It’s that time of year again – fashion week is just around the corner and New York City is about to kick off the SS17 shows in style. NYFW is always a favourite of ours as it played a very important role in one of the early chapters of our story. Back in 2010, our Founder & CEO Julie contacted up and coming American fashion bloggers and asked them if they’d like to carry one of our bags to fashion week. The bags were spotted on the front row and caused a bit of a stir. The week ended with New York Times hailing our classic satchel as ‘the Brit IT bag’.
This year we’re celebrating the start of fashion season with another New York story. Stylist and blogger Emma Sousa has styled three of her favourite bags from our collection and taken them and us on a tour of New York City. In between filming, we stole five minutes with Emma to chat about her personal style, starting a career in fashion in the Big Apple and what she’s looking forward to most about fashion week.
Tell us about yourself and your career so far, how did you become a fashion stylist?
I was actually a Marketing and International Business major from the University of Tennessee, but my freshman year I met a woman who had been designing for Rebecca Taylor and she basically said “you can do it”. So I did. I had two summer internships in Manhattan, the second of which was at Lucky Magazine where I landed a freelance position post graduation. I assisted the senior fashion editor there, Elle Strauss, who quickly took me under her wing and then to Shopbop.com’s editorial team. After a few wonderful years there, I took a leap of faith into the freelance world and been here ever since. It’s a crazy, unpredictable way of working, but so full of possibilities and creativity. It has pushed me harder than I’ve ever pushed myself before and I am so so grateful for it.
What advice would you give anyone who wants to be a stylist?
Start early with internships, be ready to work and no is never an answer. I’m not going to sit here and say fashion is a cakewalk. But if you love it, it can be the most unbelievably rewarding thing.
What’s your ‘getting ready’ process in the morning, how do you go about putting an outfit together?
I am not a morning person. Hah! As a busy New Yorker you develop a sort of uniform that you then tend to gravitate towards in the mornings. But a lot of the time it just depends on how I’m feeling and what I’ll be doing that day.
How would you describe your personal style?
I should have a one word answer for this but I don’t! Minimalistic that either skews 90s or 70s!
If you could swap wardrobes with a celebrity for a day, who would you choose and why?
Definitely Kate Moss or if she doesn’t count because she’s a model then Sienna Miller. No explanation needed I think?
You also have your own personal style blog. Tell us a bit about how that came about?
I started my blog when I first moved to New York and hadn’t started styling yet. I knew it was “a thing” and so I figured I’d give it go. Plus, it was great practice for me to style myself and concept with photographers. It was amazing meeting different people through the blog and also building different symbiotic relationships between the blog and styling.
How do you juggle styling and maintaining your blog?
I’d like to say I balance them but it is extremely hard. Styling is my job but I love blogging too much and put too much behind it to let it fizzle. Let’s just say I don’t sleep a whole lot.
Tell us about living in New York? How long have you been there?
I’ve lived in New York for three and a half years but it feels like much longer. My mom is from Long Island so I grew up road-tripping every summer. I had always loved visiting the city but it wasn’t until my first internship here that I knew I was going to stay for a long time.
What’s the best thing about living in such a big city?
There are so many! It’s hard to choose just one. I love the energy. New York is like the survival of the fittest, you better be in it to win it! Everyone works hard but plays hard too. I also love the sense of style here. But I might have to say my favourite part of New York is that there’s not really any judgement. People have a very ‘you do your thing, I’ll do my thing’ attitude to life. There’s no cliques, no eyeballing, no whispering. Everyone is kind of on the same level and I love that.
Are you excited about New York Fashion Week?
Always. Fashion is about selling and buying and making customers happy but at fashion week it’s about celebrating the art that of fashion. The creativity and the thought process behind the form, colour, pattern and texture of the clothes. NYFW is a show, a presentation, a performance. It’s a wonderful time to be in the city.
Any up and coming designers you’re particularly excited about?
The up-and-comers are always my favourite as I think they have the most original and fresh designs. My favourites from last season include Sally LaPointe, Zero + Maria Cornejo, and Creatures of Comfort. Baja East is another great one to watch. And I’m excited to see more of Brock Collection and Andrea Jiapei Li.
What keeps you inspired?
Beautiful images and music. I love to utilise online outlets but I find most of my inspirations from old polaroids at my grandmother’s house. You’ll find me listening to Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra while styling my next story; still tearing pages and pages out of the print copies of Vogue, L’Officiel, W, and Self Service. There’s nothing like holding the paper in your hand.
Finally what’s next for you, what can we expect to see next?
Hopefully more and more amazing content for styling and the blog. I find myself growing and meeting new and exciting talent to work with everyday so I cannot wait to share some other beautiful projects with my viewers and readers very soon.