We haven’t been very active in publishing these past few months. Yet, we haven’t been totally inactive. As we announced in September 2017, when we rebooted late Clausette.cc into FUTUR404, a sensation of a constant bug in the global system has been shaking us. Since then, it has even become more intense. Time isn’t what it used to be, and the speed in which we locked ourselves is suffocating.
We live in a singular age (on this topic, see Paul Virilio’s interview for Libération, July 2010), the perception of time is relative to the different environments in which we find ourselves. An 85 years-old in France would need several lives to understand the life of a Chinese one. The political, social or economical changes that my own Chinese grand-father has known are at the opposite of the ones that my French grand-father has experienced.
In the meantime, the past twenty years have seen such a change in the speed of communication, information and thought sharing, that we somehow lost ourselves into it. We’ve been running this online media for four years now, and running after time to post our articles has made us think about how our online presence can affect our IRL thinking and behaviors. When running an online media, the common sense supposes to post regularly – otherwise Google forgets about you, and people click on other medias, as it seems we’re all running to post about the same topics.
.FUTUR, the magbook experimentation
Making this long story short, we have long decided to consciously stop running after the wind. Taking the necessary step aside, to get the bigger picture. To do so, we have imagined a hybrid media format, mixing paper with digital, and research papers with fashion editorials.
The idea of this object is quite old, it draws back to July 2016, as I was watching the finale of European soccer competition Euro 2016. Two years is a long time, it gives room for doubts. But as doubts have transformed into precisions, in elaboration of a nurtured and matured thinking, we (together with Allan Joseph, who I partnered with at that time to make Clausette.cc evolve into FUTUR404) have come to understand that timing was key in this project.
.FUTUR is an incarnation of our questioning. A hybrid object, that mixes disciplines, creating bridges between creatives and hence allowing them to express their ideas in a total freedom. Allan and I used to work in the advertising industry, and our experience has taught us how cultural industries are exploiting their livelihood. Which we believe is the exact opposite of what needs to be done if one wants to create useful, sincere content, and above all avoid damaging its workforce’s brains.
The absurdity of the world we live in, the speed of publication required from an online media (if we want it to actually be read) have led us to paper. We wanted to say stop. Taking a pause. Thinking. There is a certain urgency on a lot of topics, for example the current state of supply chains in the luxury and fashion industries, but these aren’t problems that can be addressed with a magic wand.
Innovation (which is also a very clichéd word) must be given a serious thought, at a philosophical level (on this topic, see Xavier Pavie’s reflexions, he teaches the philosophy of innovation at French business school ESSEC). So we have finally started, at the end of April 2018 (after we received the support of Première Vision), to build this first issue of our paper publication.
After working on the theme, that of the Future Relics, Allan and I have wrote the plan and chose a journalist or a researcher in front of every topic. Throughout the Summer, we have briefed them to work on their papers and organized ourselves to fund the project. At that time, Fabien Rossignol joined us as FUTUR404’s Associate CFO (one doesn’t imagine how much cash management such a project requires!) and helped us make our ideas come to life.
Throughout the Summer and Autumn, Allan worked on consulting missions for our clients, to get the cash to fund the project, while I conceived and organized the editorial shootings, reached out to brands… All together with Allan and Fabien, we also spent a lot of time looking for fundings. Yet, we realized in October that if we wanted to make it happen by the deadline of February 12th, we’d have to fund it ourselves. We then launched the layouting phase, then the app development and the production of the cover AR experience.
Thanks to a partnership with We Are Social Paris, and the trust of my long time friend Stéphane Maguet (Head of Innovation of the agency), we materialized a tale of human exploration, where we travel through future past, near and far futures in a fable of human exploration.
Growing the team and joining LVMH’s La Maison des Startups at Station F
In January, and thanks to the trust of one of our clients, we were lucky to hire FUTUR404’s first employee, Félina Reydellet, as our Innovation Strategist. We also joined LVMH’s program at Station F, “La Maison des Startups”.
As we move forward, we are paving the way for FUTUR404’s future. But what is it actually? It might not always be so clear, so here’s what it has and is still becoming.
FUTUR404 is a think tank to explore the possible futures of fashion through sustainable innovation.
We have three activities to materialize this exploration:
- NEWSROOM – our online and offline media, soon to be enriched with other media creations (such as our current project in collaboration with CASA93 – on developing a piece of clothing for a post-collapsed world);
- INTELLIGENCE – our consulting services, in which we accompany our clients (fashion and luxury brands, institutions and schools) on the dazzling evolutions of innovation and what it means for their futures;
- EVANGELIZATION – educating the industry through training services but also conferences and public speaking at events, schools or private seminaries.
Why? And now, what?
All of the above serve us to confront our perceptions and analyse the world that surrounds us. A confrontation that we want to share with you so that we can, again, confront these points of views.
Now what? As in the genius 1999 movie The Matrix, you have a choice, between a blue and a red pill. Which will you be taking?
For those who chose the red pill and want to dig the rabbit hole with us, join our conversation: through our Facebook group, we have started gathering like-minded people, who wish to use the object of thinking that fashion is, to (re)think the future.
To learn more or order the book (available in French and English + an article in traditional Chinese, all non-English content can be translated through the dotFUTUR app): check our online store / learn more here.
To join our conversation: join our Facebook group here.