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Class of 2014: Coco Capitan

Work from BA (Hons) Fashion Photography alumna Coco Capitan’s Final Major Project.
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Published date
10 June 2014

During BA14 season we are speaking to students from across all BA courses. Coco Capitan is a BA (Hons) Fashion Photography student. Coco discusses keeping focused and combining creativity with discipline.

LCF: What have you enjoyed most about studying at LCF?
Coco Capitan: Meeting people my own age who enjoy photography, art and fashion with the same passion I do, the library archives, the installations and the technicians who have always accommodated my needs. And also my lectures’ guidance and feedback.

LCF: Have you won any prizes / been in the media / undertaken work experience?
CC: I haven’t won a single prize since I started taking photographs and that was about 10 years ago. However I have worked with very important fashion clients such as Maison Martin Margiela, Marios Schwab and Oswald Boateng. I have  shot for many relevant publications like Purple Fashion, Dazed & Confused, Metal and Novembre.

LCF: What inspires you?
CC: Swimming pools! Most of my relevant ideas appear while I am swimming or when I am looking at pictures of swimming pools. Probably because I understand photography as a sport, and as a child I spent a lot of my time swimming. I think you have to keep yourself trained if you want to reach the finish line. I spent a lot of time in the university library looking at photographs in almost any book (not necessary photography books). When I look at them rather than feeling inspired I wonder how the images were achieved or what was in the photographers’ minds when they took them. I have spent so much time looking at images that now I can’t stop from being obsessed about the technical part of it, instead of their composition or what they are actually about. I miss the days when I hadn’t consumed so much imagery and I looked at them in a more romantic way. Literature is very important for me, when I read a story I visualise it in a very photographic way, and sometimes I take this to my sets. But no doubt, people are the most inspiring element: an intense conversation in a gallery, a movie with good company in Prince Charles’ cinema, looking at people from the window of a café…  After all, my work is based on portraiture and a portrait is a study of a person, a way to look at people and your relationship with them.

LCF: What is most important to you about fashion? 
CC: Fashion is just another form of expression in which everyone takes part. What I enjoy the most is the social face of it: how we create our own identities through fashion and identify with other members of our society according to it. We all make statements about who we are or want to be from the moment we put on a pair of trousers when we wake up in the morning. It astonishes me how we express ourselves with our clothes.

LCF: How would you sum up your final project?
CC: I chose a subject (I spent three months in China- a long part of this period in mainland China, photographing and doing research) that at the beginning seemed lacking in what we understand fashion to be from a Western and capitalist point of view. One of my goals was to show that everyone has a valid and interesting view of fashion, which it is not necessarily linked to our preconception of it. In my final project I took a few elements of how China was perceived from my point of view and I reconstructed it to create a series of portraits in which the fashion was as relevant as the models casting or the photoset, I took these portraits in London, but with China in mind. I wanted to show how you could recreate any context with just a few elements in any space. I also included some of my in-place documentary images to insist in my idea of everything being valid within a context. I found the need to prove that fashion does not occur unlinked from reality and it is not always about that idea of luxury and exclusivity. I believe documentary, fashion and art photography are not that different from each other and can coexist in the same piece of work if you establish the right connections.

LCF: What are your plans for the future? And how do you feel your course will help you?
CC: I guess I am already quite established as a photographer, but I would like to continue my education  and I have been offered a place in Royal College of Art for a masters degree that I am going to take, because I want to continue learning and exploring. At London College of Fashion I learned that one can be disciplined and organise and being creative at the same time. I use this as the base of every project in which I get involved.

LCF: What advice would you give someone wanting to study for a BA at LCF?
CC: Talk, communicate, share  and have fun with other students from any course. They are the future of fashion. They are your present and future co-workers and clients. It is the only way to stay current. Yes, to art education and yes to London College of Fashion!