For our industry insider feature we introduce you to women and/or men who are creatively creating opportunities for others to shine through their individual work. Many of the people featured are writers who share the accomplishments of others, the designers that create clothing for you to drape your curves in or stylists that make your favorite plus size model look amazing in those ads that you swoon over.
Today we get to meet Industry Insider Steffany Allen. An accomplished fashion and wardrobe stylist.
For those who are not aware, how do you contribute to the plus size industry?
I am a fashion/wardrobe and personal stylist. As a fashion/wardrobe stylist, I provide wardrobe (clothing, shoes and accessories) for editorial and commercial photo shoots. And as a personal stylist, my immediate focus is Plus size women, but I work with women of all shapes and sizes to help build their wardrobe and develop their personal style.
If you weren’t a stylist, what would you be doing?
Ooh, that’s a hard question! Fashion is in my blood as my Grandfather was a tailor and I used to design and make clothes for school every day so I wouldn’t be dressed like anyone else! So I’ve always known that I would work in the industry in some capacity. Over the past 25 years, I’ve worked in retail, showrooms, design studios and more. I was the production and distribution manager for Manolo Blahnik for 15 years and part of me feels like I would still be there, but God had different plans for me and my life, so now I am a stylist and I love it!!
Was there a particular moment when you realized that this was your calling?
It was kind of out of nowhere really. I was watching The Rachel Zoe project and my husband mentioned the idea of me styling for women who are Plus Size like me. That idea never even occurred to me, so I began to research the industry, I went back to school and networked like a beast to begin laying my foundation. After my first photo shoot, I knew styling was it for me. I love the creative process of working with a great team to produce beautiful images and tell stories through fashion. And, when it comes to working one on one with my personal style clients, I genuinely enjoy watching their transformations and seeing the look of hope and excitement on their faces. It’s a true blessing to be able to help someone begin to feel confident and find their inner fashion diva!
What types of challenges did you face when you made the decision to become a stylist and how did you overcome them?
Relationships and great connections are the keys to having a successful styling career. When I began styling, I didn’t have relationships with any brands, boutiques or designers, so I had no way to get clothes right away. I had to send emails to companies introducing myself as a new stylist, hoping they would say yes to loaning their merchandise for the various projects I was working on. It’s much easier now as I’ve been able to expand my network and resources. But every now and then getting a YES can still be a challenge, but persistence is also key, so I keep going until I get what I need!
What is your long term goal in the fashion industry?
To be honest with you, that conversation, it’s still going on inside my head! Naturally, I’d love to continue styling and add a few celebrities to my list of clients. And lately I’ve been tossing the idea of starting my own collection, hosting style seminars and maybe a little television. Most of my career has been behind the scenes, but recently I’ve been feeling the nudge to be upfront and center. I am open, so we shall see where God leads me!!
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