Posted by Irene Ojo-Felix | December 17th, 2019

Industry, Now

OLIVER HICKS

OLIVER HICKS

Portrait by Ben Hassett for Models.com

#IndustryNow The cycles of social media impel us to embrace then move on from trends and discourses faster than ever before. The life span of a single work––an editorial, a campaign, a show, a stint––is shorter for it. Fashion’s only unconditional term is the future: operating a year ahead, after all. So, in an industry where change and relevancy are the full stops at the end of every sentence, Models.com wanted to highlight individuals who add permanence to the community–some at their start and some at their top. Photographer Ben Hassett gets up close and personal for Models.com with the creative forces often behind the scenes. They are the Industry, Now.

With credits, you so often see the core team listed but what about the production team that holds everything together? The ones ordering the equipment lists’ a photographer needs or finding the perfect location scout to get the right shot? Navigating the road from concept to execution, the ever-moving details, and mundane budgets? President of production agency North Six, Oliver Hicks, knows this territory best as he’s expanded his company globally to offices in New York, Los Angeles, Rome, London, and Paris to enact the creative visions of the world’s leading brands and creative visionaries. The often laborious task of making things effortless is normally a thankless job but one worthy of recognition.

Have the reasons you started doing what you do changed along the way?
When I started I wanted to meet creative people, be inspired by them, and travel as much as possible to see the world! I still want to be inspired by the people around me – but I don’t want to travel quite as much at the moment – I love my home life a lot and find my kids very inspiring. I hope that the things that initially inspired me to get into this business I can pass on to those who now work with us. When I started N6 I worked out of my apartment in Williamsburg and we now have offices in Italy, Spain, France, and the UK as well as in the US. It’s so important to inspire and move the teams – to make people feel like they are part of something, feel connected. Despite the growth, we have also kept the intimacy – having a relationship with the people you work with and the clients you support remains key. Also what has remained the same is that we still want to be proud of the work we do and recognize the hard work and passion that goes into the process.

What was the turning point in your career?
The turning point was when the industry shifted, with social media platforms and smartphones playing a central role, where the deliverables and specs on the shoot became an integral part of the process from beginning to end. Shoots became more layered and the need for more assets became imperative. As the need for content increases, creatives need more support to deliver and have changed the role of the producer. The process and attention to detail remains key, but because the way content is consumed has changed clients are looking for smarter ways of creating that content – the pressure to deliver all these assets has significantly increased and affects everyone in the industry. In this changing landscape though, there is also more opportunity. Brands are constantly looking for new ways to speak to their consumers and we have found a strong position in supporting creatives with this.

Is making beautiful things enough?
It’s still about the details and the process, and a beautiful image still resonates, but there needs to be a message. A great campaign has a feeling – but it now needs to communicate across many platforms. A great campaign transcends through a variety of pillars; Print, Film, Live Experiences, PR and Social media all need to come together to make a campaign work. The consumer is also much smarter, and because there is so much noise, the ideas and creative need to stand out. The best way to stand out is for a campaign to stand for something.

What’s your favorite part of the process?
The idea is my favorite part of the process. What’s the idea and how can we help? Figuring that out and then recognizing the potential and how can we help it. I am still an old school producer who creates the world to support the idea. The thing that has changed is that the world we have to create now is just that much bigger…

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