BOX – Credits
Direction and Production: Nicci James, Sonia Wan, Ailsa Reeve, Sophie Martin
Models: Lara McGrath, Harry Appleyard, Sean Taylorson
Makeup Artist: Zoe Mccaffrey
Consultant: Zoe Hitchen
Nicci James is a 21 year old student currently studying for a Fashion BA at Manchester School of Art. She expects to graduate in 2014. You can follow her on twitter at @n1cc1j4m3s and view her tumblr.
Nicci, what is the background of the video you submitted?
The video is a fashion film commission by the final year students on my Fashion BA course. It was produced to be shown as part of the Manchester School of Art degree show. Final year students each selected one look from their collection to be featured in the film. First and second year BA students with an interest in film were chosen to produce the film.
The idea was to promote the work of the third year students in a forward fashion. There were two films made: the one I worked on featuring garments categorized as ‘bright and bold’ or ‘vintage nostalgia’, and the other featuring ‘gothic and grunge’ or ‘minimal sculptural’ designs. –
The other film can be watched here –
How did you come up with a concept which would be relevant to all the different graduate collections?
We were initially drawn to Vikki Salmon’s knitted boxes and our ideas evolved from there. A sense of childlike playfulness came through in many of the collections and we wanted to build on that.Our references included dressing up boxes, ‘Watch with Mother’ (a UK children’s TV show spanning the 1950s-70s and puppetry, elements we tried to tie together through movement. It was challenging to work with so many collections but developing ideas from a single starting point worked quite well.
What did you want to achieve with your video?
The objective was to showcase the work of the graduating designers in the best possible light. We wanted to make a film with a sense of humour that the audience would remember because it made them smile. Our aim was to highlight the playfulness within each collection and engage viewers with movement rather than focusing on extravagant sets.
How was your video a collaborative project?
I worked with first year students Sonia Wan, Ailsa Reeve and Sophie Martin to produce the film and we were all involved with every stage right through from initial planning to final edit. Alongside that it was my specific role to create the animated sequences.
It was great to work with the girls because we were all really excited about it and keen to learn from the experience.
What was the styling process like?
We did all of the styling ourselves, mostly through trial and error. Some of the designers were quite specific about how they wanted their garments shown but for the most part they were happy for us to ‘go crazy’. Our female model (Lara McGrath) was wonderful to work with because she naturally just knows how to move; the expressive movement the role required came naturally to her. We styled her in most of the clothes, including a lot of the menswear which lent itself well to our concept, and got a lot of positive comments from the designers.
Was there a particular message you were hoping to create in terms of the models makeup?
Colour was a key feature in all of the collections we worked with. We wanted to accentuate this without being too complicated. The flash of colour across the face was quite a bold move but it made the outfits pop. Many thanks to our makeup artist Zoe Mccaffrey for helping us realise our makeup concept.
What do you feel is the role of the fashion film?
I think fashion films communicate concepts effectively because they allow the audience to see fashion ‘in situ’ so to speak, on the body. Film allows for the bigger picture to be seen. It’s not just about showing great garments, films enable you to describe and explore the creative journey that led to them.
What kind of fashion films do you like?
I really enjoy Quentin Jones’s fashion films such as House of Waris – The Plummage Necklace – shown below – because I love her sense of humour. Stop motion always gets my attention and her method of incorporating static images within I find to be insanely inspirational.
Filmmaker Zoe Hitchen is also a huge inspiration to me, partially because I am lucky enough to have been mentored by her on several projects over the past year. The images within her films are always so powerful and have a lasting impact on the viewer. I love how she uses graphics; I think it’s the adding of a further dimension to film which really engages the audience.
What is hot or new in the world where you live?
I think 3D printing is a pretty hot topic. I seem to be reading about it or seeing it everywhere lately. I stumbled across the ‘first 3D printed doll manufacturer’ in Selfridges this week. You can specify everything from the angle of the eyes to the shape of the ears. Things going the way they are I wonder how long it will be until we can print our own clothes at home.
What changes would you like to see within the fashion industry?
I would like to see interns being more appreciated for the work they do. I have been lucky with my own internship experiences; I have always been treated fairly, respectfully and with gratitude for the work I have done. Unfortunately I hear so many stories from friends about how they have been poorly treated and exploited. I can see no excuse for that. In an ideal world interns would be paid and treated no differently from any other employee. As it stands many students and graduates are spending their own money to get experience within the industry.
What would be your ideal Fashion Project?
I would love to work on another fashion film; although demanding they are so much fun. Animation is a particular interest of mine so it would be wonderful to work on a piece which incorporated it in a really creative way. There is so much I would like to learn in this field!
Do you have any plans for the future?
I’m open to opportunities. I hope to get involved with collaborative projects as I really enjoy working with other people and finding how their work influences my own.
Currently my main aim is to produce my final collection ensuring it really reflects my creative personality and hopefully have an absolute ball whilst doing it!
House of Waris
The Plummage Necklace