Maia Liakos is based in Sydney. She is well
established with editorial clients such as
Oyster Australia, In Style Australia, CLEO Australia,
Madison Australia, Vogue Australia, Cover Singapore, TwelveTen, Portugal, KAREN New Zealand, Nico
Luxembourg, and Qompendium, Germany to name a few.
One thing that I could say about Ms. Maia is that she
has paid her dues, like so many in the fashion industry.
The last time I spoke to
her she was just coming from a photo-shoot on location.
Maia is forever working! "I'm
part workaholic and part night owl!" She has a
very strong work ethic, and it shows throughout her work.
Fashion Magazine: How did your career
start as a fashion stylist?
While completing my degree I
worked in TV and film moving between the camera, sound
and art departments. Every time we were on a break
though I’d head off to the wardrobe department as I was
just fascinated by the clothes; all the different cuts,
fabrics, embellishments, tailoring and detail. After I
completed my degree I began assisting freelance stylists
and eventually went out on my own.
Have you always had a passion for fashion?
Yes and no. I’ve always
loved everything creative and art related. I used to do
a lot of drawing and animation and I loved looking
through magazines and watching old movies for the sets
and clothes. When it came to shopping however I was not
a fan, my mother used to have to buy the clothes and
bring them home for me to try on. I couldn’t stand
spending a day out shopping. Now I do it all the time
and love it.
Do you think being a fashion stylist is self
taught; or do you have to have an “eye” for fashion?
It’s really a bit of both. There are
definitely aspects of the industry that a stylist needs
to learn, it’s not just about putting clothes on a
model. It really helps though when a stylist has a flair
for fashion and loves keeping up to date with new season
trends and what designers are doing. You have to be
passionate about your work otherwise your work becomes
stale and uninspired.
Where do you get your
Everywhere. Books, movies, strangers in the
street, friends, nature, a holiday, different countries
and cultures, a designer, a model. Everywhere.
EFM: What is your typical day
don’t really have typical days, they’re always
different. I might be prepping and sourcing clothes, I
might be in meetings all day with editors, directors,
publicists, photographers, etc, I might be shooting a
commercial or an editorial, I might be on tour with a
music artist or I might be in my office catching up on
emails. I don’t have regular work hours either, I can
have 4am call times and 4am wrap times, a 5 hour day or
a 20 hour day. My job is very, very varied in all of its
EFM: You are right now on a
location; may I ask what the project is?
I’ve signed a confidentiality agreement, so I can’t talk
about it, sorry!
Photographer: Lyn & Tony
EFM: How do you prepare for a
ML: It really
depends on the project as the preparation I do for an
editorial shoot is quite different to the preparation I
do for a TVC. Usually though there are meetings early on
where we discuss the project and decide the looks for
the models and talent. We then create a brief for the
wardrobe which can vary from one blue dress for one
female to twenty completely different looks for ten
individuals. I then source the clothes, do fittings with
the models, get more sizes or make some alterations if
something doesn’t quite fit, do another fitting, make
sure everyone’s happy with the looks, then pack it all
up to take to the shoot.
Every stylist knows that you have to be overly prepared
when on location; what is in your “kit” right now?
ML: I have
different kits for different jobs but the staples are
usually the same; sewing basics such as needles,
threads, scissors, pins, safety pins, clips, etc, double
sided tape, makeup remover wipes, blu-tac, measuring
tape, dress robes, all sorts of goodies.
EFM: What is your favorite
ML: Shoes. I
can’t get enough of them. My friends and colleagues
refer to me as Imelda.
EFM: What are the latest fashion
trends right now in Sydney?
military, bohemian folk and soft, romantic, lace pieces.
EFM: How do you keep yourself up
beat while working long hours?
music, great people and lots of fruit and chocolate.
EFM: What is your advice for an
aspiring fashion stylist?
ML: The best
advice I can give is do a lot of work experience and
interning at magazines and assist fashion editors and
freelance stylists. Work experience is a great way to
get an insight into the industry and see if it is
something you’d like to pursue as a career and the more
you assist the more you learn. There are a lot of young
people who want to become a fashion stylist but have no
idea how much work is involved, and a lot quit within
the first month. Then there are others who don’t
appreciate the importance of assisting and branch out on
their own too soon without understanding even the basic
essentials of the industry and what a stylist’s role is
within different projects. You need to be passionate,
organized, good at managing your time and budget and
working with lots of different personalities.
Photographer: Ezra Patchett
Interview by Rochell “E” James