imon has been called one of Britain's leading
stylists. Although he doesn't perceive
himself as such. Working in the fashion
industry for three decades and still going
strong. It is quiet safe to state that he
is one of Britain's finest. Simon only style
men, which places him totally apart from the
rest. He gets very candid in our
Simon's career started when he studied at St.
Martins School of Art.
“I did a foundation course there, then a BA in
fashion design. When I left I did some
freelance design work for companies such as
Fiorucci then began my own label,
Bazooka!’ with one of my class mates, Cheryl Eastap.
We were successful for a while with sales and PR
but very naive in the ways of business and so
the label didn't really make much money and
quickly folded. Around that time some
other friends from college, Caryn Franklin and
Stephen Male were working at the then relatively
new i-D magazine and asked if I would like to
style some pictures for them. I agreed to
an met with Terry Jones, the owner. He put
me in touch with photographer Nick Knight and we
kind of got on from the start. That was it
really. I carried on shooting with Nick
regularly for i-D and it all sort of developed
After working in this fashion industry for three
decades, what do you think it really takes to
make it in this industry and to stay relevant I
again without wishing to sound falsely modest, I
can't really lay claim to staying relevant.
I think much of my work has endured because it
is actually not about fashion at all but really
about image making. The clothes that are
available at the time of the shoot are my tools
of trade, but I am not overly concerned about
how fashionable or cool they are, or who has
designed them. If they help tell the story
I want to they are right. As for how to
make it in the industry, I think the only answer
is to have your own unique voice. It’s not
or being up on every micro-trend, or being seen
at every fashion party that season. It’s
all about being special and saying something new
that people want to listen to.
Every so often, you assume certain things of how
a person career started and how they got
discovered. I asked Simon you discovered
many talents, one of them being Edward Enninful
(on the train). What do you look for when
it comes to new talent? “A unique voice, a
new angle, a vibration. When you see real
talent it is like a beacon, there's no
disguising it. It amuses me when people
‘discovered’ Edward, like he was some unexplored continent.
He was a strikingly beautiful and charismatic
young man, it would have been foolish of me not
to ask him to model.”
Of course there will be many highlights in
Simons career. “That’s
quiet hard to answer. Obviously the
retrospective exhibition of my work at The
Photographer's Gallery in London in 2009,
curated by Penny Martin, would certainly be up
there. Also, styling the British section
of the French Bicentennial Parade in Paris in
1989, art directed by Jean-Paul Goude, was
pretty amazing, if a little exhausting. So
many shoots with the likes of Nick Knight, Jason
Evean, and Alasdair McLellan have really been
wonderful and memorable occasions, but I
actually think doing the job I do right now,
which is working as a creative consultant for
the Italian brand,
‘Stone Island’ with my colleague Nick Griffiths, has got to be
the most enjoyable and rewarding thing I’ve
don't so far.”
Tell me something that no one knows about you?
have a phobia of submarines, I can’t watch them surface, even on TV programs or
When working in this industry for so many
years and sustaining, you will wonder what keeps
him grounded and gives him inspiration.
“The usual, friends and family.
pretty grounded person anyway. I don’t
have a particularly elevated view of myself.
Pretty much anything and everything. These
days I spend a lot of time on Tumblr. For
me Tumblr is what the internet was invented for.
To have that avalanche of images and ideas at
your fingertips is just amazing, although you do
need to have the ability to filter out the
Simon tells me his creative process on
working on a fashion project.
“Inspiration, Research, Planning, Production (in
” He also describes
his work ethic.
“I am lazy and don’t have a particularly strong work ethic. I
work best to deadlines, and usually I have to
rush to finish things. I do like making
lists though, they make me feel like I’m working
It seems as if everyone wants to have a
career or be called a
Do you think it’s
become a little overrated to be a fashion
“Yes, totally overrated. There are
too many stylists and very few with anything new
to say. I guess people see it as a
glamorous career (how wrong they are)! Or
a quick way to wealth and stardom (again,
There is still passion and a desire to
continue to create great fashion images.
What is the best thing you love about working in
the fashion industry?
“I really enjoy the collaborative process
when working on a fashion shoot. That
thing is very rewarding.
What advice can you give to the aspiring
“I would say to anyone thinking
about taking that path, only do it if you can
think of nothing else you would rather be doing.
Although the end result is usually glamorous the
production of it is often tedious, difficult and
unrewarding. It really is a labor of love.