Saturday, June 4, 2011

CAMERON CARPENTER: Exclusive Interview

By Eva Fydrych

Cameron Carpenter is a busy and successful Wardrobe Stylist living in New York City. He collaborates with many talented models & photographers and his work has been published in some of the best magazines in the industry - both nationally and internationally. In an exclusive interview for the Fashion Studio, Cameron reveals interesting details about his profession and shares some useful fashion tips.

"Live as if you are your only competition." - Cameron Carpenter


Occupation: Fashion Stylist
City: New York, US

Photo by James Meade

FASHION STUDIO: How did you become a fashion stylist?

CAMERON: Almost at birth. It was always an interest stemming from self expression and then going to school for fashion design after drawing from a very young age. It's always been interesting to see how people present themselves through clothing and how people judge you almost instantaneously. Better yet, fashion shows you that you can be whomever you choose to be. Your appearance helps to complete the message you are sending out and the life you are living.

FASHION STUDIO: What are the main challenges of your job?

CAMERON: The challenges are all different to each customer or job. But, I would have to say the MOST difficult is when it's short notice. Regardless of the publication, time can never be gained regardless of how much sweetness and light you offer up. If you're asking for samples last minute, NOBODY actually wants to talk to you!  lol

Photo by Steven Meisel
FASHION STUDIO: You worked with Steven Meisel on his photoshoot for Italian Vogue. Tell us a little bit more about this collaboration.

CAMERON: That was quite a rush to the bloodstream! The fans I made were commissioned by Camilla Nickerson's office. They were in the window at Ellen Christines store at the time (in plain wood) and the art treatment I created just worked with the theme for the shoot. I made them on the hottest day of spring -  muggy and raining. 

The paints weren't drying and the fans were sticking together and my assistant and I had to finish retouching the stick marks while working at a shoot the next day for like every spare second we could get! Hilarious, since we were in all "green" building, and couldn't use spray paints as an answer. By the way, they were made to match the pleated hats Ellen Christine made. I am huge prop fiend!

FASHION STUDIO: Where do you usually get clothes and accessories from?

CAMERON: I get them from the designer showrooms or hired PR offices. Sometimes I will work directly with emerging designers. If the story and my enthusiasm requires it, then I make it or customize what I need myself (unless there's serious time constraints). I also have crafty interns and assistants who have great skills.

FASHION STUDIO: Which decade do you consider most important in fashion?

CAMERON: I consider NOW the most important time. But I would say that the 1920's hold a huge influence on fashion. There was this great energy with that sudden burst of spirit, freedom, and creative output that still resonates with people, today.

Photo by Steven Meisel
FASHION STUDIO: Your favorite fashion magazines...

CAMERON: There's so many magazines that rock me. The Vogues - French, Russian, American, Italian. Then there is W... Oh, the new Interview magazine is quite nice. And the newer "boutique" printings.

I see that fashion editorials will become extra special again, once this new segment of fashion publications evolves a bit further. Almost to the point like the exclusivity that used to be truly high fashion magazines. I see it as this: soon, if you're in print in the smaller more "curated" (for lack of a better word) magazines than your work will be highly sought out and an elevated art.

FASHION STUDIO: Who is your fashion icon?

CAMERON: I love curious, smart & inquiring minds housed in honest to goodness people. That makes you iconic to me. Honestly there are so many smart stylish women, beginning with my mother in my life. But my mother is my Icon over all others.

FASHION STUDIO: Which fashion designers do you admire?

CAMERON: I admire a lot of the people who work and live in NYC (sorry to sound biased).  It's a huge town for fame and glory and a great town to ply your trade, skills and craft;  but the amount of competition here knocks some out of the limelight that shouldn't be. They can sometimes be my fashion heroes especially when they persist and push through with their own vision! It took Norma Kamali 14 years of work to become a "household" name.

FASHION STUDIO: How to develop personal style?

CAMERON: I think you have to listen to that inner voice - some say your inner guide, some call it your inner child or even common sense lol. I say go with that brave feeling that comes over you on certain days. Just go with it, and then teach yourself how to improve upon it and prefect it. Mostly, learn how to wear what's truly good for your body type and you'll look great 99% of the time.

Photo by Mete Ozeren
FASHION STUDIO: Your definition of elegance...

CAMERON: It's equal parts confidence and sincerity.

FASHION STUDIO: What are we going to wear this summer?

CAMERON: This summer we're going back to the All Americana vibe. It's everywhere, in both mens and womenswear. It's about easier pieces. These were the signs of good taste and common sense; they remind us of quality and simple beauty; but are still very sexy!

You'll see this happening in the whole brights movement too. A lot of classic pieces look amazing in bolder colors. Where simple design happens, bold color looks very chic; not like you are trying to be loud and attention seeking. Sleek + Chic + Bold colors = Headturner!

FASHION STUDIO: What is your life philosophy?

CAMERON: Live as if you are your only competition, and be kind to all people. Do not fear how you appear to live in others' eyes. Always remember to tell yourself: "others' thoughts of me are not my burden; nor my prize."

FASHION STUDIO: Where do you get your inspiration from?

CAMERON: My inspiration comes from the times we live in, and the world around me feeds my imagination. Sometimes small things will set off my imagination and a story will take on a life of its own. I can only hope to keep up sometimes.

FASHION STUDIO: What are the most essential items every woman should have in her closet?

CAMERON: Essentials are: a smart, fitted work look, and an event dress that hovers around your body and doesn't cling too tightly.

Photo by Mete Ozeren
FASHION STUDIO: How to dress to make an entrance?

CAMERON: Make bolder choices than you usually would but don't get caught up in being too "fun"; you'll end up look like a caricature of yourself if you're not careful.

FASHION STUDIO: Expert tips on how to dress for a party?

CAMERON: I say take one area and go wild and fun with it. Whether it's your hair, or makeup, or accessory choices. ONE area of emphasis will make you stand out, and enhance the real you!

FASHION STUDIO: Which city do you consider a fashion capital of the world and why?

CAMERON: In order of preference - NY, Paris, and Rio. Why? Because... in order: NY feels like eased chic. Paris has this nod to looking so smart and attractive. Rio just has the emphasis on SEXY - now, that's an easy one!

FASHION STUDIO: What projects are you currently working on?

CAMERON: I am revamping my websites and selection/editing for a whole new portfolio. I want to diversify and show off my talents in all categories of styling. And I'll be looking for new agents soon (plural). Also, I'm curating my loft apartment walls of my own work and my travel pics; as my hallway has been bare since I moved in. Sort of embarrassing, I guess.

FASHION STUDIO: What are your goals for this year?

CAMERON: I want to be truly refreshed/renewed by next year this time and have a clear new fresh tact on my approach to life and work. I'm determined to always "see life through fresh eyes".

Photo by Binandi
FASHION STUDIO: Could you give a piece of advice for all aspiring stylists? Where should they start?

CAMERON: Assist people who are really craftsmen. Interning will lead to better work and by offering to work for free for the biggest stylists, you can get them to listen to you. Make sure you don't moan about your schedule (gross) and actually be prepared for the information you're about to absorb - it's priceless!

FASHION STUDIO: You also work as a booker. How do you know that someone has potential to become a model? What are the qualities that you are looking for?

CAMERON: I see what looks like offbeat and/or offputting in someone and pray they have the personality to make their physical qualities even more radiant. Everyone responds to beauty and positivity!

FASHION STUDIO: Thank you and good luck with all your plans!

CAMERON: Thank you, Fashion Studio, for your interest in my point of view!

By Eva Fydrych
All photos courtesy of Cameron Carpenter

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