Amy Lu has worked as a stylist for
nearly 10 years. Her work has been seen in
Interview, Zink, Vanity Fair, Lush, Ocean Drive, and
more. Some of her celebrity clients includes:
Colin Ferguson, Terrence Howard, Joan Rivers, and
Russell Crowe. She has appeared on Canada's Next
In 2003 Amy Lu was awarded the B.C. Apparel's Fashion
Stylist of the Year and voted one of Canada's best
dressed by FASHION Magazine.
Exclusively Fashion Magazine:
Tell me how you became a fashion stylist?
The road to becoming a fashion stylist is not
as straight forward and clear as other career paths
might be. The job is based on talent and hard work, of
course, but connections and luck play a huge role in
success as a stylist, as well. At the end of the day you
need a body of work to show clients and photographers in
order to get hired; how you compile that portfolio is
individual for each stylist. Usually new stylists start
with new photographers, make-up artists and models to
build their books. Education, interning, volunteering,
research, and networking are all very helpful.
EFM: How long have you been a
EFM: Can you tell me your very
first stylist job?
Yes, of course! The first
job that I was hired as a stylist was while I was still
in school. A student photographer was looking to
collaborate with a student fashion designer in exchange
portfolio pictures. I called the photographer and made
some clothing for the shoot, but definitely remember
pulling the accessories and storyboarding the images as
the high light of the project. I knew on the shoot day
that I had found my passion. Prior to that, I had
interned with a designer in NY and helped with some
events but I don’t think I made the connection about
styling and what it was until my first photo shoot.
What made you decide that you
wanted to be a fashion stylist?
I have always been passionate about clothing.
I know a lot of girls love clothes but I was crazy about
them for as long as I can remember. I have also always
been fascinated with the subtleties of style, how
clothes make people look and feel and project. They are
really powerful. I always knew fashion and photography
were a big part of me, and the styling part of it just
sort of fell into place.
What was your first mistake that you remember making as
a fashion stylist?
AL: Mistakes are the
only way to move forward so I have made many! I suppose
the first major mistake I made was not fully
understanding that Fashion Styling is a business, and an
avenue to make money. Yes, it is also an art, and
creative, and fun, and adventurous but it is a business
and needs to be treated like one. At the beginning of my
career, I spent more energy on the creative side of
things instead of making a business plan, which may have
saved me time and heartache, however, I have no regrets.
In this industry you always start by assisting an
established stylist. Who was your first stylist
you assisted; and what have you learned from him or her?
Actually I didn’t ever assist, I had a phone
conversation with a stylist about assisting once and
when I hung up, I thought, I can just do it myself. I
choose to learn the hard way, now I let the people that
assist me know all my styling secrets so they don’t
waste time unnecessarily.
Photographer Barbara Cole
Photographer Richard Bernardin
How long have you
assisted other fashion stylists before you decided to
launch on your own?
As I mentioned in the last question I didn’t assist.
I can say that the girls I work with usually work with
me for 6 months to a year before they start out on their
own. But everyone is different and has different goals, so it is a very individual process.
Who are the “it” Canadian
designers to look out for?
My favorites right now are Greta Constantine, Nada
and Denis Gagnon. Canada has some knock out talent that
is on par with international designers. Greta makes the
best editorial pieces ever and designs way outside the
box-which I love! I have seen Nada’s collection grow
exponentially over the past few years and there is no
doubt in my mind that she will be showing in NY within
the next few seasons. And Denis Gagnon is phenomenal,
his vision and innate sensibility are so fierce. Of
course, there’s Jeremy Laing and stylist turned designer Rad Hourini who is taking the fashion world by storm.
While on location what do
you carry in your “kit”?
It depends on the job, but the things I can’t work
without are: a steamer, static guard, clamps, sewing
kit, socks, chicken cutlets (boob enhancers), bra’s and
knickers, pins and scissors.
What business advice can you give to aspiring
Success takes a ton of hard work, persistence and
dedication, but Fashion Styling is truly a magical career
to have and Fashion is an incredible industry to be a
What lessons have you
learned by being in the industry?
That there is no place to get to because even
when you get to the place you thought you were headed,
new goals, dreams and aspirations unfold. Enjoy the
adventure and appreciate the steps along the way.
Fashion stylists are known for working long hours;
how do you keep yourself up beat?
I indulge in copious
amounts of coffee ;) Apart from that, I live a very
healthy lifestyle, I am a vegetarian, do yoga and hit the
gym every day.
Name three things that it takes to succeed as a
Just three? Creativity,
intuition, passion, dedication, hard work, organization,
Photographer Josh Cornell
Interview by Rochell “E” James