We hear about fashion stylist’s incredible transformations of celebrities more frequently than we hear about what the job actually entails. So what does a stylist do?
We had a chat with Cardiff based fashion stylist, Lorna Oakley, 34, who, despite having no formal training in fashion styling has worked her way up and can now proudly say that she styles clients for events like the Brit Awards.
Lorna leads an incredible lifestyle. Being invited to go to exclusive fashion events in London is just one of the perks of the job. But as Lorna explains, she has had to work incredibly hard to achieve success in the fashion industry.
From the age of 16 Lorna worked in retail in Wales and was eventually headhunted to work as a Senior Sales Adviser at Hermès in London. It was through retail that she got into fashion styling.
Lorna explains that she decided to become a stylist because she has an obsession with fashion and illustration. She also enjoys dressing clients and working with them to make them feel good about themselves. Lorna says, “I do love my job, I get to meet loads of amazing designers.”
One misconception that people have about stylists is that you have to be wealthy to be able to have one. However Lorna says that this is not true and points out that you don’t have to be a millionaire to have a stylist.
Lorna works with a variety of clients from high profile celebrities to ordinary people. However despite styling a diverse range of people she says that she is truthful with every client and tells them exactly what suits them. Lorna has styled Tamara Ecclestone on a couple of occasions and has styled clothing labels such as Natalia Kaut.
The styling process starts with an initial profile of the client through a questionnaire in which she finds out more about them. Lorna picks clothes which she thinks will suit the client and visits their home with a rail of clothes handpicked to suit them. This ranges from high street to couture as Lorna thinks it’s important to mix outfits up.
Sometimes Lorna goes shopping with the clients to help them choose clothes. But she occasionally gets the odd picture message from clients out shopping on their own that reads “Shall I buy this?” along with the clothing item.
Lorna is also passionate about supporting independent boutiques and designers. She says that it’s important for her to champion Welsh designers. She’s had the pleasure of supporting Welsh millinery business, Robyn Coles by dressing clients in their hats for Royal Ascot.
One exciting venture for Lorna has been styling Girls Aloud star, Sarah Harding, whom she started working with towards the end of last year. It will certainly be interesting to see Sarah’s looks and know who puts them together.