Category: Behind The Scenes

Milan Fashion Week Survival Guide…

Fashion Week is nearly upon us here in Milan.  My schedule is filling up with cool events and presentations and I am getting really excited about what the week has in stall .  When I am not shooting, a lot of my schedule is spent working at home and online, so I love using Fashion Week as an opportunity to attend loads of events and shows around the city, visit cool exhibitions, check out new bars and catch up with people in town for the week.  I always think the city comes alive during Fashion Week and I love the energy and buzz that comes with that.

Saying that, the week can get pretty crazy running from event to event and I have learnt, that to maximize the weeks success and fun its important to be prepared.  Here is my tried and tested Survival Guide for having fun at Milan Fashion Week…

MFW Survival Guide

Make Sure you Have all your Essentials Packed in Your Handbag.   Fashion week means being on the go all day and often into the night.  So if you want to make it to the end of the day without feeling (or looking) exhausted its important you stock up your handbag with essentials for all situations.  Think portable phone charger, healthy snacks, lipstick, facial powder, nail files, mini perfume and gum to name a few.

Buy Comfortable Shoes.  Pre-Fashion Week, invest in some shoes that are stylish but comfortable.  I literally cannot stress how important this is. You will be on your feet all day running from event to event and partying all night, so there isn’t time for painful shoes.  I have invested in a pairs of heels that are cute and comfortable and some really stylish brogues for when I need a day wearing flats!

Plan your Outfits in Advance.  Once you know your event schedule, take some time to plan out your outfits.  Make a space in your wardrobe and hang your outfits together in groups so you always know what you are going to be wearing.  As a Stylist I always do this when I have important events coming up and I can’t tell you how much time and stress it saves!

Take Time to Sit Down and Eat Lunch.  Food is one of the most important things in Italian culture and there are so many chic and tasty restaurants to try around the city.  Try to take at least half an hour out of the craze to sit down during lunch – your body will reward you by feeling more relaxed and energized during your afternoon events.  Some of my favorite healthy and tasty lunch sports around the city are Cascina Cuccagna, California Bakery, Fluid and Mantra Raw Vegan.  If taking a break for lunch is a bit of a stretch, pop back during aperitivo hour for a glass of prosecco and some tasty snacks.

Get beautiful nails at Bahama Mama I love matching my nails to my outfits but when I have a jam-packed schedule I don’t always have much time to devote to my beauty routine.  Bahama Mama is a super cool nail bar in Milan where you can get amazing manicures and pedicures in no time.  They even have a coffee and juice bar there so you can load up on tasty treats during your pamper session.

Got any of your own Fashion Week Survival Tips? Or have some cool bars, lunch spots or shopping places you love around Milan? I would love to hear about them in the comments below…

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The Sartorialist Book Signing…

Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist at his book signing in Milan.  I have long been a fan of his work and so was really excited when I heard he was coming to Milan yesterday.

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For those who are new to the fashion world, ten years ago fashion photographer Scott Schuman started a blog called The Sartorialist after feeling a strong disconnect between clothes he saw on the runway and what real people were wearing.  He travels around the world, mainly in Milan, New York, Paris and London, and searches the streets for people with unique personal style or that special wow-factor that separates them from the rest.  He photographs these people and posts the photos on his blog.  Some people he speaks to and shares their story, others he photographs from afar and captures their personal movements and emotions.  His work started off the now huge trend of Street Style and to appear on his blog is considered an honor in the fashion world.

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Yesterday’s book signing was for the launch of his third book ‘X’ which marks the past ten years of his career.  Alongside photographers of fashionista’s from around the globe, Schuman has also included a collection of photos of real people from India, Bhutan and Peru.  He focuses on their traditional style of clothing, the interesting colour combinations they wear and how people with supposedly nothing are still able to communicate their own scene of style.  Street Style has always been something very inspirational for my work, but I loved to see this more unusual set of photos mixed into the book.

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The signing was perfectly timed to coincide with Milan’s men’s week and took place inside beautiful men’s wear shop Larusmiani on Via Montenapoleone.  I was lucky enough to be one of the first in the que and it was really amazing to meet a photographer who has inspired my work for such a long time.  Scott Schuman was really nice and enthusiastic to meet each person and so interesting to talk to.  It was such an incredible experience to meet him and I am in love with my new signed book.

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The Positives & Negatives to Building your Fashion Career Abroad

I recently took part in an interview for my former university magazine about what it is like building my fashion career while living abroad.  The reason I took part in the interview was because moving to Italy (and the extensive travelling I did before university) are some of the most important experiences I have had and have helped to shape me as a person.  I hoped that by speaking about my positive experience it would encourage anyone considering studying or working abroad to pursue their dream, because it really can lead you to wonderful places.  In the interview I spoke a lot about how studying abroad and afterwards moving abroad to pursue a career in fashion has changed my life and led to so many positive developments, both professionally and personally.

With this in mind I have decided to include on here a list of the positives and negatives of living and working abroad to give more advise to anyone who is thinking about making the jump.  In regards to the ‘negatives’ section, I have included this because I think it is important to give a balanced description of what to expect when moving abroad.  Generally my experience here has been incredible, but it isn’t always sunshine and fun, and so I think it is important to be real.  I hope you find it helpful, and if you want anymore advise about building your fashion career abroad, please get in touch in the comment below!

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(photo taken from pinterest.com)

Positives

  • You can travel the world while building for your future.  Living abroad allows me to experience life in a different culture, learn languages, try new food, see new places and meet amazing people.  But unlike when I was backpacking in South America, I am also working everyday which means I am gaining invaluable experience as a Fashion Stylist, building my professional network and increasing my Styling portfolio.  These are things that will help me in my future even if I decide to move back home.
  • It can take you in any direction. When I moved back to Milan after university I knew I wanted to work in Fashion but I was torn between two area to specialise in.  I arranged a meeting with an international Stylist to ask advise about breaking into the industry in Milan, one thing led to another, and I now work in Styling .  It was something I was always considering, but following this career path was the best decision I could have made.  I now spend everyday doing a job I feel extremely passionate about and love every minuet of.  It was moving to Milan that allowed me to follow this, so you never know what opportunities might present themselves for you.
  • Provides inspiration and develops creativity. Working in a different culture exposes me to different working styles and ways to be creative.  It has also introduced me to many fashion brands, Italian style, photographers, artists, architecture, exhibitions and culture.  All these things combine to provide me with new kinds of inspiration which develop my ideas and direction as a Stylist.
  • When you have to travel for work, you also discover beautiful new places.  On a few occasions I have been lucky enough to travel to locations for photo shoots. In the last year I have been to Venice, Cortina and rural Liguria for shoots and so, as well as doing my job, I have also been able to explore more of Italy.
  • In your free time you get to be a tourist.  When I am not working I use my free time to explore Milan, visit the sights and museums, try new food and study Italian.  Its like being a tourist but its also my home.

Negatives

  • The language barrier can sometimes be tough.   I arrived in Italy speaking only a little bit of Italian, so when I first started working it could be REALLY hard.  Not only do I work flat out but also in a language that isn’t my own, which can be confusing/exhausting.  I still have a long way to go with my Italian, but as I have improved, work has gotten easier.  You just need to be prepared to work harder than those who are native speakers.
  • Be prepared to work twice as hard to establish yourself.  Being foreign sometimes does make it hard for me to establish myself.  I don’t have all my contacts I made at university, I am speaking in a different language and I am new to the culture.  For me, thats fine because i love to be challenged and I love seeing the positive results of my hard work, but be prepared to work twice as hard at everything than you would if you were at home.
  • You leave your friends and family at home and it can be hard to meet new people.  Especially in Milan, a city where everyone is trying to make it, it can be hard to meet people and make friends.  Lucky for me I have made some amazing and welcoming friends here and make the effort to see my friends and family at home as much as I can.  But at the start it could be hard.  You just have to get yourself out there, join clubs & groups and speak to people even if it seems a bit scary at first!

But really, if you are thinking about moving abroad to work, whether in fashion or another industry, just go for it! For me the positives have always outweighed the negatives and working as a Fashion Stylist and living in Milan is one of the best experiences I have had.

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