Sonia Vero is a 26 year old fashion stylist based in London. She started out in the industry pursuing a career in fashion design, but after spending some time interning as a backstage dresser at fashion shows she soon realised that it was putting beautiful outfits together that truly sparked her interest. From that point onwards, Sonia began to carve out her space in the industry as a stylist. “Making women feel confident and good about themselves has always been important to me and one of the reasons why I studied fashion. With a career in fashion and personal styling, I can do exactly that.”
Today Sonia works with women with busy schedules that want a stylish wardrobe but don’t have the time to stay up to date with the latest trends as well as those that have the time but need help understanding what styles and colors suit them. She also works as a stylist on editorial campaign shoots with brands like Browns Fashion. We spoke with Sonia to get more insight into her journey so far and she spills the beans on how to get started as a stylist.
How did you get started as a stylist in the fashion industry?
Styling isn’t something you have to study. It’s more about experience, but I decided to start a 3-month course at London College of Style to get myself to a professional level and take the industry opportunities they offered. It gave me the chance to build my portfolio, showcase myself as a stylist, understand how an industry professional works and the opportunity to work at London Fashion Week.
After graduating I started as a fashion assistant to an upcoming designer and I also interned every year as a backstage dresser for fashion shows. I also worked with (and continue to work with) different creatives to connect and find new opportunities. Creating ideas together in a small team helped me build my portfolio.
What does an average day look like for you as a stylist?
My average day differs everyday. Prior to a photoshoot or personal shopping day, it takes a whole lot of planning, so I’ll spend most of the day putting together moodboards and ideas. A shoot day includes working on a shoot with models, makeup artists, hair stylists and a photographer. It can last up to eight hours (or more), depending on the amount of outfit changes and number of models.
With personal shopping, I’ll start by having a chat with my client about their lifestyle, specific needs and budget. I’ll then scout out a few stores and do a pre-shop where I’ll highlight a selection of outfits. On the day, I’ll prepare the outfits in a fitting room, ready for when the client arrives and they can try them on. They decide if they want to purchase whole outfits or individual pieces that they love. Working within the client’s budget is key. I’ll also offer clients styling advice on what suits their personal appearance. If they don’t want a personal shop, then I’ll create and send a list of brands/stores they can purchase from and put together a trend board for them to see the latest fashion and colours they can be up to date on.
Talk us through some ups and downs you sometimes face on the job.
The best part of styling is the fun of creating, while being around beautiful clothes everyday. I also love seeing my work being shared and admired by the team I work with or when a client messages me about how happy they are with their new style; it makes me feel fulfilled all the time.
The unglamorous part of styling is the returns. After a shoot all the items I’ve purchased or hired have to be carefully organised and taken back to the stores. It can be very time-consuming. Also, sometimes an original idea of mine doesn’t go to plan and we have to make some changes. However, I can always learn from it and revisit the idea.
The best part of styling is the fun of creating, while being around beautiful clothes everyday.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Realising that I can’t always be a perfectionist. [I’ve] always wanted to do my work to such a high standard that I would end up not completing the project, as I didn’t think it was good enough. I had to understand that I was wasting my own time and I should be more confident in my talent.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Believing in myself, staying focused on my goals and starting my styling business. Every styling opportunity I get, I consider it a big achievement for myself.
Why does the styling industry matter?
Clothing is a form of self expression. With the right look you can build your personal brand and use your style as a tool to stand out and be noticed in your chosen profession. Most importantly, by feeling powerful and comfortable through a stylish and consistent wardrobe, you can help to boost the confidence and happiness you have in yourself. The styling industry makes that possible for those who don’t know how to do that.
With the right look you can build your personal brand and use your style as a tool to stand out and be noticed in your chosen profession.
What is one thing an aspiring stylist can do today to get started in the industry?
Collaborate with other aspiring creatives to build your confidence with the styling process and try out new ideas. Creating your own collaborative projects will help people see your talent and eventually get you noticed as a professional. Fake it till you make it!
Who are some of your favourite stylists readers can follow for inspiration?
A few favourites are Solange Franklin, Styledbynana, Ade Samuel, Shiona Turini and Gabriella Karefa-Johnson.
Sonia also took some time to give us some advice on how to update our wardrobes on a budget:
Purchase staple pieces that you can easily mix and match within your wardrobe, so it looks like a different outfit all the time. To update your wardrobe, you don’t always have to buy new items, sometimes it’s just about deconstructing items that you already have and making it into something else.
She recommends stores like Mango (“It’s in between Zara and H&M’s style but with a more sophisticated image and they have amazing sales every summer”), ASOS, Urban Revivo (stores in Europe and Asia with international shipping) and Reserved (stores in Europe, Asia and the Middle East) for affordable wardrobe updates and if your budget can stretch, &Other Stories for high quality staple pieces.
To update your wardrobe, you don’t always have to buy new items, sometimes it’s just about deconstructing items that you already have and making it into something else.
Do you think it’s possible to completely reinvent your wardrobe? If so, how would you recommend getting started?
It’s definitely possible to reinvent your wardrobe. First, I would say, start by taking everything out and organising them into sections to decide the clothing you love, don’t like and [are] not sure about. Once you do that you can see what’s missing from what you love that you would like to add. It might be a lack of colour in your wardrobe that makes it uninteresting or too much of the same type of styles. When you can realise exactly what you want from your wardrobe reinvention, it makes the process a lot easier to build from.
And because we love hair, could you give our readers your top 5 go-to hair tips?
A silk pillowcase to reduce hair damage, trim when necessary for healthy hair, Cantu hair products are a must for me. Whenever I wash my hair I add a little rice water. It makes my hair thicker and longer, and steaming is also great for natural hair, just not too much.
Check out more from Sonia via her Instagram @soniaverostyled or at soniavero.com.