Kristen Blake is a fashion stylist that treats her job just as any artist would. She uses her creativity to create visions set by the designer or advertisers. It is her job to really convey her clients’ story. “We are telling the story through the clothing we decide to put on the models and the accessories. And the way that the scene is set,” Kristen says.
Kristen always worked in retail since the age of 16. She worked her way up through the industry over time. Her hard work eventually led her to becoming a fashion stylist. “I wasn’t even aware that being a fashion stylist was an actual job. I wasn’t aware that was something you could become. There certainly wasn’t a class back then like there is now. My encouragement came from my friends who if they had an event or wanted to go shopping or wanted to update their wardrobe, they would always bring me along. I would do their shopping. I would help pick out their clothes and put together things. It was very flattering to me. People always like me style and wanted me to help them show theirs,” Kristen says. Having such a diverse group of friends gave Kristen plenty of practice for styling others beyond herself. It forced her to consider the styles of others and expand ideas of her own.
Everyone goes through obstacles with anything they do. For Kristen, like many others, she considers herself to be her biggest obstacle. Her fears and insecurities can sometimes hold her back. “I am a little on the introvert side. I am a little shy. So I don’t network and really stand out in a group. That was never really something I was good at,” Kristen says. Even though she can sometimes have fear, she never lets it hold her back. She often overcomes her obstacles by countering her negative thoughts with positive ones. For instance, since she can be a bit shy, she may not have the social media appeal to the masses. However, she finds that she is great at developing great long term relationships with clients. “ I am really great at following up and having that one on one conversation and establishing a relationship from that point. I think that is something that endears people to me. I think that is a quality that makes me me!” Kristen says.
Through building her career, Kristen began her own stylist program. She developed her program as a means to educate people who have an appeal to fashion on the things that aren’t taught in the classrooms. “If you want to go to a school and learn about fashion you absolutely can. They’ll teach you all about the different periods in fashion and the fabrics that were used. And the influences of the period. All of that can be learned just as in any history class. What can’t be taught is the aesthetic eye for it or someone who instantly has a unique twist. Let me teach you, “I want to create a roaring twenty,” that you understand all the components of the style of that period. And you know how to recreate it and make it happen. You can have an idea, but how to you bring that idea to life,” Kristen says.
In ten years Kristen hopes to still be working. She hopes to grow along with the constantly changing industry. She is inspired by the rapid change of the fashion industry. “For me it is just to continue to be allowed to do something that I love. Have it in my living and in my passion,” Kristen says. Kristen also wants to do some traveling and explore fashion in other parts of the world. Lastly, she wants to continue to inspire others. That is the biggest reward for her as she continues to build her brand.
What tips would you offer to those looking to develop their own personal style?
Take risks! It’s important to know what works for you. Know what you’re comfortable wearing. From that point take a risk with a color, fabric or a style that you wouldn’t normally wear. But do it on a smaller scale. Don’t make it a main focal point. Don’t make it a jacket or a bottom in your look for the day. Maybe it’s a nail polish color, or a handbag or a shoe or a hat. Something to just start to make yourself feel comfortable and eventually you will start to realize what you want to wear and how you want to wear it.
What are your favorite place to shop?
My favorite place to shop are always going to be the obscure boutique, second hand stores. Every city has great little finds. They have inspiring designers that are great places to shop. Every city has got a hidden gem!
What are some of your favorite trends?
I hate to disappoint, but I don’t have any. For me, it’s all about your personal style and adding your own flare to things. Of course, as a professional, I am aware of the trends going on, but I prefer to focus on tell the client’s story through the clothing I choose for them. Self expression is the underlying goal of anyone in this profession.