Behind the scenes of an outstanding artistic collaboration
As graduation approaches students are looking back at one of their most ambitious collaboration projects: Fluid — An artisanal high fashion photoshoot. Their goal was to create international editorial appeal with fresh designs and captivating photography that brings sustainability into focus. The project explores themes of expression, inclusivity and timelessness that are reflected in the pieces, which traverse beyond the boundaries of gender and colour. They are in every way, fluid.
Fashion is the expression of a state of mind, and photography captures that essence and conveys it to the audience. A collaboration of the two arts in a professional setting is inevitable. This was the inspiration for Arline Malakian and Zoran Dobric to develop this high-profile project.
Fashion and photography are highly competitive professions. They’re fast-paced, network-based and ruthless to amateurs. So, how can students make it in this industry? By having the confidence and experience to make a splash from the beginning. If aspiring designers and photographers worked together to create an industry standard piece, the world of fashion would take notice. Fluid was created for precisely this purpose – to draw the attention of the seasoned professionals and show them what Seneca College students were capable of.
In this collaboration, students from the Photography, Fashion Arts and Cosmetic Techniques & Management programs came together to create magic that would give their portfolios an edge and help them take the professional world by storm.
Any collaboration requires hard work, communication and mutual understanding. Executing Fluid was no different.
Fashion Arts students developed the concept of Fluid and determined the themes and ideas they would be exploring through their designs. They met regularly to brainstorm ideas, plan, and consult the right people to bring their vision to life.
They knew that every piece, every design, every shot should tell a story. The audience should be moved, and their work should make a difference. They worked relentlessly to co-select garments and fabric that would best represent the essence of Fluid.
Cosmetic Techniques and Management students played a key role in tying all the visual elements of the design together. With direction from the Fashion Arts crew, hair and make-up brought the look to life. It added the final aesthetics to pull together the entire piece and take it to the next level. While the designs spoke for themselves, cosmetics added the final appeal that would draw the audience in.
Photography students worked to create magic behind the lens. Their role was to co-direct the shots, and develop a storyboard tailored to the designers’ visions. They were tasked with putting their technical skills to work by arranging the lighting, set, and presentation in a way that would capture the story and express through visuals the importance of fluidity – the central theme of the project. While they worked with the Fashion Arts students during the shoot, a significant amount of their work was done in post-production, where they ensured that their work captured the essence of Fluid and exceeded industry expectations.
Two intensive days in Seneca’s Sandbox studio and numerous days prior and post-shoot were expended to make Fluid possible. Every unit worked efficiently independently and together. They were aware of their roles, acted with utmost professionalism, and most importantly, thoroughly enjoyed the process!
The experience of working with other departments and creating something from scratch was absolutely enlightening and exhilarating for the team. They were part of something bigger; something that is very much a regular practice in the professional world.
There were certainly challenges and the students grew more confident with every obstacle they overcame. With quick problem solving skills, communication, and teamwork, they made the best of tight schedules and small spaces. It was a learning experience that prepared them to face an industry as tough as fashion, head-on.
“[We learned] how much effort is required from everyone who is involved: Makeup artists, models, photographers, stylists… Everyone’s job is important and we all must rely on each other’s knowledge.”
– Deborah Alvarado (Photography)
The professional world of fashion and photography functions like a well-oiled system. They work together seamlessly to create exquisite works of art that are celebrated across the world. However, even industry experts who are part of projects like Fluid on a much larger scale had to learn somewhere. Students had the opportunity to develop a toolbox of skills that will propel them into the fast-paced industry and make them known in the face of tough competition.
They learned how to process and edit high quality fashion editorial stories as well as ideation and concept development under a very conceptual direction encompassing art, fashion, beauty and photography in and for a specific context.
“Everything starts with the design of the clothes, you have to understand the concept and photograph it in a way that will enhance its “vibe” while at the same time keeping in mind trends and your own personal style of shooting,” Deborah added.
Along with the knowledge gained, students now have a series of photos that will enhance their portfolios and expose them to the fashion world. It gave them an opportunity to create something that they are proud of and can confidently take with them when venturing into the industry.
It is truly an accomplishment for the artists to have seen such an elaborate project from start to finish. It is a testament to the talent and tenacity of our students at Seneca College. They are constantly seeking to expand their horizons and prepare themselves for a career in something they are truly passionate about.
That is the real reward of this project- it was born out of genuine love for their craft and a determination to prove themselves!