Internationally Published Fashion Stylist and Creative Director: Erika Degraffinreaidt
I first began an interest in styling as a junior in college, while interning as a marketing manager for an eco-friendly Los Angeles clothing designer. I remember her calling me up one day and asking if I would be interested in styling her photo shoot; and at the time I had no idea what a stylist consisted of and what she truly wanted me to do. Nervously arriving to the photo studio not truly knowing what to expect the designer said “ok Erika, here’s the collection go ahead and style!” from there I started putting together looks that visually looked appealing to me for the model to wear. The entire team liked the direction I was going with the styling, which was a great feeling. Long story short, this photo shoot ended up in a nationally recognized fashion magazine and from that day I knew that styling was something I truly wanted to do as a career.
My inspiration is drawn from everyday people, quotes, art, music, and really just anything that is visually and mentally stimulating. I find myself people watching a lot and really training my eye to really find the details of each outfit, as well as challenging myself to think of different ways on how to style the outfit that I’ve seen. This really works especially when styling commercial photo shoots because your whole concept is based upon selling a particular product/outfit. So in short, I’m inspired by the reality that we live in and I’m very thankful for that!
The best thing about working as a fashion stylist is being able to play a huge part in the success of creating the overall vision for designers, photographers, brands, models, etc… it is definitely very exciting to know that you are being trusted to create a brand image for others to follow/look up to. As a stylist you become the reason for people’s happiness and confidence and to me, that’s very rewarding and truly the best thing about my job!
I think the most difficult thing about being a fashion stylist is understanding that success truly doesn’t happen overnight. You must always trust your vision and the process in knowing that everything takes time this includes building your portfolio, finding/gaining clients, and even getting compensated for your work! This journey isn’t the easiest, but I will say its worth it, so I always encourage emerging stylists to truly not give up if you aren’t seeing instant results just keep going and believing and it will manifest right in front of your eyes!
The qualities and skills that I believe one needs to succeed as a fashion stylist is definitely having determination, persistence, and just overall being humble. Clients enjoy working with a stylist whom is humble and willing to go beyond the call of duty to ensure overall success for the team. Its great to have good work, but if you’re not a team player then it truly won’t matter!!! Be good to people and watch them be good to you! The Golden Rule. These qualities will truly take you far in this industry I promise!
My advice to aspiring talent who are working to establish themselves in the fashion industry is to be humble and never stop researching to discover how to be the best artists that you could be. Don’t be afraid to take risks, it is the risks that you take that make for the greatest rewards! Trust your intuition and NEVER GIVE UP!