Browns "Cool to be Kind" campaign

GOLDEN IS THE NEW BLACK: Kindness and commerce are rare bedfellows but Browns is aiming to change that with a campaign set to launch Wednesday in the London retailer’s windows, WWD has learned.

For one week beginning Wednesday, Andy Leek, the street artist and creative behind “Notes to Strangers,” will be working at Browns’ South Molton Street and Sloane Street stores, hand painting large-scale messages inspired by positivity and the Golden Rule directly onto the windows.

The artworks will be refreshed throughout the week, and the store said it is hoping they will pump up the positivity in London ahead of London Fashion Week, and serve as a backdrop for anyone wanting to take a selfie — with a focus on self-esteem.

“Fashion should be fun, after all. So we’re kicking off a yearlong campaign, placing the spotlight firmly on this, the most perennial of trends: kindness,” the retailer said.

A visual from the Browns "Cool to be Kind" campaign

A visual from the Browns “Cool to be Kind” campaign.  Courtesy

Browns added that the #cooltobekind campaign is part of a larger initiative “that allows us to show what we’re all about here. It really is cool to be kind and we’re leading by example.” Browns will also be giving away free stickers — A5 size and smaller — bearing the slogans such as “Vibes are Viral” and “Confidence Looks Great on You” and “Be Yourself, It’s Easier.”

While the art may use a few fashion and social media idioms, Browns stressed the campaign is in no way promoting product. Leek, an advertising creative who has worked with brands including Barry M, Oxfam and Comedy Central, is known for his own project called “Notes to Strangers.” He slips notes with positive affirmations and upbeat messages inside discarded newspapers on the seats of the London Underground.

Holli Rogers, Browns chief executive officer, said: “I believe that fashion should be fun and ‘it’s cool to be kind’ has fast become a mantra for our Browns team. The energy of kindness is simply infectious and it’s a very inclusive sentiment, which is so important to us. There’s also a strong alignment with fashion in that fashion makes us feel good. It’s very emotive.

“This campaign isn’t tied to any particular brand or product, so it’s not a commercial venture in the traditional sense; it’s so much bigger than that. It gives us the opportunity to connect with our customers in a much more authentic way and to communicate who we are and what we stand for.” Asked whether any particular event or events spurred the idea for the campaign, she said it did not: “We simply couldn’t think of a better or more appropriate time to spread a message of kindness, compassion and positivity to everyone, everywhere.”

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