McGinley’s Beautiful Rebels

It's kinda magic how these African butterflies flutter about the tattooed torso of Bradley Soileau and the candy floss-colored hair of Charlotte Free: Set to the soulful gospel of “If I Had A Little Love” by the Majestic Arrows, this short movie instantly drags me into the scene. Admittedly, it doesn't reveal its purpose at first sight - but it's Ryan McGinley's interpretion of Edun's Spring/Summer 2012 campaign. Founded by U2's lead singer Bono and his wife Ali Hewson in 2005, the fashion house rapidly established itself as an important voice in contemporary design. But besides that, Edun's intention resides in sustainable fashion through trade and community building initiatives in developing countries like Uganda and Kenya. Bono and Hewson describe their fashion line as a for-profit business with the aim of creating a global fashion brand, making beautiful clothing whilst committing to developing trade with Africa and encouraging others to do the same. Edun is based on a belief that style should have substance and while it has always sourced globally, as its business grows so does its production and work in Africa. Thereby, it serves a as a model for the fashion industry on the positive change it can make.

Click underneath to watch the video and read more about McGinley's intention:

                                   McGinley's interview to Nowness

Why did you pick butterflies for the Edun campaign?
I’m endlessly fascinated by the grace and eloquence of the butterfly. Like them, we are all on a long journey where we encounter endless turns, shifts, and conditions that cause us to change. The butterfly makes us realize that our journey is our only guarantee.

Were there some entertaining moments on set?
My camera was captivated by the graceful chaos they created. What I enjoy most while making photographs is a surprise. Something that happens that I can't anticipate, it's like magic. Butterflies are unpredictable and that's what made the day fun.

What is your casting process like?
Casting is truly one of my passions. I spend a lot of time looking for people to work with. I have a full time casting director at my studio who finds me people who are beautiful in an interesting way. I'm constantly shooting nudes in my studio to find new subjects I can work with in different capacities.

Where did the Beautiful Rebels theme come from?
I suppose Beautiful Rebels is a nod to [Leonard] Cohen's wonderful novel Beautiful Losers. Rebelling has always been part of my DNA, photographically and in life. The people I cast in my photographs are a representation of my own spirit. Just like Cohen I'm trying to fuse sexuality with spirituality within in my work.

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