Posted at 27 Jan 2016

Interview with Convoy

Juan Costa Paz and Nordine Benotmane discuss the nonsense of separating online and offline design strategies, and why fashion needs to get over its moody traditions.

Who is Convoy?

We are Juan Costa Paz and Nordine Benotmane and an international team of developers, designers, strategic planners and managers from Argentina, Greece, Italy, Algeria and France.

We are a strategy and creative agency based in the city of #wineandcheese and our corporate jingle goes ‘we work with brands to build sustainable storytelling across multiple touch points by teaming up with top creative media and technology partners’.... hence our ‘creative business partners’ tagline.

What were the objectives for your newly launched site, convoy.me?

At the very beginning we positioned ourselves as a ‘digital agency’, and got work solely on digital media. Today, after a year of work reinforcing our strategic pole, we are turning into a full-blown agency with the added value of being digital natives.

We see a lot of brands today designing their strategies by segmenting the offline (traditional media) and the online (digital ecosystems), which is bogus. We believe that by nurturing a strong digital understanding you can build brand strategies that are way more efficient and truly bring out the best of whatever offline operation a brand does like a print ad or an event, or whatever.

So yes we like creating great digital experiences, but now we are more into developing brand stories that have efficient mechanisms, which are born from a digital thinking but translate into whatever other traditional platforms.

Building a strong fashion brand is about building the culture around it... it’s about the people, it’s about being honest and entertaining. The principle vehicle to convey this message today is social media, and sad faces do not build engagement

convoy.me, 2016

With your work for Uniqlo, Dior and Camper and your digital overhaul of the Kenzo brand, your portfolio has quite a fashion focus. Is this an area you’re particularly interested in?

The good thing about fashion brands is that they allow us to put out work that sits at the crossroads of consumerism and art. Ideas can be a bit wilder and are more challenging from an aesthetic perspective. But it really does depend on the brand; we were very lucky with Kenzo and Camper since they both have a DNA that is playful and a somewhat personal approach. But we are not ‘particularly interested’ in fashion really; we are interested in telling stories through brands... we just happened to land on this area as a departing point.

What are your thoughts on the way fashion and digital technology are colliding?

Today we see some fashion brands that are still going for that dead-looking people in expensive clothes approach: distant, impersonal and aspirational in a very old school way. They are sooooo afraid of showing any sign of life in the message they put out... as if making their models smile will bring down their empires.

On the other side, building a strong fashion brand is about building the culture around it... it’s about the people, it’s about being honest and entertaining. The principle vehicle to convey this message today is social media, and sad faces do not build engagement. Like those fashion films of people just being there... idle... doing nothing... how many views do those videos get? 300? 1000?

So we feel that fashion brands today, not all of course, are forced to break from their traditional/anal approach to building aspiration... and this is indeed a #HadronCollider collision that straight up breaks our balls.

What does your studio look like? Do you use the physical space to plan and layout ideas at all?

We moved into a new studio in the neighbourhood of Bastille a few months ago. Our team of seven is really happy here. We got plenty of space and we really try to keep it as empty and clean as possible. White walls, chairs, tables, computers and we are good. We’ll probably start accumulating shit over the coming years, but today we like our temporary minimalism.

Our ideas are worked out on the computer most of the time. We once bought a whiteboard…! But there it sits in our meeting room, un-hanged and piled onto an empty iMac cardboard box, with the silly drawing of a person peeing that a friend once drew when he visited us six months ago.