This exclusive short from Coggles is a portrait of style, featuring Danish tattoo artist Natasha.
If you buy the old Oscar Wilde adage “Looking good and dressing well is a necessity. Having a purpose in life is not”, then the notion of street style will make perfect sense for you. Over the years Coggles.com has photographed and archived stylish individuals showcased in a Street Style section. Now they’ve taken their democratic fashion appreciation one step further by selecting several chic candidates for their new campaign, Street Styles Series. i-D online snagged an exclusive first look at the short ‘Natasha,’ featuring the tattoo artist who learned to draw as a child by reading her father’s issues of Playboy. Natasha styled herself for the film mixing vintage pieces with Paul & Joe Sister. Shot by commercial director Terry Hall, the films (three in total) aim to promote the brand’s primary mission of including personality into their designs for people, not models.
In 1980 i-D founder and Editor-in-Chief Terry Jones pioneered the street photography movement shooting people who looked good in their clothes; head to toe portraits with a basic backdrop. He named these pictures ‘Straight-Up‘, from a West country expression meaning ‘Tell it like it is’. With street style now a vital part of fashion culture and explored brilliantly in this Coggles campaign, i-D online sat down with Coggles CEO and Creative Director Mark Bage to talk about the egalitarian spirit behind the Street Styles Series.
What inspired this campaign? There’s something quite mesmerising about street style. It’s very visual but quite thought provoking too — who is this person in the photograph, what’s their life like and so on. The campaign was born out of this curiosity and inspired by the creativity of the people on the street. We have an archive of over 1000 street style shots so it was a very rewarding experience to get to know some of these people, and hopefully this translates well into the films.
What do you think the effect was of using real people instead of models for these short films? Uncovering the real character of people and their stories was our main aim. There is a difference and truth about our campaign when compared to the high street’s sanitised photo shoots or the generic high-octane campaigns from the big fashion houses.
What was it like to work with real people rather than professionals? It was refreshing to work with ‘real’ people. Their enthusiastic approach to what we were trying to do was exciting and there’s a real sense of honesty in the films that I think is much harder to achieve with actors or models.
Did you pick the individuals based on their style or based on their story or a combination? It was a combination of both. We were very wary of arriving at a series of stereotypical fashion films. Handing over almost all the creativity to the person in the film — the clothes they wanted to wear, the story they wanted to tell, locations for filming and so on — was the best way to arrive at something authentic and hopefully interesting.
What effect do you hope the films will have? First and foremost we want the people we worked with in the films to be happy with the outcome — to feel that their film really captures something about them. Beyond that, hopefully the films will give a sense of what Coggles is about. Yes, we are a fashion brand but we’re prioritising style over fashion, design over trends and personality over image.
Was there one short that you found most interesting or challenging to make? Olubiyi’s was probably the most challenging. We were shooting during the London riots and the day after the police had deployed 16,000 officers on to the streets to calm everything down. The crew were walking around Hackney with a lot of camera equipment and it didn’t feel that sensible at times. As the day progressed though we realised everything was okay, not as scary as the media were making it out to be.
What’s next for Coggles? We’re working on a number of projects but the next step is to hand over more control to our street style community. We want to give them the opportunity to curate a retail space including location choice, music, artwork
Text: Lily Avnet