FASHION DIRECTOR, STYLIST
Isabelle works by
coastal, splitting her time between Hamburg, Germany and
Stockholm, Sweden. Her work has been seen in TUSH,
Zeit, Squint, ELLE Russia, Paperlanes, and Room
Magazine. Isabelle has worked with German Marie
Claire as the Fashion Editor. She is now the Fashion
Director for menswear magazine called Feld Hommes.
Exclusively Fashion Magazine:
Can you tell me what made you want to become a
fashion stylist; and why did you choose this career?
My cousin is a stylist too..and quite a couple of
years older than me, so she took me on shoots and had me
assist her from the age of 14..this helped to know more
or less what this job would be like when I decided to
study fashion design after I graduated from high school.
At first, I wanted to become a designer but later on I
found it more challenging to create something new out of
You have an agent; what advice can you give to a new
fashion stylist who's starting out, on how to approach an
agent to sign them on?
Don’t approach an agent with only 3 or 4
stories, at least not a top agent. Take your time in
making a book and get an opinion on your work from
someone in the industry beforehand. Later on your
agent will guide you in making your book better and
to adjust it to potential clients. This applies if
you plan on also making money. I have my
website where I display my work as I see it,
and I give a free hand to my agent to display it to
potential clients. Like this it feels one doesn’t
get lost in the commercial side of this industry..
Where do you reside?
I split my time between Hamburg/ Germany and Stockholm/
Describe your personal style?
I mostly dress in black and pretty much pure and
simple…just because it is easy. I have so many looks and
stories in my head, that being too pre-occupied with my
personal styling would distract me. But of course, it’s
not totally random... I like mixing menswear with mostly
plain, non-frilly women's wear and I love great quality.
My favorite brands for my personal wardrobe ( at the
moment) are Acne, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair and Prada
How long have you been a fashion stylist?
I started at German Marie Claire as a fashion assistant,
then later on
became fashion editor, then moved on to another
women's wear magazine called Allegra( they closed it a
couple of years back), since then, freelance stylist and
fashion director of menswear magazine Feld Hommes. So,
all-in-all, about 15 years
It has been said, that in order to become a
fashion stylist, you have to assist an established
fashion stylist, basically with ‘no pay’. What do
you think about that and why is it important to train
under an established stylist?
I would say:
it helps a lot. For a couple of reasons; First of all
this industry is all about name dropping, to the point
that even semi-talented people get good editorials and
advertising work, just because they assisted someone
‘famous’ and not so much for their actual talent (
that’s the disappointing part) but also you are able to
establish contacts to brands, to photographers
and their assistants, and all of this on an already high
level (that’s the good part).
I would even say that these days
it’s very rare that a talented stylist gets very far
without having assisted someone established, as its hard
to be ‘let’ in. But I don’t agree with the ‘no
pay’ policy. Peoples labor is worth getting paid for,
even if it is very little pay.
Before you launched out on your own, who did you assist,
and what did you learn from him/her?
I assisted Florentine Pabst at
German Marie Claire for 2 years. She was pretty
big at the time, now she has retired since maybe 10
I did not learn so much from her styling, as I had quite
a strong vision of my own already then, but I learned
loads on a personal level and on visual esthetics.
Especially on how to reach your own; Today I see myself
as a fashion editor, not just a stylist. As even on
commercial jobs, I try to bring in much more than just
EFM: What advice can you give to
aspiring fashion stylists?
Don’t think you don’t need
to learn something, especially when starting out. As
anyway it should be a general challenge in life to never
stop wanting to learn. And one can learn things from
almost everybody. Don’ be lazy, work hard!
Don’t let people abuse your labor. It’s ok not
to be paid for editorials, but on commercial jobs,
everyone makes something, so why shouldn’t you.
Don’t be frustrated, as there will always be
someone out there doing a better story eventually. So
just keep on going, but don’t copy, stick to your own
style and it will be recognized.
Network! This is
what will get and keep you going. But be honest and
fair; don’t forget about people that helped you. This
industry can be quite small, so be reliable.
Interview by Rochell “E” James