An Interview With: KATHRYN FERGUSON

 

Film Director, Fashion Film Research Fellow and Selfridges Resident Film Director

on BOF’s Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season.

As well as working as a freelance director, in 2014 she was appointed Resident Film Director & Consultant for Selfridges, directing and overseeing all moving image content for 2015/16. 

Her work with Selfridges has focused on creating a more positive representation of femininity in advertising, with works like The Beauty Project generating more than 2 millions views online. 

Belfast born Kathryn Ferguson is a Film director, Film Curator & Fashion Film Research Fellow, currently living and working in London. She has directed films for the likes of Chloé, Selfridges, Dev Hynes & Neneh Cherry, Nike, Sinead O’Connor, Sony, Lady Gaga and SHOWstudio.

Her films have screened globally at film festivals around the world and on platforms such as MTV, Dazed Digital, Nowness, Twin, the BBC, in Vogue and appeared 

#1 Where did your interest in Fashion Film originate? Had you always viewed fashion and film to be mediums that you are able to connect with and share messages through?

noughties that fashion fil really became a vague possibility.  A handful of progressive young London designers started experimenting with it instead of the catwalk and I spent a lot of my time in those days watching out for new film experiments to appear on SHOWstudio, dedicating hours of my life trying to watch them whilst using woefully slow dial up internet.

A fairly long time ago. I always had a huge interest in photography and I’d grown up as part of the MTV generation and was a big fan of fashion influenced music videos. I found the immediacy and impact that music video appeared to have on visual culture really exciting. However I initially decided to go down the fashion route and it was whilst I was studying for a fashion BA in the early

#2 What is the importance of communicating messages through the use of fashion imagery? Is this something that distinguishes a fashion film for you? 

whether it's fashion, music or documentary as a way to tell stories and communicate with the viewer, as film is such a potent form of communication.

There is such a wide spectrum now for what a "fashion film" can be and I'm very open to and enjoy seeing how others approach the genre. For me, I view each film I make,

#3 Can you tell us more about the importance of female filmmakers, for example, their importance in presenting fairer representations and telling women’s stories?  

their first moves within film. Lots have used it as a stepping-stone to work in the wider commercial film world of music and advertising. Strong female image makers telling women’s stories in new and clever ways can only ever be a good thing. 

I am thrilled that there are so many talented women making fashion films. I have been promoting the work of female filmmakers in fashion since 2007 when I began the Fashion Loves Film strand at Birds Eye View Film Festival. It's been a fantastic genre for women to make

"Strong female image makers telling women’s stories in new and clever ways can only ever be a good thing"

#4 YOU WERE APPOINTED THE RESIDENT FILM DIRECTOR & CONSULTANT FOR SELFRIDGES, DIRECTING AND OVERSEEING ALL MOVING IMAGE CONTENT FOR 2015/16, WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON COMPANIES STARTING TO HIRE FILMMAKERS TO DEFINE THEIR BRAND AND MESSAGE? 

I am delighted to be working with a brand like Selfridges. They have such open minded and progressive creatives in that office and working with them on the film content is a joy.  

I suppose it's quite an unusual situation that I am in and I imagine this is partly due to the fact that I have previous experience of both directing content and curating film projects and commissions. 

#5 WHAT ARE YOU VIEWS ON THE HYPER-SEXUALISATION OF FASHION IMAGERY AND THEIR RELATION TO THE AUDIENCE?  

sexualised and out of date representations of women and now men in their campaigns.  It's 2015 and the world has woken up to this. 

I just find it a bit dull to be honest and it seems that a lot of viewers feel the same.  I think a lot of brands do more damage than good by creating overtly

 "I think a lot of brands do more damage than good by creating overtly sexualised and out of date representations of women and now men in their campaigns"

#6 Do you notice a change in fashion film, having been involved with the medium since 2008? What are your predictions for the films to be showcased at this year’s Berlin Fashion Film Festival?

moved very fast since and I think the input of filmmakers from other genres exploring fashion film has actually helped lift the standard immensely. Fashion films now have a lot more substance, humour and respect as a result. It's hard to pin down what the future will be but narrative filmmaking will have a huge part.  It's exciting. 

Yes a huge change. In 2008 it was such an exciting new time for fashion film but the immediate response and explorations within the genre were very much lifted from the existing 2D editorial image. This moving look book style fashion film became very repetitive fast and the lack of craft was very evident. Things have