i-D’s New ‘Amuse’ Rolls Out Content

This week i-D began rolling out the first of its video content under a brand-new sister channel Amuse – an online “luxury portal” and lifestyle lens aimed at the unconventional lifestyle of its audience. “You could spend a holiday slumming it for a week and then visit a luxury hotel for your last night – and there’s nothing strange about that,” describes Ravi Amaratunga of this generation’s habits. Ravi is i-D’s global group director of film and video at the helm Amuse. While sharing the same genes as i-D, Amuse is only online and is discernible in that Ravi’s tailored experience-based series will resonate more with i-D’s base of savvy, not-as-young viewers. At first, the very idea of a subset of content may seem strange coming from the already prolific culture machine founded in 1980 by Terry Jones, even more so something dubbed “luxury”. But Amuse has a very clear-cut vision to entice a profusely digital generation: It’s a get-away – a vacation from the pop – trekking to the places tastemakers and creatives go to get inspired, with said creatives along for the ride. Models.com spoke to Ravi to gain some insight into Amuse amidst its inauguration, plus an exclusive sneak peek of episode 2 of “How it’s Dunn” with supermodel Jourdan Dunn.

Can you give me the rundown on your background? Before i-D it was Dazed…and before that…

I was a commissioner at UK broadcaster Channel 4, where I ran a bunch of late night strands and commissioned arts documentaries and series for TV and digital. Through that gig I came across the incredible global online creative community who were doing amazing things. I got approached to start up Dazed’s video offering that I ran for two years before moving to i-D to run video globally and launch Amuse.

How did you become interested in creating video content? Are you a film junkie? 

I pretty much am! I’ve always been obsessed with film and video. I watched a lot of TV as a kid, watched a ton of art house movies at college and wanted to get behind the camera to start making stuff. I just got stuck in straight after college and one thing led to another.

So now at i-D, obviously lots of history, what was your first thought joining such an influential, visionary, brand? 

i-D is, and always will be, iconic for never fearing to try out new things, taking risks and being bold. It’s a lot of weight to continue such a legacy, but at the same time, by embracing such an incredible philosophy, you just have to dive in with two feet. Taking that heritage to launch a brand new channel is exciting and terrifying in equal measure – but it’s also totally i-D.

What excited you the most about the platform? 

One of the main reasons I’m so stoked about Amuse is that it’s such a fresh, and young, approach to lifestyle content. We’re a video-driven site and offer a variety of shows and personalities that mix the rough with the smooth. I think our generation are complex in the way they like to spend their time. You could spend a holiday slumming it for a week and then visit a luxury hotel for your last night – and there’s nothing strange about that. I think we’re the only site out there reflecting that complexity that’s so representative of this era.

What is/ Why Amuse? 

In a nutshell – it’s a new lifestyle video channel and online platform from i-D. We’re covering everything from travel, well-being, art & design, food & drink and entrepreneurship. We chose Amuse in the end because it’s a playful word that’s not used much, and we hope to redefine how people associate with it through the site.

Can you shed a little light on the initial development of the idea as a whole? 

Just as our owners VICE Media have done, i-D wanted to launch another channel that served a different audience. For us it seemed obvious that a lifestyle channel would compliment i-D as a fashion and style culture site.

How does the content differ from i-D’s main video slate? 

Amuse skews ever so slightly older. If i-D is a student at art school, Amuse is the working older sister.  Our range of shows is wider and we’re looking to server a gender neutral audience. It’s more about experience and perhaps less about pop culture.

Amuse specifically, what series are you most eager to see play out…? 

There are two I’m really keen to see develop.

First off is our ‘Cover Star’ series. As Amuse doesn’t have a print offering, we’re having our cover star moment as a 60 second video. A$AP Rocky is our inaugural star, philosophising about how it’s perfect to be imperfect in an exclusive track for Amuse. We’ve got some really big names lined up for the rest of the year, and we’re hopeful we can begin to make Amuse covers as iconic as i-D ones have become.

The second is our long-form documentary series How It’s Dunn with Jourdan Dunn – an incredible food and travel show with the style icon. In our first episode she travels to Thailand to learn to cook the Thai way – and we’ll be travelling to more incredible destinations later in the year. Jourdan is the perfect face for Amuse, and it’s a great example of how we work with talent in an Amuse way.

What do you think the fashion/art audiences are interested in seeing these days? 

I think people are keen to watch stuff that means something. Whether it’s 60 seconds on your phone or 30 minutes on your laptop or TV, if there’s a purpose and a point that makes you laugh, think or inspires then you’ve made a meaningful connection, and that’s what really counts.

Off the top of your head–dream team for a project under the Amuse banner? 

We’ve got quite a few bonkers projects coming up with some incredible talent, but we’re very keen on working with pop cultural icons. Doing a show with a legend like David Bowie would be incredible. David you know where to find me..

Lastly a big one, what role does social media play in all this? Is it mainstreaming the marginalized? i-D has always been at the frontline in unpacking these niche cultures and issues. And how does that steer your vision? 

Social media is really at the heart of all this. It’s creating a ‘multitude of niches’ where dedicated and enthusiastic niche audiences count just as much, if not more, than the mass-market. Social platforms have broken through the traditional media walled garden and allowed publishers like us direct feedback from a global audience.

You’re totally right, i-D has been subversive and subcultural since day dot – and staying true and authentic to those people through social media is what has helped us grow our audience so rapidly globally this year. It’ll be central to giving Amuse a clear and credible tone of voice and we’ll be using established and emerging social media platforms alike.

I lied, one more– 

Since Amuse is travel based…what’s one of your favorite cities? 

My parents are from Sri Lanka, and it’s my second home, so I’d have to say Colombo. It’s a beautiful contradiction of metropolis, incredible food, and great people. Amuse will definitely be going there at some point to tell you more.

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