For the past few seasons, VFILES has looked to its global community's submissions to source the design talent for its MADE Fashion shows. This season will be similar; emerging designers can submit their lookbooks on vfiles.com for a chance to be the next Hyein Seo, ASSK or Melitta Baumeister. For Fall/Winter 2015, however, VFILES is taking things a step further. The New York-based digital platform is sourcing its entire show— the designers, stylists, photographers, hairstylists, makeup artists, and models— from its users submissions. The winners will be chosen by the VFILES editorial team and a group of industry insiders, including Calvin Klein men’s creative director Italo Zucchelli, editor Candy Pratts Price, stylists Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele and Mel Ottenberg (Rihanna's stylist), and Style.com editor in chief Dirk Standen.
The VFILES team has done all the casting for its past shows, albeit with conventional agency-signed models. As such, it is interesting that the platform is taking its casting to the web this season, but if we consider VFILES for a moment, it actually makes a lot of sense. On its team is casting director Preston Chaunsumlit, who you may remember from VFILES' web series, Model Files. Chaunsumlit rather flawlessly casts all of VFILES projects, especially given his penchant for diversity on the runway. This works particularly well for VFILES because, as we have told you in the past, the VFILES man or woman (or boy or girl, may be a better description) is a bit different than your average New York Fashion Week show-goer and the average NYFW model; a bit more youthful and eccentric, less stuffy, not afraid to march to the beat of their own drum, so to speak. This season's casting will likely reflect this more than ever. Chaunsumlit agrees: "VFILES has always been a community that is only as good as the individuals who participate in our community, and we welcome everybody. A community is nothing without its individuals and we value that. If anything, crowdsourcing our Fall/Winter 2015 show makes our brand/message clearer than ever."
He further told us that the crowdsourcing of models, as well as photographers, stylists, etc. for February's show "only makes sense. We are the first online social media fashion community. Our cyber community consists of individuals who love fashion, work in fashion, who are fashion. VFILES is a democratic platform where every user is a collaborator and a contributor. So, crowdsourcing is only natural."
As for what he will be looking for in casting the F/W show (which is actually four individual fashion shows in one), Chaunsumlit told us: "I am looking for a strong lineup that fits, that's cohesive, that celebrates the clothes...and of course, some badass walks." And that will not necessarily be the more conventional models that Chaunsumlit looks for when casting with agency models, who "all have the same, industry standard measurements." Of how the VFILES casting will differ from your run of the mill fashion week casting, he says: "If you are picking out of a community that is homogeneous, you are stuck with homogenous. This why this crowd-sourcing is exciting. It will be a diverse community to cast from. Every single user that submits has every chance at making it on that runway as any agency model. Your 'standard' model is going to need more than industry standard measurements to make it into my casting."
The submission process for the F/W 2015 show is open now and runs through December 8. The winners for the February 11th show will be announced December 15. So, stay tuned …