Fashion and film have had a beautiful and intriguing relationship for decades. From the “Gowns By” credits in old Hollywood films to fashion legends starting their careers in costume design, the link between fashion and film is undeniable.
Of late, the connection between these two worlds has only grown stronger. Fashion designers are now stepping out from behind the scenes and into the director’s chair, bringing their unique perspectives to the big screen. Tom Ford’s debut film “A Single Man” was met with widespread critical acclaim. Agnès B., known for her chic and minimalist designs, made her directorial debut with “My Name Is Hmmm . . .” at the prestigious New York Film Festival.
Most recently, the creative geniuses behind the dreamy and whimsical brand Rodarte have added their names to the list of fashion designers turned filmmakers with their new release, “Woodshock.” With fashion and film continuing to intertwine and influence each other, it makes sense that Latoya Shaw, the stunning LØVCHLD designer, actress and artist, would add ‘filmmaker’ to her impressive resume.
Shaw’s hand-painted shoes have become a sensation across the globe, with celebrities clamoring to get their hands – or rather, their feet – on a pair. Her stunning designs have graced the red carpet and turned heads wherever they go. But it’s not just the A-listers who can enjoy her creations – in addition to custom orders, Latoya also sells unique and one-of-a-kind shoes in a range of sizes on her website, www.lovchld.com.
Parentology caught up with this rising star to discuss art, trauma, and self-preservation.
About “Love Child”
Shaw’s film, which premiered in Los Angeles on March 30th, is a 2-minute and 50-second love letter to her inner child. It’s the ultimate Haiku of filmmaking, with a lot of love, trauma and redemption packed into each frame.
“This (film) has been a long time coming,” Shaw tells Parentology. “I wrote it in 2019 as kind of a reflective piece because I realized that I was stuck in these negative holding patterns in all of my relationships, and I was basically reenacting the relationship that I saw my parents have. And the way that they interacted with me was very much how they felt about each other, whether they knew it or not.”
The film was at once an opportunity to work through her past in a way that only an artist can. Shaw emphasizes that we’re not here to be mimics of our parents, or to repeat mistakes of the past. “Being a product of being a love child, it just kind of made me not appreciate myself, I would say. And my standards of relationships were very low, and the way I saw myself was very low, and I wanted to break out of that.”
As the biracial child of a single parent, Shaw acknowledges that her parents did the best they could, and that blame is an easy answer to a very complex problem. “At first, I thought my parents didn’t like me or I didn’t like myself. And I was very resentful and full of anger,” says the Australian native. “As I continued to go deeper and deeper (into filmmaking), I realized that these are just two people that were in a situation, and they did the best that they could. Could it have been better? Yeah, sure. But also, it’s about what I do with that. I don’t want to walk into my future feeling like a victim because my parents didn’t do so.”
Based on a poem Shaw wrote, “Love Child” is a tale about triumph through adversity, and a poignant piece of work considering that the film almost didn’t make it to theaters. “I shot (Love Child) at the end of 2019. Then something tragic happened; I lost someone who was very close to me, and so I shelved the film, and I just started painting shoes,” Shaw says.
“The world was really bleak. Everything was really dark and so I started painting with really bright colors. I would say, like, I’m an abstract artist, so I was just, like, painting through a vibe of what colors went well together, layering. Kind of figuring out an aesthetic that was unique to me and all the while kind of working through my grief of my loss and then kind of dabbling in photography and taking these shoes and making them into portraits.”
As is the nature of a passionate, creative spirit, it’s a natural progression to go from fashion to film and beyond. “With the completion of the film, it’s funny because people say ‘Oh, this is a fashion brand’. And I feel like it’s more of an artist brand, because I’m a conceptual artist. I’m taking a deep dive into the key philosophies or things that I’ve learned throughout my life, and then I’m exhibiting them in different ways, whether that be through writing, film, photography, painting, and blending this whole vision of what was and how I want to make my life.”
The Future is Bright (and Colorful)
Not one to slow down, Shaw has big plans for her shoe line, which not only includes painting, but creating her own canvas as well. “Now what I want to start doing is making my own shoes and really creating a world where I can play with design and texture and form, just like these things that I think would enrich what I’m trying to say,” Shaw says.
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Designers who make the leap to film often do so with varying degrees of success. The root of Shaw’s success, however, lies in the healing process and the degree to which she has emerged stronger, fiercer and more driven than ever.
“I want (audiences) to understand that they are not limited by their past experiences,” Shaw says. “I passionately want to encourage people to accept the disappointments of life, but also understand that life helps you grow in these ways. You can add more beauty to the world as opposed to just living in the shadow of disappointment and anger and resentment.”
“That little girl in me that always felt like I didn’t belong and that I should be mad about that. But everyone has a place. If you’re here, you belong here. And do something beautiful with that.”