Raquel Couceiro, head of fashion film
I'm the head of fashion film at SHOWstudio and I've been working here for seven years going on eight. I edit fashion films with Nick Knight, go through fashion film submissions, edit interviews and make sure that we're always looking for new technologies to use in Nick's projects.
I studied film at university and have always loved fashion, so I thought SHOWstudio was the best place to join two things together that I absolutely loved, because SHOWstudio is the home of fashion film. It was a place where I could develop my editing techniques and try different styles and new approaches to filmmaking. It's very experimental, so my job is always very interesting.
When editing a narrative film, you come from a really structural way of working. When you work at SHOWstudio, it's different. You hold such creative weight on things because, even though we don't do narrative-based fashion films, the film needs to develop into something. It needs to be worthwhile and it needs to take you on a journey. That's all created by you during the editing, which is a type of creative freedom you wouldn't have anywhere else. You also wouldn't come across the type of footage that you do at SHOWstudio anywhere else; the beauty is so exceptional. It's my job to construct a thread and make the film watchable.
I loved the first film we did with Margiela, Reality Inverse. Working with John Galliano for the first time was such a shock. He's such an amazing person to have around because he's so creative. We've developed a language and a relationship with him throughout all of the Margiela films we've done since then, like Squidge, S.W.A.L.K. and S.W.A.L.K. II.
The reason why I studied film is because I think it's still one of the strongest ways of communicating escapism. Films take you to a different world. It's almost like an out-of-body experience. For Reality Inverse, we shot in inverted colours on set. We'd look at the model, Duckie Thot, through our viewfinder with the inverted colours and she almost looked like an alien.That was such an experience. Reality Inverse was shown at the Serpentine Gallery. There's something quite sad about only being able to watch out films in the digital realm, in front of a computer. When they're presented in a physical space they require a little bit more attention. They're more of an object, which I enjoy.
I loved working on Seven Deadly Sins because that was a journey. There were days and nights without sleep, which stretched over many months. The filmmaking experience was incredible. The film had some of the best clothes, some of the best models chosen by Edward Enninful and some of the best music of the time since the project was sponsored by Beats. It was the best of everything combined into one. Seven Deadly Sins showed at Times Square but the screen started glitching, which was heartbreaking.
My favourite archive project is Dream The World Awake which, again, was shown in a physical space. It's such a perfect way of using non-narrative fashion film. You have great models, great fashion, great styling and all these elements are interacting together in front of the camera.
One of the greatest things that SHOWstudio does is that it shows every part of the process. The fact that we have things like Live Studios, where you see a designer create a garment from the beginning, then watch Nick shoot it and then see the garment come to life in a fashion film. It gives so much to the art when you see how it is made. SHOWstudio validates what goes on behind the scenes. It doesn't just show the end result, it shows you all the things that went on before and after.
Rei Nadal, film editor and researcher
I’m a film editor and researcher here. I first came across SHOWstudio in 2012. It was the most incredible platform I had ever seen and did not look like any other website. When I showed it to other people, they found it hard to understand what it was since it is difficult to categorise, especially in comparison to more conventional, straightforward online platforms. It says a lot about how groundbreaking it was and still is today.
After years of collaborating as a director with SHOWstudio, I wondered what it would be like to be part of the team and work from the inside rather than from the outside, so now I'm a member of the team. I grew up as an outcast. I often felt I was too odd to fit in, but SHOWstudio was the first place where I felt at home, where I felt recognised as an artist. If it wasn’t for Nick’s belief in me, I do not think I would be making films right now. I always had this image of myself where I knew exactly who I was and what I was into, but I grew up in an environment where I didn't come across anyone with similar interests, which was extremely isolating.
SHOWstudio was the first place where I was told, 'I see what you're seeing in yourself and I believe it too.' Nick saw how I saw myself and he agreed with it. He reassured me that I was in the right place mentally and emotionally and that my ideas were valid. Girl was my first fashion film but I had already done a couple of music videos and found them really challenging. Nick had invited me to make this film with him and we couldn’t figure out how to work together. Nick has always been so respectful and believed in me as a director, so he proposed that we co-direct it together, which was a huge honour and completely mind-blowing. I ended up suggesting using a split screen device, in which one side would be my camera shooting Ali Michael and on the other side, it would be Nick capturing the shoot and finding images in that relationship. It’s a wonderful film which people often mention when they talk about SHOWstudio as a whole, but I think the most important part of it was how the male photographer took a step back and left two women to take direction of the shoot. Despite being camouflaged in an extremely girly aesthetic, Girl made a big statement about men stepping back and letting women take control, which was not necessarily something that was being discussed back in 2014.
It’s become a running joke, but I really like Beasting. My favourite archive project is Power Of Witches, which is this really extensive gallery of webcam shots taken during a collaborative shoot between Nick Knight and Rei Kawakubo. The way the project is documented is just brilliant; I’d never seen anything like it before and haven’t seen anything like it since.
There are few people or companies that truly deserve to be called visionary, but I believe SHOWstudio is exactly that. I've seen multiple SHOWstudio projects replicated by other websites and brands years after they were first made. Nick has been such a visionary in that sense; he has had his finger on the pulse consistently for 20 years.
We continuously hear photographers moan about analog film's superiority to digital photography, but Nick acknowledged the natural evolution of image-making and now practices like 3D scanning are widely used in fashion. What is really funny to me is that even after 20 years, SHOWstudio remains anti-mainstream. SHOWstudio was conceived as medium with zero advertising and Nick has kept it that way throughout the years. When he started to work with people like Jazzelle Zanaughtti or Fecal Matter, people were not really looking at these artists. By tapping them, Nick was saying, 'I see what you see in yourself and I agree with you. I endorse it. This is exactly who you should be right now.' It was purely about the artistry behind these individuals, never about the amount of followers they had - it was never exploitative.
I'm proud to be part of the SHOWstudio family and am excited to see what the next ten years will bring and what new projects we will take on.
Myles Henrik Hall, film editor
I am a fashion film editor working under Nick Knight and the head of fashion film, Raquel Couceiro. My original desire to work at SHOWstudio grew from discovering Nick’s work with Kanye West and Alexander McQueen, as well as SHOWstudio’s amazing work regarding fashion history and fashion’s future.
SHOWstudio is a haven for creativity and discovery. Working here has informed what I do on every level, from the visual to the technical and everything in between. The education I have received from working with Nick, Raquel and all of the team and our collaborators goes beyond what I could've ever imagined.
My favourite project I’ve worked on has got to be our most recent fashion film cum documentary piece for John Galliano’s Margiela, S.W.A.L.K. II. Working with Nick and Raquel in the early hours of the morning in Tuscany alongside John are some of my fondest memories.
As I write this, my two favourite archive projects are Killed, a photo-based project featuring fashion editorials which had been scrapped by magazines due to censorship and BLKKK SKKKN HEAD, a project which first inspired me as a child to look into SHOWstudio and greatly expanded my visual mind. SHOWstudio foretold fashion’s current digital state and so many of the techniques and technologies which will continue to drive it in the future. It is the blueprint for how and why fashion should live and thrive on the internet and in digital spaces.
Kit Whalley-Payne, junior film editor
I’m the junior film editor at SHOWstudio which involves working with various different projects, whether it's current or archival. I predominantly work on interviews and process films.
The work Nick Knight did with Alexander McQueen always stood out to me within the world of fashion as it seemed to completely cross the boundaries of fashion film and it explored the visual language of the medium in such a unique and new way. It felt as though it was completely removed from the fashion world and instead combined aspects of film, literature and music, portraying imagery in such a powerful way.
I see SHOWstudio as a place which allows for experimentation. It's also responsible for expanding the world of fashion film, moving it forward in new and unique ways and constantly redefining the traditional stories that are told through that particular medium. Spending my time editing everyday has influenced my own work by highlighting the importance of storytelling through editing. It has shown me how small changes can have such a great impact on the final product.
SHOWstudio has brought light to creatives and has carved out fashion's progression throughout the years by avoiding the strict business model of other stagnant fashion companies. My favourite part of the job is working with all the people who are part of SHOWstudio.