Studio XVII – Credits
Production Team: Phoebe Flaxton, Charlie O’Byrne, Victoria Kent, Megan Smith, Camilla Teden and Adam Martin
Creative Direction: Dean Stephen Davies
Filming & post production: Gary Thomas
Dean Stephen Davies, 23 year old graduated from the University of The West of England Bristol this summer 2013, with a Bachelor in Fashion with Communication. You can follow Dean on twitter @deansdavies and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit his website and Studio XVII’s portfolio.
What is the background of the work you submitted?
Studio XVII is a Fashion Collective consisting of the University of the West England’s 2013 BA (Honours) fashion graduates. The collective, created whilst we were students brings together the best in Fashion Design, Fashion Communication, Fashion Illustration and Textile Design. We produced and directed this eponymous film, using it as a platform to present ourselves to new and more diverse audiences.
More specifically what did you hope the film would achieve?
The film features one outfit from each of the final collections of the collective 26 graduating designers. We had 2 objectives – to showcase the unique vision of these 26 designers, whilst presenting them as part of a whole and to produce a visual ‘product’ that will continue to exist beyond the catwalk.
While the catwalk is ubiquitous to the presentation of fashion, films one way or another have always represented fashion, if simply through the representation of clothes as a necessary, almost banal, physical entity. Often however, films use fashion as a tool to articulate a subtly coded visual language around narratives, identities and places.
Having spent 3 years unpicking the accepted norms and common protocols of the fashion industry, Studio XVII wanted to find a way to bring these two formats – catwalk shows and film together.
Why and how did you choose the film particular setting?
We shot the film over one day at a sports centre in Bristol. We used the large sports hall and adjacent squash courts to film.
We felt this location, full of angular tapings and consequential markings offered endless scope for a visual narrative. The neutrally coloured backdrop allowed the garments to take centre stage and it also helped that the space was large enough to fit in 40+ people!
What factors influenced your style of cinematography?
We wanted to explore the idea of movement through stillness and static positioning. We tried to construct a sense of time and place through the movement of the camera and the structural organization and placement of the models. Isolated selves and unified groups coexist simultaneously in the film; the graphic architecture and institutional references of the sports hall also reinforce this impression.
Each shot was designed as live painting, a tableau. The evolution of the spatial, material and conceptual elements enables the construction of an ambiguous narrative; a narrative that captures the incidental and questions the status of the banal within the fashion industry.
More specifically if you had to refer to one film that informed your video what would it be?
We were influenced by Vanessa Beecroft’s live performances in which she will set up a large structure of participant’s for long periods of time, leaving them to create their own ephemeral positioning. A good example is the ‘VB40‘ project – Shown below –
How was your video a collaborative project?
This was very much a collaborative project. A core team of 7 students, including myself, Phoebe Flaxton, Charlie O’Byrne, Victoria Kent, Megan Smith, Camilla Teden and Adam Martin saw the project through from conception to completion. My personal role was Creative Direction – leading the overall vision and direction of the film, in correspondence with the team.
For filming and post production we worked in collaboration with Bristol-based film maker, Gary Thomas. Thomas comes from a background in urban music videos and fly-on-the-wall documentaries.
What do you feel is the role of the fashion film?
Fashion film, when distributed and shared across appropriate digital and social media platforms has the ability to reach a much wider and more diverse audience than a singular fashion show ever could. A moving image creates a world of possibilities for visual dialogue and narratives, which unlike the catwalk experience can be continually re-lived.
A film has the ability to capture an audience’s attention for its entire duration, allowing for a shift of focus within one simple movement or gesture, reigniting the audience’s attention again and again, whereas a still image can lose people after that initial interaction.
Dean Stephen Davies, Phoebe Flaxton, Megan H. Smith, Victoria Kent, Adam Martin, Naomi Staniland, Victoria Shillingford, Hannah Barry, Danielle Jayne Fuller, Harriet Dunning, Rachel Fox, Lee-Anne Bates, Jess Carrigan, Martina Dalton, Charlotte Groom, Chloe Geddis, Nicole Tebbutt, Emma Taylor, Lucy Gordon, Kelly Ye, Elizabeth Newman, Rhys J. Davies, Holly Laila Newman, Heather Heyworth, Gemma Thompson, Sarah Louise Davies.
Vanessa Beecroft, ‘VB40’