Lately students have been asking which of my two classes should they take? They can’t decide if they should focus on visuals or styling? I scratch my head with a bemused look and say why not do both!?!
Some give me an incredulous look and say, “really?” I reply, “think about it, what’s the difference, between the two jobs?”
A visual person is a stylist ,and stylists do visuals. I guess most people never really thought about it, but it’s true. It’s how I can teach both subjects – the skill set is interchangeable. If you can dress a mannequin, you can dress a model. If you can prop a window, you can prop a set. Both employ the principles of design, take loads of creativity, and are hard work. Sure there are some differences to working in a store, as opposed to a photo shoot, but we are all cut from the same cloth.
I’ve had a few arguments with myself trying to decide which is harder, visuals or styling? Sometimes visuals win the argument, and sometimes styling. When doing a store, it’s very physically demanding, but there’s fewer people I have to deal with, as I change out mannequins, set-up interior displays, or do floor sets. I oftentimes, just follow my store directives and do my thing! When styling there’s a lot of people on set, but the atmosphere is very fun, jobs are almost always catered, it’s not too physically demanding (unless you are a prop stylist, and working with big items), and you get to play with clothes all day.
Which is more fun? Only you can answer that. I don’t really like styling as much as I like building and making things, so visuals win out for me every time! Yet visuals can get boring if you work for a chain retailer, because you don’t get to be as creative as the old days. Now you just follow a store directive and almost everything is sent to you to assemble and install. Freelance projects is when you get to use your own ideas.
Styling still requires your creative skills, as the client is looking to you to bring their idea to life – so this can be really fun!
You will find that lots of visual folk, freelance as stylists, or are repped by an agent for styling work, and some stylists also do the occasional window. You should too!
Is this a display of bracelets in a jewelry case at a store, or was this image ripped from a magazine?
Is this a makeup display in a cube at a store ,or was this image ripped from a magazine?
For both images above does it matter? They could have easily been created by either a visual display person or a fashion stylist!
(images via Pinterest)
Last week in class the lecture was on Store Design, and why it’s so important to a store’s brand identity or the image they wish to project. I know the lecture took the whole three-hour class time, and I hope I didn’t bore too many of you, but once you see a store design done really well, then you understand it’s importance.
Such as this picture. When I saw this, I immediately thought, “Now that makes a statement!”
These individual shadow boxes would be fun to dress!
(image via pinterest)
Now that the holidays are upon us, everyone is getting dressed up in their finest to attend a slew of festivities, for men that usually means donning a tie of some sort. Here’s the best tutorial I’ve found that gives a clear lesson on how to tie a bow tie.
We ladies may not wear a bow tie as often as men (I have been known, but it’s good to know in case you ever need to tie one on a model, mannequin, or bust-form.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate that holiday) and here’s to a fantastic new year!
It’s been an amazing year for me and I can’t express how grateful I am to all of you, especially my students. I have never cried in front of a class but this past semester my fashion styling students brought me to tears. Your kind words were too much for my little heart to bear ♥!
This class was such a hit, the department chair has asked me to teach it again in the spring (it is usually only offered once a year), and it is already filling up fast. I’m allowed to take 59 students and last time I checked I was already at 52 (FASH 54A – Beginning Fashion Styling).
I will also be teaching visual merchandising again this spring. This class is also filling up fast, with a class cap at 59, my current enrollment is 47 (FASH 49 – Visual Merchandising). If you are new to this blog, these classes are offered in the Fashion Department at City College of San Francisco, as part of the Fashion Merchandising degree of Fashion Styling certificate.
I know I don’t post as often as I should around here, work does take a huge amount of my time…I do post on my tumblr daily. It’s called the Fashion Teacher. I’m fairly new to tumblr and had no idea I would become so addicted to it, even more so than my Pinterest. I guess it makes sense, we are after all very visual people and tumblr allows us to express that quite easily.
Wishing you the VERY BEST in 2013!
A mannequin Christmas tree!
Here’s a final class project from one of my former students in the advanced fashion styling class (FASH 54B).
The title of this editorial is called “Fallen Angels”. Her concept/mood board is based on the movie SEVEN, thus this editorial features the seven deadly sins. Her target market is Rolling Stone Magazine. She wanted this fashion spread to be dark and edgy. She did all the location scouting, model casting, fashion styling and pre/post production herself. She did hire a team for hair/MUA and photography, and she had friend write poems to go along with each sin.
Angela I am so proud of you and I think you did a wonderful job on this!
Special Thanks to her team:
- Freelance Photographer: Carlos Chavarria
- Graphic designer: Carla San Roman
- Poet: Melissa Owen
- Makeup artist and hairstylist: Megan Landry
- Models: Sarah Baraka and Malcolm Moore
- Location: Kozy Kar (1548 Polk St, San Francisco CA)
- Special thanks go to Matty Knuth (Kozy Kar’s GM)
History was my concentration in college for my degree which is why I love to read and research. Fashion styling is a somewhat new career title which made me very curious to research the history of it and find out how it all began. Here’s the synopsis of my Powerpoint lecture from class:
The History of Fashion Styling:
The first stylists were editors who worked exclusively for fashion magazines. They “edit” the clothing and fashion pages, and they chose the designers to be featured in the magazine. Under the direction of the editor, there was the photographer and model. It was not uncommon in the 60s for models to do their own hair and make-up, as well as provide their own accessories for photo shoots.
It was during the 80s the first freelance stylists appeared. New magazines appeared which did not have a permanent fashion staff, which gave freelance stylists the chance to showcase their talents without being tied to one magazine.
Ray Petri is thought by MANY to be the first stylist. He was well known in the 80s for his Buffalo style, an eclectic mix of urban, ethnic, sportswear, and high fashion. He used real people in photos instead of models and people of mixed race. He oversaw and did everything on the creation of a photo, except take the actual picture!
“Petri was a fashion stylist long before this was a coveted job description. Indeed, in the early 80s, selecting and arranging clothes on models was still known, if it was known at all, as ‘fashion editing’, but he was an instinctive stylist, using his visual flair and magpie intelligence to produce elegant, unfussy and invariably sensual images of timeless modernity.”
The Observer, September 2000
Unlike stylists of today Petri did not live long enough to become rich, or even celebrated, the way we idolize those today. But his influence is still felt and he even 20 years after his death he is STILL regarded as the king! There was a time when stylists were all but invisible to the world beyond fashion’s inner circle. But a growing shift in the fashion industry has given license to a special breed of visionaries, who are not only the interpreters of fashion but oftentimes the originators.
(research sources – Styling by McAssey and Buckley, Stylists by Katie Barron)
I recently started a Tumblr blog- nothing fancy, just a place to post random images I like (as if pinterest wasn’t enough!). It’s called The Fashion Teacher - Tumblr makes you sign up for an account when you want to follow others – hence why I have one. I follow a bunch of fashion blogs on various sites, and can spend the greater part of a morning browsing through all of them. JCrew is one of the sites I follow, which is how I came across this cool story on the displays they did for their new store within the Lane Crawford Department store in Beijing and Hong Kong:
For the visual displays that appear inside specialty shop Lane Crawford, our head of creative services, Ruth, was inspired by a toile-style wallpaper she’d first seen inside the historic building at 50 Hudson Street (now the J.Crew Ludlow Shop) in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood. From there, the design team riffed on the idea and decided to create a life-size cityscape inspired by J.Crew flagships throughout Manhattan to serve as a fanciful backdrop for the clothing on display.
The store design team, which includes Brandon and his assistant, Ellie, created the initial miniature renderings (which remind us of the dioramas we created in grade school) using reference images of the storefronts and architectural blueprints. Brandon and Ellie then turned their workspace into an artist’s studio, spending several weeks filling in the illustrations—which were anywhere from 6 to 9½ feet tall—by hand, using watercolor paint.
—FLORA AND FAUNA—
As part of the display, Ellie collaborated with artist Rebekah Maysles to create spot illustrations of various plants and animals one may encounter in Manhattan, including mice. (“But cute ones!” Ellie insisted.)
Ruth, Brandon and Ellie traveled to Hong Kong in advance of the opening of J.Crew at Lane Crawford to install the larger-than-life displays, which were shipped over in gigantic crates, to outfit the 2,700-square-foot retail space. The team worked through the night to ensure the display was properly placed to create a playful cityscape effect reminiscent of the Manhattan skyline.
When asked to name a fashion stylist they admire a large majority of us say Rachel Zoe, and it’s not necessarily because they admire her only because they have heard of her. She has in fact popularized the profession with her TV show and styling of red carpet celebs, but did you know there are many others out there whose work you’ve seen over and over again and just never really paid attention to who styled that look?
My students were assigned a paper on a fashion stylist they truly admire and why. This was to get them to open their eyes to the fact that Rachel Zoe isn’t the only name in the game, and once you compare her to others you begin to recognize what a one trick pony she is. She has one aesthetic and sticks to hit – constantly! I guess if it aint’ broke don’t fix it, but as a stylist whose job description is to inspire individuals on what they CAN do; sticking to one look can get very boring, very fast.
Here are the top stylists my students wrote about in order of popularity:
Grace Coddington – no surprise here, she’s amazing!
Creative Director for American Vogue. Top Model in the 60s. Became a British Vogue editor in 1969, came to NYC in 1987 to become a Design Director with Calvin Klein, followed by joining American Vogue in 1988, the same day that Anna Wintour, who gave her the job started.
Anna Dello Russo - a fashion maverick!
Studied art history in Milan, completed an MA in fashion before becoming an Accessories Editor at Vogue. In 2000 she became EIC of L’Uomo Vogue for six years before venturing off to where she is today, Editor-at-Large of Vogue Nippon, and a fashion consultant.
(I decided it was more fun to post photos of ADR, than her work!)
Giovanna Battaglia – my FAVORITE!!!!
Former model with Dolce and Gabbana, now an Editor at L’Uomo Vogue, a Contributing Editor at W, and freelance stylist. She can do no wrong in my eyes and her personal style is off the charts!
Nicola Formichetti - where would Lady Gaga be without him!
A fashion collaborator for Lady Gaga, the Creative Director for Thierry Mugler, and Contributing Fashion Editor for V Magazine, Dazed & Confused, and Vogue Homme Japan.
Edward Enninful – brought new life into W’s editorials!
Became the youngest ever Fashion Director at 18 with i-D Magazine. Former Editor to Italian Vogue, spearheaded the “all black” Italian issue. Currently the Fashion and Style Director at W.
Katie Grand – a true stylist in every sense of the word!
Studied at Central St. Martins, and began styling for Dazed & Confused in the 90s when the magazine was still new. Became the Fashion Director of The Face magazine and later the Editor-in-Chief of POP magazine. She has styled numerous photo shoots and shows.
I’m quite proud of my students and this list they came up with, grant it there were many more stylists listed such as Judy Blame, Melanie Ward, Camille Bidault-Waddington, even Brad Goreski, but these were the top six amongst a class of 60 students. This list is a recognition of those who inspire us in fashion with what we can do and not what we should do.
(images via various sites)
Two weeks ago in class I lectured on fashion research and documenting your ideas with mood boards. The main point of the lecture was getting you to recognize how important it is for you to be able to speak with a fashion vocabulary. Being a stylist comes with a lot of assumptions, the big one being, you know your stuff about fashion!!! Most of us do, as we have been obsessing over fashion magazines since we first learned to read, for me it was getting my dad to get me a subscription to the magazine Young Miss (YM) when I was only nine years old!
I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to learn the names and meanings of the parts of a garment. If your boss tells you to pull blouses with portrait necklines or look for shirts with french cuffs, do you know what she’s talking about? If not, you need to learn. Which is why I’m recommending the book Style Yourself.
This book is really not that new, it was published over a year ago, and I thought it was a how-to book for teenage girls on dressing. The models and stories are all on fashion bloggers. I didn’t pay this book any attention when it was first released. A few weeks ago it ended up in my mailbox as a gift. I finally sat down this weekend and read it. I use the word “read” loosely, as their isn’t much reading because there are so many pictures. Having lots of pictures isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually a plus for a book like this, especially since we fashion folk are very visual.
This book pleasantly surprised me. It is, as I first thought, a how-to for the digital generation, BUT the break down of various parts of a garment make this book a great reference for those who don’t have a merchandising or fashion design background. There are loads of pictures showing you the name and illustration of everything from tops to bottoms, to accessories. The bloggers in the book provide inspiration for how they style these various items.
When I finally put this book down I knew I had to recommend it to my students in class who wish to be stylists or work in fashion, but have told me they don’t know much about it. This is a good jump-start, as I’m sure you’ll realize you know more than you think once you start reading it.