From avatars dressed in streetwear to surreal and glitchy 3D animation and Tumblr-inspired video collages, fashion films have embraced the full spectrum of filmmaking techniques, methods, and aesthetics that the digital age has heralded. One of the most fun and inventive of those practioners has been artists Reed + Rader—Pamela Reed and Matthew Rader—whose fashion stories have featured everything from stuffed animal GIFs to models shooting hoops.
Their latest creation is another thematic narrative set in a colorful land and this time they've created the first fashion film ever using the Unreal game engine and it's called Brave New World. The Unreal Engine is something usually associated with game developers but using it for a fashion film means you can pretty much create any 3D environment your skills and imagination can muster—and have creative control over the design and implementation of that world.
Reed + Rader say their work has been leaning more and more towards 3D graphics and animations, so using a game engine to render a circus world full of models in designer clothes seemed like a natural progression. "A lot of our work has been experimenting with using 3D assets in it for a while now but this project takes things to a new level for us." they note.
Taking the couple the entire summer to complete, the project was a real labor of love, with everything crafted by the pair and the models integrated as performers in this circus world, from a miniature girl in a jar to a psychic, even a giant woman busting some Vivienne Westwood. And of course clowns, plenty of clowns. "From dirt and wood textures to circus tents and the performers this world has been hand sculpted by us." they say.
While 3D animation software has been used in fashion films before and video game iconography and 8-bit has been influencing fashion for some time, this looks to be the first time an actual game engine has been used to generate a fashion film. It's the latest step in fashion's ever evolving and experimental relationship with the internet and the brave new world it ushered in.