Friday, 12 January 2018

Review: Cut from a Different Cloth

Actor Idris Elba collaborated with fashion brand Superdry on a collection
Apologies for not blogging for the past few days -- I was in Guangzhou on an assignment and was quite busy coupled with jetlag, that I didn't have time to write anything.

I'd like to mention one more documentary I saw on the plane and that's Cut From Different Cloth. Did you know the casual fashion brand Superdry is actually from the UK? Many assume because it has Japanese writing on its clothes that it's Japanese, but it's not!

It was started in 1985 and its appeal was its combination of Japanese-looking American preppy wear. The company does admit the Japanese writing doesn't have much meaning in English, but it misleads customers into thinking the brand is from the Land of the Rising Sun.

In 2015, Superdry did a collaboration with actor, musician and DJ Idris Elba to create a capsule collection. And Cut From Different Cloth follows this journey of how the collection came together.


Elba is seen in the back of a car talking about how Superdry started sending him clothes to wear unsolicited and so he did. He enjoyed wearing the clothes and later on they pitched the idea of a collaboration.

Julian Dunkerton and James Holder watch Elba being fitted
Early on there are scenes of him going through all the possible pieces from T-shirts to shirts and coats. He puts on many of them and makes comments, picking out the ones he likes, and there are tons of swatches, zippers and buttons to choose from on the table.

There are also scenes of the team picking out male models to wear his clothes and Elba's personal stylist is saying how it's important to find models who have the Idris Elba look -- not too skinny, not too young. There are calls to model agencies looking for models who are 30 years old and up.

Then there is the fashion shoot with Idris Elba in co-founder and then CEO Julian Dunkerton's home, hiring one of the top fashion photographers to do the job. He too gets to put on a few of the clothes to get an idea of what they feel like.

In between these key scenes are explanations of how Dunkerton does business (he stepped down at CEO in 2016). He says landlords always want to show you spaces they want to fill, but they aren't necessarily the space you want. He says it's important to be where the foot traffic is. He also waxes on how flying on a private jet allows you to do business in three countries in one day.

Ah the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Models wearing the collection on the day of the launch
Meanwhile Dunkerton gives a lot of credit to the company's success to co-founder and head designer James Holder, who is known for his attention to detail -- to the millimetre. At one point in the documentary, an employee who is in Turkey to check out a textile company producing items for them, gets a text message from Holder saying he doesn't like the designs they have and wants to redo them all.

The employee is flabbergasted and doesn't know what to say, knowing he's on camera.

But the campaign pulls through down to the wire, from the clothes, to the models, the look of the store and the fans who come out for the launch.

It's interesting to watch because Superdry doesn't actively seek publicity, so there isn't much known of what goes behind the scenes with this brand.

Cut From Different Cloth (2017)
Director: Richard Terry

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