Spotlight on stylists: The people propelling fashion in the pandemic

Photo credit: Julia Monteiro Martins

Many would be surprised to learn that their favorite celebrity’s casual streetwear look is a carefully manicured concept. Styling is a double edged sword. On one hand, the key is to create a look so effortless that it merges with the individual wearer, creating a discussion about the garment on them. On the other hand, many viewers forget that the finished product is the result of a team’s extensive preparation. Oftentimes, the credit of the creators is attributed solely to the client wearing the design. Yet, this lack of recognition is changing.

To pull the curtain on fashion’s mechanized machine, communication technology is instrumental. Stylists, makeup artists, hairdressers and photographers regularly utilize digital tools to showcase their artistic vocations. Most retain a small following, while others have chartered mass audiences.

As the industry furthers into the remote world, its territory creates greater opportunities to look behind the scenes. Veteran stylist Kate Young, known for her work with Margot Robbie and Dakota Johnson, started a Youtube channel called “Hello Fashion” to initiate conversations surrounding fashion history and share her expertise on the styling process.

Rising star Caroline Vazzana used Instagram and TikTok to grow her following. After pursuing fashion journalism at namesake publications such as “In Style” and “Teen Vogue,” the vibrant Vazzana became her own boss and wrote “Making it in Manhattan” in 2018. Available on Amazon, the inspiring book provides career advice for those looking to break into the fashion industry.

Photo credit: Julia Monteiro Martins

It was during the pandemic that her bold and eclectic tastes rocked New York Fashion Week, and her relatability in styling from home popularized her with viewers. Since then, Vazzana ventured into e-commerce, dropped her debut capsule collection and still engages with her online community by sharing tips on surviving and thriving in the world of Manhattan fashion.

From Young to Vazzana, it is evident to spot a trend — the coronavirus pandemic spotlighted stylists. The increased virtual interaction between consumers and creators lifted the veil of celebrity press tours, late night interviews, award shows, red carpets and daily wear.

Since many people were confined to their homes, fashion enthusiasts focused their attention to digital and e-commerce more than ever. Social media outlets, virtual events and tags joined this wave rapidly, sending fashion lovers down rabbit holes of self-starters in different corners of the industry. Through such interest, many were introduced to the curators of their favourite looks.

One such popular pioneer of contemporary styling is Law Roach, known to a cult following by the handle @luxurylaw. The proclaimed “Image Architect” propelled the images of Zendaya, Anya Taylor Joy, Rachel Brosnahan, Ariana Grande, Jamie Xie and Celine Dion. Roach judges on HBO Max’s “Legendary.” A long time collaboration guided Zendaya to become the 2021 fashion nominee for CFDA Fashion Awards, one of the leading organizations that support American designers. This year, Roach will be awarded for jewelry style at the Gem Awards.

It is important to note that while the pandemic highlighted his work, Roach was not an overnight sensation. Although his talent was always present, it took many years for him to craft a path through an industry that people often label as cutthroat and unforgiving. While bold couture, vintage pieces and colorful spreads fill his expressive feed, the collection of his social media output documents his growth.

Roach is a symbol of a new kind of celebrity stylist where the work does not only have to speak for itself. The stylist can have a voice too. These are the people propelling fashion. Although the fashion industry continues to grapple with losses, the pandemic gave some of the sidelined visionaries a chance to shine.