In a sign of the times, the denim company Madewell has curated a collection of “video-chat-friendly” jewelry and accessories that are being sold through its website.
Shoppers can buy a gold plated brass paperclip chain necklace for $38, chunky medium hoop earrings for $24, a two-pack of triangle bandanas for $22.50, and a range of other jewelry and accessory items.
“Spending a lot of time looking at yourself on screens? Might as well make it an extra-cute view,” the website reads.
The collection is the latest example of how companies have adjusted their approach as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend daily life. Major League Baseball has taken to filling baseball stadiums with virtual fans, for example, and Disney is skipping a theatrical release of Mulan. Now Madewell, is marketing its jewelry as being appropriate for the hell of endless Zoom calls.
But what makes a necklace, or a pair of earrings, ideal for a video chat?
“For me the linear and graphic nature of these will most definitely make them video friendly,” David Hawkins, a stylist with Frank Agency London, told Motherboard in an email. “That coupled with the metal sheen.”
Pauline Kim, a stylist from Portland, Oregon, added that for video chats, it’s important to wear accessories that don’t jingle or create sounds as a person shifts around, and that Madewell’s pieces meet that mark.
“I like that they curated pieces that are simple, minimal, give off some personality without being distracting on camera,” Kim said.
Peter Nguyen, a personal stylist in New York City and founder of the Essential Man, was a little more critical.
“Going through, it seems quickly thrown together/renaming of their accessories section. There are choices on there that wouldn't really pop on camera (like the thinner/smaller pieces),” Nguyen told Motherboard in an email.
“I would have loved to see brighter colors, especially accessories and clothes that would contrast against peoples skin,” Nguyen said. “For light/medium tone complexions, gold can get lost on video, especially if the lighting is poor or you're using a low quality webcam.”
Nguyen said he has recently seen an increase in fashion companies marketing their products specifically for video chats, but that the campaigns aren’t necessarily always well thought out.
“The most I've seen is a small curated section of a handful of pieces that is nothing more than a collection of the brand’s newest pieces. There's very little thought of how the colors or styles might pop on camera. And the lack of context doesn't help,” Nguyen said. “What are the best video chat friendly pieces for work calls? What about Zoom dates? There's a huge missed opportunity here.”
Spokespeople for Madewell were not immediately available for comment.