Fashion Stylist: Making Something out of Nothing

i know how much u guys love to hang "behind the scenes", that's why this post is just for you. lately i was stressing myself a lot about why and how of my career and realized a very important fact...

i was struck with indescribable luck to have experienced two very different worlds in fashion. one that resembles alice in wonderland and other well... more like don quixote. the difference between what it means to be a fashion stylist in one of the fashion capitals and what one has to take on to get even remotely similar results in a fashion ignorant country is much like the difference between karl lagerfeld and my capabilities to sew. slim to none. 

let's go step by step, oooh baby!  

having contacts is everything, no matter the location - paris, london, venus, you better know your space suit designer and better make lunch with the pr girl your favorite sport. all the big fashion labels have outside pr offices wheres designers in slovenia are their own pr person. that can be an advantage but even more often it's hard to reach that one person who does one and a million things. obstacle no1 - reaching the designer.

the next step would involve going through runway images and designer lookbooks, selecting the pieces for the shoot, sending the photos to pr services and asking them to lend the clothes for the shoot. we can just cross this out of my do to list because there's no database where slovenian designers would have all their collections for me to go through. man, this would make my job a dream come true! here's an idea to do so...

after sending requests to pr you basically just sit and wait, get your manicure or buy a pair of new shoes on net-a-porter, the courier will do the work for you and bring that huge bag of celine coats to the doorstep of your upper east side office. than you can have your christmas morning while unwrapping the delivery. or have your assistant do the labor. ow... if only! want an even better scenario? often brands invite you to their showrooms where you go through all the bling with your coffee in hand and your striking yeah-i-styled-kate-moss pose. you handpick all the miu miu, gareth pugh and marc jabos and than u can guess what happens... it gets delivered to your fab office/apartment. no need to ruin that fresh manicure!

back to the stone-age slovenia, things get a bit complicated here. see, we don't have showrooms. we don't even get to see the ready-to-wear collections in their flesh. the best we can do is a few second-line collections from the big fashion houses like burberry, alexander mcqueen, kenzo, saint laurent, ralph lauren and such, that get their own little hanger in a big department store. again, these are not ready-to-wear collections that u see on the runway. 

so where does one get clothes for the shoot if there's no showrooms? well... u get them directly from the store or designer. u can only imagine what kind of pressure it is for a stylist to take clothes from a store and despite shooting in all kinds of circumstances bring the clothes back of intact. this is probably the thing i'm stressing about the most as a stylist. with showrooms you get clothes that are meant especially for shoots and therefore you can use them unweighted rather than in our case where these clothes we use need to go back to the shelves. 

the selection of fashion is reduced to bare minimum, often making us choose from brands like zara, h&m, topshop and such. originality and styling skills really get to shine here. there's no comparison between being able to choose from every ready-to-wear collection imaginable or being limited to small selection of second lines and high street brands. there just isn't.

and you probably guessed right, there's no delivery, no courier to surprise you with a package. you pick your clothes, accessories, shoes and bags and troll them around from store to store like a little mule. if you're lucky enough you get your assistant or engage your boyfriend to help you, otherwise you're sentenced for a day of high cardio. and another one when it's time to return it all. yeah... when i was doing this full time i had no need kill myself with additional fitness.

at this point you're probably wondering how can a stylist from some small slovenia overlooked by fashion houses and big designer names compete with a big city stylist where designer showrooms are lined up one after another. we can't. the only way i try to be even remotely as original and to stand out is to include as many unique slovenian designs as possible. young slovenian designers (and with young i mean design students) are unburdened with trends and in the phase of experimenting, making their designs very high fashion if not avantgarde.

so we have the very high fashion and the low fashion, what we don't have is everything in between. everything u usually see in magazines. and here's another itch... being such a small market, we barely possess three fashion magazines. and these are not ow-look-at-that-balenciaga-bag magazines, they resemble the offers in our stores, making them more commercial they would like to admit. editorial staff hardly consists of 5 people, making it impossible to enter that cult. one would have to be born into it, to succeed the position. 

everywhere in the world (except at this wonderful place called slovenia) you have your magazines and you have your artist agencies. magazines hire their stylists, make up artists, photographers through agencies making it possible for almost anyone (who's signed with an agency) to work for them. endless opportunities. whereas our magazines have their in-house stylists, making it mission impossible for anyone who's not scarified their life and soul to this cult to give it a try. never. going. to. happen. forget about it and move on.

another big distinction that makes me kind of proud of myself (yes that happens sometimes) is the difference in time consumption. in paris we produced one shoot in a week. from selecting looks, contacting pr, managing delivery, packing, the actual shooting day and than returning, the shoot was a week's project for two. i'll compare it with my last shoot where it was just lil'old me... i contacted stores and designers a week before d day, made appointments and had a few days to worry about where the hack we're going to get snow. day before the shoot i literally had hours to meet designers, visit salons, select and collect clothes and jewelry. 8 meetings in 5 hours, lot's of running around. next morning we had the shoot and after it was returning time. that's it. everything done in a day and a half. do i get a golden star?

despite not being signed with a top knot agency and not having an office next to kcd, one can learn valuable skills that come in handy even when not playing with clothes. in case like this you really show how resourceful you are. how practical you are as well as where's the limit to your imagination. if you're a good stylist you'll know how to create something with nothing. if that means turning a table cloth into a piece of accessory, than so be it.

photo: ana gregorič

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