Hetty Mahlich: Are you seeing a desire, or even frustration, amongst students to have their work displayed in a more dynamic way?
Fabio Piras: I don't think there is frustration amongst students to have their work displayed more dynamically. We give a platform they may find more or less responding to their expectations, but in the end, that's all they are. They should not rely on us to necessarily deliver showcasing formats, but also realise theirs as they may see best fit their views artistically, socially or politically, and then expect that we support and promote them when they do it.
HM: What responsibility do you feel as an educator to facilitate and nurture change, specifically with how students present their work and themselves to the industry and the world?
FP: It is a responsibility to make students who pay a substantial sum of money for their education to lead them to trust more spontaneous forms of presentation as a more convincing way to emotionally and intellectually impress a fashion audience, whether physically or digitally. Students presenting themselves to the industry should trust that it is of no use to show the industry what they know already, what questions, provokes, and intrigues may be a better way to go about it even if it seems challenging and not what is necessarily expected. But it takes time and confidence to trust it. That is where the student-tutor conversation becomes important in discussing and learning what may be needed and questioning, if not sometimes having to undo it all together, to find a more personal level of communication.
HM: Where did the decision to make these moving image lookbooks come from?
FP: The idea must be credited to Menswear designer Mark Chapman @mark_ch_, one of the graduates of the MA class of 2022. Mark gathered four other designers at the end of that year to make a film titled NO SHOW to launch their work as an alternative to what the course had provided at the time (the catwalk show at LFW and a curated exhibition within CSM). The work produced was immediate, low cost and outstanding. It merged a virtual gaming attitude with low-tech photographic studio aesthetics. It was also inspired by social media videos of fashion cat-walking on treadmills that have been around for a while.
I wouldn't know if Mark's idea came from frustration [as discussed in previous answer]. It was a positive, creative reaction that inspired me to continue the project this year to feature the whole class of 2023 and involve Fashion Communication undergraduate students at Central Saint Martins to produce it.
It made me think that we could do it as MA Fashion and that it would involve everyone in the Class of 2023 who wanted to walk their collection on the treadmill for three days. It gave us great material to communicate with and keep for our archives.
HM: How did the students respond and engage with this project?
FP: The students may have been perplexed at first as to what the outcome would be and then saw the fun opportunity and that other students made it more engaging altogether.
Explore the moving lookbooks exclusive to SHOWstudio here.
MA Fashion Central Saint Martins 2023 44 collections in 3 minutes @MAFCSM
Course Director: Fabio Piras
Producers: Melanie Ashley and Jet Jet
Editors: @hannah__coen @sopstaa
Videography: @intheeemoud @stecorti @hannah__coen @sopstaa
Collections Manager: @y1t_cc