New York based freelance stylist and style maven Shea Daspin shares with us her styling insights, tells us about her relationship with NYC and Fashion Week, and teaches us the 4-1-1 on how to go for the gold by staying true to one self―cats and all included.
bn: How do you explain and describe your work to whoever's curious about what you do?
SD: I usually have to dumb it down a lot, because what stylists do is so much more complicated than most people understand. I usually say I work in fashion “dressing people” for photo shoots for magazines and music videos. If a fashion person or another creative asks, then it is a much longer conversation about logistics, clients, and inspirations.
bn: You've traveled quite a bit this past year, whether for work or pleasure. What's your relationship with NYC? Have you ever considered moving?
SD: I love NYC. I moved here a week after I graduated high school to start interning and then go to college. I only applied to 2 colleges – both in NYC – because I knew I wanted to be here for fashion. A lot of people say they don’t like how impersonal the city is and how there’s no nature, etc. But it’s funny, because that is exactly what I like about it. I like the concrete, the coldness, and the anonymity. When I travel, I prefer to visit other metropolis cities like Tokyo, London, or Bangkok – I like the energy and I’m not much of a beach girl.
I’ve thought about LA, especially because there’s a lot of fun celebrity styling and TV/Commercial work, but at the end of the day, I don’t like the city as much as NYC. Plus I can’t drive so I’d be screwed.
bn: Many people give in easily to fashion trends instead of creating their own signature style. Yet it’s safe to say that you have absolutely nailed yours. What advice would you give to those that are struggling to find their personal style within the fast fashion world that's constantly on our feeds?
SD: Do what you want and wear what makes you happy. I think it took me a while to realize that I don’t need to look perfectly done up and chic to impress other people. It’s more about the energy you exude that leaves a lasting impression.
bn: How much of your personal style goes into your work?
SD: A lot – but it has to be well edited depending on the client/job. It’s important to have a distinctive style that goes into your work so you can be thought of as a go-to for certain projects.
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bn: What is your favorite item that you own and why?
SD: That’s hard! I love all the items I buy while traveling, but I think my favorite would be this vintage ice skating/rodeo dress I bought in NYC years ago while in college. It wasn’t expensive per se, but I overdrew my account buying it. It is iridescent lavender with rhinestones up the bust, a huge crinoline underneath, and tons of lavender and white feathers at the hem. I use to hang it on my wall as art, but I’m looking for a new spot for it now that I’ve moved apartments and need it out of reach of the cats.
bn: As Street Style has come into debate about whether people are now more interested in what is going on outside the Fashion Shows rather than the runways themselves, how important is Fashion Week to you as a stylist, and where do you stand within what seems to be this slight change in perspective?
SD: Fashion Week is very important. Just as Editors at magazines are expected to attend and show face for work, so are stylists. It’s a social thing. I can see all the collections online, but it is important to go and say hi to publicists, colleagues, and get your picture taken. It’s a circus with this new boom of street style culture, but that’s fashion - it’s always a circus.
bn: In the past years you have worked with Refinery29, Nylon and Rookie Mag, and assisted Jessica Bobince, Soraya Dayani and Jessica Diehl (to mention a few); what have you learned from these experiences and how have they helped you grow as a freelance stylist?
SD: The most important thing I learned is how to hustle and get down and dirty. I hate to be cliché, but it is not a glamorous job. In fact I think I am just as physical in this job than some athletes or construction workers. It’s also important to work with different stylists so you can learn new markets and ways of styling and dealing with clients.
bn: What is the key factor in deciding which clothes that you want to pull for a shoot?
SD: Most important is to pull what the client / editor / producer asks for. You should always check if there are advertisers that need to be shot, what season clothing they prefer, and what designers they have in mind. Use that and your own personal style to shape the rest.
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bn: Name the top three must-haves in your styling kit
SD: Safety pins, silicone nipple covers, double stick.
bn: Aside from being a stylist, are there any other artistic activities or hobbies that you like to do in your free time?
SD: I like to see as much art in galleries and museums that I can. I also love seeing movies, especially around Oscar season. Besides that it’s a lot of brunching and hanging out with my cats.
bn: Last but not least, what advice would you give an up and coming fashion stylist?
SD: Say yes to everything, be positive, and keep in touch with everyone.