When the pandemic threw the concept of traditional runways shows into chaos, an LA duo were well positioned to rise to the challenge. In 2019, Wolk Morais' Brian Wolk and Claude Morais decided to make a short, conceptual film rather than doing a personal presentation for their brand's eighth collection. And amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, video also seemed like a perfect medium to amplify their latest creations. Driven was launched during New York Fashion Week, and designers say it serves as the LA "time capsule" in one of its most vulnerable moments. The duo had to get creative as they shot the movie this summer, hired a group of artists, musicians, and actors to star, and figured out how to style, shoot, and edit while respecting LA's socially distant guidelines.
"Fashion can adapt and make something out of the moment," Morais told POPSUGAR. "When we were allowed to hike after the first major lockdown, we talked about what to do. How are we going to reach the people?"
Wolk and Morais, who are also behind the Ruffian label, moved from NY to LA about five years ago and immediately embraced their new surroundings. While showing off some collections on city runways, their new home in Hollywood soon inspired a turn to short films. Screen test LAThe album, which they released last July, was shot on a sound stage and cast with an eclectic group of actors, artists, and musicians modeling the couple's Old Hollywood-inspired, crisp, gender-specific pieces. (The film was nominated for best fashion film at the London Fashion Film Festival that year.)
Given LA's much-debated status as a "fashion city," I had to wonder if their new digs helped move them to a more democratic way of presenting, one that is more likely to attract the attention of the most notable players in the industry and enthusiasts.
"The answer is, yes, (film) is proving more effective. Yes, we touch more people. Yes, we can go to film festivals around the world. Being able to show in London and NY the same 24 hours would be impossible," said Wolk to POPSUGAR. "LA inspired the fashion film genre for us in some ways, and it worked. I think LA inspired the fashion film genre for us in some ways, and it worked. Sometimes circumstances and lucky mistakes."
For "Driven", the only best fashion film at the London Fashion Film Festival, the couple got into a nocturnal routine. When the magical hour – that time just before dark, when the setting sun gave off an extremely flattering glow – came down, they arrived to leave a garment bag at a model's home. They would get dressed and then go outside. Wolk and Morais would drive by with the cameraman Fiorella Occhipinti and dedicate the moment to the film.
It was of paramount importance to both Wolk and Morais that the models in the film not only look what they want to look, but also be given the opportunity to share a little of themselves in their own words. Each model did their own hair and makeup, and because they weren't on set, much of the styling – under the direction of Wolk Morais & # 39; longtime associate, stylist Elizabeth Stewart – was in their hands. In keeping with the aesthetic of the line, bespoke tweed coexists with silver sequins, and a juxtaposition between the laid-back LA vibe and traditional dedication to the craft ensures that every look remains layered. The models 'voiceovers in the video capture their first-person experiences in LA before and during the pandemic, and were all recorded on Wolk and Morais' iPhones from a safe social distance. "People really shared how they felt: frustrated, sad, looking forward to the future," said Morais.
The collection was also largely upcycled and manufactured in LA, reflecting the duo's goal of making a statement and commitment that goes beyond fashion. “As a designer or storyteller, the last thing I wanted to do was create something that felt toneless or didn't know what was going on in the world,” said Wolk. "It is our job to reflect the age – and not just through fashion."