© SEAN KENNEDY SANTOS
Behind the scenes with Director Santos and model on Fashionware Technologies branding campaign.
Recently Fashionware Technologies, a New York-based company with celebrated, high-end fashion clients such as DKNY, Elie Tahari, Nicole Miller and Tommy Hilfiger needed a proactive campaign to launch their new innovation in fashion software design.
Fashionware had no marketing in place, no strategy and no concept but they did have a budget. While their new software was in beta testing, they had to produce a marketing message within 60 days to hit the fashion runways for Fashion Week 2011.
In a year of recession, slashed budgets and tremendous changes in the advertising industry as to how to market to the masses, there have been far less jobs available to photographers. It takes a photographer with good research skills, great marketing savvy and ideas and the creative ability to put them all in motion to get the assignment. Fashionware Technologies found those qualities and more when with photographer and creative director Sean Kennedy Santos. Santos has a unique way of telling a story that is both emotive and moody, just the right combination for fashion. He has created award-winning campaigns for such well-known clients as Holland Casinos, Mercedes Benz, British Airways, Harley Davidson, Sony, Puma, Nike, Morgan Hotels and Christies Great Estates in luxury property.
Santos had to create a brief but dynamic marketing message that was high fashion and also bold and unique for the interactive world of software applications. For Santos, motion and social media were the most appropriate tools to use, especially as the delivery time was only 60 days. "We had many perimeters to cover, what was essential to the client was that it defined PLM [Product Line Management – systems] a software application used to help designers and managers collaborate during the production cycle of making fashion garments," explains Santos.
Santos’ idea was to build a Web site around a film, with the film being the main feature of the campaign. The site would be developed by a group of award-wining programmers in Berlin, Germany and work as a clean, functional gateway to a global audience. The campaign had to be visually enticing, minimalistic and very high fashion. Santos and his team hired a creative fashion writer to commit her services solely to the company blog and give it a youthful, intelligent look while the Web site was being engineered with prime imagery from his own stock library, www.sksantos.com. All had to be ready for announcements before Fashion Week 2011.
Santos’ producer coordinated with a movie crew, organized gear and locked-in locations, while he focused on the creative. They created a lean operation without the traditional process of meetings and approvals expected with an agency, and as a result Santos was able to put more financial resources into the development of the film and Web site. Santos came up with a solution to make a film that would be a little longer than a movie trailer but not as long as a short. He did all the story board layouts and preliminary design, while Web developers in Berlin took care of the design of the interface and graphics. "I shot, directed, and edited the film in New York, leaving type placement and overlays for Berlin to add later in the final Web design," adds Santos.
The idea behind the film was to show the build or "Evolution of Fashion" through a garment-production cycle using a model in the production environment and then integrate that with movement. Santos worked with an enthusiastic model and choreographer to perfect a smooth flow of story, imagery, music and motion. Although several drafts of his idea were approved by the client, their preference in the end was for a punchy style of upbeat music and fast-paced imagery.
The entire project was a challenge for Santos and his team, to put it mildly, because of the time frame and working so close to the Christmas 2010 season. He had to get special permission from three separate city departments just to shoot Duffy Square in Times Square in one of their busiest and most trafficked periods. They were able to have the area shut down to the general public so they could have exclusive use of the red steps. Inclement weather at that time was also like dodging a bullet. The film had to be shot and in the can before Christmas Day 2010, then go straight to editing for a client-approved version so that the designers in Berlin could start work on it by January 1, 2011. The campaign had to be up and operational on multi platforms for the Internet, smart phones, and iPads all before the start of New York Fashion Week, February 2011. "It was non stop. I used a Hollywood film crew of camera operators and crew who had worked with directors like Peter Jackson, Tom Hooper (The Kings Speech) M. Night Shyamalan and Oliver Stone," says Santos. He kept the storyline simple yet elegant and had the support of top modeling agency Woman Supreme to support a strong fashion visual. He also worked with a top fashion wardrobe stylist and had a dance choreographer on set who taught and rehearsed their talent at night after her daily modeling assignments. Everyone and everything came together to support the project and make it work. Santos is proud to say that there was a special enthusiasm on the set that came from the uniqueness of the idea itself.
The production has been a complete success and applauded by PLM expert Mark Harrop in London, "I really love the video fantastic production and like the way that it tells the development story in a very elegant way. I very much like the simplicity and clean looking site the video production illustrates your knowledge of the industry and is another positive proving domain expertise and the quality of the video is stunning! Artistically I love the site and theme very much, very elegant and tastefully produced a little like Armani."
The Fashionware Technologies Web site has been launched globally at www.fashionware.com, and The Fashionware short by Santos can be seen at http://vimeo.com/19401976. There is also a blog available at www.thefwblog.com. Plus, the brand new Directeur's Cut, just released and getting great acclaim in Paris, can be seen at: http://vimeo.com/channels/sksantos#20849841
Santos has a self-motivated ability to take a blank canvas and produce new mood-driven concepts. His stunning imagery for still and motion work has brought him a growing list of clients, recognition and awards and most importantly, a progression of thought to big production values. You can see more of the Sean Kennedy Santos style at www.sksantos.com.
Client: Fashionware Technologies /Commissioned by Rothchilds Fashion
Photographer: Sean Kennedy Santos