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 Top Model.

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?

Amy Lu: 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 fashion stylist? 

AL: Almost ten years.

EFM: Can you tell me your very first stylist job?

AL: 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.

EFM: What made you decide that you wanted to be a fashion stylist?

AL: 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.

 EFM: 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.

EFM: 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?

AL: 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

EFM: How long have you assisted other fashion stylists before you decided to launch on your own?

AL: 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.

EFM: Who are the “it” Canadian designers to look out for?

AL: 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.

EFM: While on location what do you carry in your “kit”?

AL: 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.

EFM: What business advice can you give to aspiring fashion stylists?

AL: 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 part of.

EFM: What lessons have you learned by being in the industry?

AL: 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.

EFM: Fashion stylists are known for working long hours; how do you keep yourself up beat?

AL: 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.

EFM: Name three things that it takes to succeed as a fashion stylist?

AL: Just three? Creativity, intuition, passion, dedication, hard work, organization, and research.

Photographer Josh Cornell

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Interview by Rochell “E” James


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