June 2023 Fashion/Stylist
S y e i d a h M c B r i d e
Fashion & Wardrobe Stylist
What inspired you to become a Wardrobe Stylist?
I was inspired by my genuine love for fashion. The different colors, the prints, the textures, the intricate and subtle details have always spoken to me. There was always excitement about getting dressed and putting looks together for myself and others. Throughout the years, I was effortlessly creating looks and giving fashion tips and advice to others. Eventually, I realized it was a gift that should be tapped into and not taken lightly.
What kind of styling do you specialize in? What is the difference between these different forms of styling?
I specialize in 6 kinds of styling:
6) Personal Shopping
The biggest difference between all six is the client and the project’s needs. Every client is different. Every client has a different vision that they want executed, whether it’s for them personally, or their brand, or for a special event. It is my job to come in, take detailed notes, pay attention to the mood board and aesthetic, while executing and adding my own unique style and personal touch.
Can you briefly describe what the process looks like when a client comes to you to be styled?
The process begins with a consultation. I ask the client both general and detailed questions, so I can get a better understanding of what their exact needs are. In addition, I look over their mood board, which gives me a visual representation of the project. Next, we discuss budgeting. This guarantees the client has a clear understanding of the different options, and what it will cost to bring the project together. Once the numbers are worked out, the contracts signed, deposits paid, I begin researching as well as sourcing clothing and accessories.
In a perfect world, we would do an in-person fitting. However, if a client is in a different state or country, then the styling is virtual. The fitting allows the client to try on everything. We can see what outfits are the most flattering, and what accessories work the best. We then make decisions on whatever looks we love and finalize them.
Have there been any favorite campaigns that you have been able to participate in as a stylist?
I have done several campaigns for many companies, including brands for: clothing, makeup, hair, nails, and shoes. I definitely have a few favorites. The one that stands out the most was a hair campaign I did for an international manufacturing company for a new collection and product line that they were launching.
It was such a fun campaign because not only did I get to be lead Wardrobe Stylist. Also, I did set design as well. Actually, I got the opportunity to create African looks that were cohesive and contrasted the colorful and bright African printed material used as a backdrop. It was vibrant and unconventional. The images came out beautiful.
If you could style yourself for a fancy cocktail reception, then what would your wardrobe look like?
The first thing that comes to mind is a sequin or ostrich feather trim on a dress. I love bling. It’s always an eye catcher, and looks amazing when the light hits it. In addition, I love drama, and feathers always add a nice touch of embellishment.
Does makeup and hair influence the way you style a final look?
Yes, depending on the project or the client’s needs. During a beauty shoot, the fashion is an accessory, and it’s more about the makeup and hair. This leads me to go off of what vision the hair and makeup artist is going for. I complement the aesthetic, but I never overshadow it.
Sometimes I have clients who have already decided the look for their hair and makeup. Therefore, it’s my job to find silhouettes that would flatter, enhance, and complete the look.
Are there any challenges you had to overcome as a stylist?
There are a lot of challenges throughout a stylist career, especially at the beginning, so I’ll give my top 3.
Growing comfortable enough to effectively communicate with clients about realistic budgets and time frames: The bigger the project the more the expense. Sometimes producers or project coordinators are not realistic in their expectations of what clothing and accessories are needed, and the finances it will take to actually bring everything to life. The same also applies to time frames. Clients often want a world of options and resources, but the time that we as stylists are given to do our job effectively and efficiently is often unrealistic, and then you risk the chance of compromising your art.
Acquiring higher end resources and more established designers: The industry, designers, and more specifically showrooms, can be very political. It can be difficult, especially in the beginning of a Wardrobe Stylist career, to secure and connect with “Big Name” designers since the stylist does not have an extensive body of work to show that they can execute a project.
Knowing what projects to pass on and knowing what projects are worth the “investment” even if you’re not getting paid: In the beginning of your career, you jump on as many projects as possible, because you’re hungry, eager, and in “grind mode". Eventually, as you become more experienced, and your portfolio becomes a lot more “solid”, you reach the point of being more selective regarding what projects you take on. The creative part of you feels like you might possibly miss out if you don’t take a project, and the business side of you eventually realizes that you have to begin to choose wisely where you put your resources, time, and talent. You have to understand the big picture, and what would be the most beneficial in the long and short term, even if it’s a “Trade for Photo” (TFP) project.
"The creative part of you feels like you might possibly miss out if you don’t take a project, and the business side of you eventually realizes that you have to begin to choose wisely where you put your resources, time, and talent".
What are some words of advice you can give to future stylists, who want to enter different styling industries?
Invest in your craft by taking classes (like my “You Can Buy Experience” Master Class). Also, attend workshops, seminars, panels, and/or work as an assistant to other Wardrobe Stylists, or fashion houses. This will provide hands-on experience, as well as the opportunity for mentorships.
"Leave all your pride and ego at the front door. Trying to build your business and network from the ground up can be very humbling. Don’t take anything personal or get discouraged. Challenges come with the territory".
You’re going to have to make a lot of financial investments to build your inventory and portfolio before you have a solid network of designers as resources. Prepare yourself financially because you could be buying or renting as opposed to pulling clothing and accessories.
Don’t shy away from collaborating on projects (I’ve met some of the most valuable people on the set of many of the projects I’ve worked on). Make it your business to connect with local creatives (photographers, makeup artists, hair stylist, nail techs, tailors) in your area. They can become a part of your growing network.
Attend fashion shows (this is an easy way to connect with a lot of up-and coming designers, photographers, and other Wardrobe Stylists).
Lastly, always give proper credit on social media to your assistants, models/talent, and to every creative person you've worked with on a project. You should be honest, professional and your integrity impeccable and above reproach. You should be respectful of all people you work with. Your reputation and how you conduct business is extremely important. Your reputation will precede you.
Outside of your business, what are some other hobbies that you enjoy?
Traveling, trying new restaurants, concerts, game nights with my friends, and hanging out with my family.