an iconic brand that embeds itself into the public’s imagination forever. Examples of such collaborations are rare, however, and much of fashion branding continues to be dominated by formulaic imagery. I was fortunate to be part of one such wonderful collaboration between acclaimed photographer Robert Whitman and the retail brand eryn brinié from Korea.

eryn brinié epitomizes the current shift that’s underway in the world of fashion—the homogeneity of corporate retail brands being challenged by avante-garde brands from around the world, especially Asia. eryn brinié understands the value of delivering customized brand experiences to its customers while still competing on price points against large corporate fashion houses. eryn brinié is one of my favorite examples of the trend away from mainstream fashion be-cause the company has challenged the norms of an industry that has been relatively unchanged for some time now. Its brand personality—European chic combined with New York’s youthful spirit and modern sensibility—targets the millennial generation, which grew up with instant communication technologies and social networking. This group challenges assumptions of traditional advertising that have come to be associated with fashion brands over the last few decades by regarding individuality far over brand loyalty. Realizing this psychographic makeup of its target audience, eryn brinié created a unique platform for itself in New York to “support artists that reflect the curious and adventurous world” the brand represents.

In October, eryn brinié worked with Robert Whitman, a photographer with whom we’ve had a long relationship. Whitman has worked in advertising and fashion for more than 20 years. He has an exceptional eye that allows us to experience the world and the people in it in a way that we wouldn’t otherwise. We worked with Whitman to curate, print and produce a unique hybrid installation, “Looking Glass,” which comprised both a fashion campaign and fine-art photographs. Cesarina Ferro, Whitman’s representative and collaborative partner here at Duggal, worked closely with Whitman to execute his campaign vision for eryn brinié.


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