1. How old were you when you became obsessed with wardrobe design?
I came to the fashion styling world from fashion journalist background, so I think my passion for it was born during my first serious job at L’Officiel Ukraine when I was 18. I was working as a beauty editor and at the same time I was assisting the fashion editor of the magazine. I’m really grateful for that time – I was lucky to work with best of the best.
2. When did you decide “okay, this is it, I’m going to be a professional wardrobe stylist?”
I think I felt that way when I decided to go free-lance before my 24 year old birthday. I already had experience of being a fashion editor at a couple of magazines, shooting 2 editorials and covers every single week for a celebrity magazine and directing fashion shows for other artists. When you are on your own and everything you do to support yourself is working as a fashion stylist – I think then it becomes an occupation and your life. You have to push yourself really hard because you don’t have any other option. I remember only once in my life I asked myself if fashion was the right road for me to pursue. At that time, Vogue Russia announced a contest for young talents and I submitted my work. When I saw my name in the list of winners a few months later, I took it as a good sign and never hesitated since then.
3. What were the early days of your career like? Did you have to test a lot in the beginning to build your book?
I’m originally from Eastern Europe and the system for fashion beginners is a bit different there. You don’t “test”. Everything is for real from the very first day. I clearly remember that I signed my first pull paper work for the amount of $80.00. My first shoots were editorials for well-known magazines and personalities. I have been improving myself with every single shoot. School of life as they say, always learning. Is it better rather than giving yourself time for safe testing and slow start? I don’t know, but it worked for me.
4. What are the benefits of being represented by an agency as opposed to being on your own?
I’m sure that each agency has it’s own style of work and relationships with their artists. I believe it’s good to have an agency for additional promotion and communication/getting jobs from the commercial clients you can’t reach by yourself.
5. How do you communicate with the photographer you’re working with on a shoot to achieve his or her goals?
I’m working mostly as a fashion creative director and stylist. It means that most of the time I’m choosing the photographer who I feel has the right style for the specific idea. I bring the idea to the photographer from scratch, put the mood board together and if he/she feels the idea we will start working together. And at this point we become a team for this project and goals become “our goals”. I love to work with passionate, brave, enthusiastic people, dreamers who like to experiment and believe in miracles. If they are burning with passion for what we do, suggesting some interesting decisions – these are my people! I’m trying to provide the photographer with all the details: from make-up options to clothing. If they feel uncomfortable with something, we discuss, brainstorm and eventually find the right decision for everybody.
6.How much of your input do you add to achieve the results the photographer is looking for?
Again, in most of the cases, we are working together and to achieve the common goal. Usually I’m responsible for an idea, hair/mua, casting, hair and make-up inspirations, post-production references, and the clothing of course. Also we are always casting models together, this is extremely important. We discuss lighting options since lighting gives the right mood and helps to tell the story. In some cases I put some sketches down on paper to make our shooting process easier. It’s helpful when high rental budgets are involved and you are not allowed to spend any single minute in vain. On the set I’m working with the model and when I get “my shot” photographer proceeds shooting to get his/her favorite shot. It’s really inspiring to have 2 points of view. Team work brings unbelievable results. And of course picture selection – we do it together, discussing and sharing opinions. Selected pictures have to be perfect.
7.Tell us what a dream job is for you?
Probably some projects with huge budgets for amazing set design, crazy wigs and some surreal postproduction.
8.What are the three tools in your wardrobe kit that you can never, ever be without?
Paperclips, double tape and my kit with needles and threads.
9. What advice for young wardrobe stylists who are just starting out and want to be where you are, at the top of the industry?
It might sound simple but never give up and keep going. Also keep educating yourself as a stylist. Read books on fashion history, attend museums and exhibitions, research contemporary visual artists and study styling of iconic rock musicians. Watch European classy movies, spend some time on studying the world’s national costumes and American pop culture, even Drag Queen, Club Kids and Goth Scene. All of these things are your inspiration and your tools and are a great help for making your work interesting, deep and beautiful.
10.What is your favorite quote?
“Do what you have to and eventually everything will happen in the right way”