Shyla Hassan

Freelance stylist and consultant for both editorial and advertising clients.

Shyla has styled numerous celebrities over the years, with the likes of Nicole Scherzinger, Coco Sumner, Paloma Faith and Tom Hughes on her list, and has worked as a Fashion and Celebrity Director for companies such as Recognise magazine, l’oreal, H&M and Harrods. I had the pleasure of interviewing Shyla to help you all gain an insight in to the industry through her eyes and to share her thoughts and inspiration.

When & how did you get into the fashion industry?
I’ve been in the fashion industry for almost 2 decades now. I studied for a fashion degree in the mid 90’s, which introduced me to design collections. I was a UK finalist for my Menswear Graduate Collection and  Anna Sui was the judge on the panel that chose my collection.

I worked as a designer in New York and London, working with several brands including DKNY, New York Textiles, Smirnoff and Reebok. I learnt very quickly how to survive in an urban city by adapting myself to fit in with the culture. My role as a designer was creating garments and entire outfits, but each piece of clothing had to have meaning. This intrigue led me to pursue styling, which I found to be much more creative.

I decided to come back to London after 4 years of living in New York City. I also took time out to travel and then I started to do some test shoots to build my book, and, before I knew it, there were opportunities for me to work on editorials and many other styling projects, like music and advertising.

I still currently love working on various projects, and since then I’ve used other skills like producing and directing with working with individuals as a personal stylist too. So no day is the same! I guess I don’t much enjoy boring routine. Variation is what I love and the adventure in planning and creating new ideas and to see them come to life.

 

What’s the average day like for a Fashion Stylist?
I work as a freelance stylist so it really depends on the project I’m working on. My day begins with checking emails.  I normally plan projects and also see what events are on that I need to attend and if I need to be anywhere.

If I’m working on a photo or video shoot then research comes first, followed by a mood board on how I see the direction of the project. I will also view fashion collections online, look books and then email prs on which pieces I am interested in for the project I’m working on. Then I will follow up on looks I want to request and make appointments, so I can select items from the showrooms, as it’s always better to view and get a feel of the fabric.

Being organised and thinking ahead is the key for a fashion stylist.

What changes have you seen in the fashion industry over the years?
I’ve seen many changes in terms of how much everything has moved online. When I started, there weren’t as many stylists working on printed publications, but now there are thousands, and there is more demand for stylists since there are many different media platforms, including new digital magazines being born and social media. Everything is at a much faster pace. More and more styling courses are also available. There is a demand for e-commerce that did not exist before. Everything is recorded on-line and back then you couldn’t access information without having to go to a library to research and even travel to places to get inspiration. Now you can just look on your phone to see everything you need to research, and trends are seen globally at a touch of a button.

What’s your approach to finding inspiration for your clients?

Obviously the internet is great! There are so many platforms to get inspiration from digitally and by social media. I like Pinterest, Instagram etc, attending Fashion shows to get the feel of it, London Fashion Week, Paris and then Milan for Menswear.
I also love taking a trip to Chelsea Design Centre for fabrics and Graduate Fashion Week for up and coming designers. I think it’s also good to go to art Exhibitions, movies, local Markets, and travel to many parts of the world to feel and touch, as you can’t always get that same feeling from the Internet!

 

How do you see global warming and sustainable fashion affecting the fashion industry?

I think there is a push for sustainable. Consumers are waking up and being more selective in what they choose to wear, how it makes them feel, being more aware and more conscious in their purchases. Brands have had to react to this and make the transition in providing more sustainable and intelligent fashion.
I think we are questioning consumerism and what this means. I think people are turning to style rather than fashion. Many years ago we used to have items that lasted for years and I think this will soon, again, become the norm. It’s kind of coming full circle. We used to want to own items because we loved them and they lasted for years so, I think people will start making that same investment again, by choosing more quality, rather than throw away.

What are your top 3 essential skills for any aspiring stylist?Organisational skills, personality and drive.

Are there any final words of advice you can give to aspiring stylists trying to break into the industry?

Only work in the industry if you feel a deep passion about styling, as this will help you push forward.

Learn to create your own style signature.

Believing in yourself is key!

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