Let’s talk about fashion with celebrity stylist Laura Martin

Laura's work in Vogue Italia

If we have to choose one job that is deep into the fashion industry, it has to be the fashion stylist. Laura tells us about the consequences of the COVID pandemic, what is the best way you can grow on social media, how does it feel to work with celebrities and much more.

Q: Hi Marty! It is so nice to have you as a guest of Carbon magazine? Can you introduce yourself for those, who are not familiar with you and your work?

A: Hi Guys! Thank you for having me. I know you lovely lot quite well, so absolute pleasure to be back as a guest again, thank you. 

I’m Marty ( actually a nickname 😉 not my real name ) – a stylist/fashion editor/creative thats been around for a good few years starting out in print editorial. You may know me, originally from the now, no longer Company Magazine (one of the first and only mags to work from the Google offices, a younger generation mag, which understood and embraced the importance and influence of the digital revolution in  fashion and media, really being a leader using social media platforms and working alongside influencers/ bloggers etc), as well as also working on weeklies, monthlies and titles like Instyle, Look Magazine, Marie Claire the list goes on.

I’ve also worked with various brands as creative director and stylist, dressed and worked with a few celebs, presented on Radio 1 a few times along with other various projects.

Currently presenting on a young radio station Love Da Beat, as well as still contributing to various magazines, shooting editorials and contributing to titles such as Vogue Italia, 5Eleven, Italian magazine Latest Magazine to name a few, working with commercial high street brands on campaigns, while still working with others in the industry on interviews, podcasts. A lil bit of everything really and possibly starting my own personal new ventures in the very near future.

Q: How did you get into fashion? Was it something that you have always wanted to do or? 

A: I always loved Fashion from a very young age. My mum will tell me the story about a dress I was obsessed with when I was 2/3 years old and that I refused to wear anything else for days apart from that dress, the purple mules that belonged to my mum of which I was obsessed with (theres a pic in my nappy wearing them). My aunt who worked for Norman Hartnell at the time said she’s going to work in fashion. Im sure there are loads more stories I could tell you about – if we had more time haha. My aunt who I mentioned previously above also worked as a dress maker under Sir Norman Bishop Hartnell (dressmaker, designer for the queen, royals )  so I guess you could say the creative gene and fashion has always been in our family to an extent . So in answer to the question,  yes it was always something I wanted to do and be a part of. It’s always been instinctive to me from day one. 

How I got into fashion – trying to keep this as brief as possible  – I wrote to magazines when I was 16, started out on the shop floor of the high street working for brands including Dorothy Perkins , Miss Selfridge, Debenhams, studied for a year at The London College of Fashion and then moved into product development and buying when I was 19 and began a career in that side of the industry first, but also still assisting a few stylists while I was in full time employment in buying/product development at 24. I left that industry properly to pursue styling at around  26/27 working 4 jobs to intern and assist in places like Grazia, Elle, STStyle, INstyle and also assisting a stylist unpaid for year, then eventually getting my first job in editorial at the older age of 28/29 at Hearst Magazines for Company Magazine . I was always late to the party in terms of anything fashion I still am . 

Q: You are handling many different jobs at once and you succeed in all of them brilliantly. How do you manage to do that? 

A: Thank you thats great to hear, if you mean in reference to radio, styling , presenting –  I think music, culture, fashion, spiritual side all go hand in hand, I find inspiration through all of these things and they all influence each other. Anything can inspire. Its just a matter of doing what you’re passionate about, it doesn’t really feel like ‘jobs’ as such to me . I do what I enjoy and lucky enough to be able to do it I’ve had really supportive parents through out my time in the industry. I love what I do at the end of the day. I’m also quite disciplined which def helps when you are juggling a few things. Success also has so many different connotations to different people its not the one same thing from one person to the next. 

Q: How did the Corona virus affect your everyday life, because we all know that it turned the fashion industry upside down? 

A: TBH how do I put this, it didn’t effect my everyday life that differently I’m a natural hermit stroke extrovert .  

Having gone through Breast Cancer in 2016 I’d already dealt with the feelings and the experiences a lot of people felt through Corona virus, so I looked at in a very different way and I used my ‘spiritual’ side as a guide to help others, also working as a freelancer you have to deal with so much anyway when it comes to financial issues, and the unknown. I always look at everything that happens in life as a way to teach you more about yourself anyway, so my day today life was only a lil bit effected with seeing no friends and family. I am lucky where I live we have outside space and a community. I’m just very grateful for the things I already had. I was really lucky to have work where I could and I also made sure that I worked on my own portfolio. I kept the creative side active where possible through IG through private work. But also had fun and studied life coaching, art and made the most of the quiet opportunities.

I think it’s also a positive that it did effect the fashion industry in the way it did,  the industry needed to change as a whole and I think it made humans/people from designers through to consumers more considered in their choices. We have a whole planet to think about and I think fashion needed to rethink a lot. Not ideal that we lost so many great high street constitutions and people lost jobs but all things need to keep changing, in order to move forward, evolve and to make way for better things to come.  

Q: You have worked with tons of popular celebrities like Iggy Azalea, Ed Sheeran, Ella Henderson, Alexis Jordan, just to name a few. You have also been published in Vogue Italia, which is…wow! What do you think is your biggest achievement so far? What are you most proud of?

A: Eeee thats a toughie Vogue Italia is def a highlight and very proud of that one but also proud of maintaining relationships with people that I’ve worked with for over 10 years. I’ve got some of the best friendships out of my work, proud of starting out in radio, so many moments to be proud of not one particular thing, all moments have meaning for me, getting my first job in a magazine was one of the proudest moments having started in the industry so late with no proper experience in media. So many achievements I may have to come back to you on the biggest!!! 

Q: How do you describe your personal style and is there anyone you consider a fashion icon?

A: Well I wear a lot of black, denim, leather, fringing, vintage, oversize blazers,  I also love a cowboy boot so I guess I’m a lil bit eclectic boho 80s/70s rock if I had to name it but can also do minimal quite well. I’ve just got into Jordan 1s fairly recently as well so getting used to wearing sneakers again haha. I love Kate Moss, The Olsens, Hailey Beiber, Zendaya, Cher, Bianca Jagger the list goes on but I guess my ultimate is KM, it’s more her attitude, she doesn’t really care what people think and wears what she wants, which is pretty much like me TBF. But no one specific fashion icon really. I take inspo from various IG accounts too, currently obsessed with Endlessly Love Club Jen Cebalios. I love her whole aesthetic and attitude.

Q: I love your Instagram page, because it looks like the ultimate fashion and lifestyle mood board on Pinterest. How did you build your Instagram aesthetic and do you keep any “rules”, when it comes to posting on social media?

A: Aww thanks so much, glad you like, a few people have said that to me regarding mood board and Pinterest. I didn’t really think about it too much when I started it. I was late to the party again, I didn’t have twitter or Instagram when I first started out in media. It was actually a DJ that inspired me to start twitter because of direct messaging (and thats a whole other story).

I always just posted what I liked and what resonated with me, what inspired me, it was pretty organic. I’ve been a bit slack of recent with it, as I feel like it needs a slight change up and I also want to give more value with it. I guess originally my only rules were posting at a particular time and putting the one filter on it . Which I have recently changed again. I just wanted it to feel like an extension of me and authentic, which is important to me and to have fun with it, to inspire everyone really, no matter who you are. It’s seen as a happy place something people can get lost in. 

My ‘rules’ are just to be authentic as you possibly can. Post whatever feels right, have fun and be able to take it with a pinch of salt and step away from it when needed. There’s no right or wrong with IG, it’s whatever works for you and everyone’s story is very different.

Q: Do you think it is important to promote your work online and how do you personally use social media to do that?

A: In this day and age it seems to be the only way to do it. There was a time when I didn’t think you should have to promote work via social media but it seems to be the only way now. Clients can get a quick snapshot of you as a brand and your work through social media, they can see whether you fit their brand ideals. I think its important to a certain degree but I wouldn’t totally rely on it. I’m someone that still believes in the word of mouth and reputation. However, stylists these days are seen as a whole brand so it’s something that is becoming more important/ I’ll be honest I don’t use it enough as a selling tool for myself at the moment but I’m considering it more and more.

I promote my editorial work by using stories and the grid, nothing really else via social media. I normally back up new work and start new relationships with people and brands via email first and then meeting them face to face after. I prefer building relationships that way, however I do think social media is also great for making new connections along with LinkedIn. Direct messaging is a great tool and gives you access to people you wouldn’t normally have. I think it’s important to also show personality and speak human to human (or VIA Zoom with todays climate). Social media is just a great tool for giving you connections to all over the world and its amazing to connect with people that you wouldn’t normally be able to reach.

Q: I know you are very ahead on SEO. Tell me more about it and its relationship with social media.

A: I’m not sure I’m using it to its full capacity TBH, I actually need to improve my levels with it. I think brands as a whole use it to its full advantage unlike me. They use various influencers, competitions and advertising to market their brands at a consumer. However, it’s not quite the same for smaller accounts or brands. For anyone that wants to make IG their bread and butter it’s really about fine tuning your audience, making sure your IG is aligned with your ‘brand’ messaging, doing your research on your reach and making sure you have a story to tell through pictures, making it consistent and regularly updating it. I actually have a business account so I also get helpful data that helps me work around various aspects. As I say I don’t use it to its full capacity so I need to improve my usage on it and start using the data and info a lil bit more.  

Q: What advice would you give to someone, who is graduating or is still in university and wants to pursue a career in fashion? 

A: My advise to anyone wanting a career in fashion would be go for it, if thats your dream and passion, your true calling, just do it. You don’t know, if you don’t try. Always have fun with it, experiment with it and remember why you wanted to get into the industry in the first place. What do you love about it, what aspect gives you joy about it? What makes you passionate about it? Sometimes it’s just instinctive, a knowing that it’s right for you.  

Fashion is about making things look pretty, about uplifting and inspiring, using it as a tool to add to yours and others own betterment, that goes for pretty much any sector within it. Clothes can give so much energy and means so many different things to different people. It’s an escapism for some, garments give so many people life. The stories that clothes can tell, the history of a piece are all really special. I would say always be grateful to what bought you to it .

We are lucky that we are in an industry thats always evolving and is open to change, so always be grateful for every experience, go back to your roots and gain as much experience as possible. I would say work smart and put the effort in, be adaptable, be open, be always willing to learn from everyone around you. It’s not always glamorous but do the work and your research, follow your gut. Be kind and respectable to everyone you meet. Treat everyone the same and how you would like to be treated.

It’s not been the easiest industry in the past and still isn’t in some aspects. I’m a strong believer that it really needs to change on more levels from the very top. It can be a tricky industry to navigate in terms of finances and doing things for free, which is why it puts people off. However, this is an old age institution that hasn’t really been tackled before, it filters through from the top and has had various traditional infrastructures in place. The underlying framework of fashion the organisation and system of it needs to move forward and revise its basic structure. It should be an accessible industry to everyone. 


THIS OR THAT

Q: Ripped jeans or Tailored pants 
A: Ripped jeans

Q: Sneakers of Heels
A: Can I say cowboy boots here haha, I’ve just got into sneakers so I guess sneakers but Jordans  

Q: Silver or Gold
A: Gold

Q: Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell
A: Kate Moss 

Q: No makeup or Full glam
A: No makeup most of the time

Q: Tik Tok or Instagram
A: IG 

Q: Shop online or Shop in store
A: In store 

Q: Colourful or Neutral
A: Neutral 

Q: Staying in or Going out
A: 50/50

Q: New York or London
A: OOH 50/50 

Written by Anna-Maria Kancheva