Most people know about the Dazed days. Or the legend (myths?) that surround two young students, Jefferson Hack and Rankin and the time they bumped into one another at the canteen at the London College of Printing and ended up making one of the most influential art/music/fashion magazine’s in the history of publishing. Dazed & Confused wasn’t even meant to be a magazine at first, but a response to what Rankin and Hack felt was a generic, sappy youth culture taking hold as they rolled into the mired-in-recession 1990s. And so it went on…
Prolific. That’s the word for The Dazed machine (or ‘group’), which has gone on to publish many more titles, a TV show, a festival and everything inbetween. Rankin in particular, world famous photographer beyond those early Dazed days, never seems to stop with the new projects. As the man pointing the lens at our new AW13 collection, Rankin brought his unique ability to sum up photogenic subjects to our new campaign concept, ‘From Sketch to Store’. When Kate Moss said that if you’re working with Rankin, “you can’t be anyone but who you are”, she could have been directly quoting the mood of our new campaign. Models were photographed in the nude, so that we could show off our unique design process (we sketch designs in-house and then send them directly to store in the form of a new collection) in a carefree and playful way, one that’s testament to Rankin’s ability to capture big doses of personality on camera.
Rankin has already pointed his sleek microscope on all of the famous faces. Literally, all of them (including the Queen). And just about everyone else since. In 2009’s Rankin Live!, normal members of the public were encouraged to sit for him, in London and Manchester (and eventually New York, New Mexico, LA and more). These stellar portraits of everyday people were shot, retouched and hung within 30 minutes as part of a retrospective of the photographer’s work.
Alongside brand and fashion work, Rankin has also forged a mark with his charity campaigns, shooting for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Women’s Aid, as well as working with Nike and R.E.D to shoot a campaign aimed at raising awareness for AIDS. In the middle of all of this, he also commissioned the refurbishment of an office block in North London to create Annroy – the gallery and exhibition space that him and his wife just er, happen to live in.
What Rankin and his team, content agency The Full Service, created for French Connection’s AW13 campaign is some pretty vibrant nude shots, which we have then turned into a canvas for our own work. But then, we already knew that he could do this better than anyone else. Remember Art Throbs, a hazy Esquire shoot that saw up-and-coming fashion models Lily Cole and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley strip off into Monroe-esque poses? Remember how you noticed the optimism of youth as much as you did great pairs of boobs? With the HUNGER for good work and a knack for being a sleek running commentary on pop culture, the world at large and the person stood in front of him, you can see how we had no choice. It had to be Rankin.