Frivolous Excess – Credits
D.O.P: Beatrix Labana
Female Model: Ayo Ogundayo
Male Model: James Phillips
Make up: Kate Murphy
Videographer: Nicole Gomes
Video Editing: Steven Waterfall
Assistants: Alice Tuff, Jacob Stevens and Dolly Sylvester
Beatrix Labana is a 21 year old Fashion Design student who born in Malawi, graduated from Falmouth University in 2013. You can follow her on twitter at @BeatrixLabana, and you can also visit her portfolio.
Beatrix, can you tell us the background of the video submitted?
This video showcases my final collection, the collection I created for my BA course. It was inspired by the colours and vibrancy of African tribes. My aim was to design a collection that was distinctly African while remaining contemporary. This typically is what I have also tried to achieve with my print, it is modern in the western sense but inspired by Congolese tradition.
I wanted the work to be fun and show a different side of Africa. The West tends to depict a doom and gloom version of Africa. Being born and having spent a good amount of my childhood in Malawi, I know that through all the hardship people can find happiness. It is no secret African’s love parties, dancing and music, and I wanted to portray this in my collection.
Why did you choose to use film to portray your collection?
The main objective was showing the collection in a different medium than just static images – I felt that the collection would benefit more if people actually saw my garments in motion. I wanted to evoke happy, fun and light hearted emotions. I felt film was a good medium for this because I could use music as well as imagery.
How did you cast your models?
I didn’t really do a proper model casting. The female model Ayo, is a friend of mine, who I’d approached to model before my collection was even designed. The male model, James, happens to be featured on the video by chance. We had a different model lined for the shoot who cancelled at the last minute. A friend of mine suggested James, and it was amazing how well the clothes fit him, and how good he was behind the camera, in front of a room full of strangers. I honestly couldn’t have asked for better models.
How does the performance of the models reflect the identity of the collection?
Both of them just had fun! It was obviously a little hard to begin with as we set them up in front of the camera and said “OK, Dance”. I think it’s clear that they were having fun and enjoyed themselves, which was key. The collection is not meant to take itself too seriously!
How was your video a collaborative project?
There were so many people involved in getting this video created – I personally probably played the smallest role as I just brought the clothes. We had the photographer / filmographer Nicole, who was amazing, and a makeup artist, Kate. We also had 3 of my friends acting as assistants; Dolly, Alice and Jacob, without whom I’d have lost my calm and of course the models, James and Ayo. The final person was my brother, Steven who possibly did the hardest job of editing the footage we had to the final film.
What do you feel is the role of the fashion film?
In my opinion fashion films are the new method for designers to really show what their collections and their brand is about. While a still image give you a good ideas of what the collection is about, a film brings and atmosphere and emotions. I think it’s a great way to show clothing: emotions often make things more memorable.
Are there any particular fashion films which inspire you?
Vanessa Bruno “Le bel été” – This alongside all other Vanessa Bruno films are in my favourites. This was the first fashion film I think I ever paid real attention to, and I remember being so inspired by it quirkiness and uniqueness. I also find “Hatstand” by SHOWstudio captivating – it’s the combination of the music, the amazing outfits and the model. Another favourite is “The Student” by Adrien Sauvage – shown below – which is so interesting to watch and really represents Sauvage’s brand.
Are there any changes you would you like to see within the fashion industry?
I think that fashion based school subjects shouldn’t be as overlooked and pushed to the back as they are. My secondary school Textiles teacher taught me basic skills in sewing, embroidery pattern cutting and print design. When I started my university degree many students did not have the same skills. If students have the right resources at school level, they’ll go on to higher education better prepared.
What would be your ideal Fashion Project?
At the moment, my ideal fashion project would be collaboration with a charity using fashion for fund raising. I have a couple of charities in mind I would love to work with. Fashion is a great platform for making people listen to what you have to say.
How do you imagine your future?
I am living a day at a time. The future for me is not a definite path. I’ve been told by many people in the industry that they planned to be something different to what they ended up doing. I’ll grab any opportunity that will enable me to learn about the industry!
“The Student” by Adrien Sauvage