Barcelona has had trouble recently in establishing itself firmly on the international fashion stage. While it has a reputation as a stylish city and a place where designers thrive, it has struggled to create regular events that attract the industry’s big names. However, that looks set to change with the arrival of ASVOFF, a fashion film festival created in 2008 by designer and film-maker, Diane Pernet.
With editions taking place in a select number of cities since then, ‘A Shaded View on Fashion Film’ (to give the festival its full name) has shown that fashion isn’t just made for the static imagery of photographs, and brings together designers, directors and artists from around the world. We put some questions to ASVOFF Barcelona’s co-director Alex Murray-Leslie about this major fashion happening.
Why was Barcelona chosen for this edition of the festival?
Diane chose Barcelona as she saw it’s the perfect place for hosting international cultural events with a hungry audience seeking the new. ASVOFF Barcelona aims to open a few unknown doors in Barcelona, to try stuff out. It’s an experiment and Diane’s giving the city a fantastic opportunity to become one of the few ASVOFF cultural capitals in the world, which include Tokyo, Paris, Cannes and Mexico City. The difference is, the Barcelona edition has three competitions of its own: Official, Students and Mobile Fashion.
What do you think ASVOFF has brought to the fashion and film industries?
ASVOFF is an event that involves fashion and film, but also emphasises art performance, new forms of choreography, soundtracking and collaborations between multi-disciplined people. It’s a new informative language; I feel it’s on the leading edge right now. Diane has revolutionised fashion! She’s filled a creative gap. You can see a lot of designers and brands now opting out of catwalks, and making fashion films instead, partly thanks to the digital revolution. The medium has a longevity and wider reach online; it also gives fashion a more sustainable and democratic positioning with a wider audience.
Is fashion still important at a time when there are so many social and financial problems around the world?
It’s even more important, it’s like a mirror. People seem a little timid at the moment and that’s the perfect time for artists to go wild and make changes. Fashion film’s an easy tool, it’s not necessarily about money but big ideas and how to collage ingredients together, creating a dialogue for social change. That’s partly why we introduced the mobile phone competition into ASVOFF Barcelona: it’s an easy, cheap medium, almost everybody has a mobile phone with a camera and can shoot a fashion film with it (or their friend’s phone), so no excuses about expensive cameras and studios any more—ACTION!
What films are you looking forward to watching at ASVOFF BCN? Diane’s ‘Best of ASVOFF’ (a selection from the last four editions of ASVOFF Paris), Carte Blanche Naracciones by Charo Mora, fascinating fashion films from Escuela de Barcelona. That’s enough, you have to see it and experience it! Of course, the whole ASVOFF Barcelona team are very curious to go to Glen Adamson’s lecture screening. Glen is Head of Research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and will introduce Barcelona audiences to the current V&A exhibition ‘Post Modernism, Style and Subversion’, followed by a public forum.
ASVOFF Barcelona: CaixaForum, January 24th to 27th, www.asvoff.es