What's the most creative advertising idea for a fashion brand you’ve seen recently?

It’s tough. A lot of fashion advertising feels like it has to push the ‘cool’ factor and be visually stunning or aspirational. I’m more a fan of when the fashion is a second thought and we’re focused more on the comedy or the idea; something that makes us think. Paria Farzaneh did a film called Country of the Blind which was a social experiment of people who had to dance and then imitate another’s dance if they thought it was better than theirs. The experiment stopped when everyone did the same dance. The people wore the clothes, which were filmed, but it was a deeper film about personal autonomy and wanting to be relevant.

It’s a bit older, but Bonds Underwear in Australia did a fantastic film about underwear coming to life which is so simple and creative. It’s not trying to push any cool agenda. Lastly, a classic is DANIELS' miniseries for Gap [below].

What website(s) do you use most regularly?

I’ve been very into for the past decade! Probably on there more than any other site. I need it mostly for my communications with others, whether work related or social.

What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought?

I finally got a seltzer machine! LA is such a sedentary place and I’ve tried to stop drinking caffeine, so water is really a good, non-caffeine alternative. In a world where everything we eat someone says it’s somewhat bad for us, water is a safe bet and loved by all. The thing about water is, even with the cool new high-pH brands, it’s just not that interesting. The doctor recommended eight glasses a day, and the second I refill another glass I look at it on my desk and my head sinks. Coffee is fun. It’s like a morning alcohol, and cafes are like benign bars. Water? There’s no joy in there... nothing to look forward to. 

With sparkling water it makes this little white noise while you’re working to remind you and say “Hey bud! We’re over here whenever you’re ready, and having a great time.” It sounds so social, like the glass doesn’t need you to feel alive, but I need it to feel alive. The second I grab some the air and bubbles really activate a lot inside me, and my eyes pop open. It’s a breath of fresh air with each sip, and I want to keep going. So, I think it’s been a real game-changer to feel alive and creative, while feeling hydrated and healthy. It feels a little fancy too, and celebratory after sending an email. And I love it with a little lemon... mama mia.

What product could you not live without? 

My glasses.

What film do you think everyone should have seen?

Hmmm. I don’t know if I can recommend something to everyone, because we’re all so different. But, if there’s a film I really enjoyed in the past couple years, it’d be Pigeon Sitting on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. It’s a beautiful, painterly look into mundane situations, with perfect dry comedy. The Lobster is also a top favourite for its dry delivery and wildly inventive, comedy worlds.

What’s your preferred social media platform?

Dinner parties are the best platform to be social. You sit and share a meal (without the phone!) for a few hours to meet new and old friends and jet in and out of conversations. I opt for real life and am not on the socials too much.

What’s your favourite TV show?

I loved the original Twilight Zone as it pushed so many boundaries so long ago. Each film explored such deep themes that I feel are worth unpacking with hours of conversation and reflection. Nathan Fielder and John Wilson have a few brilliant shows as well, which find the humour in social behaviours.

Who’s your favourite fashion designer?

I don’t wear any wild fashion pieces and opt for more simple items, in the realm of Vince, Bonobos and Dandy Del Mar. Anne et Valentin makes some fun glasses too. New Balance shoes are retirement chic and make each step feel like dancing on a Tempur-Pedic mattress.

What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently?

Anselm Kiefer - Exodus. He is my favourite. Using found items and materials to generate biblical level work, you can see the dimensionality of it all. It hangs at over 100 feet and you feel so microscopic, with endless real estate for your eyes to wander and get lost. It’s also some of the deepest work I’ve seen that has moved me immensely. I cried the second I saw a piece and that’s never happened to me in a museum. [Below, Aperiat Terra et Germinet Salvatorem, by Anselm Kiefer]

What do you think is a significant recent change in the fashion industry, or in fashion advertising?

Maybe the area of sustainability. So many people have begun to create fashion items that are worn down, dirtied or ripped and then sold for more. I always thought it was funny when people didn’t want others to step on their designer shoes, which were pre-destroyed in the factory. What are they protecting? They only wanted factory dirt and not real life dirt? With Converse you had to create your own history, scars and marks. You earned the rips and the history, and they were somewhat affordable. It’s become so backward with brands ruining clothes and selling them for more. We’ve entered the Zoolander world to an extent.

It's why I thought it was interesting to explore the idea in my film, Sustainable. It's a satire of the fashion world and how wild it has become, and how value is created within art. In the film no one knows the difference between who stained their shirt naturally or which stains are from the designer, so it sets the whole world off. High brow collectors start relating and wanting to socialise with people who just had a messy lunch. It flips the script and brings people together for the wrong reasons.

I also have so much clothing that gets one olive oil stain on it, or one tomato sauce stain, and I feel I can’t wear it again. What a free world we could live in if we could own these mistakes and celebrate them proudly. I brought the idea to Robert Herman [Founder and EP] at Ruffian, as we had chatted about making something together, and he kept gravitating to this idea of a stained shirt designer. We drafted a few directions with it and ultimately landed on the scenes you see. It was a very messy time.

Sustainable – Sustainable (120)

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If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?

Directors should get paid to make treatments and pitch. The freelancers helping them do, and everyone else is on staff. If that director works for one-to-two weeks doing a pitch, pouring their sweat and ideas, and loses the job, they walk away with nothing. I once knew a director who lost 56 pitches one year. That’s an entire year of free idea generation with no incentive... or even respect.

Who or what has most influenced your career?

I don’t think I can boil it down to any one thing that has influenced me the most. I feel like it’s a big well of experiences, people, films and jobs that have melted together to create some type of north star or magnet. I’ve always loved doing satirical plays and writing them for school events growing up, doing impressions, reading MAD magazine, and then studying tons of psychology books and social science. So, I think, at some point, those worlds married — the introspective and behavioural curiosity about humans and the absurd and hilarious worlds of comedy and satire.

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.

I can play the harp! 

Main image photography credit; Jorge Grau