media & technology
Crash and grab _
Sex, violence and dangerous driving. The fashion world has launched into cyberspace with Web sites tailor-made for outrage. Words: Peter Ross
Associating your clothing with violent crime and Japanese under-age porn may seem like an odd sales- pitch for a fashion house to make. but it‘s just this near-the-knuckle angle which streetwear trendsetter Firetrap is taking with its Web site. And they‘re not alone: the cool labels are increasingly reluctant to jeopardise their carefully- constructed image with a s te which is little more than a piss-poor online catalogue.
At the Firetrap site. you play a ramraider. nicking a motor and cruising the neon- soaked city. maybe stopping to read about the Japanese sex industry before checking out this season‘s fashions by smashing through shop windows.
'l‘here‘s even a link (fake) to nude schoolgirl pictures as an incentive to get you to key in your details. The site comes with a cheeky disclaimer. warning off anyone under eighteen or without a strong mind of their own.
‘We want a powerful. raw-edge feel. because that is what we try to put across in our collections.’ says l‘loward (‘uthberL assistant head designer at Firetrap. ‘But the site is also sophisticated in its construction. lt‘s thought out. fun. and should be taken with a pinch of salt. All these elements say something about our clothes.‘
For Brit designers Red Or Dead — whose site is created by Wax (Tommunications — a Web presence is about attitttde not sales. You can order clothes modelled by sex dolls. influence the plot of a tongue-
’We're trying to get across what we stand for, which is irreverence, irony and not being afraid to stick two fingers up at accepted fashion principiesf
Wayne Hemingway, founder, Red Or Dead
in-cheek photo-romance. link to a cow-tipping site or take part in a striptease quiz. where Sheffield housewife. Shirley. becomes progressively ungarbed as you answer questions like ‘What the fuck is Gorky‘s Zygotic Myiici‘P'. Miss Selfridge it ain't.
‘We‘re trying to get across what we stand for. which is irreverence. irony and not being afraid to stick two fingers tip at accepted fashion principles.’ says Red Or Dead's charismatic founder. Wayne Hemingway. ‘You couldn‘t imagine John Galliano having a site like ours.‘
‘But anyone working in design should have a Web site. It isn‘t costly. so you can take risks and do things you wouldn‘t do in paid advertising. You can really experiment and get the flavour of the brand across.’
One of the more established fashion Web sites is also among the most inventive and impressive. Diesel. which recently opened a store in Glasgow. has had a Web presence since l‘)‘)5. updates at least once a week. and records 24.000 hits every single day.
You can download the company‘s innovative print and television ads. check out the latest collections or run- through recent fashion shows. So far so sane. but Diesel also give you the chance to rid yourself of ‘a whole host of dangerous bastards‘ in their teach-yourself-self-defence pages.
Bob Shevlin. head of the Diesel virtual department. explains. ‘Diesel has never appeared desperate to sell its goods. We wanted to do things on our site that didn‘t make much obvious sense and present our clothing in an elaborate and bizarre way. Our adverts are hyper-visual with amazing amounts of chaotic things going on. and the Web site takes the same approach.‘
It‘s nice to know that as we progress. Millennium bug aside. toward a situation where we can shop without leaving the couch. that there is still going to be room for the maverick and the experimental. Get ready to download your trousers.
Firetrap Web site http://www.firetrap.co.uk Red Or Dead Web site http://www.redordead.co.uk Diesel Web site http://www.diesel.com
Games oWeb Sites 0CD ROMS
Crash Bandicoot 2 (PlayStation £39.99)
Crash Bandicoot is the closest creature the PlayStation has to a mascot, and the original offered a reasonable platforming challenge. This sequel continues in the same vein, but in a less linear fashion. The learning curve is well structured, With bonus levels introducing Crash's new moves, although many of the end-bosses require too little thought. The level design is also lacking, but the highly responsive controls go some way to making up for it. Vehicles such as boats and rockets get a look in, but Crash, unlike his name, verges more often on the pedestrian than the spectacular. (JH)
(PC CD-ROM £29.99)
The demo of Quake 2 has been available for some time, and the full version will come as a relief to those craving more. Unfortunately, to get the best out of it you need a 30 accelerator chip. If you have one, you’ll reap the full benefit of colour lighting effects and infrequent viewable pixellation; otherwise, you'll just have to struggle. The monsters have all had an overhaul, with improved intelligence so that yOu'll need your extra skills to counter, and mission obje’tives now give you guidance should you need it. Quake 2 has only evolved, but then nothing drastic was needed. (JH)
The Society For The Recapture Of Virginity (http://www.thebluedot.com/srv/)
It probably seemed like the mother of all biological imperatives at the time — but in the cold light of day, did you really want to lose y0ur virginity like that? But wait, all is not lost, according to Marfrica O’Mally, who claims you can reclaim your purity and provides testimonials from happy nouveau virgins to prove it. They’re trying to sell you something, of course, and the item in question is The Virginator, a wristband which emits radio waves to lull your biorhythms back to their virginal state. One benefit of filling in the on-site questionnaire is that you get to see a personalised 3D image of your own virginity, which could be a turn-on for some. (AM)
REVIEWERS THIS ISSUE: John Henderson, Alastair Mabbott
21 Nov—4 Dec 1997 THE “ST 105