A year and a half ago, The Other began a project for a documentary series on contemporary and traditional dress in emerging countries entitled:
“Dora, The Style Explorer / Fashion Without Borders”
We very much wanted to translate the spirit of The OTHER into a video format.
Our concept: discover a new country through its dress culture in each episode.
Sophie Pinchetti and I took on this adventure. We decided to create the teaser for the series using money which we crowdfunded, and with the hope to get a TV channel on board with us to finance the series.
A year ago, we set off to Morocco to shoot the trailer.
We had never produced videos entirely on our own – our background is in journalism for print and digital media, and we had both studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins – but we love a good challenge. So we made a lot of mistakes but one thing is for sure – we put all our heart into it.
Guided by a production company, we created a professional teaser in order to attempt to respond to the needs of the so-called market. The goal was to sell a programme on fashion around the world, just like the numerous programmes which exist covering culinary culture around the world.
Before creating our official teaser (video above), we created a first draft version (video below) with our very limited means – it’s totally DIY and made with our then limited film editing skills. This first rough version, obviously less refined than our final teaser, looks like something in between a mini documentary and a pilot episode – albeit quite badly done, with terrible sound and colour grading, yet it captures the essence and the real intention of our series.
PITCHING THE SERIES
We then spent months talking to numerous production companies who approached channels such as: Channel 4, BBC, Discovery, Canal +, France télé, Arte, Planete, etc… We had many meetings but no outcome.
- Dora is not a professional model!
- Fashion is already a difficult sell to our audience, but with such an intellectual and anthropological take on the subject, there’s going to be no one left in front of the TV!
- What’s with Dora’s French accent? US and UK broadcasters want native speakers
- What we’re looking for is more along the lines of “22 Denim Looks You Need Now”, “America’s Next Top Model”…
- We already filmed a Fashion Week in Brazil. The women were huge and wearing hideous clothes, it’s awful. Why don’t you focus on fashion in France instead?
A lot of the channels seemed rather terrified by the subject of dress, and they were adamant that audiences wouldn’t show an interest. So what then, are we confined to the world of luxury labels and repeating the approach of Style.com and so many others? Well, that beaten path has never really interested us.
Nevertheless, some UK and US based channels have been very receptive to the idea and suggested taking on the series as an acquisition after the series had been filmed. But how can we film the series, if no one wants to take the risk to finance the project in order to produce it?
FASHION AROUND THE WORLD
There is clearly a place in the market for this type of subject.
After “Fashion Week Internationale”, Vice recently launched a new series entitled “States of Undress”, which approaches the subject in a similar manner. In a similar vein, i-D launched a new series entitled “Beyond Beauty”, exploring alternative ideas of beauty around the world.
The France-based company known as Spicee (with whom our lawyer was in touch with on more than one occasion), launched the series “Fashionista de l’extrême”.
There exists an obvious and increasing curiosity for the subject of fashion, trends and style in more or less distant countries.
Unfortunately, without the financing of the series by a production company or a TV channel, Sophie and I are not in a position to finance such a project.
Below you can read the details of our copyrighted concept.
If you are a producer, a brand, a patron, a channel, or others, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We don’t regret anything about this adventure, at least we gave it a shot!
Get on the Fashion Road Trip!
“Dora, The Style Explorer” is a 12 x 28 documentary series on fashion and style around the world, presented and incarnated by Dora Moutot.
Dora takes us on a journey through the planet’s wardrobes, in countries where contemporary and traditional fashion co-exist, and continually influence and confront each other. Dora takes us to the source of inspiration of Western fashion designers both past and present.
For us, clothes have always been synonymous with travel. Clothes are a portal into many different worlds. To be interested in style and fashion around the world is a way of showing interest in other people and to enter their culture through the “other” door: the door of their wardrobe and their drawers.
Each episode will take place in a different country. From India to Peru, Morocco and Vietnam, Dora meets young contemporary designers and trendsetters, as well as the artisans and tribes who are still creating and wearing traditional and tribal styles.
The concept will be transmedia: it will be aired on television and streamed online. The television series “Dora, The Style Explorer” will have its own web platform accompanied by a blog and an E-shop. The E-shop will sell designer clothing and accessories as well as artisanal crafts brought back from the countries presented in the series.
THE VALUES & THEMES OF THE SERIES
1/ CONSIDER DRESS AS AN ELEMENT OF CULTURE INSTEAD OF A PRODUCT
We want to distance ourselves from the uniform and mono-ethnic vision of the body and dress dictated by the Western media and fashion industry today. Clothes are so rarely presented as a door into people’s imagination or the reflection of their culture and lifestyle – instead, clothes are often presented as a “doorway” into peoples’ wallets. We wish to speak of fashion as culture, not just a consumer product.
We will talk about dress culture as well as creation, artisanat, history and anthropology through the lens of fashion. We want to celebrate an alternative vision, one that is more open to the rest of the world and its dress.
2/ TRACE THE SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
Our extensive research demonstrates that Western fashion designers have always been inspired by dress cultures of the world. Fashion is about perpetual reinvention: the turnover time between collections is incredibly fast and designers are in constant need of new inspiration and visual material. Designers turn to the cultural heritage of our planet.
Research for inspiration is a fundamental step in the creative process of the fashion industry. Yet designers are not always transparent on the sources of their inspiration and the media don’t concern themselves with the creative process. We wish to highlight the links between catwalk fashion and dress cultures of the world by revealing the richness of the planet’s savoir- faire, folklore and artisanat. Behind a Prada or Chanel jacket, there can be a multitude of stories and inspiration sources! Let us retrace the paths and sources of fashion and catwalk collections!
3/ OFFER AN EXPANDED VISION OF CREATIVITY AROUND THE WORLD
We want to put the spotlight on young, new contemporary fashion talents from emerging countries. Today, there are 138 Fashion Weeks around the world and yet the media only follow four of them: Paris, London, New York and Milan. We want to open people’s eyes to fashion creation without borders.
Furthermore, countries such as India and China are developing exponentially – taste is inevitably going to change as the axis of creative power gets set to turn towards new continents.
4/ EXPLORE THE LINKS BETWEEN CONTEMPORARY FASHION & TRADITIONAL STYLE
We want to explore the links and confrontations between contemporary fashion and traditional style that can exist within one same country. Emerging countries often still have a strong traditional dress and style alongside a burgeoning scene of contemporary fashion creators.
Does contemporary local fashion reject or get inspired by the country’s dress folklore? Are ancestral techniques being used by young contemporary designers? Are there links or fusions between the two? Or on the contrary, are these two worlds ignoring or opposing each other?
5/ CONFRONT CULTURES AND CANONS OF BEAUTY
We wish to question and evaluate our Western fashion and beauty values by comparing them to other trends and styles around the world. Here is one example:In Europe and the USA, most people love having tanned skin. But in eastern China, having a tanned face is seen very poorly as it is equated with the working class, always working outside. Having a white face is a canon of beauty. This is why the Chinese wear “Facekinis” on the beach – protective face masks.
6/ QUESTION THE IMPACTS & CONSEQUENCES OF OUR CONSUMPTION
We will question the impacts of Western fashion consumption on the emerging countries that we visit.
For example, in Kenya, 100 000 tons of second-hand clothes are imported from Western countries each year. The vast majority of our discarded clothes end up in African peoples’ wardrobes – these are the clothes which vintage shops and charities such as Oxfam deem unsaleable in Europe and the USA.
An ethical and sustainable fashion movement is now gaining momentum. Little by little, consumers are becoming more conscious of their choices. In the future, we can imagine that the notion of luxury will be equated with the notion of sustainability, ethics and transparency.