#YourCareerIn FASHION: Stylist and creative director Courtney Smith
Welcome to our brand spankin' new career series.
Each month, we're going to plunge into different professions and industries, and chat to the people who are killing it in their game.
Since it's fashion month, we're diving head first into the fashion industry. From people working behind the scenes to in front of the camera, we're going to find out what makes them tick, how they got their start and what obstacles stood in front of them throughout their career.
For this week's installment, we chatted to fashion stylist and creative director Courtney Smith.
1. Why did you want to work in fashion?
"Honestly it was like a natural progression; it was never like I made a big decision or had a defining moment – I was just always fashion obsessed," Courtney said.
"Everyone including me just always assumed I would end up in fashion because from the age of 7 I was creating clothes and putting on ‘fashion shows’. I taught myself to sew aged 14 and I used to make clothes for all my friends.
"I was constantly experimenting with fashion and always had part time jobs in fashion retail. By the time it came to making a decision on what to do in college Fashion Design just seemed like the obvious choice."
2. How did you get your start in the industry?
"I studied Fashion Design in Sallynoggin; but went on to do a 1 year post-grad in London College of Fashion in Fashion Media. There is where I cut my teeth properly on styling, photography and journalism," she explained.
"I was also working in a top London boutique where I was styling all the celebrity clientele including Alesha Dixon; Amy Winehouse and Kelly Rowland. I was only 20/21 years old doing that so it definitely gave me a taste for it.
"But I really wanted to be an editorial stylist which was harder to break into in the UK so I returned to Dublin aged 21 and set myself up as a freelance stylist and it started slowly from there."
3. Were there ever any obstacles in your way?
"Absolutely, there are always obstacles. I think it’s very easy to be underestimated and when I was trying to break the industry people would dismiss me immediately because of my age. They assumed I was too young to be able to do the jobs I was pitching for – so instead I started test shooting and creating my own work until finally I started getting people’s attention.
"But obviously the first year especially of business was extremely tough – I didn’t book one single paid job for the first 10 months."
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4. What’s the best advice you ever received?
"Best STYLIST advice was from editor Constance Harris; she told me as a 21 year old stylist to stop trying to justify my job and OVERSTYLE a look by piling a million accessories on. She said the best stylists are the ones who can step back and realise that sometimes the dress alone is enough.
"Best work related advice was to know what your ‘brand’ is. I am multifaceted in the fashion world because I do fashion styling but I also create content for social media; am a contributor on various TV shows and would be considered a brand consultant and creative director."
5. Have you any advice for anybody who has been knocked back in their career?
"Well, perseverance is KEY. Everyone always thinks I am successful but I still get daily and weekly knockbacks and I just have to brush that off and try again.
"If you are truly passionate about what you are doing then nobody telling you otherwise will make a difference so keep trying."
6. What is the favourite part of your job?
"I love how versatile it is. Every day is so different and I get to travel and see the world as part of it so I know how lucky I am."
7. Have you any goals for the end of this year?
"Oh, I have many goals – I write a list of 5 new goals every year and try and do everything in my power to tick them off. I can’t tell you them though or they may not happen. .. so come back to me in January and I will let you know!"