Everyday we flip through magazines or surf through blogs and lust over the “it” looks of the season. This in essence dictates our wardrobes from season to season. More than likely we’ll acknowledge the celebrity, designer or magazine for being the ultimate trendsetter, but forget the innovative stylists who work tirelessly behind the scenes to bring impeccable garments to life. Amidst the many stylists floating around,twenty-seven-year-old fashion stylist and personal shopper Beagy Zielinski has her fashionable pulse on taking style to the next level.
Like many professional movers and shakers, Zielinski always knew she had an innate love for fashion. The Connecticut born, Germany raised stylist knew her admiration for sketching, drawing and painting would lead her to creating whimsical illusions that perfectly connected her obvious love for fashion and art. After revamping her friends and co-worker’s style, Beagy took the idea of styling very seriously and headed to New York. Upon completing her studies at FIT, she pursued her passion and garnered numerous opportunities that led the stylist with enough contacts and references to help build her portfolio and relationship with those who took note of work. Working her way up from a Fashion Merchandiser to personal shopper, Zielinski’s incredible work ethic harvested clients such as German Vogue, Inked Magazine, Complex, Harper’s Bazaar, Tommy Hilfiger and a long list of others. With a keen eye for inquisitive and eclectic visuals, Zielinski is bound to become a household name; not only for her gift of styling but for pushing the bar for freshness in a carbon-copied industry. As she scurried through the city from shoots, boutiques and networking galas, Zielinski took some time out to chit-chat with us Clutch on the highs and lows of this beautiful but complex fashion industry.
Clutch: Most pioneering minds start out in their field without really even knowing how great they are. What was your first introduction into realizing fashion was going to be apart of your daily regimen?
Zielinski: I always knew that I would be in this industry. There was never another option in my mind. It was fashion or die! It sounds dramatic but that’s really how I felt, and is how I still feel. I never cared about how much money I was making, or how long my commute was, I just knew that I loved what I was doing and would continue doing it for the rest of my career.
Clutch: Almost every stylist creates off of inspiration ranging from either the craftsmanship of designers or art that they admire, music they love or cultures that inspire them. What influences you to create your whimsical illusions when styling?
Zielinski: I am inspired by life, the good, the bad & the ugly. Sometimes if it is nice out and our schedules allow it, a few friends and I like to sit outside at a restaurant or in Bryant Park and just people watch. People always ask me if I spend my days criticizing how others dress and some even try to get me to make fun of someone who may walk by in a less than flattering outfit. But I try to look past what they did wrong and see what they were trying to achieve. This helps me with commercial styling a lot believe it or not. I love to watch real people and how they dress; of course I love to flip through magazines as well. For inspiration for high-end editorials I actually like to browse other stylists work. I’ll go to their agency’s site and check out their work for inspiration and ask myself, “Would I have done it that way? What would I do differently? How can I step it up a notch?” As a stylist, it’s nearly impossible to look at any type of media without thinking about the styling that went into it. I can’t watch a commercial, movie, billboard, red carpet image, magazine cover…anything without thinking about the styling process that must have gone into it and what I would do the same or different, call it occupational hazard.
Clutch: I’m sure that you are aware of the multicultural barriers within fashion especially for models of color, do you feel like things are progressing and have you ever seen the backlash full front in center expressed to you, colleagues or the models?
Zielinski: Those barriers are there everyday and I don’t see them going anywhere soon. I have worked with photographers who have 5 ethnic girls and 25 Caucasian girls in their books and are asked by agents “why do you have so many black girls in your book?” I have been repeatedly asked if I style “rappers and urban music videos”(which I do not). When I walk into high-end boutiques shopping for my celebrity clients 1 of 2 things usually happens, 1. I am not asked if I can be helped at all and then when I ask to set up a fitting room the surprise on their faces is priceless (I usually try things on a model and take pictures to show the client before making their purchases), or 2. Follow me around like I’m going to steal something. Both are unfortunate for the store because I avoid those places when shopping for myself and for my clients who often spend upwards of $20,000 in one shopping trip.
Clutch: How difficult is it to break into an industry where they are so many other stylists? What is it that you need to bring to the table to stand apart and make your mark?
Zielinski: It is extremely difficult to become a stylist. Everybody thinks that they can become a stylist because they can dress themselves, but that is not the case. You have to really be able to put yourself in the client’s position and see things the way that they see them. If you are doing a commercial shoot for a conservative client, don’t pull the gorgeous Versace top with the deep V. You have to imagine what the customers’ day-to-day is going to be and what their lifestyle, area they live in and body type calls for. Sometimes you may not like that look at all, but it is not for you to like for yourself, it’s for the customer. That is a huge talent to bring to the table because not many can remove their fashion taste from their work. Also being able to step outside of the box, when appropriate, is important. You want to showcase that you are multidimensional and can style different styles. And last but not least, having an army of “contacts” always sets you apart from the rest. You want to be very well connected with others in the industry, like showrooms, hair, make-up artists, editors…etc.
Clutch: What are your top dos and don’ts of being a stylist?
*Don’t over style; too many accessories or too many focal points can ruin a look.
*Do try things on before just saying no, you would be surprised what doesn’t have hanger appeal but looks amazing once on a model.
*Don’t be arrogant or unpleasant to work with, this is an industry you choose to work in, not one you work in to makes ends meet. No one wants to work with a Diva.
*Do smooze as much as possible, but don’t be fake.
* It’s fashion, have fun with it!
For more information on Beagy Zielinski please visit www.beagystyle.com