CDG - The Costume Designer

Summer 2017

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S ince the beginning of the television and film indus- tries, Costume Designers have been at the nexus of fashion and the cultural impact of the entertainment industry. The characters that they envision and cre- ate become iconic, their signature looks and silhouettes define and drive changes in fashion. As the images are beamed into their living rooms, teens begin to sport styles from Jane the Virgin and businesspeople wear suits inspired by Mad Men. Yet despite being positioned at the head of the attention economy, Costume Designers have lagged when it comes to engaging directly with the audience. That distance means that they have been cut off from many of the career and income-generating forces that have developed in the information age. Traditionally, the economics of costume has been that designers are work for hire. They take an assignment, devel- op it, build it, put it in front of the cameras, get paid, and go home. But the business and income of the entertainment industry doesn't end when filming wraps and the project premieres. When Costume Designers finish a job, their con- clusion is the beginning of a value chain that passes through the fashion industry, personal shoppers, fashion consultants, department store buyers, fashionistas, fans, and all the rev- enue generated between clothes and clients. To fill that space, CEO Q. Rasi has created Nelo, a new platform that brings Costume Designers together with the people who are interested in their aesthetic. Having worked with lyricists and recording studios and utilized the internet to earn revenue from websites that present their work, Rasi has firsthand experience bringing creators together with their audience. He sees massive potential in an untapped resource. "People see Claire (Robin Wright) on House of Cards or watch The Mindy Project, and talk about what they saw around the watercooler in the morning, but very few of them know the people behind that look. Then you see a 19-year-old YouTube star with millions of followers giving fashion advice. But, really, the origin of that style conversa- tion has always been the Costume Designers. Nelo can be a bridge between the Costume Designer and someone sit- ting on the couch watching The Big Bang Theory. You can build your own brand, your own visibility, and your own fan engagement. It doesn't have to end when the show ends. It can continue on." How does it work? The app gives designers complete control over the look of their page and how they want to present it to their audi- ence. There are two ways to start. After signing up, every designer has a ME page, their personal internet real estate where they can begin presenting their work to the public. The first way to start is to go to that page and press NEW LOOK. The technology uses a semantic search based upon whatever criteria it is looking for. If the designer wants a "red dress, one shoulder, with polka dots," the app will then find it from millions of live inventories. The second is useful when shopping or browsing. When you find something you like, you press ADD, save the image on the canvas, and give it a title. You can also assign a charac- ter to your look but you don't have to. CD Rachel Kunin has used Nelo to reach an audience interested in the looks she B y A n n a W y c k o f f Hello, Nelo! Photos: Rachel Sage Kunin and Nelo.

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