I got one of the most inspiring books: DIY Fashion Shoots by We Are Photogirls. I almost didn’t buy it because it said it was for teenage girls. But actually, I have a teenage girl trapped inside my adult body that I just need to acknowledge more often. Taiwan peeps, you can get it at Eslite, online: at Amazon.
The book is full of a wide variety of fashion shoot themes, as well as tips, tricks, and a lot of creativity crammed on every page! I poured over the book, reading and rereading, flipping back and forth until my mind was exploding with ideas and all the possibilities. I soon told a few friends about it and invited them to come be involved and please do one with me.
As I couldn’t rally the troops on such short notice (Spring Scream weekend) I decided to go ahead and do it with my partner in crime in all creative projects: Rachel Wang.
We make such a great team! The photo shoot we chose to try first was Food Glorious Food where you need to base a shoot using food. This of course reminded me of the historic first episode of the first season of Project Runway, where they had to go to the grocery store and make an outfit with materials found there under budget. The corn husk winner of that challenge stood out in my mind, and no doubt influenced our direction.
We headed over to the outdoor section of the BingJiang Market off Mingzu, and (since I had planned so well) the regular vegetable + fruit part of the market was closed for Tomb Sweeping Festival. But we weren’t gonna let that stop us!
Every problem is an opportunity for a creative solution.
We picked up our materials here, at a dried bulk shop. First bought dried bamboo leaves used for wrapping a Taiwanese rice dumpling called zongzi :
We picked up edible flowers there too. They are usually used in a clear soup eaten at the end of lunch. At first we freaked out and thought it was saffron and the giant amount of money it would cost.
3 varieties of mushrooms, these were the big ones:
After we got back to my place we had an hour and a half brainstorm. This was our mood board with our different techniques and ideas.
We had to soak the dried bamboo leaves to make them pliable. Then we cut them into strips before weaving them and stapling them onto a rice bag the shop threw in for free. We also braided a belt, and folded them in loops for the skirt part.
Rachel had the brilliant idea of making a mushroom headband. She brought wire we used to wrap around to hold it in place. That’s her cute fringe.
Keeping with the food theme, we made a paste of tumeric and water to paint on the mushrooms for an orangey color to match the flowers. We also used it as skin paint to make an arm band. Rachel hot glued some mushrooms to a bamboo strip to make a necklace which we stuck on with vaseline.
As the flowers were also dried, we soaked them in water, snipped off the ends, and peeled the petals apart. We used these to cover the top of the headband, but also around my eyes instead of make-up! Vaseline worked well for that too. We used the dried flowers in bunches and stuck them in the bodice for more balanced color.
The pictures that follow below are the finished result. We were running out of daylight, and only had an hour to run around the park beside my house and take photos. Rachel played photographer with my Canon S110, and Justin, my lovely husband, assisted with wind control.
p.s. i don’t wanna model next time. Art directing and styling is more my gig.
Hope you liked our hardwork!
- Theme: Food Glorious Food
- Location: materials: BIngJiang Market, shoot: Xinsheng Park
- Participants: Rachel and I
- Budget: $500NT (about $16USD) actual spent: $230NT ($8USD) and we had a lot left over.
- Sunday, April 6
- Materials used: bamboo leaves, edible orange flowers, 3 varieties of mushrooms, tumeric, a rice sack, staples, hot glue, and clips
- 2 hours shopping time
- 1.5 hours mood boarding and brainstorming
- 3.5 hours construction/assembly
- 1 hour outdoor shoot
Doing this inspired me to create Taipei Fashion Tribe – a place to collaborate the efforts of many creatives so that we all may benefit from our projects done together. If you’re in Taipei and wanna do some photo shoots with us, join the group!