These past few months has been the Marc Eckō show. Marc has put us onto so many projects and this was one of the big ones that we had created. We probably had about a month and a half to build the new MarcEcko.com along with a video lookbook for the collection. This collection was super special. Because of business reasons, Marc had stepped away from the Cut & Sew brand for many years to focus on Complex Magazine but he was still apart of the brand playing the role of of the executive creative director but he is now back. And when I say “back,” I mean he is now back in full effect and is hands-on the Cut & Sew brand unlike he was before. Fashion blogs have been burning up the web with talks about Marc’s return (Google it). This Holiday collection was the first collection that Marc had his hands in deeply, from the design of the collection to production, delivery, marketing – EVERYTHING.
It was a few months ago when Marc called me to attend a meeting with Iconix Brand, the owner and operator of the Cut & Sew brand. I know this is a bit confusing but it is a common occurrence when a brand becomes big enough to be commercially viable to the mass market. Without going into too much detail, the licensing for the Cut & Sew brand had been relinquished from the previous license holder and was acquired by Marc. When I attended my first meeting with Marc and Iconix at their Times Square offices, I literally spoke zero words on what happened to be a 2+ hour meeting – I guess I was there to listen. It wasn’t until after that meeting that my unique voice started to surface for the development of the new MarcEcko.com and the Holiday video lookbook. As the nuts and bolts started to come together, I went through my creative process, seeking inspiration which spawned 5 story concepts for the video lookbook. Some were very cliche, but there were a few that I personally felt was very strong but in hindsight, maybe a little too forward for the masses. But there were at least 2 concepts that I was truly inspired by to bring to life. We put those 2 winners on the side to develop something a bit more meaningful for this specific collection. Marc and I brainstormed on the concept which led me to write about 4 different versions of the treatment. Soon after, the amazing Rachelle Louis, a member of Marc’s team and someone who I have tremendous respect for, sent me over assets of this collection. Needless to say, I was blown away. Simply put, this collection was so ill that there was a ton of pieces that I really wanted. When I showed the team what we were working with, the general consensus was, “damn, can we get hooked up with some gear from this drop?” Even at this point, I felt a bit embarrassed to ask Marc for some flow on product for the team, we may just have to purchase it at one the retailers, haha.
One of the biggest challenges in working with a large ad agency or a publicly traded company is the politics and perception of our team. Even ad agencies that we consulted and produced for treated us in a manner where they knew we had something special to bring to the table, something that they themselves could not produce due to their lack of authenticity in the nature of the project or because they were in need of creatives who aren’t diluted down from only producing work that is catered to the masses. The higher ranking exec’s, AE’s, PM’s and CD’s would always project onto us as if we are just kids and that we don’t know exactly what we are doing. In these moments, we can never change the perception that we are automatically guilty of but perception is not reality. Reality is reality and we can only change how we deal with these situations, not the people themselves. It’s easy and predicable for my team and I to lose are cool and crank up the notches of tension but I always approach these moments with an attitude of “it ain’t nothing to me.” I focus on the work and our duty of what we have to deliver, it’s only then that the client sees what we are truly about and we make that change in emotional impact with action and delivery. Working with Iconix was no different. It’s never easy to explain technical details in a web project to someone who doesn’t understand the lingo but what we are special at is to be able to reiterate back to clients about technical information in a way that where they’re not just understanding it, but can visually see why things do or don’t work. Especially from the I.T. department of Iconix, it proved more than challenging as there was a bit of a tug-of-war but we didn’t let negative energy effect us. We pushed through the hurdles and got what needed to be done.
Along with the new website, we were also commissioned to produce the video lookbook for the Holiday collection. Shot in the gallery space at our very own studios, we had a pretty full production to make this shoot happen. The constant thread of the story was Veritas, the Goddess of Truth. A light that can’t be captured but rather pursuing the road of your own truth (cool). We had the chance to work with some great models who performed the acting element to what we needed in order to connect with the audience. When we were going through casting rounds, Marc and I had reviewed the candidates separately and we both ended up choosing the same 2 models on the rounds, which was kind of crazy to me as it told me that we had similar taste when it came to women. The male model was chosen based on the photoshoot of the lookbook and to keep the story and collection consistent. Brett, who played our hero, was probably one of the best models I had ever worked with. Never have I shot a model that was so hands-on and giving to the actual production as a whole for the entire shoot. I guess our execution had made an impression to him as we had met again after our shoot about his goals for a short film he had wanted to produce himself. It would be nothing more than pure pleasure to be able to work with Brett again.
With the pressures of having both the website and video lookbook ready for Market Week, we were scrambling with our heads cut off doing everything we can to get our creations live and functioning for the brand. Going back and forth on revision while putting together an entirely separate video for internal use only for retailers, this was probably by far in the top 5 projects we had done that had this much pressure and eyes on it. I can’t personally say that I am 100% happy with the work we produced for this project but given the timeframe we had, the challenges we faced and the hurdles that needed to be jumped; I am still very proud of everything we did on this and this was one of those projects where team effort was the core and spirit of getting the job done. We hope you enjoy!
Client: Iconix Brand for Marc Eckō Cut & Sew
Services Rendered: Web Development, Photography, Digital Film, Content Creation, Editing, Audio Editing
Project Managers: AK & Rachelle Louis
Lead Developer: David Morales
Creative Director: AK
Subject Matters: Brett Staal & Alejandra Guilmant
Music Licensing: “Bitch With a Bad Attitude” by Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women
Sound Engineer: Stush Studios
Producers: Joe Cavallini & Rachelle Louis
Prop Stylist & Set Designer: Sarah Barton Bernstein
Makeup Artist: Aja Campbell
2nd Camera Operator: Andrew Hur
Cinematographer: Karl Pierre
Director of Photography & Editor: Wilfredo Suarez
Posted by @jeegunkim