There is a new set of a creative class in Kenya that seeks to connect fashion to consumers at a level that speaks to film critics and fashion aesthetes. They are doing this by introducing and refining the genre of fashion films. The set comprises, Sunny Dolat, a stylist turned producer and Jim Chuchu, a filmmaker, who’s developed a keen eye for fashion, both part of the Nest creative collective.
Fashion Films are hardly a new concept globally. They have however been the subject of controversy with many film critics arguing that slow- motioned mono sequences of what should have been a still image, does not make a fashion film. The definition of what actually makes a fashion film has also been cause for contradiction. Is a fashion film an ad campaign or will fashion films help demystify avant-garde apparel? Must fashion films match up to the excitement that fashion brings, installations and dramatic unfolding of a designer’s collection?
Pioneers of the genre in Kenya
The first attempt at filming fashion films in Kenya was 2013. Stylist Sunny Dolat teamed with Jim Chuchu and the rest of the Nest Collective to create a series of fashion films inspired by the collections of a set of designers including Katungulu Mwendwa, Wambui Mukenyi, Blackbird jeans and Nick Ondu. The films were released on YouTube and were received with mixed emotion.
FASHION FILM; To Catch A Dream
Two weeks ago I was excited to receive my invitation to the premier of a short movie, To Catch A Dream, a fashion film starring Kenya-born international supermodel Ajuma Nasenyana. The movie would be screened before an audience at the Century Cinemax. It sounded serious, I felt excited and so did many others who filled the screening room. The film script was of the fantasy genre written and directed by Jim Chuchu, its executive producer and creative director was Sunny Dolat.
A story intertwined with fashion
From its very first scene, the film depicts costumes worthy of conversation. The film involved the creation of unique fashion pieces by six commissioned designers. Designers included, Namnyak Odupoy, Kepha Maina, Jamil Walji, Azra Walji, Ami Doshi, Katungulu Mwendwa, Ann McCreath and Adele Dejak.