Paper Denim & Cloth Relaunches With Modern Day Twist

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Paper Denim & Cloth, one of the original players of the premium denim scene, is back, announcing its return with a lookbook debuting exclusively on Instagram. The fashion brand, led by CEO/Founder Alex Gilbert and Chief Creative Officer Chantel Valentene, has teamed with McCann-Erickson New York on its relaunch, via a modern day, digital remake of the brand's original introduction to the market.

In 1999, when Ms. Gilbert began shopping PD&C wares to retailers, she did so with a no-frills lookbook into which she stapled Polaroids that she shot herself. More than ten years later, she's about to do the same to introduce its 2013 Spring line, but using the Polaroids of today--Instagram. On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Paper, Denim & Cloth will debut "Instashoot." Ms. Gilbert will be on a Greenpoint, Brooklyn rooftop, photographing female and male models wearing clothing from the line with her camera phone. All images will be posted instantly to the Paper Denim & Cloth Instagram feed (@paperdenimcloth), where viewers can experience the creation of the lookbook in real time.

The idea was led by McCann N.Y. Global Deputy Chief Creative Officer Andreas Dahlqvist and the creative director team of Adam Ulvegarde and Robert Lund, who joined the agency last year from Forsman & Bodenfors, where they steered the celebrated Ikea Facebook Showroom campaign. "The whole idea was to take the idea of the Polaroid, find the 2012 version of it and make something that was much more open and inclusive," said Mr. Dahlqvist. "There's no postproduction," added Mr. Lund. "With the 'Instashoot' as an idea, I think it's very important to try to be true to it. People will be able to follow it live, from morning through sunset on both days--weather permitting."

Paper Denim & Cloth Founder/CEO Alex Gilbert and CCO Chantel Valentene (left)
Paper Denim & Cloth Founder/CEO Alex Gilbert and CCO Chantel Valentene (left)

The agency hooked up with the brand via acting chief marketing officer Ashley Bekton, an agency vet and McCann alum who also served as group marketing director at BBH before starting her own consulting business. "With Linus [Karlsson, Chairman/Global Brands CCO] and Andreas [Dahlqvist] running the show we were really excited about how they think differently and embraced difference in everything they do," said Ms. Bekton of why the PD&C team approached the agency.

Return to Its Roots
The Instashoot marks the return of a once iconic brand trying to re-establish itself and reassert the values that originally inspired its launch. "The identity of the brand was always about quality, fit and finish," said Ms. Valentene. "The approach was from a very personal standpoint, the idea of elevated basics, taking items that were familiar to us, giving it to customers and friends in a way that was easy but still had its own heart in the market."

PD&C emerged on the scene and was one of the premium denim pioneers in the late '90s, but folded in 2006, after the denim market became over-saturated. In 2010, the brand unsuccessfuly re-launched as a lower priced label via licensing deals and was subsequently "put to bed" because it no longer lived up to its original values, said Ms. Bekton.

The campaign gives the brand a chance to get back on the right footing and "allows us to engage in a dialog with the people we want to sell to and talk to in real time," said Ms. Valentene. The openness of it "also reflects the thinking that went behind the actual design of the collection, the ease and simplicity of going into your closet and not being intimidated by what you want to wear." Added Ms. Gilbert, "The lifestyle brand we're creating is a real balance of utility and aspiration. Nobody wants to feel intimidated by fashion."

Nor, by the campaign. "That's why Instagram is the perfect platform," said Mr. Lund. It's already there, people know how to use it and we don't need to invent something that they will need to try to understand," said Mr. Lund.

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