"I had always studied fashion at school and loved clothes but the decision to follow styling as a career choice was possibly the best decision of my life!"
On completing the NHJ Style Academy course, Claire set up her own styling business which has gone from strength to strength and now sees her not only styling personal clients, but also fashion shows, photo shoots, TV programmes and presenting fashion videos.
"I love my job and strongly believe that what you wear can change your life! People judge us within the first 5 seconds of meeting us, so our clothes are saying more than we think. As a stylist it is my job to ensure that the look represents the person!"
We met up with Claire to find out more....
Q. Have you always had a love for fashion and what did fashion mean to you growing up?
Fashion has always been a massive part of my life and from an early age my mothers wardrobe and our extensive dressing-up box were my sister’s and my favourite go-to for entertainment!! In fact to this day my dressing up box (and I mean fancy dress not fashion) is more extensive than Angel’s on Shaftsbury Avenue!
In my early years fashion was all about copying my older sisters outfits. Most of the time we would be in matching looks and that covered dresses, pyjamas, shell suits (yes I was born in the 80’s) or Bermuda shorts and hypercolor t-shirts! Thankfully as we got older the fashion trends changed but my family’s love for fashion and shopping didn’t. In fact when we would go clothes shopping it would be a very big event and always ended with a fashion show back at home to show off the new outfits or wardrobe additions.
I have always associated fashion and clothes as FUN and CREATIVE, probably because of the experiences I had growing up. To me fashion is still about having fun and styling is all about experimenting and pushing someone’s individual creativeness!
Q. Did you always imagine you would be working in the fashion industry?
If I am honest NO, I hoped I would be a Hollywood actress or a Musical Theatre sensation, who, got to wear majestic dresses on the red carpet at premiers and award ceremonies! The truth is I was always obsessed with the dresses and the glamour of Hollywood and acting and when it became time to choose between the dresses or the acting at school, I opted for acting. Big mistake as a few years down the line I was back surrounded by material and dresses and shops anyway! But the trying to be an actor was fun for a few years… after all some of my costumes were gorgeous! X
Q. What are the highlights and the lowlights of your job?
One of the biggest highlights for me is that there are two very different sides to my job. One is fashion styling … so styling models for shoots or catwalk’s, this is always great fun and the most creative part of my job! The second is personal styling where I get to meet the most amazing everyday men and women, who usually don’t realise how amazing they are. I get to delve into their wardrobes or take them shopping all in the name of fashion!
Both sides of my job have lowlights, which always surprise’s people, as everyone thinks that fashion is super glamorous!
The fashion styling’s biggest low is the amount I have to lug around to shoots with me!! For small shoots that are not in studio I am usually carrying a suitcase full of clothes, shoes, accessories, a steamer, a rail and hangers as well as my kit bag which has tit tape, masking tape, needles, thread, bulldog clips, scissors, baby wipes, bras, knickers, tights etc in it!! For big shoots a lot of those things are already there but you still end up on your hands and knees at the feet of some amazingly glamorous model looking more than a little dishevelled! (not that I would ever swap it for a different career).
The personal styling’s biggest low for me is how low peoples self esteem and body confidence is!! I style so many women who have amazing figures but who just don’t see in the mirror what the rest of the world sees. I am also constantly reminding people that if we all looked like Kate Moss the fashion world would not be half as exciting. I try and encourage all my clients to accept their figures (good bits and bad) and start dressing to accentuate the good!
Q. Describe your personal style and what are your favourite 3 things in your wardrobe?
I would say that my personal style is always changing but I hope that it always appears relaxed and elegant with a twist! I love simple lines and bold colours rather than fuss and frills for everyday, but not afraid to go for a more glam or sexy option for evening.
Picking just 3 items is super hard for me, because, items don’t make it into my wardrobe unless I LOVE them….
I love jumpsuits and playsuits and have a ridiculous number of both. My favourite has to be a black Topshop jumpsuit I bought years ago, I feel stylish and sexy wearing it and it only takes a statement necklace or clutch to make it more current!
My 2nd favourite has to be my red, Miu Miu, polka dot print shoes, they make me smile every time I think of them and when I wear them I can literally conquer the world!
My 3rd favourite item has to be Vivienne Westwood, I have several Westwood items as she is my favourite designer and has been since I was about 14! I am going to pick my Anglomania, red, white and blue stripe drape dress. It is easy to wear and can be day or evening!
If I’m allowed a sneaky 4th, I would add in my wedding dress to the mix! I was part of the design process and it is, by all accounts my DREAM dress! Made by the fantastic Angelina Colarusso, it fit me like a glove showing off all my curves and my favourite part of it was that it was BLUE!!
Q. Who do you think are the most stylish women in the world and why? (which country)
I am British and very proud of the fashion that we produce as a nation! I also think that our high street is fantastic and means that what ever your budget you can embrace great fashion!
We also have such an amazing mix of fashion influences because the UK is such a great mix of so many cultures!
British women in my opinion always look individual and in the UK we embrace difference. As a nation we are made up of such a diverse group of cultures, who each bring to the table a different style elements. Because of this people feel they can be more experimental here and that is why we are some of the most creative dresses in the world!! X
Q. If you could change one thing about the fashion world what would it be?
I would love to see more REAL body’s in campaigns and on catwalks as role models! I don’t think real women are represented in fashion imagery, as it is always extremes, like super slim or +size. Which means that majority of women cant relate to them! You can be normal sized and sexy… It is not a terrible sin to have a bigger bottom or bust. Women are punishing themselves on a daily basis for not having the perfect body and I think that what we should really be saying is, be healthy and be yourself! If we all looked the same the world would be a very boring place!
Q. What would you pick as a soundtrack to your life right now?
I love feel good music… In fact most of my music choices are so shocking that I would never share them….
But so far this year, everything has been amazing and this song sums up how I feel!!
Queen – Don’t stop me now! (I told you I like cheesy music)
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