We love this beautiful and insightful film by London-based director William Williamson for DAZED named ‘The Silent Conversation’. The aesthetic and gripping short looks into the relation between the people of Lahore, Pakistan, and everyday fashion. As well as visualising the feel of garments and textiles and the importance of clothes-making in Pakistan, the film explores how clothing fits into Pakistan’s strong traditions; traditions that are also being broken. In a country where people are standing up more and more against harsh social mores that ask for countless restrictions, fashion becomes more than a means to dress up and look nice. As shown through the examples of female police women and transvestites in the film, fashion is used as a tool to express authority, individuality and boldness, which is tremendously captured by Williamson, who also created a tremendous soundtrack for the imagery.
The way we present ourselves sartorially is a core part of what it is to be human and I was interested in exploring this in a culture where I would, by definition, have the perspective of an outsider. I was fascinated by the idea that simply wearing a piece of cloth is common to all cultures, and yet we can own our identity through our dress. I love how it brings unity but also rebellion.
‘The Silent Conversation’ speaks volumes about the state of the individual in a country often characterized by its long history of violence and turmoil. It is interesting, then, that this short documentary’s focus lies not in the outspoken voices of the people Williamson met on his ten day opus through Lahore, but on a much more subtle form of expression. The clothing we wear plays a large role in the formation of collective cultural and personal identity – the uniform of the Lahore police force worn by a woman for the first time sends as strong a message as any political manifesto. As a country marked by the fallout of empire, Pakistan has faced many challenges on its road to define itself.
The very talented English filmmaker William Williamson has taken the route through live music and close artistic collaborations with musicians such as Keaton Henson and Kodaline, emerging as a new talent in short form documentary and branded content. He has recently directed work for brands as diverse as The Sun, Samsung and Facebook and directed a couple of impressive music videos among which is one of our favorites of last year; the ‘Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us’ video for Keaton Henson.
For the whole story of The Silent Conversation on DAZED see here.
For the work of William Williamson see here.