Traditional art forms are being destroyed today at an alarming rate, and we say this against the historical backdrop of culture is always changing, and like the Earth, things are created and things are destroyed. That is the natural process of things. The CD destroyed the record and the Mp3 destroyed the CD. In every instance, we lost something but also arguably gained something (but is that the case today, are we gaining something?)


Social media has altered our world. And sometimes that has not always been for the best. In 2005 when we made 500 Years Later things were actually better for us without social media. Now, everyone with 2 cents is in the same space as people with 2 million. So the entry-level for us in film was to own some serious equipment and produce serious quality content. That high bar in itself separated out who is who. If you did not have this equipment the notion of making content did not exist even as a dream. Now today people can make content on their phones. Do they have to kill themselves to learn the art of cinema? And those same people are sharing a platform with people who invest 1000s of dollars into doing professional content. To the viewer—it is all the same. No extra value is given to high production value and skills in the arts. A professional photoshoot showcasing clothes will end up getting 3 likes and a selfie video with someone dancing in front of a mirror will blow up with 4K. And that presents a challenge for anyone driving for quality and professionalism. Because, honestly, there is no need. A person running a free blog publishing junk is equal to a research institute publishing serious content on an expensive website. And this is what has changed.

When it comes to fashion the entry-level to be calling yourself a designer brand was not only quality clothes but a quality website, and quality photography all of which cost and kept the riff-raff out. Social media has destroyed that and the riff-raff are all over social media selling their poor products diluting the industry. This is not a snobby statement, it is a serious challenge to anyone who ever planned to be great in this world. Why was the entry-level so high? Because you had to work your ass off to be able to afford quality photography for whatever you are doing, which is not cheap. It also meant you had to be very serious about the quality of your products. So how are photographers who are true professionals going to find a business when a novice with an iPhone is doing it themselves and getting 3k likes for their bad work? Who will now spend 4 years buying proper equipment and learning photography as a serious skill? There are serious ramifications for the future of the arts. It will ultimately hurt the public who consume low quality uncritically. Some may argue that it allows people who had no chance to now have a chance. But there was a reason natural selection filtered these people out. 

Sloppy flatlays for the World Photography Day! However, on my side of the world it's belated. I remember start… | Camera gear accessories, Camera gear, Canon camera

It might seem cool but think of this trend on a long enough timeline. What happens to the quality skills needed if there is no incentive to chase quality? Why would we need graphic editors and photographers and drone operators and camera people? Why would we need expensive equipment? Why would people want to rent locations and hire professional models?

The value the general public has for quality has diminished. So making a 4 million dollar film does not mean people will pay for it if the 4 million dollar quality film and the one done on a phone are seen as the same. What is protecting Hollywood and other monied markets is their cost of production is so high, no one can hope to come close. In addition, their marketing budgets are so colossal no one with an iPhone can challenge them (yet). So some market segments remain safe. Vogue does not yet have to worry about being usurped by some one-man blogger. But if anything we have seen (personally) in the last decade is nothing is fixed. The rules of yesterday have been crushed. Just 8 years ago when we wanted to do aerial films/photography we had to hire a helicopter. Today, you switch on a drone that fits in the palm of your hand and capture footage way superior. But all of this technology is not a substitute for quality and mastery of one's craft. So starting yet another T-Shirt business using software to brand virtual tees is lowering the bar--anyone can do this. The same is true for Chinese shoes with African logos--anyone can do this. Think about what was needed before to claim to have your own branded shoes? Now you can print 20 shoes in China and look like the next Nike. The trouble with this easy path to what looks like victory is we have a new generation that does not need to worry themselves with the hard work needed to develop something. 

It will be a struggle to convince the new generation of the need for excellence in the arts when there is no reward by society for such endeavors. 


The bad news about a business, any business run by anyone is good work does not equal success. There is a "luck" factor out there. Or being in the right place at the right time and hitting the rights notes. One second early or one second late you would have missed the bus. 
Review: A Magnum Opus Made Even Better - The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 'Meteorite' -
Now, If I said luxury watches everyone thinks Rolex. But why? Is Rolex the best watch out there? (You must be kidding, inside a Rolex is a movement made by someone else *maybe that has changed now*). There is really nothing that special about them compared to Bergret or a Jaeger-LeCoultre yet next to no one has probably heard of them, despite their legacy. But they have contributed so much to this history of fine watchmaking. Even Tag has contributed more than Rolex. Yet it is a Rolex (along with a Patek Philipe (who is considered the best in the world)) whose value always rises. So what has Rolex done differently? Not watchmaking but better control of the market and marketing.
So all of this to give an example of how being "better" on its own, being "inventive" does not promise any business "success" and that is the situation we at Ocacia know all too well. It is true across the board. The best fast-food restaurants make nothing $ wise compared to salty KFC etc. Companies like Apple and Microsoft just suck up other people's genius and get rich and credit for things their small minds did not come up with. Such is life, sadly.
What is popular on social media right now in the world of fashion is all manner of trash found on Aliexpress. That is what "the people want". Clown costumes and prints with giraffes and buffalo. 


 The question is problematic because it seems to demand an answer one way or the other. As you know, it is way more complex than that. So the true short answer is Yes it does, and No it does not have to. And if the answer is "it depends" it means it is the wrong question. But allow the question to start the discussion. And we will just give an example and you figure it out.

When we edit our photos we use Adobe Photoshop. The photo below is not "real" the background does not look like that. We had to make it like that to serve our purpose. Has the manipulation killed the intent of the photographer? Or has the editing created a new artistic expression? But the tools for doing this kind of manipulation are way easier than 4 years ago. We did not have to spend 20 minutes airbrushing the model's face. It was done using a cloud processing system that did it for us. Clearly, if we keep doing this those critical airbrushing skills will be lost! Now what about the next generation that has no foothold in these skills in the first place? And depending on a computer to create their art as opposed to hard-won skillsets?


When we blur the background, that is by having the skillset to set the camera right. But Photoshop can do that for you. Then you do not need any skills or any special knowledge of apeture. Are you then seriously a professional photographer? NO! One of the biggest aspects of photography is controlling light and composition and the DOF. So how are you a photographer if you cannot control the settings of your instrument?


African American artform was utilized in way more austere times for poorer people yet it was a complex art form. So this argument of Hip Hop being "of the people" because it is simple is invalid. Marvel is also different from previous pop-corn cinema in many ways. It hardly is "for the people" it manufactured its appeal and pushed out traditional cinema which my poor parents enjoyed. It was not hard for Miles Davis to record Kind of Blue. But I struggle to put what Miles did with what Jay Z is doing! Or put Kind of Blue at the same level of artistry or musicology as Kiki by Drake! No more than the Chinese watch is NOT a Swiss movement! No more than anyone writing a blog is investing the same art as a published scholar. Per my post, it is NOT the same artform. I did not say it was not an art form. It's just not the same. Max Roach played the drums, he did not have them generated by a PC. Photos with an iPhone are not the same artform as with a film camera.

And not to go off-topic, but Rock with Jimi is still the same artform as Satriani which is the same artform as Skillet. 50 years it is the same artform. For all the tech, it is the same art form. Marvel for all it noisemaking is NOT the same artform as Hitchcock.. Yet what Martin Scorsese does and Spike Lee is the same artform as Akira Kurosawa which is the same as Alfred Hitchcock.



Unfortunately, there is a ceiling. And the ceiling is defined by economic and market forces. Even if we had 1 million dollars like Verace for a budget and all the tools (and we do) to make an epic video like Verace the issue would be what returns would we get on such a project from our market? We are not talking art, or creativity we are discussing business. We have to balance it all. We killed it on the website, but we cannot do the same marketing that others do. As the market for African clothes expands everything grows with it. We targeted our investment in our high-end sewing suite, our clothes, our tailors, and our website. Those that get their "African" apparel made by Chinese in China have a lot lower risks, as they own nothing in the manufacturing process.
So our risk is pretty great. We have to invest in equipment to produce quality traditional authentic clothes. Now if we have a market that does not care about these things and would rather save and support China then it is over! There was a time in Swiss watchmaking (1969) when Quartz looked like it would totally destroy 100s of years of watchmaking. But they found a large market that appreciated handcrafted goods, and today they are safe from any future technologies may it be quartz or smartwatches. The same would be true for Ocacia also because China will never in a million years buy these machines and do it by hand.