Reeling for the Empire

A KALTBLUT exclusive editorial and fashion film. Photography by Yuxian He. Model is Xianxia Liu. Fashion Designer is Mingzhu Du. Stylist is Yuxian He. Make up by Siqi. The producer is Naduo Luo.

“I contact my friend Naduo Luo to work with me to complete this project. Naduo Luo is currently working at Elle magazine as a stylist assistant. She is also a fashion blogger who likes to share her daily looks on social media. I admire her attitude towards fashion. She believes dressing is the highlighted part of everyday life. “Body is more like canvas, and garments are like pigments. Styling itself is all about creativity.” She prefers clothes with designed details but also comfortable to wear. As my client, I think her characteristics fit my project really well. My target consumer is a woman in the fashion industry based on my research. I did an interview with her and I will contact her during every stage in this project, I believe that she can give me some interesting advice.
Starting from the theme “Mechanics/Engineering”, I think about the construction of the words and compose. Then, Reeling for The Empire by Karen Russel came to mind. The story is about several girls in Japan who are tricked into servitude by the promise of a better life and money for their family. They are told that they will reel silk for the Empire and that the Emperor himself will wear their silk. They are not told, however, that they will be transformed into human-silkworm hybrids. Upon the conclusion of this story, the girls start a revolution and build cocoons for themselves so they can transform into silkworm moths and be free. Figuratively, this story is talking about the injustice of the industrial system during Japan’s industrial revolution. The author is trying to illustrate the dehumanizing characteristics of this age through literally turning her characters into bugs. The inspiration for this story is a sentence in Wage Labor & Capital by Marx. “If the Silkworm were to spin in order to continue its existence as a caterpillar, it would be a complete power was not always a commodity.” Even though the story set in the past, the theme resonates nowadays. I’d like to discuss the concept of female labour justice and freedom.
I did visual research based on Meiji era Japanese art & culture, their traditional garment–kimono and artwork related to silk production and silkworm especially Ruth Asawa.” *Yuxian He

Photography by Yuxian He / Instagram: @lumino.hyx
Model is Xianxia Liu at @longtengmodels / Instagram: @ariesxianxia
Fashion Designer is Mingzhu Du / Instagram: @mindydu05
Stylist is Yuxian He / Instagram: @lumino.hyx
Make up by Siqi
Producer is Naduo Luo / Instagram: @rosecigarr