EFM Exclusive Story - Fashion Stylist Simon Foxton





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 interview.



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 from there.



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 asked.   “Well, 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.  Its not about being ‘fierce’, 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 say I ‘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.  “Thats 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?  I asked.  I have a phobia of submarines, I can’t watch them surface, even on TV programs or movies! 





 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.  I’m 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 trash.”



Simon tells me his creative process on working on a fashion project.  “Inspiration, Research, Planning, Production (in that order).  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 hard.

It seems as if everyone wants to have a career or be called a fashion stylist.  Do you think it’s become a little overrated to be a fashion stylist?  “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, wrong).

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 whole ‘team effort’ thing is very rewarding.

What advice can you give to the aspiring stylists?  “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.





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