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Fashion Stylist Creates Wardrobe Magic

By Cindy Atoji Keene
Behind almost every slick fashion editorial and advertising campaign is a professional fashion stylist like Evan Crothers. While it might seem glamorous to create the “look” and put together outfits, curating clothes and accessories for photo shoots and videos takes a lot of planning – and hard manual labor, said Crothers, who has been a stylist for TJX Company, Rue La La, Converse, FashionPlaytes, and other clients. “The clothes just don’t show up – I have to consult brands, showrooms, catalogs and often pull directly from stores. This can mean shopping for hundreds of pieces, getting it all organized, lugging it to the shoot, then packing it all up again and returning them to the source.” On the day of the shoot, Crothers decides what ensemble is appropriate for each model, making last minute alternations as needed, pinning, tucking, and pressing. “Should a shirt be tucked in? Does this plaid go well with textured pants? Would this dress look good with boots or high heels? These are the sorts of decisions that add up to a flattering and appropriate image, from head to toe,” said Crothers.

Q: What are all these kids’ clothes for?
A: I’m styling for Kurb.com, a start-up that’s developing a new ‘re-commerce’ category for consignment goods and clothing. The photo shoot aimed at three moods – rocker kid, VIP disco party, and bohemian – and I had to develop these concepts. They didn’t have pre-existing pieces they wanted to feature, so I had to pull together outfits and back-up alternatives. I went to at least six or seven stores to find clothes. Kid sizing is so different, so I had to cross my fingers and hope that it would fit the models. I put together what’s called a fashion matrix, or enough pieces that would mix and match and coordinate with each other.

Q: How do you work with the other members of the creative team?
A: Whether it’s the art director, photographer, makeup artist, or model, we are all there to facilitate the client’s needs. We’ll have mood boards or inspiration pictures that communicate design concepts to the entire team. It’s a very collaborative process.

Q: How did you become a stylist?
A: I’ve always had a flare for fashion. My first obsession was my best friend’s jelly bracelets and jelly shoes. I started out in theater casting then became a model booker. I started assisting different stylists then found myself as a fashion stylist working for the online company Rue La La. I worked with over 100 different brands and labels, creating upwards of 80 outfits a day, one day styling Valentino and the next day, golf-wear.

Q: What props do you bring to every shoot?
A: I just got my brand new handheld steamer, which I’m very excited about. It’s high powered and lightweight and I’m excited about not having to lug the other one around. I also have a whole style kit, including straight and safety pins, doublesided tape, and lots of clamps for when stuff doesn’t fit. I also bring any accessories that I’ve accumulated over the years, such as belts and hats, because you never know when you’ll need them.

Q: What was your most difficult styling assignment?
A: I had to style a celebrity – or at least she thought she was a celebrity – for the cover of her new album. She wanted to look like she was 18, and she was 48. It was tough because I didn’t want to put her in anything that would look ridiculous. At the end of the day, she responded to a look that was fresher and cooler yet still age-appropriate.

Q: As a stylist, you use an agency, why is that?
A: I’m represented by Ennis, Inc., an agency that represents talent in the fields of prop and wardrobe style, hair and make-up artistry, and special event production. An agent helps create opportunities to work with new clients, helps expedite payment, and manage your career; they take a percentage of your earnings in return.

Q: Whose style do you admire the most? My favorite fashion designer at the moment is Rick Ownes. His clothes are edgy and modern while still having an air of gorgeous simplicity.

Q: Who would you love to dress?
A: Lady Ga Ga, because she’s open to taking any kind of fashion risk. So much of a stylist’s work is making looks that are aspirational for the non-fashionista, so it would be fun to do a fantasy world vibe like hers.

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