Fashion films expose hard-hitting societal issues

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Students from the University of Salford have created big-screen fashion films that shine a spotlight on major issues like saving the oceans, rampant consumerism, fighting plastic waste and non-traditional unions.

The BA (Hons) Fashion Image Making and Styling students chose to create manifestos that were close to their hearts, before being screened to a private audience at Manchester-based independent cinema, HOME.

Dan Szor, Lecturer in Fashion Image Making and Styling, said: “Sustainability and the questioning of preconceived narratives is part of the DNA of our programme – we want our students to go out into the world and question, challenge and change.

“Having the films screened at HOME meant the students had the real-world experience of seeing their films on the big screen, in surround sound at a public space – critical discourse and peer learning is essential for creative enhancement.”

One particular student that saw his film on the silver screen was first year student James Creighton. James worked in a small group to create the standout film Unholymatrimony, which “presents the special day of two individuals who seem completely different but are so similar, with a compatibility is like no other.”

Speaking about the film’s manifesto, he said: “Unholymatrimony aims to open the eyes of our society and to make people realise that the social status and popularity they constantly chase is toxic and has no benefits when it comes to happiness.”

The group were not short of creative ideas and James said the most difficult part of producing the film was finalising a plan and being inclusive of everyone’s concepts.  

Unholymatrimony toys with the idea of popularity and social groups in school – something which is very evident through its style references.

“We wanted to play with some classic British characters like goths, emphasising the looks with props such as energy drinks and scooters, which is a total stereotype. Then we flipped the narrative on its head, having the goth character Kyle marry a very over the top, Mean Girls influenced woman.”

During the project, students had the opportunity to work with set designer and Salford alumni Rory Mullen, who has worked for the likes of GQ Style, Vogue Czechoslovakia and Helmut Lang, to create props and sets out of found material, proving creativity does not have to cost a penny as long as you have imagination.

“Rory was such a pleasure to work with on this project. He gave us an insight into the industry and showed us good work doesn’t require mass funds which of course is good to know,” said James.

“I don’t think we actually spent any money on the film, apart from buying a few cans of Monster. But even then, Lauren from our group planned to make some hanging sculptures from the cans so we made no waste at all.”

Watching his film on the big screen was a memorable moment for him. “Seeing our work produced on anything other than our own social media accounts is great. I want to thank our programme for setting the opportunity up.”

Watch Unholymatrimony in full. 

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