On November 14, 2014 Fashionista held its west coast “How to Make It in Fashion” conference at the Line Hotel in Los Angeles.
Fashionista is a news site covering the personalities, companies, events and trends that shape the fashion universe. The event was an informative and fun-filled day featuring top stylists, costume designers, fashion industry executives and TV personalities who shared their insight and advice on making it in the industry. The conference also provided a mentoring session for a chance to have one-on-one conversations with people who have “made it” in the industry.
Kicking off the event was a panel on “Fashion Startups and What It Takes to Make It” featuring founders Katrina Lake, CEO, Stitch Fix; Patrick Coyne, co-founder, the Black Tux; Yael Aflalo, CEO and Founder, Reformation and Alexandra Spunt, Head of Creative, Everlane. Panelists shared how they are making it in the industry and how to overcome challenges of being a start up.
Below are highlights from the Fashionista panels:
Lubov Azria, Chief Creative Officer, BCBG Max Azria
Azria shared how she got her start in the industry and offered advice and tips on what she has learned over the past 20 years. She was inspired to go into fashion after trying on a very expensive dress at Neiman Marcus. She vowed that she would one day make beautiful tailored clothes that were affordable. Lubov’s advice to those looking to make it in the fashion industry, “Be ready to educate yourself. School gives you consistency and a workload but work teaches you about people and how to interact.”
When asked what makes a great leader? Azria shared, “Hiring people who are better than you are and being a good communicator.” Great advice indeed!
Costume Designers Roundtable
This lively fashion forward panel shared how the business has changed and is constantly evolving. The business is extremely fast-paced and the costume designers role is more important than ever.
Panelists included So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol’s Soyon An, The Mindy Project’s Salvador Perez, Revenge’s Jill Ohanneson and Pretty Little Liars’ Mandi Line discussed the business and how to work your way up the ranks. The panelists all attended FIDM and used the school’s career center. Students were encouraged to do the same because it can be very instrumental when starting a career in fashion.
Perez knows how to sew and it is helpful when he is working with a seamstress when building costumes for a character. Many stylists are unable to construct a garment and it is crucial that you are able to speak the same language with your seamstress or tailor. Mandi Line and Soyon An discussed knowing when to pick your battles because costume design involves input from a lot of people. Costume Designers will have an idea on a character, but the Director or Choreographer may have something different in mind. Generally costumes will have to be completed in a short turnaround time. Jill Ohanneson stated that as you are finishing one television episode, you are simultaneously starting the next episode. There are multiple projects one has to juggle. To be an assistant for these top costume designers they looking for individuals who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and work, anticipate their needs and they look for people who have a good eye for the character’s style that tell a story.
Lunch session featured George Kotsiopoulos, Ambassador for P&G Fabric Care’s Washable Fashion Initiative; fashion editor, consultant, stylist and co-host of E!’s “Fashion Police” and “Who Wore It Better.” Kotsiopoulos shared how fabric has changed over the years with technology and now many garments are now washable, including silks and leathers by using laundry products from P&G. Kotsiopoulos got his start working in the Style department at The New York Times Magazine for over eight years. Kotsiopoulos was Market Editor and Producer of photo shoots all over the globe with some of the most notable stars in the world. He has worked as a freelance stylist for many publications and has styled hundreds of celebrities.
George Kotsiopoulos shared his tips on how to make it in fashion:
• Don’t be a jerk.
• Styling is built upon keeping your word and being trustworthy. Be professional and on time.
• Styling involves the entire look (shoes, makeup and accessories) – not just the clothes.
• Respect the items loaned to you and ensure they are returned on time, properly stored and in good condition.
• If you make a mistake own up to it. You may need to make a phone call to the person. This is a time when emailing is not appropriate.
• Know your client and what level they are at so that you know which designers are available to them
• Know how your garments will photograph and do a test shoot before an event in different lighting and from all angles. Garments that look good in person may look unflattering when photographed.
Turning Your Styling Business Into a Brand Name
Top stylists Sally Lyndley, Tara Swennen, Nicole Chavez, Micaela Erlanger who have worked with everyone from Victoria Beckham to Kristen Stewart discussed the work that happens after they get their big break.
Designing Denim in LA
Panelists Ali Fatourechi, founder, Genetic Los Angeles; Janet Sung, founder, Denim Refinery; Alexandra Michelle, founder, Objects Without Meaning; Nicole Najafi, founder, Industry Standard discussed the state of the denim business in Los Angeles. If you did not know, Los Angeles is the epicenter of denim production because of the talent available in LA, the sewing and hand fabrication here in the City of Angels. While yoga pants and flip flops might be taking over as casual wear of choice, designer denim will always be a wardrobe staple.
Scott Sternberg, Founder, Chairman and Creative Director, Band of Outsiders
The Los Angeles based designer shared how he transformed a line of men’s button downs and neckties into a global brand for men and women, with shops in Tokyo and New York.
The Highest Paying Styling Jobs and How to Get Them
Luke Storey, Founder and CEO, School of Style and Lauren Messiah, Co-Founder and COO, School of Style discussed the highest paying styling jobs. Styling magazine covers or actresses for the red carpet is not the only way to make it as a stylist. There are commercial stylists that style the actors and actresses that we see on television and digital. Fashion styling for commercials can be quite lucrative especially when it involves a high profile celebrity campaign. Of course, music videos have fashion stylists too. The key to gaining access to this circle is through networking. School of Style offers insider tips that did not exist 10 years ago to learn how the fashion styling world works. For more information visit their website
Fashionista provided attendees with great advice from industry experts and insiders to help them land that internship, job, or promotion while making some great connections!
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