The Colour of Envy – Credits
Director: Sannah Harman
Art director: Li jia Chao
D.O.P.: Sjoerd van Beelen
Producer: Sophie Schaminée
Miss yellow: Lisette Rijkenberg
Miss purple: Laura Steenge
Make-up artist: Joycelynn Wigmans by Art of Colors
Sannah Harman is a 22 years old Dutch graduate from Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI). She graduated in 2013 with a BA in Fashion Branding. She lives in Amsterdam; you can contact her at Sannah_h@hotmail.com.
Sannah, what is the background of the video you submitted?
I did a minor in Visual Culture at AMFI which required we carried out different photography and film projects. One such project was a short film on the theme of fashion and freedom. We had a week to complete it.
How did the idea behind your film Colour Of Envy present itself?
The inspiration my team followed came from personal experiences. For me fashion is not free. Fashion can be a way to freely express your personality, but it can also be restrictive.
‘ideal image’ which, since I am a perfectionistic, I’m constantly trying to achieve … even when I know it is not possible.
Sometimes it seems hard to remain the unique individual we are. Grass is always greener on the other side and social media have made things worst. It’s an on-going vicious circle: you are unique, become insecure when looking at others being different, start feeling envious, find security in copying them until you experience the desire to be unique again.
We wanted to visualise this process through our video without being too rebellious or heavy. We used furniture instead of clothing to be less cliché and increase the possible exchange. We wanted the video to remain simple and clear, to express our vision of the superficial monoculture of fashion in a light-hearted manner.
Why did you choose a yellow and purple colour scheme?
Choosing the colours was actually one of the hardest things we had to do. We started off with black and white because they seemed more neutral but they did not work.
So we thought that imaging, creating two opposite characters for each woman could lead us to the best colour range. The result was an independent businesswoman in edgy purple and the innocent housewife in vivid yellow.
Can you explain your casting of the models?
Because we had so little time the casting had to be done within our friends. Sophie, our producer knew two girls who were real opposite in real life. They really fitted the roles we had imagined. Both ended up being really expressive, overacting slightly to create the silent movie feel we wanted.
How was your video a collaborative project?
Our team had four people and four jobs. I was responsible for directing the film, coming up with a concept and writing the script. Li Jia Chao was art director. She has an eye for visual consistency and build the set and made sure that every things, every detail was considered and in place during the shoot. Sophie Schaminée, as mentioned previously, was responsible for the production. She arranged the budget, location, actors, catering. She collaborated a lot with art director Li Jia on putting props and set together. Her cheecky but approachable attitude made everything easier.
It may sound cliché but Sjoerd Van Beelen, the only man of the team, was responsible for the technical aspects of the film. He delved into the possibilities of camera, lights and angles. Sjoerd and I also edited the film.
The four of us are very different. This project really tested us through stress, disagreements and healthy competition … but we still like each other!
What do you feel is the role of the fashion film?
I think fashion films are still undervalued. Another film project we did required we collaborated with a fashion designer. A few we approached were very sceptical about the value of a fashion film. I think in part, because they felt they would lose control over the way their clothes were presented visually. Still imagery seemed safer to most of them but fashion film does add meaning to a brand.
Even if you keep things simple, only showing moving fabrics and adding suitable music, a film is already more interesting than a photo! Fashion films make it possible to tell the story of the clothes through a choice of characters, location, music, props, and text. When you match all those ingredients with your brand, you end up with a very powerful communication tool.
What kind of fashion films do you like?
I love Mulberry’s short fashion film ‘Skirt’ directed by Amanda Boyle – included below:
Visually it’s such a joy to watch. The story itself has a lot of layers and can be interpreted in different ways. You feel like you’re watching a real movie and ‘fashion’ just hangs in the air.
One of Sophie’s favourite, which I also like very much is ‘MUTA’ directed by Lucrecia Martel for Miu Miu. The film strengthens the feminine nature of the brand by creating a mythical world inhabited by women only who acting in rituals communicating in code through a strange sign language. The location and art direction are amazing and there is a perfect balance between storytelling and the visibility of the clothes.
What is new in the world where you live?
I may not be an intense user but I’m really fascinated by social media. The line between real life and online presence is becoming increasingly fuzzy and I enjoy speculating about what is at play here.
The rise of Instagram is interesting. Still imagery seems key to communicating today; posting a text or presenting oneself through a video is too difficult or frightening. Photography on the other end is easy and controllable. You just keep taking pictures until you are satisfied with the result and post. That’s it. Photography is at its peak … I wonder what will come next.
What changes would you like to see within the fashion industry?
I wish there were more healthy looking models and less ‘populist’ stances in fashion…
Fashion though is a reflection of our world; this is what I find wonderful about it and I never want this aspect to change. Fashion is changeable, innovative and reflective; to succeed in fashion requires a form of creativity you have to be born with. I do not believe you can learn it.
So how do you imagine your future?
My talents lay in creating things from scratch whether text or visual. I have a lot of fantasy and get easily inspired. I love creating worlds in which somehow, everything fits together. I would love to work as a concept developer, but I think that in this industry you have to see what comes your way and learn from experience.
‘Skirt’ by Amanda Boyle