In conversation with Joe Corlito, BA Fashion Communication and Promotion
His final major project focuses on an authentic advertising campaign for streetwear fashion brand Stussy and car manufacturer Volkswagen. This project is shortlisted for two separate awards at Graduate Fashion Week.
In this blog, we talk to Joe about his inspirations, final project, and post-graduation hopes.
What sparked your interest in creativity?
I love cars and fashion. This passion stems from when I was a child; my Mum’s side of the family are all mechanics, so I was always surrounded by cars. Growing up, I was obsessed with the idea of becoming a car designer.
In my early teens, I was introduced to streetwear. My older brother, Tommy, opened this new world to me through sharing music from Odd Future, Mac Miller and so on, who would wear now-cult names such as Supreme and A Bathing Ape.
The branding and styling of these artists inspired me and my dress sense as much as they did my personal interests. I remember getting my first pair of Air Jordan’s, my first Supreme piece (a hand-me-down from Tommy). This is where my interest in fashion stemmed from, no question.
What was your journey to studying Fashion Communication and Promotion (FCP) with us?
I have always been a visual learner, my favourite subject at school was Art and Design. I studied Graphic Design, Photography and English literature at A-level, which helped me understand and nurture my skills and interests.
I studied Visual Communication for a year at Arts University Bournemouth, which I loved, however, I feared it would not allow me to venture directly into the fashion industry.
Therefore, after completing a year, I decided to apply to the FCP course at Norwich University of the Arts. I had visited close friends in the years before studying here and always had a soft spot for the city. FCP seemed to appeal to all the aspects I was missing in my previous course, and that was that!
Let’s talk about your final project. Why did you choose Stussy and Volkswagen as brands to focus on?
Cars and clothing have a rich history that most do not consider. They’re two industries that complement one another – Ford’s collaboration with Cartier, Bill Blass, Pucci and Givenchy in 1978.
Volkswagen is synonymous with the ‘surfer’, and ‘hippie’ aesthetic, with the iconic Beetle and Campervan upholding this visual for decades. Stussy was originally a bespoke surfboard brand which evolved into a clothing line. The same ethos is echoed here, with a mirrored sense of ‘free-living’.
The two go hand-in-hand, it was also a collaboration which has not been realised, so there was my niche!
How did you find your subjects for the shoot?
I utilised social media, sharing stories on my personal Instagram, almost like a casting call. I also found a couple of individuals locally and back home in Cambridge. This project allowed me to travel much of Eastern and Southern England.
What was your main goal for this campaign?
I wanted to ensure the theme of authenticity was projected above anything else. In my opinion, modern media is very artificial. With the rise of influencers, people accept a quick payday to endorse a product with no personal meaning.
I wanted to combat this by creating a fully transparent, honest and authentic campaign made possible by real enthusiasts of both brands.
What actually goes into a project like this?
To create this project, I started by ensuring the concept was viable. This was a crucial step, creating a deep body of research and exploration to ensure the vision I had made sense.
For both Stussy and Volkswagen, I looked at their competitors, consumers, histories and most importantly, their visual identities. From here, I reached out to a range of subjects. I worked alongside a selection of Stussy/vintage collectors and a Norwich-based retailer. They all assisted me in supplying vintage and modern garments for my shoots.
The styling, creative direction, sourcing, location scouting, photography, editing and everything else, was handled by me – something I am extremely proud of!
What are your career hopes post-graduation?
I hope to work within both fashion and automotive industries, focusing on creative direction within the advertisement sector. This is a goal I aim to achieve in London, but I hope it will take me across the world in the long run.
Looking back over your time with us, what would you say is your most significant achievement?
This project, to be honest – I am so proud of it. It’s been my baby! I have drawn in on everything I learned at Norwich University of the Arts. I feel this project has really allowed me to showcase exactly what I am about and who I am as a creative individual.
And what would advice would you give to a student who’s joining us in September?
My best advice, as cliché as it is, would be to follow your own direction and chase your own passions and interests because these are the things that will make you stand out.
You will want to look back at your time here at Norwich University of the Arts and be satisfied with the work you produce. Remember to apply yourself and have a purpose within everything you do!