This month, the Condé Nast College was delighted to welcome Sara Blonstein, the Founder and Creative Director of the eponymous production agency, Blonstein, establishing luxury brand experiences to the virtual lecture room for an industry talk with students.
About Sara Blonstein
Sara Blonstein is the Founder and Creative Director at Blonstein Creative Production, a company synonymous with luxury brand experiences.
Sara graduated with a degree in Fine Art and began to pursue a career as the Assistant Manager to the cult, new wave band Sigue Sigue Sputnik. This led to a career in styling, working with bands creating music videos and commercials in the 1980s. Sara spotted a gap in the market for women during a very volatile time. This led to the creation of the Pussy Posse, a company created by Sara, and run by women in derelict spaces sharing a safe sex message during the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
It was whilst hosting these events that Sara realised the huge potential these locations were for fashion shows. They highlighted Sara’s huge creative talent and she was able to take advantage of these previously untapped derelict locations. This realisation prompted her venture from styling into production.
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Who are Blonstein productions?
Blonstein “specialise in making brand activations happen” and over three decades they have created more than 1,000 projects, fashion shows and presentations. Blonstein wants to create an immersive experience that is different and truly stands out. The combination of architecture, digital, design and installation create a “meticulous experience”. For the last five years, Blonstein have also been the official producers of London Fashion Week.
On the Founder’s favourite fashion shows
One of Sara’s friends was representing designer Hussein Chalayan. Hussein had a clear vision for his brand and wanted to showcase his collection in a warehouse in East London and one of Sara’s many talents is finding venues that are unconventional. She went on to produce Hussein’s second and third shows and they both took place in the same location. Additionally, Roksanda has been one of Sara’s favourite designers to work with and they have formed a strong relationship over the past 10 years. Roksanda’s priority is “venues and artists together”, and she always wants her shows to be unique with a clear motive for “making things different and exciting every time”.
One of the most defining moments for Blonstein was in February 2018, in which Her Majesty the Queen attended her first London Fashion Week show for Richard Quinn. Nothing was held back for this show, with a “thrash metal soundtrack and the girls were in gimp masks and motorcycle helmets. Her Majesty absolutely loved it!” shares the founder.
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How Blonstein adapted to the pandemic
The pandemic has had a colossal impact on the events industry, and by result, Blonstein has had to adapt in order to continue creating such impressive spectacles, shows and presentations in this new unprecedented climate. Coordinating with this new kind of normal, in May 2020, Blonstein demonstrated their resilience with an installation on one of the capital cities landmarks, the National Gallery by projecting an illustration on the building that was reinforcing COVID-19 restrictions, social distancing measures as well as testing and hygiene protocols.
When questioned how emerging brands can adapt and make their mark without the financial aid of discovery labs, Blonstein suggested the precedence of digital strategies as the key to success. Moreover, digital goes beyond a computer screen and sharing work is vital to further reach and accessibility.
Making a case for visual methods, Blonstein also argues that in fashion, “films are just as good”. Most recently producing ARTSCHOOL‘s AW21 show – a genderless label directed by Eden Loweth – an entirely digital showcase, Blonstein questions “would audience ruin it? Even though I miss them terribly!” as the video was “so beautiful and so elegant” in itself. Following the video’s launch, Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour called Loweth three minutes after the film went live and said, “that it was the best show of the season”.
Take-aways from Sara’s Talk
- Sara has demonstrated that although the pandemic has brought immense turmoil. It has made the fashion industry sit up and react. It has opened people’s eyes to new platforms in which to showcase their work.
- A positive outcome of the pandemic has been the reduction in the carbon footprint during Fashion Weeks. Sara did not shy away from admitting that the production side of fashion week results in an immense amount of waste which is hard to avoid. So going forward it’s all of our responsibility to think of new ways to produce with less waste!
By Saydee Brown, MA Fashion Journalism