I recently came across a short film shot as a look-book for the Downtown label Sophomore. Beautifully shot by LA-based photographer Cass Bird. It’s a fascinating look at local NY kids hanging out in Coney Island. This short bypasses the nauseating trend of spotlighting hipster transplants that many contemporary artist (present company included) seem to be fascinated with. Instead Sophomore focuses on the genuinely cool locals that make this city the hipster draw that it is. There is a unpretentious unapologetic confidence that jumps off the screen and draws you in by giving us a refreshing look at a city many of us only know from movies like KIDS. These kids remind me of the mid 70′s multicultural East Flatbush I grew up in. A place where Blacks, Puerto Ricans and a diminishing Jewish population lived side by side always looking for mischief always looking for love. There is a restlessness that Cass captures in ten plus minutes with ease.
Sophomore will inevitably draw comparisons to KIDS. I find it even more compelling because the story-line does not get in its own way. In Sophomore we see the characters talking to the camera with all their quirks in plain sight and without inhibition. Unlike KIDS we don’t get the feeling that there is an agenda that needs to be pushed on you to justify the otherwise superficial story-line. Sophomore allows itself to be itself. Between the quirky sound-bytes and delightful b-roll it is compelling and engaging. The best scene captures a couple of girl-friends (who can easily be mistaken as twins) talking about sharing everything including boyfriends. The sound-byte and visual in this scene are priceless.
Now I mentioned that this is a Look Book video for the Downtown label Sophomore. The Viral Look-Book as video short is a trend that has been gaining momentum over the past couple of years. In this case I had no idea what items were from the fashion line Sophomore and what was not. I think this was intentional evidenced by the title where there is also no distinction. Some may say that this is bad marketing I say it is genius. The fact is I never heard of Sophomore until I saw this piece. Now that brand is imprinted in my memory. A brave product placement strategy that I find very difficult to sell to my clients. Next time I will show them this video as a shinning example.