LCF BA Menswear student Joanna Hir recently worked on a very exciting project with Channel 4 for their ‘Prototype’ campaign featuring ‘Bionic Pop Star’ Viktoria Modesta.
The Latvia singer with a prosthetic limb is the new face of Channel 4’s Born Risky disability initiative, and Joanna was invited to come aboard as Head of Wardrobe. Joanna was responsible for the look, styling and costume in the ‘Prototype’ video.
LCF News caught up with Joanna to find out more about this groundbreaking project and her involvement…
LCF News: Tell us a bit about the video you were involved in for Channel 4, what was it for and what was your involvement in it?
JH: The ‘Prototype’ video has received more than 10m views on the Channel 4 website, and another 1.5m on YouTube. Channel 4 approached Viktoria with the proposal of a collaboration as they were looking for someone to represent superhuman, bionic concept and offered her a platform in mainstream media. At the time I already worked with Viktoria as her stylist for over a year and was invited to come on board.
LCF News: The video is very striking…what were your inspirations behind the styling and costume in the video?
JH: We aimed to represent Viktoria and the concept she worked on for several years in the most authentic and passionate way. Viktoria is very open minded and fashion savvy, therefore I was given a lot of creative freedom to create the look that expressed her in the most striking way. Director Saam Farahmand came up with a fantastic vision for the story set in the 1940s . Viktoria is a muse from the future so we came out with the retro futuristic styling idea using contemporary couture designers as well as creating custom made pieces.
LCF News: What was it like to work for Channel 4?
JH: Filming ‘Prototype’ was a truly inspiring experience. I had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented creatives in the industry and best production in the country. We all aimed for the same goal, to create a story to stay in the mind of the viewer ,inspire, cause feelings, revolution, change. Me, Viktoria and Saam were given a lot of creative freedom and tools to tell a story that will challenge the existing concept of beauty and change the perception of it in the popular mainstream culture.
LCF News: The video is promoting ‘bionic popstar’ Viktoria Modesta, tell us a little bit about that…
JH: Viktoria Modesta has been doing music and modelling with alternative prosthetics for about six years. Viktoria’s goal has been to integrate marginal voices into the mainstream conversation without courting sympathy or victimisation. She represents the feeling that you have a choice to create your own identity. It is more than just coming out as the first amputee music fashion artist, it’s about giving an example of taking charge of your own assets.
LCF News: How have you taken a different approach to the representation of disability within the media?
‘Forget what you knew about disability’ is the message that appears at the start of the video. The video, part of Channel 4’s Born Risky initiative, smashes the stigma surrounding power and sexuality in people with disabilities.
The Paralympics were supposed to help society get better at understanding that people with disabilities are as capable of remarkable things as anyone else. Seeing Viktoria presented not as a challenge to the glamour of the entertainment world, but as an extension of it, still feels surprising. Judging by the attention the Paralympics received, we’re happy to be inspired by people with disabilities but are we ready to allow someone’s disability to be considered simply one part of their identity? Are we ready for them to be superstars? Are we ready for them to be sexy? Prototype video aimed to challenge the viewer’s perception of beauty in the popular culture, create collision between the physical realities of amputation of sexualisation in pop culture, and open the discussion. In the video Viktoria pushes her sexuality to the point she is comfortable with , that she feels good about.
People like Viktoria prove that everything is a matter of perception. What for some can be considered as a weakness, others can transform into strength.
LCF News: What was the highlight of the project?
JH: The last scene with the light leg dance was probably the most important for me . We were looking for costumes that can illuminate light from the leg and compliment the illumination and not distract from it. Me and my team designed and created costumes for Viktoria and her dancers for that scene.
LCF News: What are your plans for the future?
JH: I hope to work on more of the music videos that give a platform to present fashion as a form of visionary art. Nowadays music artists and popstars have massive impact on mainstream fashion, they can inspire, challenge, create new looks and set trends with every project, every public appearance. Fashion is used as another medium to express their artistic identity. As a stylist I hope to get more involved with the music industry by bringing my vision on board and help to make a change .
I also would love to get involved with film and costume. I am big fan of Eiko Ishioka’s work. I would love to get involved with the film productions creating couture fashion costumes, art pieces, which influence mainstream fashion trends. Like Jean Paul Gaultier did with his costumes for The Fifth Element. Costumes that require the highest tailoring skills, made from the worlds finest fabrics, using finest craftsmanship, the highest end of couture. In the meantime I plan to create my own fashion label, translate some of my ideas, elements of it into mainstream fashion, wearable menswear and unisex.