Uncommon Creative Studio has created the launch campaign for COLLUSION, a new gender-fluid fashion label for the youth in Britain, backed by ASOS.
The national campaign sees 100 ordinary young people from Birmingham, Brighton, Glasgow and London respond to the question: “What do you wish for, in the year you come of age?”
From director Dan Emmerson and photographer Tom Sloan, with production by Somesuch and creative direction from Uncommon, the deeply personal body of work becomes a unique visual census of British youth. Through powerful insight into a generation born in the year 2000, the project travels to places both poetic and prosaic, finding incredible beauty in the ordinary.
Watch the 90-second trailer:
The stories told in the campaign vary in the degrees to which they focus on their subjects. Some zoom-in on intimate details of a life lived in Britain: Nnamdi Izuchukwu (‘Niz’) is an aspiring rapper from London. Niz works in a betting shop and takes viewers for a ride in his beloved and recently acquired first car, lovingly named Yolanda.
Watch the six-minute launch film:
Fred Alexander, a skateboarder from Walthamstow, speaks to lad culture and latent misogyny in his hometown. In his own words: “I chill with a lot of girls… they’re just generally better people.” Nadia Ahmed, a DJ from Manchester, discusses the importance of voting and describes political action as “a high.”
Others’ portraits tell poignant tales of struggles overcome.
Shay Thomas, who identifies as ‘them/they’, tells the story of having been abandoned by their birth parents at the foot of a temple in Thailand before raised by adoptive parents in Glasgow. For Shay, turning 18 means “becoming the person I’ve always felt like I am.”
Each portrait offers viewers a momentary glimpse into a real life.
The young British team behind the ambitious project describe it as one ‘cast by fate, not features.’ Each member of the cast of 100 responded to a casting call for ‘babies born in the year 2000’, with no restrictions set against shape, size, gender, identity or ethnicity. The ask was for ‘any living human, able-bodied, or not, from all walks of life.’
COLLUSION’s brand model sets out to be constantly evolving, and never fixed. The label targets a new generation and as such, real members of that audience - chosen for their commanding voices - will continuously be invited to re-imagine and re-shape what COLLUSION is.
A line-up of six founding collaborators have been shaping the first chapter of the brand for the past year.
These six young creatives are consumers of, consultants to, and architects of this brand, and have helped realise a wardrobe which speaks directly to themselves and their peers. They have been involved in countless brand development touch-points along the way - from the cut of a jacket, via the brand’s commitment to representation and inclusivity, to the way that it is marketed, photographed, styled and sold.
Each young consultant has taken the label to places it could never have gone alone.
COLLUSION’s debut collection and the regular drops beyond it will be available up to size 6XL. Price points for launch range from £5 for jersey basics to £70 for statement outerwear. The collection is animal-free.
COLLUSION’S SIX FOUNDING COLLABORATORS
“Community means a lot to me. As a working class, queer woman of colour… It's really important, it's what I need to survive.”
Rene, 21, is a visual artist and activist analysing the intersections of her identity with the aim to educate, mobilise and empower. Through her work she critiques, exposes, combats and questions power structures within the art world - and society more widely. Her artwork is about the emotional labour that goes into activism and existing as a queer person of colour.
“I love proving people wrong, it's always been a thing for me. Especially when I dropped out of college last year.”
Spencer, 18, is a vlogger who uses his platform on YouTube to be open and honest about societal pressures to follow the ‘right’ path. Dropping out of school and pursuing his passions outside formal education has produced an inspiring career trajectory. Hailing from Devon, he is acutely aware of the how much environments shape young minds. He is hungry to explore the world in a bid to celebrate differences that make everyone so individual. Carving out new narratives and highlighting existing ones in his area, Spencer’s youtube channel serves as an outlet for style but ultimately it unites people and allows many to express themselves. His collaboration with Collusion is an extension of his eagerness to learn outside the boundaries of convention.
“It's exhausting to see the same problems in fashion… I have never seen myself, as someone with one hand, or someone with a difference in appearance, on any form of media…”
Grace, 23, is a body positivity activist, a frequent TV personality, and an actress. Her impressive range has afforded her the confidence to speak on matters that are still largely bereft from the media landscape. Having a foreshortened arm since birth has enabled her to approach issues of representation on her and her sister Amelia’s witty and insightful YouTube channel. Grace’s work with COLLUSION sees her strive to become part of the drastic change that she wants to see in a fashion industry that still isn’t inclusive enough.
“I joined Collusion because I wanted to be part of something that created the change that I want to see.”
Chidera, 23, known to her followers as The Slumflower, is an award-winning blogger and author, and a politically astute force to be reckoned with. Her moniker is inspired by Street Etiquette’s ‘Slumflower’ project that centered around the idea of a rose growing from concrete which the young author sees as a direct parallel to her own experience of growing up in Peckham. Her self-help tomes and inspiring TED talks cover a wide range of contemporary feminist issues. From body positivity – Chidera began a viral movement named #SaggyBoobsMatter – to issues on race and gender, she is already a leading voice on intersectional politics.
Jebi Ndimuntoh Labembika
“My main focus is to change the narrative of how Africa in general has been portrayed in the media… Now is a time that we can start to have a more truthful conversation about each other's cultures, you know. Countries just being stereotypes in people's minds - it needs to go.”
Hyper-creative fashion enthusiast Jebi, 19, is a student, blogger, stylist and photographer currently studying at Central St. Martins. Jebi is passionate about furthering a progressive narrative about the African diaspora in the wider media, through style. Hailing from Cameroon, Jebi has consistently used his upbringing there as his touchstone for his stylistic choices; it has also spurred on his desire to change negative stereotypes about other nationalities. Perception and the manner in which society communicates is intrinsic to Jebi’s outward and inward ideological principles. Sporting carefully-put-together tailored looks, Jebi’s consideration to detail and poise is applied in equal measure to his collaborative contributions to Collusion.
“Other people like me can see this and feel like 'if she can do it, I can do it as well. She's my age, she's my colour, she's a female’.”
Clarissa is a multidisciplinary creative, she navigates herself through film-making to clothing design and styling with impressive agility. GDS (GIRLS DO SUCCEED) is a luxe-sports brand Clarissa created to celebrate and showcase the fusion of women’s fashion, sport, and lifestyle. It acts as another point on her multifaceted blog to empower young women. Clarissa’s blog Vintagedollrisa began when she was 17 and served as a journal of personal style and identity. At the heart of Clarissa’s collaboration with COLLUSION is the idea of furthering a message to the young women tuning into her style to be confident in the power their body holds.