Unplug & Recharge//

Here’s Why Marc Jacobs Banned Cell Phones From His Show

The designer has a bone to pick with Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom.

Image courtesy of flickr. 

As one of the most influential designers in fashion, you’d expect Marc Jacobs to embrace a hyper-visual, trend-making platform like Instagram. But at Vogue’s Forces of Fashion panel this week, the industry veteran revealed his true—and less than friendly—feelings about the platform to none other than the app’s creator, Kevin Systrom.

Sitting before an elite audience, Jacobs vented his frustration about the popular app, and how it impacts his work as a designer. “I got really pissed off, to be honest,” Jacobs said of what it had done to fashion shows. “I was frustrated that you were offering a live experience that you worked on for months, only to have everybody holding up an iPad or a phone and not actually looking at the models as the walked down the runway or not actually experiencing something live.”

Jacob’s banned devices from his show last February. “At the show last season, I insisted that the audience put away their devices for seven minutes,” he said. “All I was asking was for everyone to spend seven minutes without an electronic thing attached to their arms.” It was a decision that raised a few eyebrows, but one that Jacobs still stands by. “It turned out well, and I think it’s important to keep playing with those things,” the designer told the audience. It’s a view backed up by research: when people walk around art museums taking pictures, they remember the details of the paintings less.

As technology continues to insert itself into our daily lives, designers, comedians and other creative types are taking charge by setting strict, but understandable boundaries, at their events. Comedian Dave Chapelle signed with Yondr, a company specializing in phone locking pouches, to prevent his audiences from leaking his material online. He later justified the decision to Jimmy Kimmel: “It became a thing where I’d walk on stage, I’d see a sea of cellphones,” he said. “I knew that anything in the room, I was saying to everybody, whether they were in the room or not, which is not an empowering feeling as a comedian.” Or, for Jacobs, as a designer.

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