The fashion industry produces hundreds of short films each year featuring
the latest collections and although the majority these shorts are little
more than glorified advertisements, there are a number of labels who are
using the medium to take their story-telling to the next level.

A cleverly thought out advertisement campaign centered around story-telling
will undoubtedly strike a chord with a brand’s target consumer group whilst
helping them connect emotionally with the label. For most fashion brands
and retailers no campaign is complete without a creative visual marketing
advertisement, but over the years more and more labels have been tapping
into the cinematic medium in search of a more artistic way to share their
story. Rather than just working with an agency, a number of brands have
joined forces with cinematic directors to create short films which weave a
story around a certain collection, rather than just presenting it in a
direct way to the consumer.

But most important of all, a successful fashion film needs to have a
message which the audience can grap on to. According to Diane Pernet,
fashion writer, founder and director of the world’s first fashion film
festival and competition ‘A Shaded View on Fashion Film,’a good fashion film has to have a
story. “There are many interpretations as to what constitutes a ‘fashion
film,” commented Pernet during the festival 7th edition last November. “I
think we’re still exploring exactly what the parameters are because this is
still a relatively new genre. The beauty of the creative universe is that
we are always confronted with new interpretations, revolutions and
provocations that test our ideas on how to define things, whether they be
broad disciplines like art, fashion, cinema or sub-disciplines like
‘fashion film.'”

As consumers continually evolve and become more digital savvy, more and
more of them turn to the internet for their film fix. According to a
consumer study from market research firm Gfk, 59 million adults aged 13 to
34 in US watch original digital films online each month, which makes
short films an ideal medium for fashion labels to use. “Fashion short films
are getting more and more popular. The growing importance of the internet
and the social media in communication on fashion has made videos an
alternative to traditional portfolios of designers,” said Kaat Debo,
director of MoMu Antwerp at an event with ASVOFF in December. “For starting
fashion designers and directors or photographers, fashion movies are an
ideal way to break through. You can compare it to musicians making a career
thanks to Youtube.”

Fashion films becoming more popular as a medium for connecting with

In the past, even the top fashion brands Youtube channels had difficulty
getting more than 100,000 view on an uploaded film. But the shift towards
mobile and social platforms has changed this – as is evident in the number
of views. For example, French luxury fashion house Chanel released its
short film ‘Train de Nuit’ for its iconic perfume No.5 in 2011, starring
actress Audrey Tautou and directed by filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet, which
currently has 417,116 views on Youtube. Fast-forward 3 years later, Chanel
releases ‘Reincarnation,’ a 7 minute short created and directed by Karl
Lagerfeld to accompany its Paris-Salzburg 2014/15 Métiers d’art collection
presentation, starring model Cara Delevingne and artist Pharrell Williams.
The film was created around the moment Coco Chanel was said to have found
the inspiration for the iconic tweed jacket and has racked up 2,754,390
views since its release.

Whilst certain luxury fashion houses such as Chanel, Hermes and Dior have
been producing visual narratives for years, other brands such as COS,
Scotch & Soda, & Other Stories and Denham have recently begun to create and
share their own creative short fashion films. Last year saw Amsterdam-denim
label Denham remake the cult-classic movie ‘American Psycho’ with creative
agency Flickering Wall into a short film which depicts the compulsive
detail to craftsmanship that exists within the denim industry. This year
the label followed up ‘Psycho’ with ‘The Jeanmaker,’ which was based on
another classic film, ‘The Aviator’ and premiered simultaneously with
boutique denim trade fair Kingpins in Amsterdam. Both shorts are parables of the
original films which convey the label’s willingness to push the boundaries
in its search for the perfect pair of jeans.

“These short films are our slightly absurd way of exploring our inner denim
demons,” explained Jason Denham, the brand’s founder and namesake. “It’s
great to see the passion we put into our jeans return in the film.” Another
Amsterdam based label, Scotch & Soda, launched its first short film this
week, dubbed ‘Story of Things.’ The 2 minute movie is the first part of a
long series and follows a razor blade that is passed along and unknowingly
brings people together. Weaving a story around four characters, the label
has built a collection around each personage and their individual
personalities for consumers who may identify with them or just want to dress like them.

One fashion film that managed to catch everyone’s attention last year,
going viral and receiving over 100,000,000 views on Youtube was ‘First
Kiss,’ by film director Tatia Pilieva, for Wren’s 2014 fall collection. The
3 and half minute film depicts strangers coming together and kissing for
the first time in front of a camera, resulting in tender, thoughtful as
well as awkward moments. Unfortunately the powerful emotional connection to
the film’s content failed to directly link consumers to the Los Angeles
brand, with some viewers feeling duped by the film as it led them to
believe the professional models sharing intimate moments were ordinary
people off the streets.

“We live in a world of lies imposed by cinema and fashion, two industries
dictated by an economic reality which has long expired,” pointed out
avant-garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky during ASVOFF last November.
“Real artists are those who throw themselves into the void of the unknown
declaring war on this generalized illness. The creator is the free spirited
person who, out of necessity, is looking to give humanity back its dignity,
to awake consciousness, to find the sublime within themselves, to connect
with the universal, the cosmos and the divine.”