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The BoF Podcast: Jefferson Hack on Why the World Must Not Be Complacent

The Dazed Media founder speaks to BoF Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed about the role of fashion media companies during a pandemic.
Jefferson Hack | Photo: Sarah Piantadosi
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  • BoF Team

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LONDON, United Kingdom — The outbreak of Covid-19 has become a humanitarian crisis that is impacting every aspect of daily life. For Dazed Media Founder Jefferson Hack, it is hard to find the language to describe what is happening to the world right about now. "I find words quite inadequate," he told BoF Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed in a special edition of the BoF Podcast.

Hack first realised the enormity of the health crisis when Milan went on lockdown in early March; hearing stories from both clients and friends brought the pandemic closer to home. The stories also informed Dazed Media’s mission. “When [the extent of the crisis] really became evident, our response was one of ‘This is a global state of emergency now’… We can be helpful [by] using our resources and using our media to point directly to that,” Hack said.

To remain focused at Dazed Media during this challenging time, Hack and his team compiled a purpose-driven manifesto, considering how audience sentiments are adapting to the changing climate and what ways were to best inform and engage readers during a time of crisis.

The first initiative Hack and the Dazed team rolled out was #AloneTogether, an initiative that encourages readers at home to engage in creative challenges on a day-by-day basis. The second was to cancel Dazed and Confused's summer print issue, replacing it instead with a digital version with reader contributions.

If you have any influence at all and you're sitting this out… then you're part of the problem.

“Our creative community and talent will be plugged into [the issue] and they will be interwoven with our readers’ stories,” Hack said. “Right now, all it’s about is getting real. It’s about having real conversation on a real level, on a human level, with each other, saying: What do people need? Are we relevant to their needs? If so, how can we give them more of that authenticity… that will make a tangible difference to their lives?”

For the fashion industry, travel restrictions and city-wide lockdowns might be the catalyst needed to reconsider how it operates and reset its priorities. Nothing can be taken for granted any longer. There might be “a digital renaissance happening when it comes to social media,” Hack suggested. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook, often viewed as stress generators, are instead spreading “a lot of positivity, healing and soul” into people’s lives.

Despite the creative opportunities, there are extensive challenges facing the fashion industry, from supply chain disruptions to out-of-work freelancers, Hack's message was clear: "If you're a media owner, if you're a brand owner, if you have any influence at all and you're sitting this out… then you're part of the problem, you're not part of the solution… There is no room for complacency right now."

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