I’m fascinated by Chanel’s recent fashion show that was decorated by 13 towering wind turbines and a faux solar panel catwalk. Kudos to Karl Lagerfeld, and others before him, for weaving renewable energy into an industry associated with material consumption.
The fashion industry is actually a natural connection for cleantech. Both sectors share a relentless drive for progress and bold vision to imagine new possibilities.
Perhaps cleantech can even learn from fashion’s playbook. Visual storytelling with iconic imagery makes an indelible imprint on the human brain. Lagerfeld’s stunt may have been superficial, but it was memorable. It attached positive emotional resonance to the classic symbols of cleantech: solar PV panels and wind turbines.
Cleantech communicators are excellent with words and data, but we should use more images and symbols that can be understood in mere seconds while inspiring a sense of awe. GE ‘s ecomagination campaign is fantastic at this.
Visual storytelling – with animations (Solar Reserve), infographics (UTC) and video (Solazyme) – won’t win a land-use permit or land a strategic investor, but it provides the Trojan horse that gets us the public’s attention and creates the appetite needed to tell our full, gripping and world-changing cleantech stories.
Related to this, check out Alexis Madrigal’s musing about how the turbines seemed to move in rhythm with the human models. “This still feels like The Future, capital F,” he says. Agreed.