Urban Outfitters are Slow Learners

The Internet has spawned many things; one of most culturally impactful is the emergence of a definite web aesthetic. It’s more like an inherent change in visual communication.  Graphic designs whether designed for the web or not, look as if they belong there. Grade school textbook pages look like a web layouts with colorful graphics and snippets of info. Connecting the dots is left up to the student… and we all were students so we know that ain’t happening the majority of the time.

Digital photography, the immediacy of image creation, and instant picture sharing has fueled the amateur photographer like never before. This digital imaging revolution is a huge component of the web aesthetic. Seemly more real, true, and gritty this direction is a ‘perfect companion for your web 2.0 marketing strategy’. Emulations of amateurism have gained popularity as a more sincere form of advertising photography.

AA AdAmerican Apparel is an obvious early purveyor of this amateur aesthetic.  It probably didn’t hurt that in the beginning, Dov, the CEO seducer, took the photos. He managed to get hot young models to pose for next to nothing, then exploited the spontaneous feel – by photographing without flattering lighting or sets; instead the girls were in bed or somewhere similarly intimate. Of course, they were AA clad usually in a state of undress.

Now it would seem that Urban Outfitters is finally catching on, much like their shoppers.

Here’s an example from the fall catalog.

These photos work so well because they are meant to look like user-generated advertising and they communicate to the viewer a harsh realism, instead of a pure fantasy.  Girls and boys next door caught in sexy scenarios hits closer to home than supermodel glamor.

Even if we both know we might never score an AA model.


~ by Andrew Harris on July 18, 2008.

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