I've been a fan of Withings's activity-tracking watches for a while now. The original style, released in June, was classic and minimal. Its second iteration, the Activité Pop, was still classy but a bit more fun — and at $150, $300 cheaper than the first. They're really good-looking devices that can pass for "real" (read: single-purpose) watches.
But when it comes to wooing the fashion industry, it's not enough to merely create chic tech products and hope the style-minded find their way to them. As Withings Chief Marketing Officer Julien De Preaumont explained over the phone Tuesday afternoon, fashion people "aren't going to start reading tech blogs just because you have a nice watch." You have to go break those walls down yourself.
That's why the wearables company chose London Fashion Week to release a photo series featuring two preteen Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne lookalikes (Maya Koski-Wood, 12, and Harley Chapman, 10) wearing the Activité Pop and reenacting shots from the supermodels' recent "My Burberry" campaign. There's also a Twiggy moment and a plainclothes Cara D moment thrown in for good measure.
"We didn't have the budget to have the originals, so we had to come up with lookalikes," De Preaumont said of the casting.
It's cute and eerie and feeds our basest Internet tendencies. Of course we're going to look at tiny adorable replicas of the most popular models on the planet. I'm writing about it right now!
So well done, Withings. Well done.
The company hasn't bought ad space to promote the images, De Preaumont says; instead, they'll live on social media and some blogs. The point was to prove that the Activité Pop, which is now available in the UK and will go on sale at Best Buy in the U.S. this March, can be a fashion accessory.
Having launched the original Activité at an event with Marie Claire's Nina Garcia, Withings has also started to send out devices to photographers, makeup artists and hairdressers to track who walks the most during Fashion Month.
Withings isn't the first tech company to go above and beyond in its efforts to win over the fashion crowd. Apple took direct aim at the highest tiers of the industry — Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, et al. — by holding an Apple Watch event at Colette during Paris Fashion Week last September. The following month, the device cropped up on the cover of Vogue China. Withings's move is smaller scale and the company certainly doesn't have Apple's pre-existing fan base, but these photos should at least help get the brand on the radar of the fashion-minded.
And while it's a little odd that Withings chose to imitate an existing ad campaign, these kids are really cute.