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Fashion brands are featuring their employees in campaigns

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

1 Sept 2020


Brands have long employed imagemakers to tell their visual stories each season. Fashion campaigns require vision and complex project management skills to marry a team of diverse creatives, with designers, photographers, art directors, stylists, casting directors, models, set designers and beauty teams hired to create the images to reflect those stories. In the era of Covid-19, fashion shoots have taken a back seat.

While glossy advertising will always remain in fashion, the current times have made way for authentic storytelling, with brands looking at novel ways to connect with audiences, through a more realistic lens.

The latest campaign to reflect this is Acne Studios, which last week revealed its Autumn Winter 2020 images featuring Acne’s in-house team alongside their pets.

“A while ago, I became a dog owner myself. Ever since then I’ve started to notice the ‘dog people,’ walking, being and dressing,” Jonny Johansson, Creative Director of Acne Studios, said in an official statement. “I didn’t see them in the same way before, and now I guess I’ve become one myself. For this collection, I wanted to highlight and credit that subculture for all the inspiration it has given me.”

A campaign featuring employees and their pets

The Swedish fashion company designed a range of garments and accessories featuring dog prints by British artist, Lydia Blakeley; characterised by images of prized dogs set against bright and colourful back screens. In celebration of the collection, Acne’s team at Floragatan 13 are featured with their dogs in the check suiting range.

Earlier this year Burberry featured its staff in a look book campaign, where employees from its merchandising, finance, retail and design departments modelled its latest collection outside their own homes.

“I called upon the incredible talent at Burberry to open their doors and be a part of this journey – each interpreting the looks in their own unique way outside in the landscapes of London and beyond,” Riccardo Tisci, chief creative officer of Burberry said. “I am so proud of this collection which not only reflects and celebrates the unique codes that make the house, but also the diversity of talent that represents our Burberry community, bringing the magic of the Burberry world to life.”

US denim giant Lucky Brand has also featured its employees in telling stories. Deanna Bedoy, Lucky Brand’s senior director of brand marketing and creative services, told the Glossy “the informal, relatable nature of showing regular employees at home — rather than models — is something customers were asking for.”

“Early on, we started sharing work-from-home tips that we gathered from our employees, and that naturally turned into a work-from-home campaign,” said Deanna Bedoya, Lucky Brand’s senior director of brand marketing and creative services. “We did a survey on Instagram asking people what they wanted to see from us, and the No. 1 things requested was for us to be real and raw. Then we created Lucky Together, which is an online hub of tutorials on how to make masks, tips on working from home and pictures of our staff. It’s now one of the top-ten most-visited pages on our site.”

There is a relatability with audiences when they see their favourite brands worn by employees. At the start of the pandemic the global lockdown meant photoshoots with teams of people were impossible – and illegal – to organize, but marketing strategies have adapted, not just for logistical reasons, but because consumers are responding to these ads and employees are proving to be as effective as subjects and models.

Image courtesy Acne Studios

Acne Studios
Lucky Brand