BFFF In The Know: 11x Human


Fashion Film as a Social Commentary

The latest piece by hip-hop fashion brand AKOO directed by John Merizalde goes beyond advertising.

Dealing with current social issues, from racism and crime within the black community to ongoing police brutality, 11X Human becomes an important and emotionally charged documentary. 

In an interview with online magazine Directors Notes, Merizalde explains more about how the collaboration came about and why it was important for AKOO to have their voice head on these topics. 

Below you will find an excerpt of the interview, with the full feature available on Directors Notes.

"The initial brief was simple: Develop a treatment for a short film that is rooted in fashion and is visually stimulating and thought provoking.

The back drop and common thread throughout the film should be that of civil unrest and explore the current severity of modern racism, black on black crime within our own communities and police brutality. 

We want the film to be informative, high energy, gritty but not preachy.

A brand rooted in hip hop, it was impossible for them [AKOO] to ignore the current state of America. 

Their clothing features various racially and politically charged messages, the clearest example being the name of their line (and the film), 11x HUMAN.

Use of the number 11 throughout the collection is a reference to the number of times Eric Garner said “I Can’t Breathe” while being choked by NYPD. I immediately connected with the vision they proposed, and it was exciting to have the opportunity to create a piece of branded content with some weight and humanity. It’s not something that comes across very often."

"A brand rooted in hip hop, it was impossible for them to ignore the current state of America."

"This was a challenging piece for many obvious reasons. There were many long debates on where to go with the piece and what to say with it.

The topics covered are very real and current, and the last thing I wanted to do was exploit them. The battle between art and commerce is something many filmmakers face, and it’s hard to toe the line when you have corporate funding. 

Luckily AKOO believed in the idea and was willing to let the product take a backseat to the message – something many brands wouldn’t be open to doing.

It’s a difficult balance, but hopefully the end result is something tasteful and authentic. Regardless of sponsorship, the message is real, and that is what we want to stick with people in the end."

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