"Clothes in Conversation" wins Best Documentary Feature at the New York Film Awards
By True Colors Festival Team
Directed by Hiroki Kawai and produced by Kao Kanamori, Clothes in Conversation is a True Colors Fashion documentary about the process of collaboration, and the honesty and openness it requires.
By True Colors Festival Team
On June 10, Clothes in Conversation: A Documentary by True Colors Fashion won the Best Documentary Feature (May 2021) at the New York Film Awards, a monthly film and screenplay competition for filmmakers worldwide. It was selected over seven other entries.
Clothes in Conversation, which premiered on YouTube on March 16, documents the collaborative process between students of coconogacco, a Tokyo-based design school with a progressive approach to fashion education, and a diverse group of models. Instead of capturing just the end result of the collaboration, the documentary makers chose to home in on the process.
“I have had the opportunity to create fashion shows with people with disabilities several times, and I have felt that the process of the creation has as much, or more, meaning than the result of the event, so I planned this documentary film with a strong desire to create a work of art that combines the dialogue about the physicality of people with disabilities and the design process of making clothes,” says producer Kao Kanamori.
And there is lots to be found in the process. In Clothes in Conversation, that includes conversations around topics like social anxiety, disability, discrimination and being different. Long pauses, brief answers; small gestures, big smiles, pain — the process conveys so much.
“I think it takes a certain amount of determination and hardship to deal with people with diverse bodies and minds. I was interested in the contradictions and conflicts that each designer must go through in such situations,” says director Hiroki Kawai.
The documentary offers plenty of impactful moments. Particularly poignant is the conversation between designer Sari Takikawa and her model chibiMOEKO, a professional burlesque dancer who has dwarfism, about standing out in order not to disappear. When designer Koki Saito talks about his fear of revealing his emotions, we realise that no one is exempt from insecurity.
“This film is a documentary about the emotional journey of each of the models and designers, and I think that each of the cast struggled to express in words, or even in expressions that are unique to the Japanese language, how they felt. Thanks to a team effort, we managed to create subtitles that capture the meaning and nuances so that the film can be understood by people all over the world,” says Kanamori.
And indeed Clothes in Conversation has captured viewers around the world. As one viewer who goes by Ejka Kozárová on YouTube says, “I am so impressed. It’s wonderful to see the whole process and finish. So much great ideas, views and meanings on the subject of pandemic, art, diversity, fashion or humanity.”
Clothes in Conversation is the first of a three-part True Colors Fashion series that includes a photo exhibition as part of the Shibuya Fashion Week 2021 in March and a digital fashion show and dialogue series entitled The Future is Now!, also available to stream on YouTube for free.