A Day in the Life of a Gilt Stylist with Blair Williams
Photo c/o Gilt
Blair Williams, Gilt Stylist
If you've watched The Rachel Zoe Project, you know that the life of a stylist is pretty chaotic; but when you're a stylist for one of the fastest growing sites in fashion with a styling turn around time of 48 hours, the level of chaos increases tenfold.
We sat down with Gilt Groupe stylist, Blair Williams, to find out just what it takes to style 50+ looks, 7 days a week.
FEtc: Can you give us a rundown of your schedule?
BW: At Gilt, we shoot just about everything you see on the site in our photo studio in Brooklyn and our call time is always 9AM. I usually arrive about 15 minutes early just to make sure everything is set up, organized, and prepped properly for that day's shoot. Our production team sets up catering at 12:30 for the whole photo shoot team so that we're all able to break at the same time and eat as a team. Our shoots usually run until 5PM and then I begin prep for the next day's shoot!
FEtc: And what's a standard outfit for you while you're shooting?
BW: I would definitely consider myself a pretty casual dresser to begin with, but being on set doesn't really lend itself well to clothes that are uncomfortable or restricting. You're doing a lot of bending down and running around so a normal outfit for me would be jeans, flats, and a tee.
FEtc: Yeah, it definitely sounds like a job where you're on your feet a lot. What about the thought process behind styling a model for the Gilt buyer? Do some looks work better than others?
BW: We really want to make the looks accessible but also inspirational! It's about showcasing the product and inspiring the buyer with new ways to style it and incorporate it into their pre-existing wardrobe.
We typically don't want to go too overboard with the styling in the product shots because that just doesn't relate to most people's actual lives and wardrobes. That's why it's so fun to shoot the editorials (the shot you see on the homepage before entering the individual sale) because we really are able to get creative, style it out more extensively, and make it more high fashion.
FEtc: What would you say is the hardest part of your job?
BW: Sometimes I feel like I'm taking part in a styling challenge! Every single day is a different brand with 50 different looks to put together and it has to look amazing each time.
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FEtc: Talk about pressure! So what would you say is the best part of the job?
BW: The catch is that the hardest part of the job is also the BEST part of the job for me! Being able to do something different every single day is ideal for me because there is never a chance to be bored. You have to be on your toes everyday. Each day we work with a new brand, a new photographer and art director, and a different model. I'm lucky to work with such an amazing group of varied talents on a daily basis!
FEtc: Totally! So who would you say you work with most closely at Gilt?
BW: I work closest with the other members of the photo team, including the creative director, producers, art directors, photographers, photo techs, and models. It's important to work very closely with each member of the team so that we're able to really collaborate, communicate, and share our visions and in turn produce beautiful work!
FEtc: How far in advance are you guys working together to style and produce the looks?
BW: 48 hours for normal product shoots and often times weeks ahead of time for larger themed sales and editorials. The concepts for the larger shoots tend to go through many different edits and reviews with the style director and creative director, so we need time to plan.
FEtc: Right. So as a stylist, what's your presence like during fashion week? Are you attending the shows?
BW: I definitely try to attend as many shows as possible, but it's tough when you work a full time job to really get the time to step out in the middle of the day. I usually only end up going to a few shows, but spend a good part of each day during fashion week checking up on all the shows online. It's essential for me to be up and current on all the shows and trends.
FEtc: Speaking of essentials, what are the five essentials you have to have while on set?
1. Music to keep everyone energized and creative on set.
2. My wonderful assistants to make sure all the clothes and accessories are steamed, prepped, and ready to go! We work at a pretty fast pace in order to get everything shot by the end of the day.
3. My styling kit, which includes all the tools I need to work on set and make the clothes look perfect in photographs; clamps, scissors, double stick tape, safety pins, lint rollers, the list goes on!
4. Healthy snacks. It's a long day and we can't afford to get stuck in the 3PM slump. Healthy snacks ensure that everyone will be awake and raring to go all day.
5. OPTIONS! Often times, what we've planned to shoot along with the featured product doesn't always look right when we put it on the model. We need options available to change items out and make sure the shot is perfect each time.
FEtc: Sounds like you've got yourself a dream job! Thanks Blair!