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Tom Sloane

Is this the future of casting?

TextDenieka Lafayette

New gender-fluid brand Collusion cast the net far and wide in their new campaign capturing the face of youth culture in Britain

Yesterday, a new fashion label named ‘Collusion’ hit the market. Backed by ASOS, selling cruelty-free, affordable and gender-fluid clothing aimed at Gen Z, Collusion is a sign of the changing times. Beyond the clothes that seek to appeal to all genders and sizes, they have launched with a revolutionary campaign. Taking the ground-up approach to casting – a trend that's been snowballing in the fashion and media industries of late – Collusion have amped things up to the next level. 

To begin with, the brand set aside the usual requirements for a casting call. Your height, waist measurements and how close you are to the golden face ratio held absolutely no relevance. All that you needed to be a part of the campaign was to live in the UK and be born in the year 2000. Unlike other youth fashion brands, painfully focused on appearance alone, Collusion cast the net wider and deeper. Of the applications, they selected 100 UK residents, from Glasgow to Brighton and Birmimgham, who were born in the year 2000. 100 portraits of the individuals were shot by photographer Tom Sloan and 100 individual films directed by filmmaker Dan Emmerson. Aiming to reflect the authentic diversity of British youth culture there were no limits in terms of size, gender, race, ability or sexuality. 

The young British team who pulled the project together describe the project as 'cast by fate, not feaures.’ The result? Candid photographic and video portraits of real British 18-year-olds. Unfiltered and unabridged the 100 stars span skaters in Walthamstow, DJs from Manchester, and creatives in Glasgow. The stories are as varied as the indviduals. There are tales of non-binary teenagers and vignettes of aspiring rappers. The nationwide casting call has meant that young people from all over could share their stories, when they might otherwise be left voiceless, allowing second generation immigrants, trans people and people of all faiths access to a huge platform.

Adolescence is a time where people's sense of self begins to calcify – but 18-year-olds don't always get the best press. Apathetic, disengaged, snowflakes or digital-obssessives... is how they're too often portrayed in mainstream media. This project comes as a reminder that teenagers are people too, and that for many, the year 18 is symbolic of some of the greatest challenges and decisions we make as people.

As a casting case-study, the piece feels new but also indicative of a larger sea change afoot withion the fashion industry. If beauty lies in the personal, Collusion's campaign shining a light on real people is one that we're excited to share. 

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