January 12th, 2016
Fashion Popcorn brings high tea and fashion film to Encounters, Bristol
On Thursday, November 18, Fashion Popcorn broke free of the M25 bounds to host an afternoon tea event at the Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol. Invited to participate in the Encounters Film Festival programme, we presented a panel which included Stink‘s Stephen Whelan, Studio director Clare Reddington, Matter2Media‘s Tim Kindberg (recently appointed Research Director at the Studio – yay Tim!) and, of course, yours truly. All neatly sandwiched between tea and cake sessions, courtesy of Pullins Bakers.
Once I’d blundered my way through my opening preamble – which in my mind was much more coherent – Clare Reddington, director at Pervasive Media Studio, introduced the motivation behind this ahead-of-the-curve, uber-creative hub of academics, artists and technologists to Fashion Popcorn’s crowd. A slightly more intimate affair than our London launch, Bristol brought together fashion aficionados and writers, students, film-makers, educators, designers, creative technologists and self-confessed geeks, including representatives from Rushes Soho Shorts, Shooting People, Bath Spa University and our able volunteer teens from the Knowle West Media Centre. The fabulously-monikered Sooanne Bambaleo Berner, fashion correspondent from University of Bristol’s student paper, and avid reader of the Fashion Popcorn blog, dropped by to review the tea party – so if you’re reading Sooanne, be great to see it once it’s published!
We were very excited to have Stink’s Stephen Whelan join us to share his insights into fashion film, interactivity and consumer engagement and his views on the potential creative future of the genre. Presenting Stink’s work with fashion brands Levi’s, Diesel, and Wrangler, and tech brand Philips. In a first for Fashion Popcorn, his showcase also included the just-completed, never-seen-before, and stunningly beautiful, music-cum-fashion video for up-and-coming band Dark Star – get us, practically premiering new work!
I’m still humming along to the Diesel interactive music video-cum-catalogue for A Hundred Lovers, which Stephen talked us through, and which required every frame to be tagged (thank you interns!) so that the viewer could click on all the participants (all working in music, arts and interesting things) as well as their garb, to seamlessly link to purchase pages or social media profiles.
A true Popcorner, Stephen commented, ‘fashion and technology are natural bedfellows; fashion is always seeking the new and the innovative, and technology is continually pushing boundaries. It makes sense to explore the relationships between the two.’ He sees the collaboration between fashion and other industries as vital to give future developments real integrity, set fashion into context and increase its relevance to people’s lives; that we should look beyond our immediate gene pool and the obvious names, to evolve what fashion is, or else risk becoming derivative, clique-y, repetitive.
As he rightly pointed out that, just because a photographer can capture a beautiful image does not a make them a film-maker; and that there is a real necessity within the fashion industry to expand our horizons beyond our immediate walls. To set fashion into a cultural and social context which traverses arts, culture and other industries. As Stephen observed, ‘what relevance does a Lanvin for H&M film by Mike Figgis have to a person who exists outside of the fashion realm?’. Beautiful as the film is, he does have a point; arguably, the film’s opulent, self-indulgence does little to challenge the status quo of what fashion’s reputation as an often inaccessible clique industry.
With Tim Kindberg rounding up the showcase with a demo of his interactive Krstl mannequin, as well as his inspiration for involvement with the fashion and retail industries, we had the perfect springboard for a thought-provoking conversation between the guests and panel. Joined by the Pervasive Media Studio’s residents, our cake-fuelled question-time became a real opportunity to explore opportunities in the cross-over between industries, with discussions ranging in scope from full-blown geek-outs on R&D, practicalities of how to meta-tag video in the future, gaming and the simple beauty of the films showcased.
The Fashion Popcorn salon events are steadily gathering momentum; I have to pinch myself that we are collectively building a thought hub for us to play in. While I love fashion, I have been frustrated by the lack of discursive opportunities, meaningful engagement with other sectors and ability to really critique beyond the clique, but it seems that our little collective is playing a part in facilitating the creation of ‘what next?’ maps, with super-creative and engaged people. Everyone has a right to self-expression and a democratic vehicle in which to project it, and it is fantastic that the events and this blog are being seen as one of those destinations!
The next Fashion Popcorn takes place on Wednesday, December 1 at The Crown Pub & Dining Rooms, sponsored by Geronimo Inns and Havana Club.
A save the dave (sic; subconsciously must be aware of need to be more attentive to family?!?), meaning save the DATE. RSVP essential; follow us on Twitter for regular updates!