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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW : Sean Lee Davies’ immersive storytelling

Sean Lee Davies

From 1st –12th  September 2018,  TUMI, opened the “TUMI  Scandinavian Lodge” in the Garden Court of Pacific Place to  celebrate its Fall 2018 collection  inspired by the region.

Awethentic Studio came on board to help launch the collection at the Lodge, which not only showcased the latest fall fashion, but also the latest in technology.

SEE ALSO : TUMI Scandinavia Lodge opens at Pacific Place, Hong Kong

Awethentic Studio used their expertise to give visitors of the Scandinavian Lodge the  opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of the Fall 2018 collection through innovative  and interactive journey including the first-ever personalized fashion avatar activation to debut in Hong  Kong.

The technology available at the TUMI Lodge includes the development of the TUMI CLUB App to activate the Augmented Reality trail and Avatar experience.

Awethentic Studio created six Augmented Reality trigger images that were placed around the venue that when triggered via the TUMI CLUB app, unlocked original video content filmed by their team.

Retail in Asia met with Sean Lee Davies, CEO of Awethentic Studio, to discuss the growing importance of customer experience in the retail industry.

Sean Lee Davies has been a producer, writer, director and he also worked as editorial director of Asia Tatler.

Sean is the founder of Project C:Change, which raises funds and awareness in Asia to combat the trade of endangered wildlife. 

As an award winning TV producer and host, Lee Davies has written, directed, produced and hosted tv shows and documentaries for National Geographic, Channel News Asia, FOX, LiTC and TVB.

Alongside TV work under the Awethentic Studio umbrella, Lee Davies has also produced multimedia campaigns for luxury brands such as Cartier, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, L’Oreal and Estee Lauder.

Outside of print and production work, Lee Davies spends much of his time dedicated to animal and environmental conservation. And in 2011 his efforts and passion lead him to start a non-profit organization: Project C:Change an environmental initiative that raises charitable funding and awareness about critical issues in Asia.

Striding to enrich people’s perceptions whether it is in the form of film, photography or technology. Lee Davies’ immersive storytelling has only reached its early chapters.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW : Sean Lee Davies' immersive storytelling

RiA : How does the TUMI project enhance the interaction between retail and art?

Sean : We believe that storytelling is at the route of any engagement, and using art in the retail industry with technology is a dynamic way to tell a story and create a journey.

RiA : You built your own personal brand to content; you started from HK Tatler, landed in the international press, and then started your own business. Everything rotates around creativity. What has inspired your projects throughout your life and how do you see the role of creativity in this fast-paced fashion system that seems to have forgotten the time needed to create timeless pieces?

Sean : I have always been aspirational and entrepreneurial from a young age and have always been inspired to do things that have not been done before.

Being creative has always been a big part of my career and has inspired me across all my projects.

Within the fashion industry, creating timeless pieces and an experience and story around them is the essence of a brand.

RiA : As across industries, everybody is talking about ‘experience’, what does it mean to you and how do you incorporate it in your projects?

Sean : Experience is about capturing the attention of audiences to make them feel and engage with a brand or product.

As a content creation & omni-channel agency, creating experiences is at the core of what we do.

Using emerging technologies such as AR, Avatar technology and VR, we bring content to life to create dynamic experiences to bring the customer journey to new heights.

RiA : What is your take on the offline vs. online debate? Any predictions on where the industry is heading?

Sean : The future of retail is about live streaming, instant customisation, and personalised experiences.

It is important now more than ever for brands to embrace technology to bridge the gap between offline to online channels.

The increased use of data and analytics, the rising need for personalisation and customisation, and the transformation of physical spaces are all part of what the future holds for retail.

RiA : Sustainability is a growing concern; how do you approach it when thinking of a concept?

Sean : It is about changing the way we live in the city, changing our consumer’s behaviour to be more sustainable.

I believe that every business should be a social enterprise, and it is important that more companies make money by doing things in a better and more sustainable way.

One of the technologies we are developing to address inefficiencies in the fashion industry is our avatar virtual wardrobe.

It is designed to reduce the 60bn dollar e-commerce return rate as we believe it will allow customers to make far more accurate purchasing decisions.

RiA : How do you target Asian consumers when thinking of store experience? What is your approach?

Sean : We do not really segregate Asian consumers from the rest of the world, as we are facing the world markets offering omni-channel digital marketing.

Having said this, I have to say that Asian consumers are definitely very tech-savvy especially when it comes to social media platforms.

RiA : How did your collaboration with TUMI begin?

Sean : It all started with a TUMI luggage tag. As a TUMI customer and frequent traveller, travel has always been an inspiration to me.

I often think of ways in which technology could improve the travel industry.

I envisioned having a digitised luggage tag and being able to send my personal Avatar across the world and into different experiences.

I met up with the TUMI team and proposed all these ideas and Awethentic Studio brought it to life!

RiA : What type of new experience are you trying to offer to your customers at the TUMI Lodge?

Sean : The technology available at the TUMI Lodge includes the development of the TUMI CLUB App to activate the Augmented Reality trail and Avatar experience.

The newest experience we offered customers at the TUMI Lodge was the Avatar experience, which is a first for Hong Kong.

This technology allowed users avatars to be taken to the TUMI flagship store in New York as great social media takeaway, as well as a personalised luggage tag that triggers a user’s avatar!

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW : Sean Lee Davies' immersive storytelling

RiA : What is the reason behind the installation you came up with for the TUMI pop-up store?

Sean : The Event Team LORE came up with the main concept for the installation but we created the digital journey at the space, the Tumi app, the augmented reality trail, and the Avatar experiences to enhance the customer journey.

RiA : Which project is currently driving you?

Sean : We are currently working on multiple projects that equally drive us and push us to our limits.

A lot of our efforts are being used to launch our virtual avatar wardrobe system later this year both on desktop and then on mobile by early 2019.

SEE ALSO : EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with TUMI : Redefining the travel experience

No projects are the same, we are constantly talking to brands about their needs and how our technology can be implemented across a number of industries whether it be retail, hospitality or culture.

On the culture side we are creating the world’s first exhibition about sustainability and wildlife called Awethentic Zoo using mixed reality education.

In the future, we hope technological solution for education can be an alternative to the traditional zoo industry.

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