A dusty and vacant scene is injected with pastel tones, electric blue and blacks in Kope | Figgins‘ fantastic fashion story for Contributor, showcasing a collection by Unathi Mkonto. The nonsensical, off-beat props by artist Kerry Chaloner add another dimension of unreality to the already surreal set of images.
“Unathi Mkonto approached us to shoot some of his collection,” Jonathan Kope and Jarred Figgins told us. “Instead of going the whole flowery, cute girls in a field, boho route that seems to be quite fancied at the moment, we decided to try and push it more towards the other end. We, as a general industry, can be quite restricted at times. So it’s really great to do something a bit more left field and not necessarily conventional.”
It was this unconventional approach that drew Unathi to the photography duo to begin with. “We were looking for authenticity in fashion,” he says. “I wanted to portray a girl who has left her past behind and is ready to invent a new world for herself, and Kope | Figgins created that radical context.” Unathi’s collection addresses the darker side of fashion. “The clothes directly offend, but are at the same time inviting,” he says. The silk dresses modelled by Alexa at Boss Models are deliberately oversized and inspired by an active attitude.
For a long time Unathi has been interested in Kerry’s use of available resources in her process. As well as props, she provided additional styling and direction to augment the concept Kope | Figgins had in mind. “In all my work I take cues from site and the materials at hand. Unathi’s dresses hint at the liberated women of the Roaring 20s with an impeccable ultra-modern cut and luxe fabric,” Kerry explains. “We used contrasting texture and a play between evening, street and workwear to highlight their modernity. Alexa is otherworldly, and I wanted to gesture towards the destruction and construction of new worlds. This was happening quite literally at the location under a blazing midday sun with bulldozers around us.”
Photography: Kope | Figgins
Fashion: Unathi Mkonto
Props, styling and direction: Kerry Chaloner
Hair and make-up: Nandi Kai
Model: Alexa @ Boss Models