Mark Maidment, Creative director of Ben Sherman
Hunter Niels had the pleasure to meet Mark Maidment, the creative director of men’s label Ben Sherman. Ben Sherman is a men’s fashion label, with a typical British style. So think about check shirts, heavy knitwear and super tailored coats. Mark Maidment is the creative director and one of his latest success is the campaign in corporation with Dazed and Confused magazine. Together with them he created the FW11/12 campaign, and is now developing the one for SS12. The campaign for FW11/12 is called “Englishman in New York”. Hunter Niels was impressed by the campaign, since they looked more like editorials than images for a commercial goal and had a short chat with Mark:
Englishman in New York. The Englishman I understand, since it is the heritage of you and of the brand. But why New York, and not for example Amsterdam?
I really love Amsterdam, don’t get me wrong. I visit Amsterdam for 30 years, and what I like is that every single street seems to have such a big history. Every street is beautiful in itself in Amsterdam. However I visit New York a lot as well. And have lots of respect for people from my country, the UK, who do business in this city. I walked across the street in NYC and bumped into this guy with his barber shop. He had this very successfull barbershop in London, but moved to NYC to start one there. He has a very English style, but also very much his own style. I got really inspired by how he made NYC is home. He is such a character, with his moustache and waistcoat, and everybody in the city seems to know him. He was kind of the inspiration for the campaign.
He certainly is a character. And who are the other guys in the campaign?
They all have a different background. One guy is as music producer, the other is the owner of the restaurant Fat Radish, …. All of them are from the UK. And all of them are characters and really themself, with their own style and way of life. Using them as the models of the campaign, was making it for me much more interesting.
The clothes really seem to match with them. It’s like the clothes are from themself.
It was for me very important that they felt comfortable. They had to like the clothes. So I let them choose the clothes themselves. Some even combined it with their own pieces. And I don’t mind that. It doesn’t necesarrily all have to be Ben Sherman in the add. In my opinion it is much more interesting when you see someone combining it with other clothes, in his own style. It is more real.
But didn’t you had key-items that need to be worn in the advertisements?
Of course their were some important pieces, that are typical for Ben Sherman and the FW collection. We did made sure those were used. However the guy from Fat Raddish didn’t feel very comfortable at first in the shirt he was wearing. However when he saw the sweater he did get in the comfort zone for the camera.
The result is fantastic. It looks very real to me. Allmost like streetstyle photography. Did this inspire you as well, the popularity of streetstyle photography now-a-days?
Maybe it did a little. But it went very spontanious. I mean we do it with a whole team, together with Dazed and Confused. When we had the appointment for the photoshoot of the music guy. He was still in bed with his girlfriend when we arrived. he hardly couldn’t care about the shoot. So he just got himself and his girlfriend out of the bed. Got her a coffee, and than got dressed in the clothes and we just did the shooting in his street. He was so relaxed to work with.
So this was New York, what is next?
Next season is the SS2012 collection. And what I like about summer advertisements. If it really makes you want to get the summer feeling. That you see the ad in January and that you feel the warmth, and almost can smell the summer. So that is why we chose for Miami. The ‘Englishman in New York’ shoot is rather dark. I want the SS2012 shoot to be very fresh, with lots of shadow. Not the typical Miami palmtrees or beaches. But more the unknown streets. We went there this weekend to check for locations and got in a very unknown neighborhood, but with really cute streets. This streets could be everywhere but they do have this amazing summer vibe.