Shortly before the men’s fashion week circuit began in London, Aaron Christian released a video he shot last year depicting the very colorful men’s street style scene outside of the Pitti Uomo trade show in Florence.
In his four-minute short film, which he’s calling a “mockumentary,” Christian, who used to work on the video team at Mr Porter, takes cues from wildlife series and humorously portrays the life of a camera-hungry, Pitti Peacock — the British narrator describes them as “nature’s most extravagant narcissist.”
Christian talked to WWD about why he decided to make the mockumentary, what he thinks of the crowded men’s street style scene and why film is becoming so important for fashion brands.
WWD: What made you want to do this?
Aaron Christian: When I worked at Mr Porter I used to do the shows in London and go to Pitti to shoot videos. As years went on, I started to notice a change in that whole kind of scene and it turned into a crazy circus. There were people showing up that didn’t go to the shows. It really exploded at Pitti because it’s a different atmosphere. People aren’t rushing from show to show. It’s four days straight in one area and you can take your time and speak to people.
WWD: How did you come up with the concept?
A.C.: I was inspired by a film “Emoji Among Us,” which was basically a film that showed how emojis are becoming a culture in our society. That’s also how I discovered the voice over talent. I used that as a template and thought it would be amazing to change the lens to what I experience during the shows. It feels like this crazy wildlife theme. I wanted to do it at Mr Porter but because it was a commercial e-commerce company they thought it could’ve been taken the wrong way. I totally understood that. Dazed wanted to pick it up at the time, but the commission kept changing and they kept pushing back when they wanted me to shoot it, so I just decided to do it on my own.
WWD: Have you received any negative feedback?
A.C.: It’s been really, really positive feedback. Obviously I had reservations. You don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you and I’ve been working in the industry. But I think people know my work has a comedic quality. Most of the people I’ve spoken to are editors and buyers and they are all aware of it anyway. I did have certain reservations, but I thought it was an interesting and fun story to tell.
WWD: What do you think of how the men’s street style scene has developed over the years at Pitti Uomo?
A.C.: I love street style but I don’t know. It’s a weird one. It needs to kind of push on and really develop and I don’t think it’s doing that. I’m not talking about the photographers. They do great work. But the scene itself seems very repetitive and some of the people who come in are people who want to self-promote. But the best work was being showcased and produced when people weren’t aware of the scene and weren’t so stressed about what they are wearing. So in that sense it’s been a negative thing on the scene, but I understand that the photographers are still going to shoot because the fashion shows aren’t going to stop. That circus element doesn’t drive it forward. And I think the photographers are aware of that as well. They make a conscious effort to not shoot the people who are posing or trying to get their photos taken.
I still think it serves a purpose in some elements. And I think the people who know what they are looking for still find something interesting. I’m still inspired by how certain people pull their looks together.
WWD: Have you noticed more brands become interested in using film as a medium?
A.C.: I definitely think film and moving images is a massive growth area and I’ve been lucky enough to be a content creator and director in that world. It’s interesting. When I first started with Mr Porter they were a company that pushed moving image as a way to create interesting content and sell product, but the way it’s moving now it’s going to be that on a bigger scale. With Amazon getting into fashion it’s going to be really interesting to see how they then marry up their whole film department with being able to sell product. It’s going to be interesting. Say for example if people who watched the “Narcos” series were able to buy product in the show from Amazon. That’s the next thing. Whenever a new Bond film comes out there is a fashion collaboration, but there’s still a disconnect. But Amazon has their fingers in all of those areas — fashion, film and TV.
See the video below:
The Life Of Pitti Peacocks – Pitti Uomo Mockumentary from Aaron Christian on Vimeo.