Bek Shepperd’s aesthetic is simultaneously bold and contemporary yet grounded in a classic elegance. With a background in visual merchandising, she has now placed herself on the international map as a much sought-after stylist and art director. We sat down with Bek when she dropped into our store and asked her a few questions about her projects and her process.
We absolutely love your aesthetic. Do you think there is a common look that you incorporate into your different projects?
Yes, there is! Simplistic, minimal, clean lines, slightly a bit graphic at times and perhaps slightly masculine. I do work with colour as well – it tends to be a bit more monochromatic but it really depends on the project.
So, you just get the call for a new styling project – what are the first few questions you work through with your client?
Firstly, we discuss brand direction. We ask ourselves who the market is and how the project is going to be featured. Is it an editorial, a campaign or will it be in print? We ask a lot of questions about what the company goals are to get a clear idea of their vision.
What are your current sources of inspiration?
Travelling is a really big one for me – I have a trip to Scandinavia coming up. Music, in an intuitive way when I’m actually designing…it inspires me to create. What else…Instagram, magazines, books, architecture, other creatives. Meeting people in the same industry, chatting about projects and stories. I have to come up with concepts so quickly so I don’t really have time to submerge myself in different sources, hence why I’m going to Europe.
Do you find the time pressure of your projects exhilarating?
Yeah, it’s exciting when it all comes together yet it can also be really challenging. With a really tight deadline, you have to work with what you have got because you don’t have time to get things made…we can be pretty restricted at times. When someone drops a product in front of me, that’s the exhilarating part! As soon I see something new, my ideas start flowing. Also, being on set and seeing the images come to life…when the colours are working and everything comes together, well that’s pretty amazing.
When did you realise that you wanted to become a stylist and art director?
I wanted to become a stylist about eight years ago when I was having a gin and tonic with a good friend of mine. At that time, I was a visual merchandiser, he was a photographer. We were discussing the industry he worked in and I remember him showing me the front cover of an Inside Out magazine and as soon as I saw that it was like something just clicked and I thought “ahh I might give this a bit of a shot.” I think it took about a year for me to decide for certain that I would give this a crack, I was still studying at that time. The Art Direction came as a progression, it wasn’t a planned step. It happened when I was a stylist and I started concepting these creative directions for brands when there was no director at all. My friend, the photographer, is someone I have worked extremely close with over the years. When you make the right decision, opportunities start to show themselves and things just seem to happen rather effortlessly. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy, it’s definitely not easy, but things just flow.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have all commercial branding projects at the moment. Two existing clients – one is textiles and the other is flooring. They are big campaigns and I have another new client coming up who is a furniture designer. I’ll be speaking at the Southwood Style Series event soon which I’m really looking forward to. I am focusing on not spreading myself too thin and doing each project really well. I’m also getting ready for my Europe trip where I’ll be meeting with various brands, introducing myself, doing lots of shopping for inspiration, have some downtime…just really submerging myself and taking the time to be completely open to opportunities.