Fashion Pioneers: Nick Knight

Imran Amed's Business of Fashion continues its series of fashion talks with SHOWStudio's Nick Knight this Friday

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Nick Knight, portrait by Ruth Hogben, 2008

Founded by Imran Amed, The Business of Fashion earlier this year launched a series of live-streaming interview events, setting up virtual conversations about the future of fashion. Nick Knight, founder and director of groundbreaking website SHOWstudio.com, is up next this Friday, the eve of the website's 10th anniversary. The interview with Knight will be the third instalment following interviews with Jefferson Hack, co-founder and editorial director of Dazed Group, and NET-A-PORTER.com’s Natalie Massenet. 

The event will be produced exclusively by the Business of Fashion in association with The Hospital Club, and will be filmed and live-streamed by Pundersons Gardens during the event on www.businessoffashion.com and www.SHOWstudio.com at 6.30pm GMT/1:30pm EST. Dazed spoke to Imran Amed about what's to come...

Dazed Digital: Why Nick Knight as a 'Fashion Pioneer'? How do you pick your interview subjects?
Imran Amed: We select our 'Fashion Pioneers' carefully, but there is no formula or strict set of criteria per se. What's clear is that all of our 'Fashion Pioneers' have taken risks, followed their guts and been pioneering in their approach to fashion - whether that be in their use of technology, in devising innovative business models, or pushing themselves creatively. And, if I am going to speak to them for 60 minutes, they must have something interesting to say!

DD: What do you want to achieve with the conversation?
Imran Amed:
I heard Nick speak on a panel with John Galliano earlier this year and wanted to hear more from him about where he sees fashion communication going now that we are well into the digital revolution and to hear what he has learned from his experience with SHOWstudio. I am delighted he accepted our invitation.

DD: In a practical sense, how do you think Nick Knight has influenced fashion today?
Imran Amed: Not only has Nick Knight created some of the most memorable fashion images of our time, and challenged the notions of conventional beauty, but his use of the internet was truly groundbreaking. He saw potential where others only saw risk. Nick was the first to remove the veil from the process of fashion creation to let his audience understand and participate in that process - before YouTube, before Facebook, before so-called reality fashion television. Maybe he didn't call it that back then, but Nick was the true pioneer of Fashion 2.0. 

DD: How do you feel online videos and fashion websites have affected the tradition of print magazines?
Imran Amed: Without SHOWstudio.com, Net-a-Porter.com and Style.com - all of which were founded in the year 2000 and are celebrating their 10th anniversaries this year - websites like The Business of Fashion and Dazed Digital might not exist. They paved the way for the rest of us to find our own digital fashion voices and audiences. Likewise, this in turn has forced the fashion print media to reevaluate their role in fashion communication more generally and think carefully about what their audiences expect from them.

DD: What do you reckon about the future of fashion print media?
Imran Amed:
I don't think print is going anywhere for the moment, but the smart magazines are already focusing on delivering content that might not work as well on the internet - such as beautifully rendered photo shoots, in depth features and interviews, while leaving breaking news and time sensitive reporting to the internet. It's also forcing print magazines to think about how they can create integrated online and offline offerings that work well together, and how they can deliver that content on new devices like the iPad. Frankly, I don't understand the monthly magazines that continue to publish news that is two months old, and which has already been reported on ad nauseam online, including on their own websites.

DD: What have you got planned next?
Imran Amed: 2010 has been an amazing year for The Business of Fashion, and it's not over yet. We are really grateful for all the support we have received from the industry and the time that people have taken to share their professional stories and insights with us. Having already spoken to people like Natalie Massenet, Jefferson Hack, Robert Duffy, Karl Lagerfeld, and this Friday, Nick Knight, I am even more excited about what will come next. I never know what to expect... for 2011, you'll have to wait and see, just like us!

Nick Knight portrait by Ruth Hogben, 2008

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