What does the Head of Content Production & an Art Director have in common?
Behind the allure of AllSaints’ fashion campaigns lies a meticulous interplay of creative and logistic work. We sit down with the minds steering this dynamic synergy: Arthur, Art Director, and Victoria, Head of Content Production. Together, they unravel the intricate web that connects their roles, birthing the compelling visuals that define the AllSaints brand.
“I’ve been the Head of Content Production at AllSaints for four years now,” Victoria introduces herself. “My responsibility encompasses steering our content production efforts.” Operating as the support, she ensures that every visual element across various platforms aligns seamlessly.
Yet, the synergy truly flourishes when her role intersects with Arthur’s creative direction. “Arthur is the visionary,” she notes. “I translate that vision into reality.” Together, their harmonious collaboration breathes life into the brand’s seasonal campaigns, transforming abstract inspiration – whether from nature, cinema, music, or history – into visuals that resonate on all platforms.
“As the Art Director, I shape the brand’s visual direction.” With a firm grasp on the artistic narrative, he navigates the realms of imagery, video, and sound, ensuring each component aligns seamlessly to communicate the brand’s ethos. Arthur and Victoria are symbiotic forces, each essential to the other. Their collaboration mirrors the dynamic fusion of creativity and execution, resulting in visuals that are at once captivating and strategic.
How do your roles intertwine with each other?
Arthur: Our collaborative process always starts with the products themselves. The design sets the stage for a collection, from that I can craft a creative concept and brand direction. This vision takes shape on a presentation board. Once the senior leaders give the green light, that’s when I’ll sit-down with Victoria. She’s the mastermind behind turning this concept into something tangible.
We dissect everything from the music, to envisioning how the end product will look. We’re all about defining the direction and setting a realistic budget. Let’s face it, grand ideas are all well and good, but we’re always working within certain budgetary confines. Personally, I thrive on marrying creativity with the nuts and bolts of production. It’s all about ensuring we don’t overextend ourselves – practical creativity, if you will.
There’s a constant flow of collaboration in this dance. Take location, for instance. I’ll think about a potential setting and then arm Victoria with the necessary details for her to engage with the likes of location scouts. We’ll hit the road together, visiting spaces, each of us bringing our unique expertise to the table. She considers aspects that might escape my radar, and vice versa. It’s like a creative ping-pong match, where each volley enhances and refines the overall vision.
The reality is, the creative vision can’t fully blossom without the backbone of our production team. Our producer is the unsung hero who ensures that our artistic dreams align with real-world practicalities. There are moments during this content creation journey where we need to recalibrate or enhance certain aspects. It’s all about striking that delicate balance.
Victoria: Arthur’s job is to dream as high as the sky, and then my job is to bring it to life with the parameters of our budget. It’s like being a bit of a bad cop, but working together with solutions and compromises.
So how do you go about concepting the coming A/W campaign?
Arthur: As I mentioned, it all kicks off with the product itself, the designers lay out the collection. For instance, Autumn ’23 was all about embracing rebellion. It was about finding that spirit anew, echoing the ethos of rebelliousness. This ethos was translated into every facet, right from the product lines to the creative direction.
This takes us to the next phase, where we execute on these themes. We went to Manchester to shoot the campaign. This involved a two-day session, capturing both stills and videos. We had a particularly exciting initiative at that time where we collaborated with a music band, a nod to the fact that music was an integral part of both the collection and our creative identity. It was a blend of fashion and sound, seamlessly weaving the two together.
Our creative team orchestrated a gig. We layered textures and combined elements in a way that resonated with people – not just aesthetically, but emotionally. It’s about creating an immersive experience, one where folks could connect. The endgame wasn’t to craft any campaign, but an authentic representation of what the collection stood for.
At the crux of it all, the driving force remains the collection and its narrative. My role comes into play here – to translate that narrative into a cohesive visual matrix.
Does market research come into play at all?
Arthur: When it comes to conjuring concepts, it’s about tapping into the brand’s essence. It’s about embracing that unique ethos while also remaining attuned to our surroundings. Take the subject of diversity, for instance – it’s a significant topic that’s deeply ingrained in our discussions. We’re attuned to the world, soaking in its dynamics, and aiming to ensure that our representation mirrors the diverse tapestry of our customer base and markets. It’s about observing, spending time in our stores, observing the ebb and flow of customers, aiming to truly understand who they are. At the end of the day, it’s not just about producing slick visuals or videos – it’s about that relatability. It’s about whether the customer can genuinely connect with what we’re putting out there, whether they find inspiration in the same ways that we envision.
Can you tell us more about the location scouting process?
Victoria: Just like Arthur pointed out, the approach really hinges on the brief and varies with the season. Take, for example, a spring or summer campaign. We had to capture the essence of summer during an English winter. We’ve got a lot of things to consider – from venturing abroad to a studio setup meticulously lit to mimic high summer.
Consider a picturesque seaside shoot, for instance. We have to weigh the practicality – would it be more feasible to keep it closer to London to ensure a smoother operation, rather than carting a full team to the Scottish Highlands? It’s these intricacies that fall within the scope of a producer’s responsibilities – to strategise what aligns aesthetically and practically.
Obviously there’s a whole season of clothes to pick from when shooting a campaign, how do you make the selection of which clothes get shot?
Arthur: Good question. Our approach neatly compartmentalised into what we term “uses.” These uses are essentially archetypal scenarios that capture the essence of the season. For instance, in the wintertime, we have the “party-goer,” the “commuter,” the “cold-weather warrior,” and the “cosy Saturday” individual who seeks comfort in a relaxed pub environment. These uses are a vehicle through which our creative story finds expression.
Victoria: Our campaigns are essentially vessels for the brand’s seasonal messages. This translates into meticulous planning – a tight, productive schedule that extracts the most from our talent. Each shoot yields an impressive array of images – typically around 160 per season, including on-body and supplementary still-life shots showcasing accessories and jewellery. A short film, lasting around 30 to 45 seconds, along with a series of mini-clips for social media, round out the package.
And what’s the post production process like for you Victoria?
Victoria: After the shoot, it’s crunch time. We’re knee-deep in post-production, handling two big tasks: stills and motion (video). Let’s talk about it with regards to a timeline: the campaign’s set to launch on January 1, so I will work with the digital and store teams to lock in their deadlines for polished images and video assets. For the store crew, it’s about getting those images to the printers well before January 1, so they’re ready to go when the campaign hits. It’s a puzzle of coordinating everyone’s needs. The digital side has its own quirks – how images show up online, coding stuff, web development. They’ve got their timeline too.
The plan requires a bit of reverse engineering. I pin down deadlines from both teams, then bring in Arthur, our photographer, and the videographer. That shapes up the post-production schedule. Think reviews, edits, feedback rounds. Together, we pick out the gems – the killer images and those standout video bits. Let’s put it in perspective: a shoot can crank out about 15,000 photos. Nailing it down to 130 to 160 hero images? It’s a task. It’s a blend of direction, brand feel, and creative instinct.
Once we’ve got our picks, we dive into the nitty-gritty of post-production. That means tweaking images and videos. Sometimes, there are little changes due to production stuff, like a button colour shift. These are the things we iron out, making sure what you see matches the real deal. It’s about building trust – customers know they’re getting what they’re shown. At its core, it’s about aligning everyone’s goals. That’s where my role steps in – coordinating this intricate process, syncing up visions, and creating an end product that shows off our expertise
Arthur: Post-production, the unsung hero of collaborative production work, holds paramount importance within the process. Often, it tends to be overlooked amidst the busyness of creative endeavours. However, the truth remains that this is the stage where the magic truly unfurls. It’s when the culmination of your relentless efforts springs to life. This juncture becomes the canvas on which refinement occurs – a phase where nuances are finessed and trajectories might shift slightly, resulting in an evolution from the original concept.
What do you love the most about your job?
Victoria: There’s a genuine joy in waking up and knowing that I’m not just doing a job – I’m fully immersed in it. The enthusiasm and devotion required are profound, making it more than just a job title. It’s a calling, demanding genuine passion and a real investment in what you do.
Reflecting on my journey, I can’t help but smile at how things unfolded. My roots were grounded in photography, although a swift realisation dawned that my path didn’t lie behind the lens but rather in the mechanics of production.
Arthur: Our CEO consistently emphasises that we’re not merely in the business of transactions, but rather one of emotions. Looking back, I’ve come to appreciate the positive resonance this sentiment holds. Over time, we’ve nurtured a roster of creatives who align seamlessly with this very ethos – individuals with whom we embark on a seasonal journey, weaving a tapestry of shared values and outlooks.