Great styling is all about having the right instincts, a discerning eye and a point of view. With many elements riding on subjective ideas, there’s no clear-cut path to success. We asked Kristen Stuart, the stylist behind the “Monochromatic” editorial in our White Noise issue, how she got her start in the fashion industry and her inspiration for the shoot.
How did you get started in styling? Did you get a degree first, or did you dive right into the industry?
I dove right in! I actually was a photographer and was going to school for a photography degree. I would style the photo shoots I put together and I secretly started to love dressing and pulling looks together to tell a story. When I was asked to style a shoot for my fiancé (he actually is the photographer for “Monochromatic”), I decided fashion styling was for me and I’ve been doing it ever since.
How do you describe your styling aesthetic?
My styling aesthetic is always changing according to trends and seasons. But not only do I keep tabs on the current trends, I actively search for new and upcoming trends.
What was your idea behind your styling of the “Monochromatic” editorial in our White Noise issue and how did you put it together?
I was influenced by the previews of American Horror Story: Coven when they came out. How the girls dressed reminded me of an Amish, witch and milkmaid-styled hybrid. Instead of a typical fall editorial with heavier clothing, I wanted to showcase a lighter feel to give it a sexier vibe.
What are your top three designers and brands to use on shoots?
Oh, this is a hard one. I normally like to contact new designers for every project to make new connections. Vivian Chan is a recent designer I came across that I love. The tailoring and femininity in her designs are incredible. Charles Albert Jewelry and Thai Nguyen Collection are some of my favorites to pull.
Who has been the most inspiring person you’ve worked with so far?
This may sound corny, but I would say the most inspiring person I have ever worked with is my fiancé Mike Nguyen. How he captures the emotions and stories in his photographs blows me away every time I see something new he’s done.
What is the most difficult part of becoming an established stylist?
The most difficult part of my journey to becoming an established stylist is that I did it all on my own. I unfortunately didn’t get the chance to be an assistant under anyone and had to learn a few hard lessons. Luckily, those tough lessons helped me not do them again and made me a better stylist in the end.
How can emerging stylists set themselves apart and get ahead in the industry?
Follow your dreams and don’t give up on them. And be yourself. The best compliment I received from a designer/showroom was that I’m such a down-to-earth girl and all-around nice person. Being called down-to-earth is definitely refreshing in this fast-pace industry.
Check out Kristen Stuart’s portfolio: http://www.kristenmsstylist.info