Bright Lights Big City for Christopher Bates – Credits

Direction: Travis Komarnisky
Artistic / Creative Direction: Alexandra Espinosa
Styling: Julianna Costigan
MUA: Caroline Levin
Music track: Fade by Holly Herndon

Travis Komarnisky lives and works in Toronto Canada. He graduated in 2013, at 23 from Ryerson University School of Fashion with a Bachelor of Design in Communication. You can email Travis at, follow his Vimeo channel or visit his tumblr portfolio.


What is the background of the work you submitted?
The Bright Lights Big City for Christopher Bates fashion film was created to epitomize the intrinsic masculine and phlegmatic identity of the brand. Sumptuous Italian wool suits set against concrete and stone come to idealize the relationship between a man and his environment.

How did you get involved with Christopher Bates?
Our relationship is strictly professional! To be honest I’ve not met him! The opportunity was presented to me by his creative director and stylist who also attended Ryerson in the same year as me. He knew I was working heavily in time based media and approached me to create a fashion film that would be congruous with the campaign being shot by another photographer.

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What was the objective of your video, what did you try to achieve with it?
Compared to the bulk of my work, this video is certainly more commercial and suitable for a wider audience. I rarely work with men in my films and do not usually deal with the classic image of a man in a suit. So this film was a departure for me; its objective was to showcase the beautiful clothes while creating a brooding, dark mood.

The Christopher Bates video has little narrative; it is a stylized representation of a strong man. A man in a suit has a strong connection to the metropolitan life style so it was also important to incorporate elements that highlighted the relationship between suit and city. The model was shot on a concrete wall and granite table so I added B-reel of skyscrapers, brick, and overlaid car headlights with a bokeh effect.

Can you tell us about the character you are trying to convey in this video?
Marketing works best when the target audience is able to identify the person represented in the advertising. Considering Christopher Bates customer it didn’t make sense to do something editorial and out of left field. It would have been obtuse to create a character that didn’t have any relation to the North American male identity. In essence the man in the video is the strong silent type.


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Travis Komarnisky

How was the music chosen?
The aural sensation of sound means that video images easily engage its audience. The addition of music bolsters and enhances the evocative nature of film especially in fashion films where the model is often mute. With every single of my video project, music takes precedence over the visual material. I always begin my process by sourcing music or enlisting a musician to create an original score.

The song this Christopher Bates video is Fade by Holly Herndon; it had been on repeat on my iPod for at least a couple months and I had been dying to put it to good use. This project finally gave me the chance to do so.

The song is built on tension with an amazing push and pull effect that gives the impression the video is alive, breathing. With each breath the audience is kept in suspense, waiting to see what happens next.

How was your video a collaborative project?
I’m a jack of all trades; I shoot, direct, and edit every one of my films… mainly because I don’t have the money yet to hire assistants but I’m also a control freak. It’s the Virgo in me!

Sam Grant shot the still campaign for Christopher Bates, he and his assistant Jeff Karlson as well as art director Alexandra Espinosa, stylist Julianne Costigan styled, and hair and make-up Caroline Levin worked with me on the video. All except Sam and Jeff graduated with me this past April. The fashion industry is extremely small and even smaller in Toronto so it’s often I’ll work with people I know or at the very least know of.

Working mostly alone … independently gives me the opportunity to mold my projects the way I see fit, but also has its limitations. Collaborative projects, like this one, are amazing because the project is fuelled not only by my creativity but also that of others. The ideas and concepts bounce from one person to the next, each time building up to create a final product that is bounding with interest.


What do you feel is the role of the fashion film?
Fashion is fuelled by fantasy and built desire. Fashion film is the natural extension of the still photograph in cultivating this environment of escapism, but the M.O., the Modus Operandi remains the same: Sell, Sell, Sell! Sell a dress, sell an idea, sell the brand identity. No matter how creative and left field a video or editorial might be allowed to be the core directive is to create desire.

What kind of fashion films do you like?
I can list a few.  Barnaby Roper featuring Kanye West for 25 Magazine – shown below –

CHILLS. A more typically fashion film in terms of its narrative, pretty girls with pretty clothes on: Steven Meisel for Prada FW11 is transformed by its music track into something slightly slithering and sinister. Genius! Nick Knight for Lane Crawford  stays true to form in creating a technology fuelled fun fest to feast on.

What is new in the world, where you live?
3-D! While not new to the world it is new to fashion film. Nick Knight and his Showstudio have been pioneering 3-D in fashion film as illustrate in the Lane Crawford’s video.

What changes would you like to see within the fashion industry?
I could think of many changes that could be made but I ask why bother trying to change anything when all the power is concentrated at the top?

The industry is filled with vapid, self-indulgent people who care more for their status than the quality of their work, therefore the standards and norms of the fashion system will remain the same so the people at the top can keep their power.

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What would your ideal Fashion Project be?
Simply to work with other people who love what they do.

How do you imagine your future?
Things are going strong for me professionally at the moment and I love where I’m headed. I can see my future just getting brighter and I hope to make it all the way to the top! Maybe things will change then, certainly little will stop me.

Barnaby Roper featuring Kanye West for 25 Magazine


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