ASHLEE HILL

ASHLEE HILL

Can you tell me about your role at i-D and how was it there?

Everybody at the i-D offices are amazing. Julia calls in a lot of samples, which can sometimes be challenging but so many PR’s are incredibly supportive because her work is amazing. That definitely makes the call in process easier. There was definitely quite a lot to juggle when it came to sample trafficking. But because of it I also got to do some incredible shoots with her. I went to Senegal in Africa for a shoot, which was unbelievable. It can go down in history as one of the best shoots that I have been on. Such an eye opening experience.

 

How so?

It was unbelievable. I flew with a crazy amount of suitcases and met Julia who was already out there with Harley Weir who shot the story. It was just a team of us 3 girls for the shoot. They had been shooting a feature with Grace Wales Bonner for 2 days prior so Grace was with us for a day or 2 in the beginning.

 

Oh, I love her.

She's the best. I've been working with her recently with Tom Guinness, who styles Grace’s shows.

One of the best shoots was when I first met Grace in Senegal and Harley had just shot a series with Grace's graduate collection on wrestlers in Senegal. There were these unbelievably beautiful men; really burly men in Grace's graduate collection wrestling in this incredible pink lake in Dakar. It's pink because of the amount of salt that's in it.

 

How did you do the street casting? Would you all split off and divide and conquer, or...

Julia had a friend who did production on the shoot. He’s from Senegal and he had just shot a film in Dakar so came along and helped. He would take Julia and Harley off in the mornings and they’d find men and women and children in the markets, on the streets. Anywhere. I would get into this old van in the mornings with all the cases tied to the top; no one spoke English so I wouldn’t know where I was going. We’d be buying peanuts from the street vendors begging at the windows of the van for our breakfast. Then we’d get to some school or youth club or hall and have old hangers and a dodgy little rail to set everything out. It was totally ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ but totally added to the experience.

 

Did it feel weird being in a 3rd world country and mixing the people they’re with very high-end, expensive labels?

It was interesting. The people we shot pieces on didn’t care about the clothes. Why would they? It didn’t matter to them that something was from Gucci’s most recent collection or that one of the jackets cost more than my rent for a year. It was nice to have people who didn’t even consider any of the things that I would consider. Like ‘oh my God, please be careful with that, it’s a sample and I’ll get killed by the PR if it get’s lost or dirty or broken’. It’s a dose of reality on what actually really matters. They would put boots on, and they'd put the wrong foot in each shoe. I’ve never met more happy people who have so little in their lives. There was one night that we shot at the end of the day in a fish market, and we had this beautiful girl dressed in a J.W. Anderson look, and she's standing in front of this huge mound of burning fish with all this smoke everywhere. The sun was setting. It was definitely one of those pinch me moments.

 

How was the company culture at i-D?

Everybody is really lovely. You bond off of the experiences and the stress that you have within our environment. I feel like that with a lot of people and my friends who are assistants. It's not about pushing anyone in front of buses, or being bitchy. I've never had that experience in my world, and I just think it's very neat that at the end of the day we can all come together and have a moan about our lives and know exactly where each of us is coming from.