Fashion for the forward thinker.​​

Issue 2. March 18, 2017

The Psychology Behind Fashion

As designers, it is important to understand the fundamental psychology behind fashion – why it is we do what we do. In this article, we will dive into the depths of our brain to map out the pushes and pulls the fashion world has on our minds. Of course, what we wear has always been and will always be an extension of who we are, whether we dress in something new or retro-fit an old classic. Fashion is a part of life that all people are drawn to, though one might not be aware of it. From following your favourite “fashion guru” on social media to rushing into the shop to pick up pieces from the newest season, we are all psychologically bound to fashion in one way or another.
1Point One – the need to fit in generally.
Fashion is a common vehicle one uses to fit in. As humans we feel the need to belong to a society or “culture”. Look at how many articles there are titled “how to get rich quick” or “the latest celebrity diet”– we need fit into what society defines as normal. From childhood, we see society tell us what is acceptable and if we don’t comply we are considered outcasts. We are trained to look for like minded people and conform to a culture; no one wants to be alone. When we belong to something we are given a sense of being wanted and it makes us feel good about ourselves to be accepted. For example, by playing on a sports team we learn to get along with others and work together, not to mention connect over a mutual linking to sport. By belonging we are able to bond with like minded people and be a part of something.
 2Point Two – the biology behind our desires.
Our brain loves new things. As stated in Psychology Today, “back in cavemen times” a new stimulus had to be investigated in order to determine the value of it, whether it be hazardous or beneficial. This was a safety measure that has been augmented over time to instead detect approval as opposed to value in security. We also have a drive to find the next best thing hard wired into our thought process. Through scientific study, the area of the brain associated with the reward is shown to be stimulated when presented with something new. When a designer releases a new line, we rush to view it thus triggering our brain to reward ourselves. And lastly, when we view something for the first time, the mental procedures involved in learning are improved. In other words, new trends are good for our brain!
Point Four – how does fashion fit into this? Why the constant need to buy new clothes and follow the trend?

By having a leader to follow we feel a need to conform to their standards, hence a nonstop search for new staples and pieces. With a continuous stream of seasons coming from designers, these so-called “leaders” introduce us to their favourites. It is not unwelcome though, as you may recall our brain loves new things and the collections satisfy this. Furthermore, we have a craving to show people that we are ahead of the trend as well as up to date with the most current discoveries from the runway. If we buy increasingly unique and fresh pieces we can prove the point of being well-informed. Since we are always looking for the next greatest thing, trends are constantly being “discovered”, which means that we are always going to buy the latest fashion.
As we can see, we are all bound to the fashion world in one form or another. When it comes to our wardrobes, we have reviewed how we frequently strive for new styles and struggle to obtain the next best thing. We have also looked at the more scientific side of the psychological bind, as well as the role of social media. Generally, we work towards fitting in. We work towards the feeling of belonging and being accepted and as we have discovered, clothes are only one way to achieve this. Of course, fashion has always been and always will be an extension of one’s personality. As put poetically by Marc-Alain Descamps, 3“fashion is psychology… Fashion is ever-changing, as ever-changing is the human mind; volatile, as volatile are passions, convictions, people.” Trends will continue to change and our wardrobes will continue to grow, will you continue to follow?

​​​Article and photography by Anna Brady
Point Three – social media’s push.

We are always looking for a leader or someone to follow. Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and several other social media platforms fit the bill by providing “fashionistas” for us to keep up to date with. Some of the more popular posts are “What’s in my closet”, “Outfit of the day” and “Get ready with me” (yes, you really do watch someone get ready for about 15 minutes of your life). Through the introduction of these social media platforms, we have developed the need to gain followers and likes. We have this need as a result of our desire to fit in. These platforms make new seasons more easily accessible than previous generations, and it results in a constant stream of fashion photography, videos and advertisements filling our timeline. But because our brain loves new things, we can scroll for hours through our newsfeeds just to discover fresh outfit ideas and pieces. On top of this, every time we post a new photo, adrenaline levels in our system rise and stay heightened until we have a satisfactory number of likes. As we gain these likes and followers, a hit of dopamine is released in our brain, which makes us feel good. We have begun to associate these actions with happiness causing social media, and subsequently fashion, to become an addiction. When we don’t achieve a sufficient amount of likes, we are sad and often remove the photo from our account. Our main influences are now coming from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and many platforms like them. Respectively, these new platforms have morphed into becoming the main push behind new trends.

A New Era: The Collaboration Between Couture and Street Wear.

Written by Connie Taylor-Young

Couture and street wear are two genres of fashion that no one predicted would become intertwined. Whilst high-end fashion labels are rooted in new, innovative styles, setting trends world wide to be followed, street wear has deep connections with hip-hop culture and skateboarding – polar opposite ends of the spectrum. They seem to inspire completely different values, creating different purposes for acquiring such clothing. However more recently street wear has entered a whole new dimension with its newfound popularity, making each item more coveted than the next. As a result of this, during the past fashion weeks around the world, there have seen more collaborations of street wear than ever before, joining these two genres to create a completely new style.
For as long as anyone can remember couture or high-end labels such as, Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Coco Chanel, have dominated the fashion world with their innovative, chic and timeless items available for purchase. The renowned Gabrielle Bonheur, who founded Chanel, was voted as a result of her contribution to fashion, one of the top 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Due to Bonheur’s creation, Chanel has been one of the most prestigious brands since its founding in 1910. These lavish labels exhibit and flaunt their latest pieces around the world on the catwalk at every available fashion week, only allowing the most exclusive to witness these marvellous moments of unveiling. Throughout couture’s dominance its esteemed and distinguished reputation has been maintained due to its exclusivity. Only the most elite and famed could possibly afford such beauty – making their pieces something everyone aspires to one day have in their own wardrobe. Unintentionally this created a gap in the market for street wear to offer an alternative option. Street wear could offer something more simple in style and still manage to maintain the required quality of its clothing.
One could ask how anything could conquer couture’s ruling dominance; it is something that truly would have been seen as impossible – until now. Clothing brands such as Supreme (founded in 1994) have taken the fashion market by storm due to the limited availability of their pieces as a result of its ‘drop’ system.  The limited availability of these clothes seems to mimic the technique of couture’s coveted items, drawing parallels between the two. Through brands like Supreme, a new street culture has been born causing other brands such as Stussy and Comme Des Garçons, to be born and flourish, further increasing the popularity of street wear. Contributing also to street wear’s name are big warehouse companies such as Dover Street Market, who have provided a platform for new and innovative brands such as Waves or collaborations like Fila/Gosha Rubchinsky to be showcased. More up scale collaborations, such as the newly announced Louis Vuitton X Supreme, were displayed on the Paris runway at FW17 boasting both clothing and accessories. It’s trunk displaying a perfect balance between each brands most central symbol; Supremes now-iconic red BOGO and LV’s renowned monogram trunk. Such collaborations have brought more light to the fluidity in which these two differing genres of clothing can cohere naturally.
This has had a knock-on effect in the fashion world. Couture no longer represents what it used to anymore. As a result celebrities can no longer rely solely on couture labels to ensure they are wearing the most coveted fashion pieces. Celebrities such as Rihanna have reached into the world of street wear and combined it with their love for couture, in her new Fenty X Puma line, creating new looks for each runway show that are more shocking than the next. Other celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Drake and Miley Cyrus have all opted for more street wear, divulging it’s sleek sporty comfort, sometimes boasting political or sexualized imagery. Supreme’s next drop is rumoured to contain statements such as ‘f*ck the president’ allowing the brand to be open to political persuasion and stigma increasing it’s publicity as a result.
    Despite these types of collaborations being viewed as impossible, these assumptions have been proved wrong – there are no limits to the world of fashion. The differing styles and origins of couture and street wear have combined to create something completely new and fresh, shaking up the foundations and presumed definition of style itself. Instead of street wear looking to couture for inspiration, it is evident now that street wear has claimed a loud enough voice for itself; couture is now looking to street wear for new ideas and styles.

Written by Connie Taylor-Young
Edited by Anna Brady
Supreme is Dead

    Ironically, it is Supreme’s success that has mostly driven its decline.     

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Rory Hinshelwood Quick Links
Supreme is a company considered more superior than any other streetwear brand, but as other great brands have fallen, is it Supreme’s time? The notorious luxury streetwear brand has picked up extortionate fame in the last few years, largely owing to a massive fan base of influential stars within television, music and fashion. James Jebbia opened the first store in New York on Lafeyette Street and since has opened nine more including six in Japan and others in London, Paris and Los Angeles. Arguably Supreme’s biggest achievement is its latest collaboration with high-end fashion name, Louis Vuitton, merging the two worlds of luxury and street. The collection premiered on a catwalk in Paris, with huge ‘Supreme’ logos battered over Louis Vuitton products. What’s more, given that the collection does not release until July and it is now only February the ‘hype’ is likely to increase exponentially.
However, over the last two years and particularly just recently, Supreme has started to lose favour. Ironically, it is Supreme’s success that has mostly driven its decline. The brand has become so famous that it is practically a household name. It is renowned as the most popular streetwear brand of them all. But this mainstream popularity has led to the loss of many hard-core fans who feel their brand has lost its underground image. Supreme has lost the following of those kooky low-key fans who like to wear brands that are cool and not over worn by the public, such as ADER Error or Midnight Studios.
Another reason is that buyers are catching on to the fact that, although the label is branded for skaters, the vast majority of people who wear it do not skate. Furthermore, skater enthusiasts say, ‘real skaters’, no longer wear Supreme. This gives the brand a false representation, where people are trying to become someone they are not which clashes with the concept of fashion/clothes as self expression.
Kids, kids, kids. A lot of people say that the ever-increasing adoption of Supreme by 11-15 year olds is making the brand ‘uncool.’ Others don’t care but Supreme is definitely a brand in decline. These kids are not trend setters, and only buy Supreme to be seen to be wearing Supreme, and to look like their older brother. The result is outfits with a lot of brand reference and very little style. Leo Mandella (@gullyguyleo) is a great example of this. This type of depreciation by younger fans has happened before. Take Abercrombie and Fitch or Superdry for example. In their time, they were the most popular clothing brand between teenagers and those in their early twenties. As younger fans latched on, the brands lost their appeal.

Rory Hinshelwood Quick Links

The fourth reason is re-sell. Re-sell is when someone buys limited items of clothing and sells them for an exaggerated price. Reselling works for most people. A lot of people earn a living from it and others are glad that even though the item they wanted is sold out, they can still find it somewhere on eBay or in streetwear groups on Facebook. Although limited clothing is a great business plan, it means that only the absolute fanatics purchase and the the less committed people miss out. Re-sell value is usually 40-50% higher than retail price (the picture above is a t-shirt retailed at £50 and being sold at £250) although not completely unfair, it deters people who would feel cheated into paying £150 for an item that only worth £100. These types of people stop bothering and go for something a little less competitive.
Supreme is infamous for their pointless accessories. These, along with obviously distasteful and ugly clothes are released season after season. Some people say it’s a way of testing their fans dedication. Take for example the Supreme brick (above, which sold out for £60) or the Supreme Leaf x TNF Nuptse; these items ruin the brands credibility. As a further point on fan’s tendency to buy anything Supreme, the latest Supreme x Louis Vuitton trunk will retail for US$68,500 a price no real young man can afford but unfortunately a price that will not deter some. Supreme’s consistent exploitation of fans is unfriendly and unethical. This is topped off by their poor customer service.
The reputation of the ‘Hypebeast’ is becoming unattractive but one that is synonymous with Supreme. A Hypebeast is generally someone who will spend a lot of money on items that are very hyped up or anticipated.  Supreme has become the epitome of what a ‘Hypebeast’ is. When you see someone wearing Yeezys, a Bape shark hoodie and a supreme box logo underneath (all above), it makes one immediately cringe. Many people want to avoid the reputation of being a hypebeast and so have thus stopped wearing Supreme.
In the opinion of a few (see top photo) Supreme is dead due to a number of contributing factors. However, just because it is dead now, does not mean it will not recover. Many brands like Bape for example have been revived and we may well see the rise of Supreme again in the future. For now, enjoy this person’s understandable but over the top hate for Supreme (video to the left).

Written by Rory Hinshelwood
​Edited by Anna Brady
Bibliography: Photographs in order of appearance within the document.

5) Original

Maverick initially was categorised as ‘streetwear’ however its not based on that culture at all. We believe it has developed into a unique culture, a lifestyle brand.

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Check out Maverick

Maverick Of London

Featuring Vihan Patel
Maverick of London is a unique streetwear brand designed to make luxury clothing at a more approachable price. Maverick designs are clean and organised, without compromising quality. In this article, we are allowed to peer into the world behind the brand and given a tour by the founder himself, Vihan Patel. Though Maverick is young, it is promising and we are excited to seee how it will progress in the years to come. Read on to discover Maverick of London and see for yourself the potential of this luxury streetwear brand.
 A little about Vihan Patel...

"I invest my time in a few playing fields from fashion to creative design. I have two ‘Fashion’ brands, Maverick of London and Abstrct London, one more prominent then the other. I also run 2 digital design agencies, Flybye & Revolution and Born | Creative Agency. I guess these two link in the sense they both express creativity but also differ in the fact one is designing for myself the other is creating other ideas into reality as oppose to my own.
Maverick was actually a bi product of many failed attempts of clothing. Maverick only worked because of the realisation that in order to be passionate about your work you have to like it yourself as opposed to finding out what others wanted.
I just design clothes I would want to wear."

Where did the idea behind Maverick come from?
"I started the brand due to a specific design which I couldn’t find on the market: our ‘centre tee’ range. The range featured a ‘Maverick’ logo embroidered onto the centre of the tee with the idea that it was to be worn beneath a jacket where the word ‘Maverick’ would be visible through the opening. I decided upon the name Maverick seeing as the fundamental basis of the brand was to challenge the conventional wardrobe choices. An idea of a rebel or rebellion came to me first, but a rebel is misguided and with this brand, I knew exactly where I wanted to take it; hence Maverick, a ‘rebel with purpose’.
Maverick initially was categorised as ‘streetwear’ however its not based on that culture at all. We believe it has developed into a unique culture, a lifestyle brand."
What is the idea behind Maverick?
"Maverick was formed to challenge the conventional ‘black & white’ of people’s wardrobes, we wanted to bring in a unique style and design which stood out without over powering. I took a liking to the idea of a simple design on a comfortable and high quality t-shirt, thus my main aim with Maverick was born: merging simplicity and quality – all at an affordable price.
Maverick can be worn at any occasion, whether it be formal or just casual; the price point was always key for me. I wanted to market it at an entry level price point – one which demonstrated that its more than a statement, it’s a luxury."
What was the inspiration for the new ‘Renegade Collection’?
"Well, surprisingly, we didn’t launch any new items as such just stuck with the essentials (tees, sweatshirts and hoodies), but challenged ourselves with new materials and new printing placement. We have taken a step into ‘couture’ as opposed to the standard clothing, this essentially means we control how loose, long or tapered the item is.
The design inspiration was mainly from random stuff really. I saw a pattern I liked, sketched it (terribly) and messed around on Photoshop, ordered a sample and either ran with it or discarded it. This collection was unique in the fact it was our first collection not in line with the seasons it wasn’t your classic ‘SS17’."
What is your intended target market?
"Maverick is aimed at any independently minded individuals. Our age demographics are very unique in the sense that people from 16-58 wear the brand and we regard that as a very big accolade; the fact that it’s not ‘age locked’ like a lot of today’s labels, is a great achievement."
What has Maverick achieved/biggest achievement?
"Mavericks greatest achievement was being featured in GQ magazine and an upcoming issue of Glamour. We regard this as an achievement more for the fact that the brand was sought after by the GQ team, rather than us approaching them. This created a strong relationship with Condé Nast and has led on to bigger projects under way for the future.
 Also, having The Chainsmokers personally give feedback on the clothing and want to be involved- that’s pretty cool."
How have you achieved such things?
"Well, they found us through our Instagram (@maverickoflondon) and it started there!
The Chainsmokers’ manager liked one of our photos and we reached out."
What is special about Maverick?
"We create garments which are comfortable, durable and functional. We provide distinctive designs at entry level pricing and we appeal to everyone with a vision – all of this ties together with our simple stand out aesthetic, to make Maverick stand out from the crowd."
What are your goals and aspirations for your brand?
"I would like to see Maverick stocked in “big-name” stores eg. Harvey Nichols, Selfridges etc I don’t think the brand was meant to be constrained to strictly e-commerce and by mid to late 2017 I hope to have a permeant retail space somewhere in London – nothing huge just somewhere to call home.  
 We are constantly growing and we don’t intend on slowing down."
What advice would you give to young designers looking to start their own brand?
"Umm… just start!"
Where can we find Maverick?
"The best way is through our website as well as a few independent retailers in LA and London. We are constantly trying to do pop-ups, so follow us on Instagram @maverickoflondon and like our Facebook page ‘Maverick of London UK’ to get in the know."
Questions and editing by Anna Brady
Answers by Vihan Patel

"Crazy About Tiffany's" Documentary Review

Matthew Miele takes us on an exploration of the world behind the fantasy that is Tiffany and Co. We go through the extensive history of the jewellery company, from its founding in 1837 to the formation of the modern-day engagement ring by Tiffany’s in 1866 and then move to discover the cultural impact the company has had. In my opinion, this documentary helped to bring light to a need-to-know company for those who hadn’t previously known.
This documentary’s main focus was not actually on the history of the brand, but more on the cultural impact it has had on modern times. It was for this reason I appreciated the documentary, as more of what I am interested in is how they have effected today’s fashion. The company has shaped red carpet jewellery as we know it today and stands as a role model for brands to come.
I would recommend this documentary for those wanting to learn more about modern red carpet fashion and its influences. It is filled with celebrity, history and is fantastically put together. It was an enjoyable and easy to watch documentary, giving us a glimpse into every girls’ dream. Matthew Miele literally opens the doors to Tiffany and Co. and lets us run free.

Written by Anna Brady
Photo: ​​

i-D ​Magazine Review

i-D magazine is another one of those slightly out-of-the-norm, kooky fashion magazines. It is seen as a magazine for those who don’t consider themselves “mainstream”. I find that i-D could be likened to Sleek (who was featured last month) in the way that their articles are unique, relevant and intellectually interesting to any designer artist or self-acclaimed fashionista.
The magazine prides itself on being a “consistent source of inspiration in fashion culture”, as stated on their website and, to an extent, I agree. The publication explores majority of the art world, from fashion to the club scene to music, and has a large variety in article topics. However, having a wide span of articles and topics doesn’t not constitute an “inspiration” magazine. i-D focuses majority of their efforts on up and coming designer, kooky films or mainstream artists. They are more tailored for those wishing to learn about unexplored or touched areas of the design world. I do not say this negatively; in fact, I admire this sort of publication, though I would not go so far as to say they are a consistent source of inspiration in fashion culture.
Left photo:
Right photo:  ​​
I did say “to an extent”. I do believe that due to the fact they provide information on very new designers and artists, they are an inspiration to those young designers looking to be different and bring an edge to their work. i-D magazine is a magazine for the artist or designer looking to find themselves and their style, those looking for an i-D.

​Written by Anna Brady

Museums to film: the obsession of a generation

In today’s ever-increasing media orientated world, it is difficult to imagine the dominance and importance museums and art galleries once had. Their hallowed halls have now been replaced by the fast paced and exciting world of film. No longer do groups flock to see the intricacies of Michael Angelo or Picasso, but rather they rush to the cheap and highly commercialised world of cinema. This mass production of film and in turn mass viewing gained its momentum in the 1990s, with the highest grossing film in 1995 making a staggering 5 million. However, the 11 million that was made in 2016 and the 1 million that has been made in just the last month dwarfs this number. This obsession, that Kennith argues is ‘unprecedented in popular culture’, seems to have trumped the idea of having an enriching cultural experience either within a gallery or a museum. In this article I want to explore how this shift from museums to cinema has come about and also see how we can once again learn to appreciate the experience museums and galleries offer.
Our generation has grown up on film. From a young age we were exposed to the delights of Disney and Dorris Day. Thus it is not surprising that film has become a very important and almost innate part of our culture. Today, similarly to how a group of middle class men in the 1900s may have spoken about ‘Les Fauves’ (a group influential in the modern art movement), we rave about The Golden Globes and The Oscars. However, this interest in film, unlike generations' past’s love of art, goes beyond a simple appreciation of acting. We are also intensely interested in the lives of these people, from what they are wearing to their relationships. This obsession has filtered down into popular culture and thus we now are surrounded by at least some aspect of the film world at all times. Whether it is George Clooney’s new shirtless shoot or the apocalyptic break up of Brangelina, we are either reading or watching their lives unfold on a daily basis. Indeed, in a recent study carried out by Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, he has shown that the average person spends more time on their phone (approximately eight hours and thirty minutes) than they do sleeping. This extortionate number reveals that our generation’s interest in film verges on obsession. Psychologists have argued that this obsession is what has led to the dramatic shift from museums to cinema, as our interest in film is more centered on the people in the films and their lives, rather than the content.
This easy access to media, means that almost everybody in the world can access some sort of film or television program. This is vastly different to the amount of people who could have accessed art and culture a hundred years ago. Museums and art galleries were far more elite and exclusive, only allowing the wealthy and influential to see and experience what was on offer. The majority of people in society would have very little access to this area of life and were much more likely to gain knowledge of art and history through reading (a novel in serial form, for example, Oliver Twist) rather than actually visiting the various museums available. Despite this, these institutions were extremely influential, often being the places where new art movements were created and important literary historical and scientific debate was discussed and theorized. This focus on academia is something that was lost to a certain extent during the rise of cinema, as people spent far more time watching the screen, rather than contemplating the academic or cultural value behind a film. This called for the name ‘generation screen’. However, recently there has been a resurgence in culture hopping. It has become fashionable on media platforms such as Instagram and Tumblr to show off you’ve been to a museum or art gallery. It seems that people are once again seeing the value in museums and art galleries. Thus, ironically, social media has, in a way, begun to facilitate its opponent (institutions that can’t be visited from your bedroom) as it provides the platform by which people can discuss and share their experiences of art and culture.
Overall, we can see that there is a distinct and evident tension between the world of film and that of art and culture. This was exasperated in the late 90s and throughout the 00s due to a phenomenal rise in consumers and production of content. However, we have now reached a stage where we, as a generation, crave something more meaningful than a two-hour encounter with a screen. We crave something that exists within ‘real life’, and slowly (rather ironically) through the help of social media platforms, a balance is beginning to be found between the old and the new, the artificial and the real and the superficial and the meaningful.

Written by Anna Fenwick
​Edited by Anna Brady


Written by Carolina Avila
Edited by Chelsea Diaz-Garcia

This series brings us back in time to the late 90’s and early 2000’s. It's fun to see the connections from then and now. TV captures moments from eras that aren’t always accessible now and, in a way, “throwback” shows have made a comeback. ​Full House has recently made its way back to TV in its recent spin off Fuller House and I’m secretly hoping that Friends gets a spinoff in the future as well. The only show today that I can even begin to compare to the 90’s classic Friends, would be the sitcom How I Met Your Mother. They both revolve around a group of friends living in New York City and their growth as friends throughout the years. But of course nothing can compete with the timeless Friends.
Laughter, tears, growth, and happiness. Ross, Monica, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe, and Rachel. A comedy of friendship that thirteen years later, after its last episode aired, still manages to cause a lot of laughter. I started watching Friends about a year and a half ago. I’ve always liked comedy anything. Movies, sitcoms – you name it, I most likely watch it. It was on TV one night and after just one episode I was hooked, I knew I had to start from the beginning instantly.
It amazes me how something from twenty years ago still manages to make its way to the present time and effortlessly connect with viewers like myself. Just like the group of friends in the sitcom, me and my group of friends grew up together and are still growing together. This show emphasizes that friends play a big role in your growth, but I believe the people who play a bigger role in your growth would be your family. People can argue that the group of friends were considered family, but they weren't always there for each other and I wish I could have seen a lot more family background from each of the characters.
My favorite character thus far would have to be Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow, pictured right). She’s so gullible, but can surprise you with her knowledge. She never seems to have any bad intentions and you can bet she’ll help you out if you need it. I mean the girl gave birth to triplets for her brother! I think TV can expose false hope, but there is always some truth. This show may have more laughs than tears, but it definitely shows the hardship of love and struggles to find oneself while still having the people you love around you.

Biography: Pictures from top to bottom:

I Love You.

Wiritten by Connor Murphy

This is the third time I've seen Todd Haynes' stunning 1995 film, Safe. This time around three specific things struck me that previously hadn't made as much of an impact: Ed Tomney's solemn score of predominantly piano and synths (I remember loving this aspect beforehand, but this time it stuck out to me much more), a pervasive sense melancholy and emptiness throughout the film and its characters, and the performances of the supporting cast. And those supporting performances and Tomney's score work in conjunction to establish that sense of melancholy that I either hadn't noticed as much before or had simply forgotten about, but which now only fuels my love for this film even more. Carol sitting alone on her couch at night, bathed in darkness; Nell gazing achingly at Carol after being forced to confront the notion that she and she alone is the source of her illness; Greg painfully looking down at Carol as she suffers, unable to help her by his own means. The sadness behind Safe is found within its many gazes, between both the audience/camera and its characters.
Angered political commentary against societal responses to the AIDS crisis and social critique of contemporary suburban life aside, Safe is a film about the struggle to secure one's own place in the world. That is not to say that either of those elements are in any way unimportant aspects of Safe's thematic intent, but rather that to interpret this film solely by either of those parameters feels awfully simplistic. Carol White is crafted to be archetypally bland as a character (and brilliantly played to such effect in what I'd call one of the greatest performances of all time by Julianne Moore), and Haynes and DP Alex Nepomniaschy reflect her stature in the clinical and detached framing of each visual composition. She is dwarfed even by her own house--interior and exterior--depicted as a piece of furniture for the lives of others. Her session with a psychiatrist is shot in an initially sterile manner, consisting only of one-shots and tremendously telling set design. Upon being asked if she works, Carol stumbles around her words before ultimately landing on "homemaker." However, it is of utmost importance to note that Haynes doesn't actually seem to be indicting her lifestyle or implying that the only means of leading a fulfilling life is through the rewards of traditional "work" or expression. Haynes in no way looks down upon his protagonist. He merely presents her as a person entirely without agency, without a sense of purpose. And thusly Safe is rendered all the more tragic.
On a related note, it feels necessary to address the fact that Safe is often described as a horror film of sorts. Stylistically, the film certainly aids to that notion. Zooms have never been so menacing as they are here, always hinting at some sort of encroaching dread. And in terms of its plotting, the film can be seen easily enough as a horror film as well; Carol is apparently plagued by an ineffable form of "environmental illness" brought on by just about everything man-made and manufactured that there is. However, the true horror behind this film lies less in the prospect of a world full of toxins and contaminants than in the prospect of feeling so set aside by the world that it itself  becomes the progenitor of incurable and personal illness. It is then all the more painful that Carol's illness seems to be the only thing in her life that makes her feel like an individual, despite how reflexively terrible and unhealthy that is.
Moreover, while the onset of such illness in the film's first half provides for some intensely terrifying and heartbreaking filmmaking, for me, the second half of Safe is what makes it truly incredible. Interpretational ambiguities abound; physical symbolism is upended by and contrasted with narrative progress and indirect characterization. Haynes balances his stance on the treatment methods at Wrenwood with incredible dexterity; on a holistic level, it appears to be chiefly condemnation--fueled largely by the conceit behind "self-acceptance" in relation to being the cause of one's own illness as a criticism of how many dealt with the AIDS outbreak in the 1980s or even how many respond to mental disorders as a whole--but on the level of the individual, his message is much more hazy, and all the more fascinating as a result. The film's final moments then only further capitulate on Haynes' semiotic trapeze act, delivering one of the finest endings to a film I've ever seen.
Safe is a deeply affecting work of self-reconciliation through the lenses of biological horror and cultural criticism. It is a work of fragmented identity and the hope for actualization. It is a masterpiece.

Written by Connor Murphy
Edited by Chelsea Diaz Garcia

I knew I wanted to continue telling my stories

Sam Brownell Quick Links
[email protected]

Why Film and Television?

Written by Sam Brownell
Edited by Chelsea Diaz-Garcia
Film has been a whirlwind of confusion for me if I'm being truthful. When I was ten, I picked up a camera and started making short videos with my friends. Throughout the next several years of my life, I developed my skills and started to make professional short films with my friends in high school. We developed a myriad of ideas. Our minds were always working, and we yearned every day to create our new idea. I had always known I wanted to be a story teller, and a great way to do that was through the making of film. 
In high school, I would feel a high every time I completed a movie and could show my peers. It was as if I had written a book, but people could physically see what I had intended for them to see. It was a sensational feeling that I wanted to feel for the rest of my life. 

From then on, I knew I wanted to continue telling my stories via film. It wasn't until I got to college when I realized how much more filmmaking is than just story telling. I had always been good with equipment and I had been as professional as possible, but I quickly came to terms with that fact that I didn't care much for the technological aspect of the art of filmmaking. It just simply didn't interest me. I knew it was important to learn, and I knew I had to suck it up and learn it, but I wanted to be part of the creative side- the side that developed the story and made it come to life. It has been quite a journey discovering what I truly love and dislike about film, but I will always be confident that I am a story teller- and film is an incredible way to make your imagination come to life.

The Village 2004

Written by Connor Murphy
There's a lot of fascinating work in The Village, both conceptually and technically. As I watch this, I am reminded of the brilliant television series The Leftovers, largely because both works revolve around a society attempting to consolidate their world following trauma, to create something anew. The societies consist of groups of people struggling, trying to move on, to regress in one way or another. Perhaps they are faulted in their mechanisms of change, but their actions are rooted from deeply human responses to deeply humanistic pain. Moreover, there is an ambiguity as to whether or not the means these people use to help themselves move past their pain or trauma is truly helpful, or even realistic and it permeates both works. In both, this narrative framework provides a remarkably emotional backbone upon which the work rests, making the experience of watching it entirely rewarding above all else. Yet neither The Village, nor The Leftovers necessarily damns or castigates these people for their actions, which alone merits praise of bravery. All of this, on top of mostly great direction, cinematography, and editing make me both admire and respond to Shyamalan's efforts here in The Village.
Unfortunately, certain plotting and stylistic choices are so jarringly ill-conceited that it's hard for them not to slightly obstruct from the rest of the film as a whole. I am able to look beyond this, however; this doesn't make me discount the film's ultimate emotional resonance. The Village is a modestly powerful and entirely fascinating portrayal of a society in perpetual flight of the trappings of the world at large. In spite of several small, albeit troubling issues, it is ultimately a success in this regard.

Lastly, it's worth noting that I think Howard's work here is very admirable, though I understand the issues surrounding the notion that Shyamalan is ostensibly fetishizing the character's disability for his own thematic and dramatic purposes. Unrelated to this, the score in this film also helps to draw parallels to The Leftovers, although in that regard as well as pretty much all others, I'd say that the series pulls it off much better.

Written by Connor Murphy
​Edited by Chelsea Diaz-Garcia