Happy Friday Everyone!
Today I have a very special treat for you. Recently, I had the priviledge of interviewing Chicago based Fashion Stylist /Consultant Tracy Clifford. From Oscar de la Renta to the runways of Paris and Milan, she has covered almost every facet of the fashion industry. I am so honored to have her be a part of allthingsnaomi. I hope you enjoy our talk as much as I did.
1. Tell us about yourself and you what you do.
I am a client consultant, wardrobe assessor, personal shopper and a travel coordinator. I host fashion advice seminars as well and am always willing to repair basic items such as bags, shoes or any type of clothing. I love shopping for personal, business or holiday items for anyone, whether it be a last minute necessity or not. I know how a creative vision for high fashion is conceived of and then executed. I also regularly attend fashion shows in Milan, Paris and New York to keep up with the latest styles and trends. I have loved fashion ever since I can remember and have always felt a connection to finding beauty in the world, and particularly so with clothing. From my point of view, fashion gives us the ability to express ourselves artistically.
2. You offer a list of services on your website. Which do you enjoy most and why?
It would definitely be the client/style consultant. Wearing beautiful clothing elevates our experience and has the ability to make us feel more self-actualized. There are very few things in life that provide the opportunity for such a profound experience on a daily basis. I love spotting the latest trends and taking pieces from the runway and making them wearable for my clients. It is so gratifying when I see my clients beaming after they tell me how beautiful they felt at an even or that they felt so good when someone complimented their outfit.
I feel a special connection to fashion in particular. I have always been able to choose amazing pieces that are unique, beautiful, and most importantly, compliment the body. Fashion cannot exist in a bubble. I think many consultants (and designers) loose sight of the fact that the primary goal is to use clothing to compliment a woman’s body and make her feel beautiful. My success is driven by my clients. Making them feel comfortable and beautiful is my number one goal and my clients appreciate it. I am always thinking about them as I spot trends and browse the newest fashion. This is a particular skill of mine. Plus, fashion is fun!
3. Did you always know that you wanted to be a stylist?
I tried following in my father’s footsteps and working for his law firm and then for a judge. I think I spent most of my time analyzing the lawyers’ clothes, instead of the law! I also dabbled in the magazine business for a bit. However, when I got hired at Niemen Marcus, there was no turning back.
4. Tell us about the moment that changed everything, the moment that solidified your position as a fashion industry professional.
There are two moments that stick out. Marissa Hartington, the founder and owner of Marissa Collections, was (and is) the most successful person I know in fashion. When I thought about if I wanted to be like her, the answer was a resounding yes. Marissa is, in a word, amazing. She is able to see fashion and spot trends like no one else in the industry. I am constantly amazed by her taste, dedication, and tenacity. I am so fortunate that Marissa took me under her wing, taught me about the industry, and allowed me to practice what I learned when she hired me to be a buyer for Marissa Collections. It would also be assisting. Oscar de la Renta. I started at the bottom of the totem pole but I kept my eyes open and observed everything around me. I really learned a lot about fashion from the designer’s viewpoint, which was a new experience for me because I had always thought of fashion solely from the consumer’s point of view. The experience allowed me to see the real guts of the fashion world. Being around all those beautiful clothes wasn’t too bad either!
5. What are your passions outside of fashion
Aside from fashion, there are many things that I am passionate about. I am a very visual person and tend to be drawn to things that stimulate my mind and eye. I am particularly passionate about art and film. I also have a strong desire to travel. One of my life goals is to visit a new country every year. I find it fascinating to learn about new cultures and places.
6. You have visited multiple fashion weeks. Which is your favorite city one and why?
I have had the pleasure of attending fashion week in New York, Paris, Milan and Tokyo. Every city was amazing, but I would have to say Paris is my absolute favorite. The shows are much more theatrical and avant-garde. The showrooms are also in a class of their own. Every detail is attended to in terms of appearance, service, presentation and food. The designers are often present too which is a rarity. I hear this is how fashion week used to be everywhere and in my opinion it still should be. Paris seems to be the only city maintaining the glamour of it all.
7. What is your favorite fashion week moment?
My favorite fashion week moment was in Paris. I was at Lanvin and had the opportunity to meet Alber Elbaz who is one of my favorite designers. He was dressed in his signature bow tie and could not have been more charming.
8. How much do you utilize social media to build your business and has it been a plus?
I do use social media and am yet to determine the impact it has on my business. My client base has expanded mainly due to word of mouth. However, I feel that I have to be involved with social media, because it is a reflection of the present and future method of business. Fashion is all about keeping up with the current market and trends which is how I view social media.
9. Describe the scene in Chicago and how does it compare to the other fashion industries in the country.
Chicago is a unique fashion city. I believe there are some incredibly well dressed women here, and I adore stores like Blake and Ikram. (I strongly prefer specialty boutiques to department stores.) That being said, I find Chicago a touch more conservative than other cities and slightly less aware of designer products – which is not a bad thing. When I was living in New York, the women and even the men were aware of what – or should I say “who” – I was carrying and wearing. God forbid it was not vintage or from the current season! I don’t find that type of knowledge or judgement in Chicago which is a wonderful thing.
10. How would you like the fashion industry change?
Fashion has become much more corporate and in many ways the business aspect now dominates the creative aspect. Fashion is an art that requires an immense amount of creativity, knowledge and skill. I wish the world still viewed fashion in the same light as I do.
For more information check out TracyCliffordStyle.
Have A Great Weekend!