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.  

Photographer:  Georges Antoni

Exclusively Fashion Magazine: How did your career start as a fashion stylist?

Maia Liakos: 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.

EFM: Have you always had a passion for fashion?

ML: 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.

EFM: Do you think being a fashion stylist is self taught; or do you have to have an “eye” for fashion?

ML: 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.

EFM: Where do you get your inspiration?

ML: 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 like?

ML: I 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 aspects.

EFM: You are right now on a location; may I ask what the project is?

ML: Actually, I’ve signed a confidentiality agreement, so I can’t talk about it, sorry!

Photographer: Lyn & Tony

EFM: How do you prepare for a photo-shoot?

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.

EFM: 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 accessory?

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?

ML: Anything military, bohemian folk and soft, romantic, lace pieces.

EFM: How do you keep yourself up beat while working long hours?

ML: Great 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


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Interview by Rochell “E” James





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