MB: My career is eclectic. At first, I wasn't sure what sector of the fashion industry I wanted to be in, but I at least knew that I had to be on the luxury end of it. So I decided to try out an internship in sales.
I wanted to be a part of what first caught my eye in the industry, and I was also interested in how the bigger houses operated.
I think when you start your career, especially at a brand, you have 2 choices. The 1st you can start at a smaller company and have a lot of responsibility but not as much visibility. Or you can start at a bigger company and have greater visibility to important people but less responsibility.
I ended up choosing the latter and starting my career at a bigger company. But I ended up getting really lucky because I got more responsibilities quicker than I expected. Maybe I was lucky, but I believe it’s about what you bring to the table. If you work hard and go beyond your missions/tasks, people recognize your efforts.
I went to Syracuse and studied advertising and minored in fashion communications, which covered everything from fashion advertising to magazine. Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to be somewhere in fashion. I worshiped magazines.
In between my junior and senior year, I freelanced at Teen Vogue as a graphic designer, but I also got to assist on set. I became obsessed with the energy of it all, I got to help style a bit and also art direct, which was amazing and confirmed that that was what I wanted to do. So after senior year, I interned for Elizabeth Sulcer. Then in September of this year, she hired me as her assistant.
I’m from Georgia and moved to New York to attend Parsons and major in Strategic Design and Management. During college, I picked up different types of internships. My last one was in Education + Professional Development at the CFDA and I ended up getting hired! This June it’ll be 2 years. So that’s my long story short!
I was in my last semester of university, and I was under quite a lot of academic pressure. I was in that kind of weird mentality where you're like, "I can't go out and have fun because I need to be studying," but I couldn’t study all the time, and I was going crazy sitting in the library, so I just started doing these drawings. Turns out I was much more creative than I allowed myself to be.
Then my sister's birthday was coming up, and I had no money to get her something, but I had these watercolors that were just sitting around. So I made her a book that was like this cautionary tale for turning 18. After I thought, “This is really fun!”
So I continued drawing, mostly little comic books or jokes and then fashion week came around, so I did some drawings responding to that because I thought, “This is so funny. People love to laugh at fashion, people in fashion love to laugh at it. Everyone loves to laugh.” Then that sort of became my routine: wake up, draw, library draw and then to bed. I have to say, it’s really what got me through school.
Well I got my first camera at 14; at first I was shooting around here in Split, Croatia, where I grew up. When I started shooting, I immediately knew that it was something that I wanted to get into deeply. I entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. I studied photography there where I lived for five years, that's how I learned about magazines and books and fashion, things like that.
In college I worked closely with a talented photographer, Dikayl Rimmasch. He worked on lots of shoots, film and photo and we worked a bit together. One day he says, "Alex, you're organized. Can you produce this photoshoot for me?" I was excited but nervous, and in college, but took him up on the opportunity. Eventually he introduced me to film production, too.
After that, I worked for The Row, Intermix, and Escada, and from that, I realized that I wanted to be on the production side of the fashion industry. I went to college with someone who had been working at Eyesight and emailed her non-stop for an internship. The team there ended up really believing in me, and 3 years later I'm an employee and partner at the company.
Also trying out different areas of the field helped me understand what I liked and what I didn't like. By the time I got to Eyesight—my last internship—I had a strong idea of what I wanted to do.
I'm originally from Poland. My interest in fashion started very early, I remember I used to watch fashion TV at my grandparents place, especially the backstage footage from the shows. At first, I wanted to become a stylist, but after flipping through magazines, I started to become very interested in makeup. I found it super interesting how makeup could change your perceptions of a model and how powerful makeup really is.
So when I was 16, I went to my first makeup school in Poland, and then I set up my first makeup studio in my bedroom. I started doing my friends makeup, and then I actually got real clients. After that, I knew that’s what I wanted to do, so I found a makeup school in LA and that was all I thought about.
When I finished high school I went to Los Angeles. That was also when I became financially independent. I went to MKC Beauty Academy and I had my first real work experiences while I was there.
I came back for Christimas to my hometown in Poland, and then I decided to try Paris, as it seemed to be the best choice to work in the fashion industry, and still not too far from home!
It was so spontaneous because I just took a bus with my makeup kit. I didn't know anybody, and I didn't know the language. It was really a big adventure. I’ve been in Paris for 8 years already, and I'm living my dream :)
I’m originally from Australia, grew up in the UK, and then went back to Australia to study fashion design at university. While I was at university, I’d always come back to the UK over breaks and intern for a production company. After I had graduated they offered me a job as a junior producer, so I started in that role and worked there for about 2 years. It was great because it gave me the fundamental tools for being an assistant. I learned how to stay organized, write strong emails, communicate effectively and be a good team player. I had an immense amount of respect for what they did, but I was never very passionate about becoming a producer.
Since I wanted to be in styling, I had to get out there myself and eventually start freelancing. One of the first jobs that I worked on was in New York with Poppy Kain. Which was cool because it was also my first time in New York.
Poppy had just left assisting Venetia Scott, so she didn’t need a full-time assistant. She ended up recommending me to another stylist, Stevie Westgarth, and I worked with him for about 6 months. Then I found a position with Gillian Wilkins, who was the fashion director at Russh Magazine at the time. I was with her for about 2 years.
Were you between Australia and the UK? or...
Just the UK because that’s where Gillian’s office was located which was a bit of a challenge when it came to communicating with PR’s. UK PR’s we could talk to all day but New York PR’s would open at 2pm and then with Australia you’d wake up in the middle of the night and answer emails at 4am. We would always be working on quite a few projects at once, which would add to the craziness.
It was definitely a 24/7 job and pretty hectic. But I loved it. Then when Gillian moved to New York, we parted ways. It was good timing because I realized that by then I had learned everything that I needed from that position at that time. I feel like when you’re not progressing anymore and you feel like you can do that job with your eyes closed you know, it’s the right time to move on.
So then I started doing more freelance work, and later I became Julia Sarr Jamois’s first assistant at i-D. I was with her for about 8 months, before a job opportunity came up as the Junior Fashion Editor at The Violet Book, which is where I am now. I still do some freelance work with Julia, and just recently started working a lot with Tom Guinness. It was definitely a conscious decision to freelance only with people whose work I really admire. Right now I’m trying to do more of my own work and working towards identifying my own style.
These days I’ve been running my own label since receiving the Newgen sponsorship for AW15. Since AW16 I’ve been showing my collections with presentations on schedule at LFW. On the side I often take on free-lance work (in design, teaching and stylist assisting) to help fund myself. I also receive Swarovski sponsorship at the moment, so it’s really exciting to integrate crystals into my collections.
I also do animations, which my brother and I started making together at university. He was studying film, and I was doing fashion and stop-frame seemed like a fun and exciting way to illustrate a project that I was working on. At the time I was interning with Katie Hillier, and she loved the animation we had made and asked if we could make them for her forthcoming jewelry brand. So that’s how we got into making them for clients.
I came to London almost nine years ago after I studied fashion design in Sydney. I planned to come over for just a few years because Australia felt pretty isolated and London seemed exciting and the place to be. I first interned for the designer Roksanda Ilincic, doing sample cutting and working in the studio, followed by internships at Dazed and Confused and Vogue.
From there, I got offered an assistant position in the London office of Turkish Vogue, which had just launched. I was the Assistant to the Fashion Director for nearly two years, traveling between London and the office in Istanbul as well as travelling a lot for all the shoots. It was full on, a 24/7 job, but very exciting shooting with photographers I’d always admired like Mert & Marcus, Demarchelier, Sarah Moon and Maripol.
After I assisted stylists’s on a freelance basis while gradually, more and more I started to do my own thing – test shoots and small, independent magazines. One of my biggest projects is the magazine Off Black that I work on with my friends which is now on it’s 5th print issue and stocked globally.
I worked in the fashion industry in general at first after art school trying out styling and then PR before going into makeup as I’ve always loved beauty but didn’t really see it as a job option when I was younger. I think it’s different now with celebrity makeup artists and social media; there’s a lot more openness around it. I spent 3 years as the first assistant to Georgina Graham who really trained me before branching out on my own.
At first I wanted to become a fashion designer because I didn't know what else you could do in the fashion industry. Then I learned that I was more interested in images and that I didn’t want to work in a design studio, so I decided to pursue a career in styling.
I moved to Paris seven years ago for the fashion school Studio Berçot. Then I started interning at Marie Amelie Sauve and she ended up hiring me.
Then you went on to Self Service?
Yeah I was the fashion market editor.
So what are you up to now?
Now I'm freelance, which is exciting.
It’s really nice to do what you want after assisting for so long. I feel really lucky because there are quite a lot of people who want to work with me. Also being freelance, you bounce around a lot more, so I'm meeting a lot of photographers, or potential collaborators. I have some commercial work as well coming up from nowhere which is cool.
I studied fashion at Blanche MacDonald Center in Vancouver, Canada. It was a 12-month diploma program. During the course I developed a great relationship with one of the professors who was really inspiring to me. His name is Tyler Udall, he’s the fashion director at Blanche, and he had previously worked in London as a fashion editor at Dazed and AnOther Man. I pretty much knew that I wanted to move to London after I graduated – I really wanted to experience the fashion world in one of the major cities, so London was perfect. So I applied for a UK visa and moved almost as soon as I graduated. I was so lucky to have met Tyler, he’s really the reason I’m here in the first place, he shared his experience, was very encouraging, and connected me with a few key people.
Once I arrived, one of the people that I emailed shared some of her contacts with me as well - basically a lot of styling assistants and stylists, and one of them got back to me. It was Katie Shillingford's assistant. She just said, "Yeah. Come in for an interview. I actually need a new intern." So I did and then she took me on as her intern for 3 months.
That experience was invaluable, funnily enough, because I realized that I didn’t want to be a stylist, which I think is something that you can only learn from experiencing it. But also I learned so much in such a short space of time. It was really hard work and people could be tough, which is to be expected at a magazine like AnOther. But I think I just realized that I was a lot more interested in the whole picture, rather than specifically the clothing. I loved doing research and helping to inform some of the ideas and direction.
After that I got an internship under the Art and Fashion Director at Mario Testino's studio which was completely different than AnOther Magazine.
He has a beautiful studio in West London. It was incredible and I learned so much. The woman I was interning for was nice, yet tough, and very talented and I respected her a lot. The roles within the company are more definitive, and it's a lot more structured than the work environment that you would find at a magazine. I was in the art department, so my role was assisting with research, casting, and sending out internal newsletters to people in the company informing them of what was going on in the fashion industry and, more generally, in the world.
I moved here in 2012 and started interning for Gus Romero, who’s mostly a commercial stylist. I didn't really know what I was doing. I just started cold emailing. I was looking at fashion internships online. Even on Craigslist where I ran into that stylist and he was really great in my evolution, and he taught me a lot of things. I eventually became his first assistant. This was while I was in school, so I was multitasking. I would assist him and then go to school from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm everyday. After that, I got a little bored, so I started interning at V and that taught me how to work at a magazine in a professional environment with other people and not just one stylist. That was a really huge part of me getting into this industry. From V, I started freelancing more. I still worked with Gus but I was working with other people too because a huge part of being a stylist or being a stylist’s assistant is word of mouth and who you know and friends of friends because people always need help.
Then Chris Bartley from V introduced me to CR. I was here [as a fashion intern] for about three months, and I really excelled here, and I built a really good relationship with Ben, and we stayed in touch, and he helped me get freelance positions at Harper's Bazaar, which was also a good experience. After CR I kept freelancing with other stylists and just doing my own thing.
Also throughout this whole time I was styling my own stories every time I had the chance. Then, Ben called me one day and said, "Do you want to work at CR?" I did. Now I'm here.
I have a background in Spanish linguistics and then I moved to art history and lived in Spain for a bit. After I came back to Amsterdam and started working at an art gallery, which I loved, but I missed fashion.
So I started studying fashion design in a really theoretical way while I was getting my masters. I ended up getting an internship at Vogue Netherlands for production, so something completely different. That's producing fashion shoots and helping the fashion producer with everything. After two months the assistant of the editor in chief left, so I got to fill in her position. Then last year the position of Digital Editor was available, so I grabbed that opportunity, and I just moved up in the company. I got really lucky.