A description and critical review is given about the fashion blog NOWNESS, written by two students of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute: Jip Bottema and Rosa van den Tempel.
NOWNESS is an initiative of the ‘LVMH group’. Within this blog this digital platform will be reviewed, looking into hard facts, our own observations and those of others. The LVMH group, or the “luxury group” (Guardian, 2011) is home to well known luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moët and Hennessy. According to Kamel Ouadi, Digital Executive Vice President of NOWNESS, the website sought to bring its visitors ‘the most inspiring stories influencing contemporary arts and global lifestyle, in collaboration with the greatest minds in creative culture’ since its launch in 2010 (Gurman & Dover 2013).
The online platform has around 121 artistic contributors that create daily digital experiences and do this in collaboration with exceptional artists, brands and cultural institutions (The Guardian, 2014). After four years of remarkable success, NOWNESS currently counts over a half million unique daily visitors (LVMH, 2014). NOWNESS has 189.000 likes on Facebook, 121k followers on Twitter, 70.385 Instagram followers, 32.000 YouTube subscribers and around 11 million hits on YouTube. The editorially independent website offers daily clips, showcasing the latest in luxury culture and the art of living (Gurman & Dover 2013). It is hard to categorize the website in a particular fashion category, because it is editorially independent, and secondly because it is more of a ‘web-story teller’ (Katz, 2011) showcasing content about art, design, fashion, beauty, music, culture, food and travel.
NOWNESS aspires to be a creative platform, mainly existing to inspire and create digital experiences through their videos (Jones, 2014). The site is not about sales, or about promoting certain brands or products, which seems to get affirmed by the observation that shows that NOWNESS doesn’t show any advertisements or sponsored goods. We believe that NOWNESS is a daily stop for many creative creatures, and successes’ to provide its visitors with their inspiring content every single day (Katz, 2011), given the figures that are stated above (LVMH, 2014). The blog is a ‘web-storyteller’, meaning it offers a regularly updated dose of the coolest and most trending stories currently circulating the Web (Katz, 2011). Hereby they aim to be sophisticated yet simplistic, and visualize this by using a white background and centralized images and straight black and white writing. One could say the web design is like one of a luxury boutique, where the products are the center of attention by getting spaciously displayed without too much elements to distract a consumers eye.
When looking if the site refers to any specific fashion or culture, two things should be taken into consideration. Firstly NOWNESS itself is claiming to be ‘the digital leader in luxury storytelling’ (Katz, 2011), and also say that they address an audience that doesn’t follow trends, but sets them. It is part of their vision of bringing together a passionate global community of creative talents (LVMH, 2014). Secondly NOWNESS mostly collaborates with the world’s foremost designers, creatives and thinkers in the luxury industry (Gurman & Dover 2013) and therefore most shown products come from luxury brands. One could say NOWNESS does not include, exclude or refer to any specific (sub) culture, but has its foundation in luxury and high fashion (LMHV, 2011). NOWNESS is created by 121 contributors, working in different sectors varying from art, design, fashion, beauty, music, culture, food and travel (The Guardian, 2014). Due to this we cannot capture one sort of style or usage of colour throughout the each of these movies, but what we can conclude is that they are all of high quality. These high-quality posts and remarkable collaborations leaded to winning a Webby Award in 2011, also known as the “Oscars of the internet” which honour excellence on the internet (Gurman & Dover 2013). It is that tone of voice that is found when searching what others have to say about the blog. Highly prized and celebrated by its visitors and colleagues the blog seems to be an outstanding success in its four years of existence (LVMH, 2014).
Due to the fact that the content of each story concerns the creative world (fashion, design, film, gastronomy) we believe most of its visitors have a creative nature in someway (Jones, S. 2014). Some because of their occupation, others simply to be visually entertained, but all with the intention to be inspired in a way. Before this inspiration hardly got supported by references, but NOWNESS added a new feature, that gives visitors the opportunity to see what (clothing) brands or products where used in some of the clips, blending content and commerce (LVMH, 2014).
NOWNESS started as a pioneering platform for curated creative content (LVMH, 2014), bringing together a passionate global community (LVMH, 2014) for creative creatures and inspirational inspirers. They offer their visitors visual experiences and create a stage for emerging talents and established names in the creative sector. We believe that this editorially independent website is beyond useful, it is an enormous success because it succeeds in what they envision; a pioneering web platform showcasing the latest in luxury culture and the art of living. “NOWNESS.com covers the full spectrum of luxury and the art of living with the same level of creativity, innovation and passion for which LVMH is known. Collaborating with the world’s foremost designers, creatives and thinkers in the luxury industry NOWNESS.com is an innovative space where ideas, both timeless and timely, are first and foremost”. (Gurman & Dover 2013).