NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
Julie does it all, she is a stylist, editor, and
director of City magazine. Julie is known for her
carefree street style. Her street style caught the
attention of photographer Scott Schuman "The Sartorialist."
Recently City magazine has had a magazine makeover,
with a more eye catching cover titled "Transformed", and
captivating fashion spreads.
Exclusively Fashion Magazine:
Can you tell me a little about your journey as a fashion
stylist from when you began until now?
I never intended to be a stylist. In fact, I always
expected to be an academic. I was a philosophy major in
college. I wrote poetry and theoretical essays for fun.
But I always loved clothes, and was fascinated by the
photographic process. I had a roommate in college who
was a budding fashion photographer, and he would ask me
to help him out with shoots. I did it purely for the
money ($100 in cash was a lot to me as a student), but I
enjoyed putting so many of the art and literary
references I was so immersed into working form on the
body. Though I didn’t believe so at first, there really
was a strong connection, and a legitimate means to
storytelling with clothes. And, I guess, you can say
that fashion became my outlet for expressing some of the
theoretical and aesthetic ideas I had previously been
exploring with words.
Shortly thereafter I did this photo shoot for a now
defunct magazine for budding fashion talent, Tear Sheet.
It was the most ridiculous shoot ever: men in underwear
and trench coats, chasing chickens in the middle of
Times Square. Pure hilarity. However, someone at MTV had
seen it and thought it amazing. I had interviewed at MTV
about a week prior. In looking for my first official
staff job as a stylist, MTV made the most sense to me,
simply because I loved music. I still hadn’t considered
working for magazines then. Anyway, the person who had
seen my chickens’ editorial had just so happened to show
it to the head stylist, with whom I had just
interviewed and, per their conversation, I was hired a
MTV was a mind blowing entry into the extremes of
the fashion world, if not a metaphor for life in
general. I could barely afford to get on the subway, but
at the same time sat front row at every fashion show. I
remember pinning a piece of sequined fabric on Jesse
Camp to make a vest about 2 minutes before air time, all
the while scared to death that it would unravel on live
television. It was fascinating and so high-paced. But as
I started to feel my way through being a “real” stylist,
I felt print as my stronger medium, so I utilized some
of my new fashion connections for testing, shooting with
various photographers, etc. to grow my portfolio.
Shortly thereafter I started to show my portfolio to
agents. There’s a really reputable agency in NY,
Streeters, that I dropped my book off to on the idea of
“Streeters. I’m kinda streety...I’ll go there”, not
realizing the degree of talent they represented, which
included W Magazine’s Fashion Director, Alex White. Her
agent called me back saying that she was looking for a
new assistant, if I would be interested. I met with Alex
and started working with her for W and freelance
campaigns. I was on shoots with Craig McDean, Carter
Smith, Pat McGrath, Eugene Souleiman....some of the most
incredible image makers and behind the scene talent in
this industry. I didn’t work with Alex for that long,
but I learned so much from her. It’s funny, because a
few people over the years have compared my style to
hers, not knowing that I ever worked for her. I can’t
imagine a larger compliment as an editor.
After W, the rest was freelancing, assisting,
testing, growing....trucking forward until it stuck and
I developed my own niche. I’m really lucky to have had
some great stepping stones to get me where I am now:
talented photographers who pushed me to find my voice;
The Fader magazine, which was my first real entry into
being an editor, and pursuing my true creative voice via
sheer instinct; and the wonderful and talented designers
I’ve gotten to know along the way....
EFM: You are also a fashion
director, for CITY Magazine; can you tell me how you
became the fashion director?
My former creative director at Fader, Eddie Brannan, who
I hadn’t spoken to in quite a while, suddenly sent me a
text message to say that he was going on board to CITY
as creative director, and asked if I would want to join
him as fashion director. I responded to say that we
should probably meet for lunch. We did, I met John
McDonald (CITY’s owner), and by the end of my salad it
was good to go. It was interesting, because I hadn’t
done much editorial since the Fader days, but had really
begun to miss it. I guess it’s true that what you put
out in the universe really does come back to you,
because it couldn’t have come along at a better time.
Going on at CITY was exciting, as Eddie and I were given
the go to completely retool the magazine as we saw fit.
It was pure creative freedom...what more could anyone
ask for? Eddie and I share a similar aesthetic
viewpoint, as well as the same commitment to fashion as
part of an overall cultural context, from which you draw
and deposit to make for a great, well-balanced magazine.
CITY had a long history and was a great book, but our
fresh eyes, along with those of the staff members that
remained and joined us in the changes, were to make it
even stronger and more relevant. The greatest thing, we
felt, that had been missing prior were people. There
weren’t a lot of people in CITY prior to us. There were
a lot of objects. The fashion had lacked a certain
overall viewpoint prior, I felt, and so I took my love
of personalities, in the guise of sub-culture, art,
music, etc. and created that as the thread that would
run through the fashion well from issue to issue. It’s
diverse, and ever-changing, but has a certain core
communication at its base that has really come to
register with a new audience for the magazine.
EFM: What is your typical
My typical day always begins with WWD. From there
its market appointments to view collections,
conversations with designers, regular interaction with
my assistants and fellow staff members, and a lot of
research. The most important thing, I feel, as an editor
is cultural knowledge. The art world is where I get the
bulk of my ideas, and it’s from the art world where I
call out the future trends that we ultimately see on the
runway, so I spend a lot of time in galleries and
museums...and call that work! The majority of my focus
at CITY is on the fashion well, so there are always a
ton of clothes moving in and out of the office. I have a
very tactile sensibility, so prefer to touch clothes, or
see how they react to light, as opposed to pulling looks
on the basis of seasonal trends. So, I spend a lot of
time in the office staring at my clothing racks and
touching things. Sounds silly, but it works.
Did you find it easy to break into the fashion
No, it’s not a career path for the faint of heart.
But if it’s worth it enough, it’s the best struggle
imaginable. I found myself in a lot of great situations,
often out of sheer naivety (i.e. my Streeters outreach).
But there was a ton of hard work and devotion between
each step and I took nothing for granted. It’s easy
these days for people to call themselves a stylist, or a
photographer. There are a lot of outlets, a lot more
than when I was starting out, but, at the end of the
day, it’s definitely a put up or shut up sort of
What inspires you?
Everything. Art, music, travel, literature. I remember
when I went to the desert for the first time a few years
ago, looking out the car window at the Grand Canyon
thinking, “oh, so that’s how color works.” I live in
Chinatown, and sometimes even the way the garbage falls
on the street creates interesting color matching’s that
I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
EFM: What accessory that you
can’t live without?
Hats! I love hats.
EFM: What do you do in your
I have an art concept project that
I recently co-founded with a good friend, photographer
Zach Gold, called Playground. Playground explores and
celebrates the experiential relationship between fashion
and art through exhibition, installation, and custom
artwork collections. So I currently have a few
large-scale installation ideas that I’m looking for
funding in order to complete, and am also working on a
couple of curatorial projects for the end of the year.
I’ve also been quietly working on a series of collages
using interesting materials. It’s a very personal
project that I’m glad is starting to find its voice. I
also recently started working with the Museum of Arts
and Design, up at Columbus Circle. It’s an incredible
institution, and it’s been great to get involved in some
of their upcoming contemporary art galas and
exhibitions. Other than that, I’m learning to play golf.
EFM: Are you organized; if so
how do you keep organized?
I am not organized at all. It’s a
constant battle with myself to be neat. I’ve come to
justify it as part of my creative process. Thank heavens
I’m surrounded by organized people who keep me in check.
EFM: Do you think being a
fashion stylist is self taught or do you have to have an
‘eye’ for fashion?
a mix of both. It’s something that can’t be taught in
school, I feel. It has to begin with an eye for fashion,
and then you teach yourself more and more everyday by
EFM: In any career that an
individual decides to choose you have to think business;
do you think that applies to being a fashion stylist?
Oh, yes. I’ve made a lot of
mistakes in my career in not taking the fact that I am,
whether I like it or not, a businesswoman. Creativity is
one thing, but if you don’t know how to manage yourself
and your budgets, it can be very costly.
What advice (in details) can you
give to an aspiring fashion stylist?
Focus on the work. TV shows,
blogs, and the straight up scene of NYC make it easy to
play in this world. But, when you look at the stylists
that really matter in this industry, they’re focused on
the work, not their own personal image or status. Look
at fashion magazines, but look at them for technique and
attention to detail. Find your own voice from what
aspect of this industry truly inspires you. Go to
lectures, go to galleries...and trust your gut.
Interview by Rochell “E” James