Kim Boutin and David Broner (DVTK) on digital and fashion culture

Imagine you spend hours playing with some digital platforms; an obsession. Because you tick with a way it’s made. As if your brain was finally caught by a strange mirror. It’s precisely what I’ve experienced while discovering OKGrl, a digital UFO which could be the sort of offspring of an old crazy flash website and a doped Snapchat, under influence of a Korean idol group.

I had a chance to interview Kim Boutin and David Broner, founders of DVTK, a London-based design studio known for creating experimental and playful digital experiences. Combining conscious user-interfaces, cutting-edge development technologies and a vivid art direction, they aim to make the internet a happy place for people. Since establishing as DVTK in London in 2015, they have partnered with brands such as Kenzo, WAH Nails, and created OKGrl with the aim of pushing the boundaries and elevating the role of digital in the fashion culture.

What’s OKGrl?

OKgrl is an interactive fashion platform we launched last year together with fashion stylist Louby McLoughlin. We saw the opportunity to create a more interactive and inclusive fashion publication that would be dedicated to the young millennial generation. The idea was to use everything digital can offer to enrich fashion editorials with interactivity, animation, game and music. In a way, it’s our experimental playground where we can try and test innovative approaches in a fashion context and observe millennials’ online behaviour.

The industry talked a lot about “LOL Fashion” in the past few years; video-games have also been a massive source of inspiration for fashion brands (think Louis Vuitton, Kenzo etc.). How would you define the project you’ve worked on

The second issue of Okgrl is definitely a tribute to video games. We turned the homepage into a character selector menu, which was inspired from role player and fighting games’ interfaces. Our aim was to give users the same feeling that you would have when first playing with a videogame and discovering it’s new virtual world.
So from this perspective yes , we are totally in line with the “LOL Fashion” trend. I am not entirely sure however, about the whole “LOL” concept , as we see it more in reference to socials, memes, Snapchat, funny apps and sounds very “internety”.

Video games such as Final Fantasy -that made a campaign with Louis Vuitton – have nothing to do with the internet culture. This is a crucial point because the “LOL” trend is not likely to have a long run,whereas the impact of video games on other industries (fashion, movies, design, advertising) is just about to start.

This is a crucial point because the “LOL” trend is not likely to have a long run,whereas the impact of video games on other industries (fashion, movies, design, advertising) is just about to start.

We are really excited to see how games will inspire and merge with digital experiences in the near future especially through the advent of the augmented and virtual reality technologies.

Kim Boutin and David Broner

The overall experience reminds the very first interactive websites and the games in flash: was it on purpose to build up on this nostalgia?

Louby McLoughlin’s work is very inspired by the early 2000. Hence, it makes perfect sense to consider OKgrl as a nostalgic fashion magazine, and our young audience is very in-line with this post-internet vibe.

@pixielott for #okgrl2 coming soon. Styled by me RG @bradleyandpablo with @dollyrocks2

A post shared by Louby McLoughlin (@loubymc) on

From a digital perspective, the “flash website look”, is part of our general approach at DVTK. When flash disappeared, websites became more minimalistic and flat, using the same one-page scrolling templates, and suddenly, everything on the internet started to look the same. Although today’s technology has the potential to create amazing experiences online – even more advanced than what flash could achieve – it seems as digital designers are not (yet) taking advantage of these possibilities, and the focus is on efficiency rather than originality.
Our aim at DVTK is to design websites as if we were building virtual worlds, and this is a recurrent approach visible in our projects like: OKgrl, Fiorucci’s landing page, Kenzo’s a virtual gallery and WAH Nails’ VR experience we built.

There are hidden gems everywhere in the site: what do you expect the users to do with them?

We really want users to feel that OKgrl is full of surprises and that every part of the site can be interactive, can trigger a sound or reveal a funny animation. We like to consider online navigation as a treasure hunt. Remember the feeling when discovering Snapchat’s interactive filters for the first time. You would tap on your own face and then magic happens!

What’s (and when’s) the next episode?

OKgrl is essentially an ever-evolving project, nothing is set yet. Our eyes are currently on mobile-first experience and virtual reality social platforms — but always being accessible to everyone. It’s such an exciting challenge!

Laurent

Co-founder of Hit Bag

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