Condé Nast College welcomed journalist Nilgin Yusuf, in conversation with filmmaker Turkina Faso and photographer Jasmine de Silva, where they discussed the importance of fashion filmmaking as part of the weekly industry speaker series for Vogue Education Presents. MA Fashion Journalism & Editorial Direction student Nadège Mustafa, reports.
The Powerhouse Trio’s Impact on Industry
Nilgin Yusuf is an accomplished journalist, author and lecturer whose list of credentials is impressive; from the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph and Elle, to her time as part of the faculty at the London College of Fashion and UAL, her career is nothing short of inspiring. Notably, her third fashion book is out now: The Fundamentals of Fashion Filmmaking (Bloomsbury 2023), which is a must-read.
Turkina Faso, a London-based visual artist, specialises in photography, text and film, shaped by her experiences studying at Moscow’s Institute of Contemporary Art, London College of Fashion, and University of the Arts London. She amazed students when she presented a selection of projects from her impressive portfolio.
Remarkably, her graduation project, ‘ME and THEM: Back Home with Alice’ was published in the British Journal of Photography, Vogue Italia and i-D. Her clients include YSL Beauty, Mulberry, Vogue Italia, Vogue China and Vogue Russia. As with Yusuf, she influences the next generation of tastemakers through her teaching. Look out for her first feature film, currently in the works.
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Jasmine De Silva, also working on her debut feature film, is a creative who derives inspiration from playfully subverting the societally imposed norms. De Silva honed her craft during her time at the London College of Fashion, where she studied for a BA and then her MA in Fashion Photography. Having won awards for her talent in Photography and Directing, she was selected as the winner of the 2022 British Journal of Photography Female in Focus Awards. De Silva continues to pursue her passion for freelance photography, music video, commercial and narrative directorship.
Relaying the importance of co-creation when approaching any project, especially fashion filmmaking, the trio unpacked how the creative career path will always entail struggle and tenacity, with this process being something that should be enjoyed and seen as part of the package.
“It’s a whole sequence of terrifying moments”
– says Yusuf when asked about her experience as a young journalist getting her foot in the door.
Yusuf jokes that the book, having been written when Covid 19 struck, “was very good for interviews”. An anecdote in honour of embracing the challenge. Those lucky enough to attend the talk were given a discount code for her book, a project completed over 5 years. Well worth the wait for all fashion lovers.
“Fashion is a tool and you should be able to use it however you wish”
– Yusuf about fashion’s inherent power
Faso compared filmmaking to completing a puzzle. When an aspect of the filmmaking process does not fit or does not work with the overarching project, you remove it and replace it with a different approach, slowly building to the final product. She captivated the audience with her in-depth explanation of creating a sustainable and effective thought process to always fall back on while producing film, ensuring an always powerful end product.
The enigmatic panel also discussed how journalism, film, and photography are intersectional, always overlapping and ‘shaking hands’ regarding technique and meaning. They naturally discuss what a fashion film, and whether it can be defined.
Nilgin mentions how the term fashion film itself can even be perceived as quite limiting. In constrast, De Silva states:
“When I think of fashion film I think that it’s actually very limitless, like there aren’t really any rules”
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She goes on to explain that “unlike say narrative for example, that you’re not restricted to one type of way of telling the story”. Faso agrees, saying “It’s a way to tell the story, and it’s not stills”, with the idea being that it can be a more organic process.
Most importantly, it was clear that despite the pressures of the job, they always have fun. Something clearly evident when witnessing the final product of their work.
Their Message to Budding Creatives
The takeaway message that was imparted to students from this highly inspiring panel discussion was that succeeding in a saturated and competitive industry as an aspiring creative may seem daunting, but it shouldn’t be. A key to success is discovering your niche; your individual skills and your experience which make you unique. Obstacles are a part of the journey, and, if this isn’t part of your experience, you are not doing it right. It is an indication of you pushing yourself.
They advised us to go out there and seize opportunities unapologetically, embracing the journey, finding not only your style but yourself along the way.
Words by Nadège Mustafa, MA Fashion Journalism and Editorial Direction student
Images by Annelee Kiliddjian, MA Creative Direction for Fashion for Fashion Media student