I had the idea for this post when I was writing my Sharon Van Etten music monday post all the way back in March. In the post I mentioned that I heard her song Love More in one of the Free People videos and that got me thinking about how that video, along with the several others like it, deserve to be talked about in more detail.
A few years ago Free People started to release short films on their YouTube channel to promote their new catalogues and collections. However they are not the average video advertisements you might expect from a clothing brand, Free People have produced content which feels like so much more than just a signal of their new pieces. Although they haven’t made a new one in the past year, it almost doesn’t matter because I keep revisiting this handful of truly beautiful short films.
The time, care and attention that has been put into making these videos, allows them to feel like mini movies rather than obvious product promotion. Of course there are shots which linger on the clothes in order to show them off but due to the women (mostly models) who are cast in these films it seems authentic that they would wear Free People, and therefore these shots of the clothes and accessories don’t feel out of place. It’s also important to note that they are not the focus of the videos either. The plot of each of film is not forgotten and they are so well made that you definitely get swept up into their stories both while watching and, to be honest, afterwards. The music used in all of them further adds to this emotion. In summary, I think it is such an imaginative, creative and different way for a brand to promote their new collections. The simple fact that these short films are so well executed is the reason it works so well and why you don’t feel like it’s just Free People pushing their products on you as you’re watching them. They are beautifully shot (the directors deserve a lot of my praise) and the minimal dialogue lets the romance and emotion just sweep you up.
The first film I saw, and the first one they released, is Roshambo and it actually has two other parts to it (which can be found on the Free People YouTube channel) but my favourite of the three is definitely this one. It features Christopher Abbott and Sheila Marquez and was directed by Jonathan Doe, Guy Aroch and Carlos Veron.
It is hard for me to pick but this one may be my favourite: simple but effective and the desert roads provide a stunning backdrop. The Ride stars Erin Wasson (one of my favourite models) and Mark Wystrach and it was directed by Duncan Winecoff.
Back to where the inspiration for this post started as Rangeen features Sharon Van Etten’s song Love More. I know I just said The Ride may be my favourite but I have watched this one a lot too and using a song I already like does help…There is more dialogue in this one but I think it’s a good balance with the story being told. Frieda Pinto and Thomas Bull are the main two in this film and it was directed by Guy Aroch and Carlos Veron.
A Letter is different to the other films as it doesn’t focus on a romance but I defy you not to feel something after watching this one! It features Dree Hemingway, Angela Lindvall and Joel Danielsson and was directed by Duncan Winecoff.
The Cabin might actually be my least favourite of all of these films but only because I think I would prefer it with slightly less dialogue. All the other elements – direction, cinematography, story, etc, of this one still work just as well for me. Jacques Naude and Noot Seear star in The Cabin which was directed by Guy Aroch and Carlos Veron.
images via screenshots of youtube videos, all linked in the post