Editorial Styling is one of the most sought after roles in the fashion styling industry. Collaborating with photographers, models, hair stylists and makeup artists, an Editorial Stylist’s role is to transform a creative vision into captivating visuals for publications, advertising, print and more.
Sound like a career you’re interested in and want to learn more? Join us as we journey through “a day in the life of an Editorial Stylist” with ASI graduate and undeniably talented Fashion Stylist Sara De La Cruz.
Completing the Advanced Certificate of Creative Styling Course with Australian Style Institute in 2019, Sara now specialises in editorial, commercial and event styling, working on projects for Fashion Journal, Lana Wilkinson, George Alice and more. Today, she takes us on set for a portfolio photoshoot in collaboration with model Caitlin Jenkins and Photographer Alain Pottier and shares some wise words for those considering a career in Fashion Styling.
ASI: You’ve worked on some amazing shoots for magazines, celebrities, singer songwriters and more. Can you tell us a bit about who this particular shoot was for and what your creative vision for it was?
SARA: Of course, I was approached by Alain Pottier, a talented photographer I often collaborate with, to style a test shoot for a model from Priscillas mgmt. Models often need their portfolio updated and it’s a great opportunity to diversify your own personal portfolio. While it’s common for stylists to put forward the creative vision and direction, the vibe for this particular shoot came from Alain who had certain looks he wanted to achieve through the photography. Through mood boarding, we identified that simple looks with interesting jewellery pieces is what we wanted to focus on. The idea was to accentuate the model look whilst giving variety within the 4-5 looks required.
ASI: Once a clear, creative vision is defined, what’s next for a stylist to help prepare for the shoot and ensure the ideas translate accurately?
SARA: It’s important to always keep in mind the goal for each shoot. For this shoot, the intention was to build out the model’s portfolio, so, It was important for me as a stylist to really let the model shine through the looks. Simple garments can be beautifully curated to enhance models features and I wanted to focus on simplistic styling so the clothes weren’t “loud”. Once I have an intention in place I go about sourcing some pieces to put together.
Sourcing looks for editorial photoshoots can vary in approach depending on budgets and goals. When sourcing for this “trade for print or TFP” shoot, I can style from whatever is available. This can be anywhere from my own personal wardrobe, op shops, vintage markets, friends wardrobes and local boutiques. I tend to save loaning from labels themselves for my editorial/submission shoots where there is a mutual benefit and incentive for the labels to come on board with the collaboration. When working to someone else’s concept it is about gathering what is available that fits within the overall theme and outcome.
ASI: And how about location sourcing?
SARA: Depending on the client, photoshoot locations can be sourced in house by the brand, or by the stylist. For this particular shoot our location was pre planned at the photographers studio in his garage.
ASI: Editorial Styling looks like a lot of fun and a dream for many creatives and budding stylists. Can you tell us a bit about what it’s like as a stylist on shoot day – including the bits we don’t see – and what it’s like seeing your vision come to life.
SARA: Shoot day is soooo much fun! I absolutely live for it. However there are a lot of things that happen BTS. As a stylist, you must be present and focussed throughout the whole day.
This involves taping shoes, steaming garments, setting up the looks with accessories and making sure everything is in order so that your model isn’t waiting in the wings whilst you fluff about. Making the model super comfortable in your presence is part of the art of styling, to create a trust between you and create comfort for her to work her magic.
It is also important to have all the looks prepped and ready to go for a quick and seamless costume change. (Your model and creatives will thank you for it.) Fine tuning the look can happen once the model is dressed.
Once the model is dressed and ready for the shot, observation is a must for all great stylists. Some questions to think about are:
– How does the garment fall on the model?
– Does it need clipping to tweak the way the garment hangs?
– Does it need a tuck?
– Is there a crease that sits awkwardly?
You need to be ON. ALL.THE. TIME. but noticing the subtle movements of your model can help you tweak a look, for example, can they lift their arms? Are tags scratching them? And how is this translating on camera? Sometimes, what looks spectacular in person has something left to be desired once captured through the lens. A good stylist can pick that up and make adjustments to get it to translate well. A great stylist pays attention.
ASI: You’ve worked with so many amazing creatives over the past few years. What has been your favourite shoot to style so far and why?
SARA: Ooh! This is a really tough question, I love every shoot as they’re all so different. I would have to say a recent shoot I did with a friend. After such a hiatus through COVID and isolation I was absolutely itching to get back at it. Restrictions were easing so I asked my bestie “Babes, let’s do a shoot!”. It was so cool! It was at my house and backyard and had a real gritty street style. I really love that style and it came together perfectly. It was my friends first time modelling, so making her feel comfortable was key whilst giving her positive feedback and direction. The looks turned out so cool, it’s amazing what you can create without having to get too complicated
ASI: Your portfolio of work is notably captivating and expressive. Can you tell us more about where you find your creative inspiration?
SARA: My inspiration can honestly come from ANYTHING! A street I walk down, or someone I cross paths with. I think as a creative you always have that filter of inspiration over your eyes. I will always take inspiration from my life experience and journey. There is a sense of genuinity that translates when it comes from an organic expression, it holds a certain energy that tends to translate in the process.
ASI: What learnings did you take away from ASI that you continue to use today?
SARA: Respect and gratitude. Your integrity and reputation is everything in this industry. I always show everyone I work with the utmost respect and am always thankful for the people around me and their craft. It really does create relationships that can nurture your journey throughout your career.
ASI: Is there any advice you would pass on to those studying at ASI and considering a career in Editorial Styling?
SARA: SAY YES AND FIGURE OUT HOW. It has been integral to the opportunities that have come my way. By saying yes and working out how, I have built momentum and had opportunities that I may not have otherwise been exposed to. In the beginning it was ridiculously scary to put yourself out there. Do not let the fear hold you back from your dreams, dig deep and get over it.
“We can sometimes be our own worst enemy, so get out of our own goddamn way and say YES!”
Inspired by Sara’s work? Explore our styling courses and the career pathways available at our upcoming Virtual Open Day on June 24th. Register for free today.