Sunday, 20 February 2011

What does it mean being a stylist in 2011?

Article written last week to a fashion magazine. Reviews and opinions are welcome!


My job description is "stylist", but I’m much more than that. It’s impossible not to be more than that in 2011. To be a stylist means I need to be also a fashion advisor, market analyst, a buyer, a street style photographer, a blog writer and reader. At least in my company and I want to believe that the same happens everywhere. When I was journalist in a fashion magazine I observed with curiosity the stylist's work. She helped the photographer to pick the models and the set, she asked for some borrowed clothes to brands and she had a final say in the editorial concept.

My first Job as stylist was in a well-known e-commerce and my job had nothing to do with this. I had to study the tendencies and the designers, it was required that I recognized a brand after a first glance. I styled every single piece the company sold to go online making the best combinations I thought it would enhance the product. I was also responsible for an internal newsletter and to encourage fashion curiosity and to add fashion knowledge to my fellow colleagues. I imagine that if the stylist from the magazine I worked looked at my job she would say: she’s not a stylist at all. Today I’m the stylist of a company that creates and produces clothes for many famous brands. If my former company looked at my Job now they would say: she’s not a stylist at all…

So well, the question is: Do styling mean different kind of jobs in fashion world? Is it the concept of stylist changing? If yes, what is causing this mutation?

For the first question I must say I’m still figuring out the answer… I think your stylist job depends on each fashion area you work. Of course your tasks change when you’re working for a magazine, for an e-commerce or for a factory. It depends if you’re working with high street brands or fast fashion stores. But the grounds are the same: fashion knowledge, aesthetic sensibility, innovation spirit! I believe there is place in the world for different concepts of this career but I also believe being a stylist in 2011 is no longer the same it was back in the time I was a journalist. Everyone working in this area should pay attention to the blogosphere, everyone should go to streets once in a while and take pictures to people whose style is impressive, everyone should go to concerts, exhibitions, movies and take inspirations for what the cultural art/ industry gave us. And that is what mainly changed in the styling career, the fashion world is no longer the same, the rules are vanishing and you must be ready for working in a fashion anarchy.

For my job interview I took two things: my résumé and my blog address. I’m sure my curriculum had some weight, it was important that I worked in fashion before, that I took a master abroad that I knew more than three languages. But I have the feeling that what gave me the job was my blog and this was a true surprise. My blog is a very small project where I post things I like related to fashion. It’s very personal and I don’t try or want it to be a fashion encyclopedia but it was exactly the profile of who they were looking: someone that can reunite in a mood board personal experiences with fashion sense, cultural knowledge with market demands and pass it to the designers. To be a stylist in 2011 knowing the luxury brands collections is not enough even though because I have serious doubts about who inspires who nowadays: fast fashion is inspired by luxury brands or quite the opposite? And what inspires the designers of both sides?

There are two major examples of 2010 hits that could be mentioned: Mulberry Alexa bag and Moschino vintage belt. I’m pretty sure that Alexa was the sensation of this season because style icons used it everywhere. And when I talk about style icons I’m thinking about girls like Olivia Palermo and, of course, Alexa Chung. They hinted the magazines pages with their style and they were copied for the readers, late for the bloggers. Thousands of people read these blogs and wanted to have a similar bag. Hundreds of fast fashion brands presented low cost solutions and in less than nothing the blogosphere and websites like lookbook.nu were crowded by satchel bags. The Moschino black and golden belt is even a more consistent example of the street style influence. This belt has decades, it was considered cheesy for most fashion canons. One started using it and then others found the same belt in the mother’s closet. Suddenly the belt is in every daily style website and is one of the most wanted items on eBay.

How can you be a stylist in 2011 if you have no idea of what’s happening in real girls and boys minds? You can’t. But most important of all and that’s the main point of this article, stylist should not copy or get inspired by this. They should create that inspiration and this happens if you go further in your limits. Analyze what’s already done and aim bigger, think different. Do you like a painter? Ask your designers to make a print collection to t-shirts based on a painting. Do you love a song but it’s not pastiche and no-one heard on the radio? Great! Think about what that song means to you, think colors, think shapes. Being a stylist in 2011 means artistic, singular work in a world where the massive culture rules. Do you dare? I will proudly try!


Raquel Fernandes

7 comments:

  1. Gostei imenso. Concordo com o que escreveste, e deste dois bons exemplos para explicar este fenómeno que se vive hoje em dia...


    Good luck styling!! (;

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gostei imenso do artigo e focas pontos fulcrais.

    Creio que no styling como em maior parte das profissões temos de estar atentos à "best new thing", sair, olhar, fotografar... o que é tido como conhecimento "o normal", por melhor que sejamos, deixa-nos sempre um passo atrás.

    Tudo de bom para ti!
    E muito sucesso.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Há que ter sempre gosto e atitude naquilo que se faz,estar em constante aprendizagem e observação.
    Boa sorte,continua sempre com essa garra e força de vontade!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Eu nao detenho o conhecimento suficiente para comentar com rigor este post, mas na minha modesta opinião acho que exposeste o necessário e de forma bastante clara para que se compreenda essa profissão que tão em voga está e que a maioria não percebe bem o que é, mas que muita gente agora quer ser/ter apenas porque tem um blog/sabe conjugar preto com branco ou sabe soletrar chanel e givenchy (gyvenchi?! :P)

    é um trabalho de criatividade, por isso com tantos a tentar, apenas alguns conseguem. Porque mesmo andando enfiado nas lojas online, nas H&M's ou Blancos, não basta. è necessário ter um pensamento periférico, de novas possibilidades e oportunidades, e isto aplica-se a (quase, vá) todas as profissões, apesar de a maioria não o reconhecer.
    Como surgem as tendencias? alguém tem que as lançar! seja a haute coutoure ou o pé de chinelo, houve alguém que a aproveitou.
    e se tás onde tás agora...não o deves ao blog mas a ti!
    *

    ReplyDelete
  5. é isso mesmo cenoura.

    ;)

    Raquel,acho que está um artigo fantástico,porque espelha bem a realidade.

    e acho super positivo que hoje em dia os blogs sirvam de plataforma para se mostrar as qualidades e aptidões ( ou a falta de..); cada vez mais nesta área de Moda se amplificam as ferramentas de trabalho e não é por acaso que se diz que os fashion bloggers começam a ser os novos stylists.

    tem tudo a ver acima de tudo,com a criatividade,capacidade de análise de cada um,sensibilidade criativa,e essa forma de ver Arte nas pequenas coisas.

    tal como dizes,temos de estar sempre actualizados,ter uma mente aberta e olharmos à nossa volta,adaptando sempre essa realidade à nossa própria visão individual.

    Bj e boa sorte com o styling!=)

    ReplyDelete
  6. So true!
    E pelo que vejo tens um emprego de sonho ;)

    Beijinho*

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good post, thanks for linking from my poll on IFB :) How did you get into the fashion business? Did you go to school for a fashion related degree? You can email me if you feel like it :) Thanks!

    xxMelissa
    http://houseofhippie.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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