This past week at Zalando fashion house Not Just a Label put together a number of fashion focused lectures and performances and curated a pop up sampling of pieces from up and coming designers. On Tuesday a panel with Berlin Fashion Film Festival founder Nico Montanari, photographer and filmmaker Astrid Solomon and photographer Michael Durr addressed issues of diversity and creative freedom within the visual culture of fashion. They began by screening two short films by Penny Martin who used non-traditional models and high fashion aesthetics to create narratives that subtly critique pop-culture/high fashion beauty definitions. Astrid Solomon spoke about the constraints when trying to use non-traditional models: “I have an issue with using 16 year old girls over and over. As a little girl I looked up to the supermodels who had personality…Today if you try to book a girl who’s not a size zero none of the samples will fit her. If you want a bigger size you can’t always find one”.
Montanari suggested that the burgeoning fashion film industry is the result of consumer desire for brands to have a more evident connection to their emotional and social values. Since film is more conducive to entertainment and to narrative, brands have an opportunity to make their values clearer to their customers. Wes Anderson’s collaboration with Miuccia Prada was used as an example. Solomon remarked that fashion film is about more than just images it is about “the ideas behind the brand”.
Michael Durr spoke about the constraints of large budgets or big production shoots where massive teams of people are involved. He seemed to feel that shoots with high production values are less creative. Both Durr and Solomon stressed that having a connection between models and photographers is crucial and this begins to fade when you have a huge set with many people pushing for things to go in different directions. “You need magic.” Durr said as opposed to “big teams where you can see everything you’re shooting on an i-Pad”.
NJAL has many more offerings last week but it was alone worth the trip to Zalando to get a peek at art work by Elizabeth Delfs and dreamy rubber dresses and shoes by “textile designer and researcher” Nadine Goepfert.