Fashion Forward – Young Filmmakers project blog post
by Bella Millon, Participant and MA Student IOE
From creating our own imaginary exhibitions to learning filmmaking
techniques, talking with the museum curator and researcher to time-lapsing the
streets of London – the young filmmakers project was five days packed full of
fun, and new and exciting experiences.
Working with Chocolate Films and staff at the Jewish Museum London, our
brief was to create a film for the new exhibition Moses, Mods and Mr
Fish: The Menswear Revolution. Since none of us had any experience of either
filmmaking or men’s fashion, it seemed like a far-off prospect on the first Saturday morning…
Days 1 and 2: Crash course in menswear and filming
We were eased into the project with creative activities exploring
how objects tell stories and considering the narratives which exhibitions convey. Peter and Ross from Chocolate Films talked
about film as a medium for conveying ideas and stories and how specific
techniques create different effects. We created our own exhibitions using
personal objects and the museum’s handling collection.
This led on to speaking with Liz, the exhibition curator, who helped us to
understand the overarching narrative of the Moses, Mods and Mr Fish, which traces
the development of the ready-to-wear suit by important Jewish companies from
the mid-19th Century to the ‘60s.
To fill us in on a more recent history of suit culture, Laura – a
menswear designer, historian and researcher on the exhibition – took on a
quick journey through the ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s.
These conversations gave us a lot of food for thought and in
particular we were very taken with the idea that fashion is a constant process
of action and reaction. This comes to mean that trends are not only a reaction
to what has come before, but are reflective of the social and economic
conditions of the time.
Many post-it notes later and we came to wonder…
If suits are reflective of previous trends and the world around us,
what would the suit of the future look like?
We decided that our film would be created around this idea.
Fast forward a week…
Days 3, 4 and 5: Creating the film
The next time we met it was time to start filming and we had decided
that we would ask the public to draw and talk about what they thought the suit
of the future would look like. By midday
we had transformed the education space into a film studio complete with a
time-lapse station and interview area.
Now that we were ready to go, the only thing left to do was find
willing participants. We took to the streets of Camden, talking to people about
the film, enticing them with the prospect of being in a real exhibition (and
Young and old, fashion expert and fashion novice, we found lots of
people willing to imagine the suit of the future.
Some people thought that suits would become futuristic and
Some thought that they would allow for more individual expression…
Others thought that suits would stay just as they always have done.
As well as speaking to visitors about their ideas, we all got to
learn about the different aspects of filmmaking – trying out the sound, camera,
time-lapse and editing.
The Young Filmmakers project was a chance to understand and be
involved in the exhibition-making process by creating content. I think it’s
really important to open up museums in new ways, and this project shows that
working with groups in collaborative projects creates interesting opportunities
for learning as well as bringing in new perspectives to the museum.
Visit Moses, Mods and Mr Fish: The Menswear Revolution until 19 June 2016 to see the final film in the exhibition.