Karl Lagerfeld, famous for being a world-renowned fashion designer and expressing a creepy desire to marry his cat, has had iPads built into the walls of the changing rooms inside his new flagship store in London. The reason? To encourage people to take more changing room selfies, of course!
According to reports, the store will also have a whole pack of iPad Minis dotted throughout the store too, to capture all of your favourite designer shopping moments for eternity.
It seems a little intrusive, but you’ve got to agree that the Lagerfeld team is smart. So many people take selfies as they’re trying on clothes, either to show off or get a verdict from their social media fans and followers, so why not provide them with a tool to encourage them to take more photos that’s just as much part of the changing room experience as posing in the mirror?
The problem is selfies are inherently super personal. The very nature of a selfie means they’re carefully constructed by the person taking them: the pose, the lighting, the timing, the situation. That’s what makes them so appealing, for the first time ever people aren’t ashamed to take a picture of their face and have complete control over how it looks.
Many argue that this makes them fake, just another way for us to feel the pressure of society and attempt to alter the way we look and pout at the camera and yada, yada, yada. But read this great article from Amy McCarthy on Bustle and you’ll see that for many people it can be a really empowering form of self expression. On the other hand, for celebrities like James Franco, who wrote a piece about selfies in the NY Times, it’s a way of connecting with his fans that he has complete control over whenever he please. And that’s the whole point in a nutshell: selfies are about you and your face, so they can be about whatever YOU want them to be about.
However, if you start forcing people to get into selfie mode and dictating when they should and shouldn’t feel like snapping a photo of themselves, then you’re taking the self away from the selfie.
This doesn’t mean to say many people won’t jump at the chance to shout about the fact they’re trying on expensive items in the Lagerfeld store, but does mean the big fashion brains need to tread very carefully if this is going to start becoming a trend. Fitting iPads into changing rooms and invading such a personal space could actually lead to many people feeling forced into being on camera all the time, which is how we felt before the “selfie revolution” when people would tag us in really unflattering photos on Facebook.
Whether Karl Lagerfeld’s iPad selfie scheme is a win or fail remains to be seen, but brands need to be cautious when they’re jumping on the back of such popular and personal trends.