Kim: Portrait of a stylist …

Kim

Kim

Co-founders Stacy London and Cindy McLaughlin were lucky when they found Kim to join their network of professional stylists at Style for Hire*. Kim is warm, effervescent and incredibly knowledgeable in all aspects of the fashion industry. In other words, she is the quintessential fashion stylist, or “style therapist,” as Kim refers to herself. We met today and Kim shared her story with me: how she started her career in fashion, and what does it mean to be a stylist:

MKG: Kim, how old were you when you first became aware of fashion?

KIM: I must have been about six years old. My mother is, and always has been, glamorous. There is no one like my mother. She always loved wearing hats – big, statement hats: she could rival any Royal! She wore them with a dramatic flair; slightly tilted across the eye. The hat was part of the ensemble, no removing it. No second guessing the color, no tugging. And THAT’s style. Confidence in your look regardless of what labels you’re touting. Style means you wear your Payless as proudly as you wear your Prada. My mother was very brave in her fashion conviction and her courage inspired me …

As a Turk, I take full ownership of the Harem pant. Love it or hate it – it taught me about drape and proportion. No self respecting emperor would wear a tunic over a pant with such volume! My sister and I are only seventeen months apart and are very close. And while my sister took the lead in the beauty industry working as Ad Director of Vanity Fair, she is now the CEO of Glossybox. It seemed fitting that I would take the fashion route, covering our bases …

MKG: When did you discover fashion as a career and how has your career evolved?

KIM: My very first job was as a receptionist for Giorgio Armani. I remember feeling like I had hit the jackpot! I also remember my first celebrity sighting: Eric Stoltz! From there, I moved to the visual design department, responsible for store and window design. Soon after, an opportunity in PR popped up at Donna Karan, and I grabbed it, thinking it might be my destiny. It wasn’t. We agreed on a mutual departure! I eventually decided to go for a design degree and attended an intensive one-year design program at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology/NYC). I did get my degree but it was an incredibly humbling and intense process and I would recommend opting for a two-year program for those starting out. Not only would I give yourself more than one year to complete the program, but I would also involve myself with more than simply the design school – I would taste more of the entire fashion cake! …

At school, the professors stressed the competitive aspect of the program and job opportunities which I think is truly unfortunate. It’s the connection you have with people and not the competition that truly matters most and frankly, what allows the creative process to flourish. Everyone thinks that fashion design is so glamorous and the truth is that 90% of it is: ‘we-need-50-copies-of-the-15-page-linesheets-by-lunch-and-we-thought-the-staples-look-ugly-so-you-can-hand-stich-each-copy-along-the-binding-because-we-think-it-would-look-super-cute.’ You have to want to be with the people with whom you are spending so much time and it is your attitude and personality that will earn you a job as much as your talents …

MKG: What is a stylist? What does it mean to you?

KIM: The term stylist has certainly become ubiquitous. Not many people understand what a stylist does or why it is so important to understand how we wear clothes. You need to know your body type and not everyone does. Sometimes we walk around and shop for someone else’s body. And then we make arbitrary rules about what works and what doesn’t and we are missing out on all possibilities. That is the job of a stylist. I am here to introduce you to your body. I am here to strengthen your eye and to introduce items of your clothing to each other and make the best matches for your body … the cupid of your closet! Using body language is like learning to use a new muscle …

What makes me good at my job and what makes me love it so is the fact that I am a technical designer; someone whose job it is to fit the clothes, much like a tailor. I became a technical designer when I worked at Adrienne Vittadini and Brooks Brothers. It was my job to take every detail and measurement and actually create the sculpture of the pieces and make that information as clear as possible, down to the most specific numbers. I understood the notion that fit is everything …

Being a style therapist is emotional, it’s never not emotional when truths are revealed and you find your unique style. If you look at the word FASHION and focus on the SHUN, ask yourself … What are you shunning? What are you hiding? Clothing is armor, your protective covering, and you send a message every day when you get dressed and head out the door. In the process of rediscovering your body it evokes a feeling of joy! That is what I want for everyone!”

~ Kim

*more about Style for Hire to come!

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Kim: Portrait of a stylist …

    • Thank you – I totally agree, Kim! I can’t wait! And thanks to you, I have a better insight into what I’m hoping to achieve. xx Mel

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