Tantalum: Thank you for contributing the in the 4th issue of Tantalum can you tell us how the process of picking the clothing came about?
JW: It was an interesting scenario. One of the designers reached out to the photographer prior to our shoot, to photograph her collection. Angela Marklew introduced me to the line: "Garden Party" and from there, she and I discussed building an editorial based around this brand.
Tantalum: Why did you decide to use those particular pieces for the shoot?
JW: I chose pieces that complimented the ethereal themed editorial, that I felt would enhance the natural light setting. "Garden Party" provided about twelve pieces to work with, and I chose the items best paired with "Esther Jean" collection. With an even blend of silk, satin and lace textures, both lines represent similar vintage-influenced qualities that inspired my vision and completed our story.
Tantalum: Do you usually base your styling on the direction the photographer gives you or on hair, makeup?
JW: Generally, as a stylist, it can be all over the board. Some photographer's I work with are set on a specific vision and hire me to succeed at bringing this to life. There are other scenarios where I take the role as creative director, plot and literally create the vision front to end. I like to be involved in the creative process to a degree that there are times where I scout inspiration visuals for the hair and makeup crew. I enjoy being completely hands on.
Tantalum: What where some of the challenges you faced when you where selecting pieces for the shoot?
JW: There were absolutely zero challenges for this project. Everything flowed seamlessly beginning to end. Selecting the wardrobe was simple as the focus was less centered on layers and more based on subtlety and soft innocence.
Tantalum: Would you say you have a "style"?
JW: My vision is very particular. Having spent a lot of time traveling abroad over the years I am heavily influenced by European fashion. I am pulled in by fashion distinctive in shape, texture, and fit. Voluminous silhouettes and classic structured garments draw instant attraction. For me, it's about the juxtaposition of taking something outside of the element of how it's generally used, and turning it into something else, equally functional. For example: turning a silk button down blouse into a turban. Being inventive as a stylist plays a vital role in my style inspiration.
Tantalum: How did you get into styling? was it something you always wanted to do or was it a fortunate accident?
JW: Fashion and making it a career, is something I have dreamed of since I was ten years old, and dressing up in my mother's fancy clothes in the late 80's. It wasn't until I was approached to model for local Seattle designer's fashion shows in 2002, that I recognized how inspired I was putting together wardrobe and accessories, and interpreting my own personal style stamp, rather than modeling someone else's. In 2003, I studied fashion design at The Art Institute of Seattle, which further confirmed my passion for fashion styling at a more competitive level. Thus, inspired my move to Los Angeles in 2006.
Tantalum: Do you have any mentors/muses?
JW: In the length of my career, I have had zero mentors. Fact is, I've never assisted or interned for anyone in this industry. It's not that I hadn't considered interning, it just never happened. Being that I enjoy the role of mentoring, things had an interesting way of working towards my favor. In terms of muses, during my early design and styling years, my sister Brandi was my muse, and inspired my creations. At this place in my life, I believe my muse is more spiritual than material.
Tantalum: What do you look for when figuring out what designers you are going to work with?
JW: I look for designers that provoke inspiration. Everything must have an organic factor whether or not the average eye might see the garment appealing at first glance, it moves me to a place where I want to make that piece elegant and wearable. Having access to designers that think beyond "trends" and in terms of timelessness are first on my list. I look for designers that translate sculptural, and architectural influences, geometric or voluminous shapes through their designs. Also collections that evoke dramatic silhouettes and elegance attract me.
Tantalum: What inspires you?
JW: I am born and bred in a small town north of Seattle, Washington about fifteen miles from the Canadian Border. So nature is something I've always connected to. Since my move to Los Angeles in 2006, I've found that a trip back home to visit family always inspires and renews my creative juice. Personal space, and time to think and reflect are oxygen to my creative energy and having access to this space releases unlimited inspiration. Being able to create into physical form the vision in my head inspires and adds passion to my art. My work is an extension of love and zest for being an expression of love, and I find inspiration in translating this energy through my work.
Tantalum: How did it feel to see your work in print for the very first time?
JW: I felt overjoyed. I had only moved to Los Angeles three months prior to the job. So to discover my work had been published in a local Los Angeles magazine and it made the cover shot absolutely blew me away. I felt gratitude and inspiration to keep going.
Tantalum: What advice would you have for a new wardrobe stylist trying to get into session work?
JW: Honestly, I would advise them to truly learn the ins and outs of the business. Do your research. Stay consistent. You must have a distinctive direction of fashion, and style that sets you apart from your competitors. In addition, have a clear understanding of the steps needed to stay on your path. There is no such thing as an overnight success as a fashion stylist. So plot your five and ten year plan. Remember that relationships are your key in this business. Be a person of respect and integrity with your designers, crew and clients and they will always support, recommend and speak highly of you.
Tantalum: Final thoughts funny stuff that happened on shoot day zipper didn't work?
JW: We set up shop in an abandoned golf course that day, and there were piles of dirty stray personal belongings like: clothing, blankets, books, toys and papers spread over random areas of the golf course. We later discovered that we were literally shooting in the middle of somebody's "bathroom" - by the toxic scent of urine everywhere. We found out our models had been giving a "peep show" the entire time unknowingly. And we met the predecessors once they showed up with a shopping cart and a tent and set up camp. An absolute first.