A comfort zone is only a suggestion and boundaries are never concrete. Between the fashion and advertising industries rebels are remembered. The fashion industry is the keenest on breaking rules and pushing boundaries. Panel members Christine Wu, Babak Radboy, Becca McCharen, Lynn Yaeger and moderators James LaForce and John Barker explained how jumping in head first and challenging comfort zones have made their companies stand out!
This incredible panel, presented by BARKER, had “rule breaker” embedded in their confidence as they graced the stage. Purple hair, bejeweled shoes and bold make up choices are just a few of the counterculture looks that grab your attention. Grabbing attention is vital to a company; so breaking boundaries is a pretty smart move.
McCharen originally started in architecture, but found her way into the fashion-designing field. Taking her past to build a very successful future, she has mixed her passions and put the Chromat clothing line on the map! The beautiful mix of these two art forms really makes her company stand out. Recently, her company has bent another boundary when pairing up with Intel to create “smart clothes,” one could say. Her next step is to work on making battery packs flexible and comfortable. Yet, with incredible steps of progress come the doubts and uncertainties that precede success.
Some risks fall flat; others propel businesses in the right direction. Wu spoke on the matter of having faith in one’s research, understanding of the field and the industry’s trajectory. The courage to take these risks tends to be a questionable action. How do we know what will work? When do we know the risk is going to be too much? How do you even make something unthinkable happen?
This idea transitioned the Media Stage panel to speak on the point of “being fake” and backlash. Most backlashes, as Wu said, are based on trying to please the masses rather than authenticity of the brand. Yaeger from Vogue spoke on the false image of people and how it doesn’t always resonate with others. This is directly relevant to the market and a company’s image. The desperate reach to stand out isn’t true to a company’s brand and it will create an opposite reaction than desired.
Radboy’s company, TELFAR, stuck with its roots of an “anti-luxury” feel and had an after party in a White Castle restaurant. As a designer, Radboy will be creating a new look for the White Castle franchise’s uniforms. Radboy explained the label’s gender-fluid clothing didn’t really follow typical rules, similarly, the location for the reception wasn’t conventional to the field, but fit the company’s personality!
A decent take away from the whole experience is to remain confident in your beliefs with a full understanding of who your brand is, where you want it to go and what unusual steps could get you there. There is a saying, “Good girls don’t make the history books, and bad girls get remembered.” In the advertising world, it could be rephrased: “Good companies fall short or remain the same, risk-taking companies grab the future by the collar, demand success and reap remembrance.”