An Exclusive Interview “Fashion Stylist Of The Year 2018” Cian Smith

What inspired you to go into fashion styling?

My mother, father, magazines and even dolls inspired me from childhood. My father, a bespoke tailor, dressed my brothers and my mother would dress me and my sisters. I would sew, draw, dress dolls and read my dad’s business books; he often said education and business must always come first. Art college was my next inspiration – a pathway. My tutor caught me adding fashion drawings to the back of my art book. He advised me to go into fashion and business of some kind but to try the production side first. Yet, I was quite inspired by my parents.

So how did you become a fashion stylist?

A good question. I always had an eye for styling; my father was a bespoke tailor and my mother a dressmaker. I was born into fashion and styling – born and grew up in a small West Yorkshire, textiles, mill town. Mother would often make my clothes, both occasional and everyday wear with the odd accessory, for many different special occasions, including family outings. Always looking our best. I used to admire how everyone else would take pride in their dress – I was very thrilled by it. In the future, I do look forward to being the proud owner of a capsule collection. Years later, I went through a lot of interesting hurdles. I have gained fond memories of appearing on a local TV, news broadcast in Yorkshire in a dress I designed, made and had to model. Doing so, in front of a very large runway audience, I had to wear and present this creation, in front of the camera, for millions of TV viewers. This fact didn’t instantly dawn on me and I started to become aware of this during and even more so afterwards. There was also sewing work for a particular VIP event: special textiles and other VIP guests were in attendance. I then went on to winning competitions, in fashion and art, coming first, and was awarded a trophy – it was a very special moment. Wearing a lot of hats. Later on I suffered a very debilitating illness but I decided to turn this negative into a positive – it was a challenge to me. Long story short – never giving up – steadily making my way into styling from that young age and always carrying the feeling that I needed to convince. I went on to work as a Fashion Buyer for top brands and to take photographs of these luxury brands for trade events; working, back and forth, with the Far East. I also worked with a celebrity in both online and offline as marketing stylist for celebrity lifestyle brand. Later on, I decided to work by assisting in photography assignments, simultaneoysly, styling on the shoots which included agency models. Prior to all of this ‘success,’ I studied Fashion Design and Marketing at the University of Arts, London, UK where I graduated successfully, twice. I was now ready to become a ‘unique,’ Fashion Stylist.

Do you think there was a crucial turning point in your career as a fashion stylist?

A good question. There were several key turning points and opportunities both beneficial and challenging. One of the greatest was, my gift, of going from knowing how to sew and draw, as a young child, at the very early age of 9 to, later on, technical drawing, art college, my own work on show and on display for charity – my eyes were opened. I went on to attend a sewing program where I gained the chance to appear on television on the local news – a feature about talent achieving for future careers. I then entered into work in the challenging world of fashion and sports production. My mentor there would tell me I’m worth more; he saw that I was ahead in everything I did. My experience there was making sports brands and applying logos for Nike, Speedo and more. Later on in life, I went on to graduate twice, in Fashion Design then in Marketing, working with interior designers, architecture and as a Fashion Boutique Manager. Later, networking with designers, mentoring and coaching models, kept me going. In moments of reflection, I would say to myself, “I was born into Fashion….” quite literally, “…and Fashion is what I will do!” Most of my career, I’ve gone through challenges and whilst I have worked in outside paid jobs, including marketing, what has stopped me turning into a full time, Editorial Fashion Stylist are the deep, personal challenges I have had throughout my life I spent years contributing in photography, fashion, mentoring, marketing and creating my own shoots. My work from the shoots was quickly published in UK Vogue and so I continued organising and directing my own assignments. These achievements and events had made me think. I found myself dressing artists, including Celebrity X-Faxtor duos, sourcing brands for music videos and I had become a creative director with a good eye for styling and photography. A major crucial turning point was meeting a fantastic actress and model called Charlotte Cockcroft, she has been my rock and a very dear friend, Mark Reeves; my friend, mentor and associate who truly believed in me – both, guiding me torwards my dream career. These days I find myself happy for my ambitious nieces in which I mentored into their filming and buying careers. They remind me of myself – so ambitious and driven. I’m so thankful for everyone’s generosity especially when I was ill. I’m grateful for the mentoring in my career and those role models who have given me their time. I’m now on a major rebrand, journey!

What are your goals you’d dreamed of achieving?

Hmmmm, I had several goals that I jotted down and aimed to achieve in later life. One of them being to win an Award in recognition of my styling career. Now, i’ve just won an Award as Fashion Stylist Of The Year 2018! As a teen, I was a fond collector of Vogue Magazine and now, years later, to my surprise, my styling work has appeared in Vogue UK. Another goal was to become a celebrity stylist. I’ve achieved this through working in outside roles, experience as a teenager, dressing celebrities from XFactor contestants to Mobo artists I have solely styled, over 100 extras for music videos, working with exclusive brands, have dressed onto singer songwriters, artists and celebrities. As a young teen, I had dreamed of studying Fashion Design at the London College of Fashion, where I later successfully graduated – several times – which included a Business Marketing Degree. These goals both rewarded and prepared me for my career outside of styling too. I dreamed of a working career both inside and outside Fashion which encapsulated hospitality, 5* star luxury hotel chains, meeting more celebrities during my roles, media and various charities events. I dreamed of working with Mulberry and, during University, I worked for the famous ‘Luxury Brand’ Mulberry. Watch out for my next goal milestone. Some of these goals are yet to be achieved despite my obstacles and being very ambitious. Please refer to my portfolio on my website to see all of my achievements that I have displayed so far.

How would you define your style?

I would define my style as both unique and classical, relaxed but smart, elegant and chic – all my favorite words! I’m adaptable in my dress, ie. if it’s a special occasion – then I’m elegant and classy!!

Any particular people you look up to in terms of style?

 I would say firstly my mother. She would literally style herself everyday, and for most of her special occasions. It was fun. My siblings and I would dress like mini versions of her. So I once created my own menswear and womenswear collection. I am inspired by one other person in particular – a fashion icon (who shall remain nameless) – and designers too. No two styles are the same: beautiful and unique from colour, tailoring and presentation. I am ecited at the prospect of us collaborating in the near future.

Which of your brand pieces are you most proud of?

Hmmm, there is one particular brand that I am most proud of – that can’t be named yet.

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