More Than Fabric: Fashion Films Final Reflection

‘More Than Fabric: Fashion Films’ was a studio that focused on the art and beauty of fashion in the form of film and cinematography. The aims of this studio was first to examine and analyse various ways in which fashion is represented in film, advertising and brand identity. This was done when we were shown a diverse selection of fashion films, from high fashion ones advertising for ‘Prada’ to more local ones such as an advertisement for ‘Country Road’, filmed on a farm. This taught me that depending on your branding, audience and style, the storyline is very important and needs to be relatable. The second aim of the studio was to create high quality fashion videos and this was done when my partner, Blair and I designed, planned, filmed and edited two fashion films; one being a short one minute trial video and another a two and a half minute high fashion film. The past twelve weeks taught me about different styles of fashion films there are in the industry and how to incorporate my own interests and ideas into making my very own.

Media studios are always hands-on and practical classes so when choosing ‘More Than Fabric: Fashion Films’ with Christina Heristanidis, I knew I would enjoy it. I chose this studio because it stood out the most to me; with my interests in both fashion and film colliding into one. In the past, I have dreamt about creating music videos that looked pretty, showing nice clothes and scenes, and this studio allowed me to do exactly that. I was also able to be onscreen in the projects my partner and I created which I thoroughly enjoyed, because I love being on camera.

In most high-end fashion films, it is rare to see faces of Asian descent starring in them. You will only see these models and actors in media made by their own country but in countries that are more diverse, barely show diversity. I am interested in Asian media and am studying it as a contextual subject during my degree because I want to work in Asian media relating to pop culture, music and fashion, so it was good be able to create a fashion film that starred me in it.

A class so practical is definitely beneficial to my future learning and careers as it balances well with my other classes which are more theory based. I can use the theory I’ve learnt about society’s views and values, historical, geographical context and other aspects such as sex, gender and politics in order to understand my focus target audience when creating media through practical methods, learnt in the studio.

Our main inspiration for the final fashion film project was a ‘Chanel’ short film advertisement titled ‘Coco Mademoiselle: The Film – CHANEL’, starring Kiera Knightley and Alberto Ammannn, directed by Joe Wright (, 2011). This fashion film was romantic, seductive, focused on the female character and was based around a photoshoot. These elements were taken and incorporated into our own project, though it did not have the relationship between a male and a female like it did in the ‘Chanel’ film, it still captured that romantic, mysterious essence as the main character ran through buildings and wandered around at night. At first, my partner and I wanted to use a similar song to the one we heard, ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s World’, to show female empowerment and have the same feeling, but after looking around for more mystical songs, it came to our realisation that it would be too cliche to use a song that focused too much on the lyrics.

The song we chose in the end, ‘Slowly Breathing’, was a royalty free song, with lyrics that did not take the spotlight away from what was happening on screen. It became more of a “professional” fashion film as it added more ambiguity to the storyline. This ambiguity and mystery is emphasised when audience watch the film and see where the location scenes were shot in. Unless you know Melbourne and RMIT University extremely well, you would not be able to easily identify the places. We had some viewers say it looked like New York, Rome, or Paris, and questioned where they were filmed, knowing little that it was simply in the CBD and around campus.

The ghost-like song we chose made the fashion film become a “thriller” in some parts, and gave chills to some viewers who I had shared the film with. I am glad that we decided to continue looking for music and the perfect song was found, because this shows that when creating film, photography, music, it is best to do lots of research and expand on what you have planned, rather than sticking solid to your initial idea.

‘More Than Fabric: Fashion Films’ has definitely been my favourite studio during my time studying Media and Communications, because before deciding to do media, studying fashion was also on the table for me. This studio allowed me to put both of my interests to work and creating a fashion film has been something I have wanted to do for a long time. The teacher I had was always very accommodating, helpful and understanding throughout the course, helping us expand our ideas into something more meaningful and assisting us to create work to be proud of.

Below is the link to the final fashion film project my partner and I created, titled ‘Find Me’.

Project Brief 3: Pitch Reflection

It is week 8 and the development of our final project is coming on well.
In the pitch that my partner Blair and I presented, we discussed our main concept: a short film showing a photoshoot, the shot angles we wanted and how we wanted to achieve these.
Our main source of inspiration came from this fashion film made for Chanel:

A week before, we also took some trial shots after hiring a tripod, dolly and track in order to follow our subject who would be on the move (a re-ocurring shot we want is to have the camera constantly moving slowly). The main problem we faced was the tracks not being as smooth as we liked, causing obvious bumps whilst filming – and because we will have a few shots in slow motion, any small flaw will become much more evident.

Another problem we encountered was the use of a drone. We wanted to have a nice, long shot of the city by night to open and close our film – creating a more moody sense but after my friend bought a drone, used it in the city and was told that that is illegal, I told Blair and we decided that it was no longer a good idea. In the pitch, we were told that if these scenes are not essential to the storyline, then we shouldn’t stress over it – but we as a group decided to still have these scenes, just through other means.

At the moment, we have everything planned (location, time, shots, costumes) and will be filming next week in the studios – hoping that the ideas and visions we have in our heads will work well out in real life.

Additional note: talking to Christina today, some more brainstorming and thoughts sharing forced us to think about how we want to delve deeper with our fashion film, and not just have a simple photoshoot that “looked pretty” – one with meaning, a storyline and maybe a message. More thinking will be done over the weekend before our filming day next Tuesday and Thursday.

Project Brief 2: Collaborative Reflection

Finishing the first project which asked us to create a 30 second to 1 minute fashion film trial video, I discovered many things, including how important it is who you work with, where your ideas come from and how different your ideas can be when it is no longer just in your mind.

My partner for this project was Blair and it was good because we had the same aesthetic and interests when it came to fashion and the overall concept. We both wanted to follow a theme of bright, upbeat and cheery “look-book style” video for this project.

I saw the wall that was used to film the video from photos on Instagram and was immediately drawn to it because of its vivid colours. The full wall has a large Sailor Moon painting on it, but that was not used in the video because we thought it would make the background too busy, when we wanted the focus to be on the outfits. The pink kimono already had colourful prints on it so to have it infront of a blank blue wall was the perfect contrast to the pink.

This was a fun shoot and was fun to edit because I greatly enjoy editing videos and music together, but for our future fashion film, my partner and I have both agreed on wanting to make one that has more emotion, storyline and can draw the audience in with how memorable and creative it was. This short fashion film was just to try out different camera angles and edits but the future one we hope to broaden our horizons more and make one that is much more unique.

I really liked the videos that were shown at the end of last Friday’s class, where at first look the short films were focused on the actors, the emotions and what will happen in the story; rather than being an obvious and cliche video showcasing only the clothing. I also thought the use of sound enhancement to emphasise the diegetic sounds such as typing on a computer, breathing, placing a cup down on a table to create more drama in the scenes.

I have been editing my movies on iMovie and although it is good for basic edits, it has some restrictions on more complicated ones that will be needed for when we want to make a more complex and professional fashion film. My partner has Premier Pro which we can use and I have a Nikon 3D400 which we used to film the 1 minute fashion film, so together we have the essentials. At this stage, we are continuously sharing with each other inspirations and ideas that we have for the final project and making sure that both parties are happy with any decisions and compromises that needs to be done in order to ensure smooth team work and collaboration.

silky and sentimental second week

The five fashion images I have chosen below represent my sense of style and what I find aesthetically pleasing.

They are the colours and textures that I find both nice and pleasant to look at and to wear.
I am interested in clothing that are “feminine” and effortless but still turns heads.

My favourite fabrics are silk/satin and velvet, with favourite colours being burgundy and pink. Silk is expensive and difficult to make; with one thread of silk requiring thousands of silk worms.

This difficulty in production is a contrast to the effortless and light feeling when worn.
For example, a simple silk slip dress is just “slipped” on yet it looks luxurious and sexy.

Burgundy can be seen as the more mysterious cousin of red – both bold and seductive yet red is more “free of doubt”, whereas burgundy has a more alluring sense to it.

Pink is flirtatious, fun and soft; mixed with a silk/satin or velvet fabric brings forth these themes because of how nice it feels on the skin and how it can drape upon the body, allowing the wearer to achieve an effortless sense of style; though giving off this idea of easy and simple, cannot be achieved by anyone.

This certain aesthetic and theme will definitely be explored further with my future projects in the semester, because I want to experiment with fashion films that give viewers senses of sentimental, romantic, nostalgic emotions. Hard to put down into words but these are the kind of feelings I get when I see or wear clothes that resemble those in the images presented. With the right song and directing, I think I can successfully turn my thoughts into visuals.

As said in my previous blog post, what I want to get out of this semester is to be able to finally give myself a chance to explore the ideas and interests I have had with fashion films, and turn them into actual work.
I want to make musical fashion films that act as both a short film showcasing the clothes I like, and also the songs I like. Both will go hand-in-hand in expressing the emotions I want the audience to feel and have them be completely engaged in the film, fashion and music even if they had no interest in any of it before.

I want to be much more experimental and playful with my projects in this studio because it is not all the time you get to be creative, whilst being surrounded by creative people who can boost you and inspire you.

more than fabric first week

For a person who enjoys both fashion and media, but did not want to commit to the high pressure, late nights, expensive fabric buying and intense, demanding environment that is the fashion design degree (things my dear friend, a fashion student has told me) (I’m sure it is much better than described and is very much worth the hard work), More Than Fabric: Fashion Films in the Modern Age seemed the perfect studio to do. A course that blends everything you have learnt about media, including theories, technical or practical, with everything you love and are interested in fashion.

In the past, I have wanted to create a short fashion film, showing clothes that I liked with music that I liked. Similar to a music video that not only showcased the song, but the models and the fashion. Just like what the course guide describes this studio to be, this idea will definitely explore fashion as both an art and an advertisement.

One video that stands out most to me is Kanye West’s music video for his song ‘Wolves’, which also acted as a Balmain Campaign. A sensational song with stunning visuals.

Watch the amazingly chilling video here:

What I want to get out of this studio is to be more knowledgable in how fashion and music go hand in hand, how to be more creative when it comes to photography and videography, and to create a fashion film to be proud of.

I want to find different ways to express my sense of style and aesthetic, but also by being exposed to people with various creative ideas in this class will also expand my way of thinking and help inspire me to step out of my comfort zone.

NCIS = Not Complex In Scholars (eyes)


In this reflection, I will focus on how the ways I watched TV shows has changed, and also focus on what certain lectures and readings have made me think about whilst watching particular shows and genres (specifically weeks 6, 8 and 9).

Within the span of three months, my viewing habits have changed drastically multiple times, with me abandoning ways in which I viewed shows, returning, and  then also finding new mediums.

Since a young age, the way in which I followed TV shows would be through DVDs. I would buy every season and the collection of different series would stack up. My reasoning for this was that I would only need to buy it once, and can watch the episodes over and over again (plus… special features!) They would be a prime source of how I got to these shows, even though that would sometimes mean I was a year behind the initial release on U.S TV and online.

This was not to say that I never watched TV on TV itself. This was a daily evening activity I did with my mum. I just watched different shows to what I had on DVD. Watching everything from the 5 o clock news, to the 6 o clock news, to more news on The Project. 7:30 were times when the big shows were on such as The Bachelor, Masterchef, The Voice, and ofcourse… The Bachelorette which aired at the end of September, and had my mum and I hooked from the beginning, all the way to the teary, (heartbreaking) end. These became routine viewings and bases of conversation throughout the night.

04cfd5d01802b2d2_tbt1-ep9-rose-richard_sasha_michael-47757.xxxlarge_2x When Netflix made it’s huge arrival in Australia, one of my friends told me I had to sign up and that it screamed my name. Simply because I was known to be an avid watcher of many, many shows. At first look, it was all very satisfying – with various shows and movies to watch and what SEEMED was a never-ending selection. That was until I searched up “the difference between American Netflix and Australian Netflix” and a bundle of bricks fell on my head to realise that we had been, as the Vietnamese proverb says, “frogs sitting at the bottom of wells think that the sky is as high as a lid”… in other words, what we had was NOTHING compared to the endless, vast option that the U.S members had! As I slowly realised the shows that I actually wanted to follow were non-existent for (legal) Australian users, I abandoned Netflix. I now go on other streaming sites to watch different dramas and shows from other countries.

netflix-logo Now to some thoughts I had during certain week’s lectures.

Week 6 had me wanting to know why it is that particular shows are categorised as “quality television” whilst others are said to be “middlebrow material” (having only a moderate degree of intellectual substance).

In an online article by Eve Ng, titled ‘Telling Tastes: (Re)Producing Distinction in Popular Media Studies’ (week 6), it was said that The Wire (HBO) was “identified as a favourite amongst media scholars” for both consumption and critical analysis, whereas shows such as CSI and NCIS (both CBS shows) failed to “fulfil” narrative, social and political aspects.

In Jason Mittell’s essay, ’Narrative Complexity in Contemporary American Television’ which was a reading for week 8, he also states that HBO has built its reputation based upon “narratively complex shows” such as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and once again, The Wire. These shows are said to offer an alternative option to conventional television, which have simpler and less inviting storylines.

Are scholars of popular media and culture discriminating? Who are they to say what is “quality television” and what is unworthy of watching and analysis? Who invented these taste hierarchies that have shamed so many people into hiding their love for reality television or casual sitcoms?

“Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier”, French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu famously noted.

It all depends on how the viewer sees the world and how they watch and understand the given show. A person can watch shows that would be deemed “good taste” such as Game of Thrones but have no real concept of what is happening, what the storylines, symbolisms and political themes mean, would that person still be put into the category of someone who has “good taste”? And then there is another person who religiously watches a sitcom, and is able to give a long and extensive shot-to-shot extract of a scene that is no longer than 3 minutes, analysing cinematography, camera techniques, acting and mise-en-scene, would  that person still be looked down upon, simply because the show wasn’t on HBO?

Jason Mittell nicely writes about this in his ‘On Disliking Mad Men’ essay (week 9), wanting to voice his opinion on talking about a show that has no appeal to him but not wanting to “condemn other people’s tastes”. Although wrong, it is difficult for writers to discuss their disliking without “convincing viewers that the pleasure they take in the show is somehow false or unwarranted”. Mittell clearly states that he is here to “share, not argue”. As a fan of Mad Men myself, I was left non-offended after reading this essay, because like my second blog post about audiences said, it is plainly all a matter of taste.




Jason Mittell. 2010. On Disliking Mad Men. [ONLINE] Available at:

Narrative complexity in contemporary American television, Jason Mittell, Velvet Light Trap, Fall, 2006, Issue 58, p.29(12)

Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: a Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Richard Nice, Harvard University Press, 1984 [1979]. 

it’s a matter of taste


The ‘Uses and Gratification Theory’, which was explored and discussed by media theorists Jay Blumler and Elihu Katz in 1974, identifies the way people use the media. This theory suggests that audiences are active consumers in this communication process between the producer and the consumer. They choose media texts such as films, television shows, books, etc to gratify their own needs and interests. This is where the idea of audiences and matters of taste discussed in the week 6 lecture comes into play. Audiences and their matters of taste go hand-in-hand as being extremely powerful in having a say as to what is shared on mass media. The primary example being if very few people are watching a show, or are sending in complaints about a specific advertisement, then the show or the advertisement may be taken off air.

Every show thrives on their fans and active participants. Fans are people who become highly involved in the development of both the storyline, the characters, and most of the time, the actors themselves. Strong emotions are felt towards the show and this brings them to begin reading into theories and backstories, alternative plots and the actors and actresses’ lives.

Fans of one show can help other shows gain more followers, simply because the viewers want to follow the work of their favourite celebrities.

‘Roommate’ is a South Korean reality TV show, which features eleven celebrities, coming from different work backgrounds, living together in a share house. Unlike the television show, ‘Big Brother’, where people are also sharing one house, these South Korean celebrities are not forced to be confined in this one house. They go to work, go out to eat and do their own thing as per usual, but use the large house as their new home, where sixty cameras watch them share the kitchen, living room, washrooms, and household tasks. Friendships quickly build and they become a family. And unlike ‘Big Brother’, it does not involve a group of noisy, egotistical people who are fighting to remain in the spotlight inorder to get votes from viewers to win the title of being “best housemate”.

WE70150279_w1700 The way in which ‘Roommates’ has been affected by audiences and their matters of taste were of both positive and negative nature. Although the show received an influx of interest by international viewers, therefore being hosted on streaming websites such as ‘DramaFever’ and ‘Hulu’, the show failed to keep their own South Korean audiences, and therefore was forced to be cancelled after the second season. It was said that people lost attraction to the show due to its “lack of direction” or highly scripted nature.

Reality TV shows have sparked an increasing number of audience members over the past years. Reality TV encourage people to believe they are watching a script-less film in which they can interact with and heighten the viewing experience. Audiences and fans of a show can call in to vote for who they want to see more of, or can follow contestants or celebrities on social media such as Twitter or Instagram. The ideas of the people on screen exceeding the boundaries of the screen and that there is a sense of liveness are what appeals greatly to viewers. Reality TV is “much more seductive (than other types of programming) because it seems much more real, much less orchestrated” says S. Shyam Sundar, a professors of communications.

love-and-hip-hop21Even though so many researches have found that the number of audiences for reality television are large and people have become accustomed to following the lives of contestants on social media as though it is their own, people still feel the need to overly justify the reasons for them watching such shows, or even deny their interest inorder to maintain a reputation of “good taste”.

So how does one define “good taste”?

It definitely depends on you who you are, what you like and how you see the world and what you see is “good”. Good taste can almost be contagious, and there is always a pressure that most people feel towards what they watch and what they don’t watch. When asked what a person’s favourite show is, if the answer was to be a reality show, they would immediately feel the need to follow it up with “I know, I know… but it’s fun to watch” or “I only watch it when my family does”. It’s hard to find somebody who will freely embrace their love for reality TV show because it seems to be some sort of morale offence and cultural discrimination!

There is no need to pretend you only watch certain shows because “there was nothing else on” or you just wanted something “trashy” to watch, each person has their own matter of taste and that should’t be shamed. Honestly, reality TV shows are are good sources when analysing editing, camera techniques and sound, and how that can affect the way audiences view certain characters and how it can so easily change the entire storyline. Ways in which people change or grow, depending on their circumstance is another aspect that can be watched and analysed in reality televisions, such as ‘Roommate’. It isn’t all poor quality junk.

disturbed characters, bizarre murders and stunning cinematography


true-detective-header‘True Detective’, an American anthology crime-drama television series, written by Nic Pizzolatto, is a show broadcasted on the HBO network. Season 1 tells viewers of both the work life and personal lives of detective partners, Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, whilst they work their first case together involving a serial killer in 1995.

The genre of the show is a mixture of crime, thriller, mystery and neo-noir.

The opening scene of the pilot episode immediately tells the audience that ‘True Detective’ is a crime show, (if the title hadn’t already given it away). As the camera zooms into the vast sugarcane field to reveal a not-so-sweet murder scene, where the young female victim is bound, blindfolded, with a crown of tree roots and antlers on her head and painting down her bare back. This view comes as a familiar, stereotypical scene to audience members who are used to crime shows, with many policemen, detectives and investigators gathered at the scene of the crime, in uniform, writing down evidence and taking photos. The fact that Cohle says “this will happen again”, indicating they have a serial killer on their hands, makes the show a thriller, because this then forces the audience to anticipate the next murder; keeping them on the edge of their seats.

Unlike shows such as Law and Order, Criminal Minds or CSI, ‘True Detective’ is not the type to give the audience a happy ending at the end of each episode – it will stretch out to the entire season. The show has much more depth and goals than simply finding out who killed who, such as delving deeply into the personal lives of the characters and discussing truths about the human condition.

Matthew-McConaughey The mystery genre of the show has less to do with the actual murder, and more to do with the mysteries into why Cohle and Hart are as troubled as they are, and more realistically, why the two have not spoken for over a decade and are now being questioned in the present day.

Rust Cohle in the pilot is set up to be the more enigmatic, hard-to-interpret half of the pair. He speaks in metaphors and philosophical expressions. What was frustrating though is that his partner, Martin Hart did not allow him to freely say what he wanted to say without shutting him down and belittling his thoughts. Describing the Texan town, Cohle says that “this place is like somebody’s memory of a town, and the memory is fading. It’s like there was never anything here but jungle.” Interesting, right? Tell me more, right? Yet his partner, without any subtlety or respect, retorts with “stop saying shit like that. It’s unprofessional”, even though he is the one who says Cohle can be too quiet.

The mystery continues to Hart’s character itself. Why is it that he is unable to listen or so quickly disregards in wanting to know about his partner’s personal life? This happens again, later in the episode, when Cohle comes over for dinner and Hart’s wife asks why he knows nothing about the person he is working with, yet she was able to know about his past within a couple of minutes of conversation.

Another way that Hart keeps his distance from Cohle, even to the present day as they are being questioned, is by describing him as a “good detective” – never a “good man”, a “good friend”, but only speaking about him as though he has no other life but to be a “good detective”.

matthew-mcconaughe_2827986c A scene that emphasises both the mystery genre of the show and the neo-noir/ Film Noir genre, is when Martin Hart comes home late at night from another disturbing day at work. As Hart leans on the door frame of his young daughter’s bedroom, watching over as she sleeps, he sips on his drink. The mystery here is that the scene involves a juxtaposition, Hart as a loving father with his innocent daughter, and Hart as a troubled criminal investigator who is trying to forget the horrors of his job. (Forgetting the horrors by allowing himself to see the most pure thing in his life? Or is this a way of showing his regret after doing something that would affect his family negatively.) Film Noir movies and shows often contain the element of an anti-hero with a conflicted past, trapped in difficult situations. This is both the characters in the show. Other elements of neo-noir/ Film Noir include low-key lighting to emphasise shadows, in which this scene clearly portrays.

Not much is revealed in the pilot episode of ‘True Detective’, but just enough to leave audiences who are interested in crime, thriller, mystery or neo-noir genre’d shows, craving more.


hey, you want a toothpick?

‘Drive’ is a 2011 movie directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, a part-time Hollywood stuntman and car garage worker, who by night becomes a getaway driver for criminals. Initially showing an icy exterior, he quickly warms up to his neighbour, Irene, and her son. It is a low-budget action movie, but for a film that would be described as having lots of violence and gore, it is very quiet. Though there are many silences and parts where nothing “dramatic” is happening, you never feel one second is boring or waste. The calm scenes in the beginning builds the intensity because of the audience’s prior knowledge of it being a violent film. As Dan says, it was like a “slow burning fireball”.

6874025-drive-movie The film is realistic in the way that not the whole film is loud and chaotic, because nobody’s lives are constantly action-packed, only in certain intensified moments. These moments contrast from the otherwise “quiet” movie and adds much more affect as it shocks viewers who have slowly become comfortable with the serene atmosphere.

Drive_Movie_04Subjectivity is the idea that what is said or created is based on, or influenced by personal feelings, tastes or opinions. Film can definitely have subjectivity, but the subjective medium affects viewers in different ways – depending on prior life experiences, knowledge and biases. A person’s own subjectivity merges in with the film’s subjectivity. For example, if you have been the victim of domestic violence, you will empathise with a character who is being abused in the same way, rather than someone who has never experienced such abuse, will simply sympathise with the character because they have been following the story in the movie and feel sorry for them. The fact that one film can impact so many people in so many different ways, solely because each viewer is so unique, is what brings up debate, conversation and discussion. This is how you know the writer and director of the film have done a successful job.