Refinery29’s Fashion Week Installation Is Full of Instagram-Worthy, Interactive Art

Michael Kors, Ford among those sponsoring 29Rooms

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This weekend, Refinery29 is hosting 29 Rooms, an installation in Bushwick, Brooklyn, during New York Fashion Week that is full of funky works of art that are designed to inspire creativity—and Instagram posts. The 80,000 square-foot warehouse includes installations by artists centered on themes of style, virtual reality, art, film, design, beauty, body positivity, identity and self-expression.

29Rooms brings to life a lot of the themes Refinery29 covers in its digital content to a physical space, said Piera Gelardi, co-founder and executive creative director of Refinery29. "We live in an increasingly digital world, so people want to have memorable experiences, but they also want to be able to share them with their digital friends," she said.

Several celebrities and brands are sponsoring rooms, including Hillary Clinton's Hillary for America, Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, Abbi Jacobson from Broad City, RuPaul, Ford, Michael Kors, Papyrus, Perrier and Ulta Beauty. The installation drew more than 6,000 attendees last year, and is free and open to the public from today through Sunday.

Michael Kors' room, "The Sidewalk is Your Runway," is designed to look like a West Village street, with a runway where visitors can pose with Michael Kors bags and share GIFs of the moment with friends on social media.

"It's an event that naturally lends itself to social sharing and amplification, and it made particular sense for us to get involved now, when we want to communicate what's new and exciting for fall," said Lisa Pomerantz, svp of global communications and marketing at Michael Kors.

Ford's room, "Garden of Energi," is a lush garden experience, complete with live plants, to show off the energy efficiency of the 2017 Ford Fusion, a hybrid car with sustainable and recycled parts: seats made with soybean-based foam, sound absorption materials made from recycled denim and seat leather made from recycled plastic bottles.

"It's a great way to share Ford's sustainability story with consumers, and to showcase the design of the Fusion," said Kathleen Kross, experiential marketing manager at Ford. "We wanted to pair with a partner who helped us reach a broader audience, and be authentic to the message. Refinery29 communicates smart and meaningful content to an audience that we feel is perfect for Fusion."

"Because 29Rooms is such a creative experience, and it's interactive and socially shared, it's something brands are excited to partner with us on," Gelardi said. "Last year, the branded rooms were some of the public's favorite ones. It's not like this lame logo covered thing; it's actually something that has the same wonder and awe to it as the other rooms do."

@ChristineBirkne Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.