QR codes have become all the rage. Since the covid pandemic took over our lives and establishments used these unique codes to keep track of people, they’ve become a staple all over the world. From links to websites to payment methods and as a means to share information, these unique image formats have become ever more common.
Having worked with several different clients and on many ideas that didn’t transpire, Dutch digital agency Born05 decided to create something of its own. After founding ‘The Nursery’, its idea-generating team, Born05 decided to launch a unique fashion collection that not only utilised creative design, but also has a technologically advanced element. As such, the ‘Reveals’ scarves not only boast a bold print but house a QR code which leads to a customisable website, allowing wearers to show their personality in a totally unique way.
To explain the idea and creative process behind the scarves, Born05’s senior designer, Zeferino de Fretes, tells LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about the ideas the agency wasn’t ready to let go of, and what’s to come.
LBB> Let’s start off with the initial ideas surrounding the creation of the ‘Reveals’ brand by Born05. When did talks of the fashion brand first begin?
Zeferino> For 17 years we used all of our creativity for clients. In recent years, the number of ideas we had that were not specifically for clients increased. Some were big. Some were not. Never did we really follow up on them. Not enough time. Not enough priority. But they were fun. And the ‘what if’s’ kept coming back. What if we had the time? What if we could really develop our own products? Our own brands?
So in 2021, we decided to document our desire to build brands of our own in our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and this year we founded The Nursery, where ideas are born and nurtured. Right up until the moment they’re ready for the real world. We made The Nursery a priority in our agency. And pretty soon after that, we struck gold with the idea for apparel that was actually able to communicate. We were all pretty blown away by the idea, and decided to go for it.
LBB> What was the aim of the brand and what did you want to deliver in the fashion space?
Zeferino> Creating a fashion brand with a digital twist and introducing a new category into the world, which is scanwear. Derived from the idea that apparel communicates.
LBB> This latest launch is a high fashion scarf which incorporates a QR code. What made you want to adapt QR codes in this way?
Zeferino> We are a digital creative agency and we love crossovers between technology and culture. We all know that your outfit is a way of expressing your personality. The question we asked ourselves is if we could take this one step further by adding technology. That’s where QR came in. Every Reveals item has a unique QR code that is connected to your unique Reveals page. There you can collect personal digital content, which can be anything - from your favourite recipe and that Spotify playlist you’ve had on repeat for days to a YouTube video that really inspired you. The scarf is our first item and with it, you carry your favourite items with you at all times - and you reveal them to people who are literally close to you.
LBB> How many prototypes did you create and can you tell us about some of the trial and error processes?
Zeferino> We went through a lot of scarf designs and samples before finally arriving at the final result. But the most challenging thing within this project was the fact that we absolutely needed unique QR labels, which eventually had to be put on the scarves. We called a lot of potential companies, but they all dropped out pretty quickly. The average answer was: ‘no, we're not getting into that. We can make this QR code, but not hundreds of different ones.’
This was also the moment where we were like, maybe we should hook up with someone who has experience and connections in the fashion world. So we asked a freelance expert who helped us get in touch with the right people. In the end, she found a company that provided us with unique QR codes on vegan leather. You can imagine how happy we were when we received these labels.
LBB> What were some of the conversations surrounding the ‘Reveals’ name of the product and how did you land on the three colour variations of the design?
Zeferino> The name Reveals actually came about at the same time as the idea of connecting the physical and digital world through apparel. By having a unique QR code on your scarf that leads to your own Reveals page, you can reveal things to the outside world. Stuff you wouldn’t normally share on your socials or in all of your conversations with people who are close to you.
Regarding the colours: we had initially chosen to release two colourways in neutral colours: white/black and brown/black. But since we’re using the bright colour green in all of our digital expressions, we felt that we had to include that as a scarf colour as well. And we are very happy with that, it really stands out.
LBB> And how about the website, what was the process of creating a brand identity that was customisable with everyone's unique QR code?
Zeferino> We built two digital environments, the lookbook on which you can also shop the scarves and the personal vault you can upload and share your content favourites. The digital vault was the most challenging of the two. Our developers had the toughest task there, they had to ensure that each QR code is linked to a personal page. When someone orders a scarf, we scan the QR label in our CMS, which then generates a password that we give to the customer. With this, they can activate their Reveals space before they can upload content to their page. When someone scans the scarf, they land on the Reveals page of the scarf owner. We chose to only give the ability to share content that is already online somewhere, it eliminates the need to monitor what is being shared on anyone's page. The pages are completely private, even if we cannot find out who someone's page belongs to, no personal information is shared. Unless you choose to share a selfie from Instagram, but even then we have to scan the QR code for real.
Visually, we want people to be able to customize their page to their liking as much as possible. There is the ability to choose a background photo through an Unsplash API. People can customize the colour of their page and of course, they can continuously edit their five favourite items. Throughout the entire experience, there’s a coherent Reveals-feel. Our primary bright green colour always comes back, preferably on a black background, just as our characteristic font always returns.
LBB> How have people reacted to the scarf and what’s the most asked question about the product?
Zeferino> First of all, people are really fond of the scarves, how they look and also how they feel. The scarves are made of 100% Merino wool which makes them comfortably heavy and enjoyable to wear. People are also enthusiastic about the designs. The idea of the corresponding digital environment they can share personal content is the actual wow factor. But how people are going to use their Reveals pages, we don’t know yet. You can imagine how curious we are…
LBB> Can you tell us about any new clothing items that may be in the works?
Zeferino> We are already thinking about that, but I can't tell you too much about it - yet. It could be anything from items such as fuzzy fisherman hats to tracksuits, the most important thing is to see what works and what we like best! In any case, our goal is to expand the collection, but for now, we want to sell the first batch of scarves and we really hope that people will start revealing their digital content favourites.
LBB> Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Zeferino> Yes! We have a gift for your readers: a 10% discount on our first statement piece. The code LBBONLINE10 can be used 15 times, so be quick! There are three colourways to choose from. One of which will absolutely suit you. Get yours and start sharing!