Image Request: Storytelling In The Digital Age

BY Samantha Hamilton Rushforth / Feb 5 2017 / 16:38 PM

Want to up your Insta game? Four industry thought-leaders discuss how to optimize your online and offline visuals

Image Request: Storytelling In The Digital Age

As part of their ongoing collaboration with Dubai’s Fashion Forward to support up-and-coming brands, EPIC workshops, powered by Samsung, aim to add insight and value to creative and commercial areas of the region’s ever-growing fashion industry. Panellists Mannbutte and Hideyuki Hayashi, both photographers from Things By People joined fashion editor Sarah Maisey and Bazaar’s Editor-in-chief Louise Nichol to talk all things visual in a digital age, so if you're looking to create your own fashion line or just want to up the ante on your personal social media platforms, read on... 


Convey A Purpose Not A Purchase

Visually it’s important to have an original theme with a custom concept and storyboard, not just re-creating your moodboard. “All visual imagery, like a piece of artwork, needs to be communicated through layers of influences and messages,” according to photographer Mannbutte. Rather than simply setting out to sell a shoe, dress or new collection, designers and their creative teams must first set out to promote a mood or idea. “Some of the most successful fashion campaigns don’t actually feature clothes at all,” notes Hayashi, citing Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane’s urban, landscape shots as a prime example of a brand selling a concept rather than a clothing line.

Aim Big

Despite limited cash flow, young design houses like Proenza Schouler and Sacai are still booking some of the most notable photographers in the industry because they know that the importance of storytelling from the brand directly impacts the sale of clothes. “Visually you should stay aspiring even if the price point of your clothing is low or mid-range,” says Bazaar’s Louise Nichol. Value brands like H&M and Topshop frequently spend on visuals to emulate expensive campaigns and add value to their label. “Don’t shoot specifically for a lookbook or campaign. Invest time and money into creating images with a story and the result will be more artistic, than commercial,” says Mannbutte.

Work With A Winning Team

Seeing that the model will most likely be 70% of your image, casting is key for any shoot. Employ a team of photographers, stylists and producers who are aware of what is going on in the global industry, not just the regional market. If you’re unsure of who to work with, go through the portfolios of potential collaborators and take note of their personal aesthetic. “Ask photographers to pitch to you,” suggests Sarah Maisey, “this way you can gauge what they are feeling in regards to your concept.”

Five Things To Remember When Creating Your Visuals:

1.) Always be pushing to lift your brand and elevate standards – there’s no such thing as a shoot that’s ‘too good.’

2.) Curiosity is key – hint at your various influences rather than spelling them out in the visual

3.) Create for the innovators and early adopters of a trend, not the followers

4.) Focus in on your target market, if you only sell in the GCC, make sure your imagery is moulded for that region

5.) Campaign’s sell your brand, lookbooks sell your product, make sure you understand the distinction

Learn more about how the EPIC X Fashion Forward empowerment programs are helping regional designers key industry challenges: