Andrea Alder, Editorial Stylist
Andrea Alder is a pretty inspiring woman. I met her through our Apparel Design Program, but her aspirations are aimed higher than the Fashion Industry. Our conversation ranged from talking about Goosebumps and our favorite Podcasts, to her immigration issues and how she wants to change certain points of views.
Welcome to Andrea.
So I know you as an entrepreneur, because you do so many things- but can you describe to me what you do?
I consider myself an editorial stylist- that is what I aspire to do full time. It’s funny, because growing up, I never limited myself to “oh, this is what I am going to be when I grow up”. I have always told myself that I will do whatever I am passionate about- even if it is multiple things. Fashion was something that I was always passionate about, and i knew it was an area that I wanted to get into- I just wasn’t sure at what level or capacity.
While I was in school for apparel design, I also pursued styling on my own, outside of the classroom. I continue to style outside of my day job (Fashion Specialist at Amazon) now. I love to create images that people can be inspired by and can invoke a nostalgic kind of feel.
Did your first styling gig feel natural?
Yes! It was really cool, it felt really natural. I went into my closet, and I had the model’s measurements- so I just started pulling things that I thought would work for her. I went shopping at a thrift store and I bought random, different things, that I thought would be cool. After the photoshoot, my friend asked me if I wanted to be her main stylist and I said yes. I also started working at Anthropologie as a stylist, and retail associate. I really loved it. I think it comes natural to me to just kind of look at a person and imagine what would look good on them. When it comes to editorial styling though, it’s not about what I want the model to look like, it’s about what I want people to think when they look at the photo- and that is what excites me. With editorial styling, I am not making outfits that the average person would wear, I am telling a story. I can venture into different decades, or political issues- but not in an obvious way. It’s like art. It’s subjective, and everyone will see it in a different way.
I feel like the instagram concept is a huge when if it comes to getting a job in fashion now, like we need to have a strong online presence to be worthy of a job.
Yeah, the industry has made it that way. We hired a model for a campaign I styled last year, based solely on her instagram. Everyone curates their instagram, they only put out their best selves- and it’s all staged. If you went to my house right now, you would not see it in the way it is presented on instagram. When I went to Costa Rica, it was so nice to go off the grid. I didn’t post those photos, those are my personal memories that I don’t want to throw a filter on.
What would you like to change about the fashion industry?
As much as I would like to change that whole materialistic environment- that will obviously not change because that’s the industry. I think I would like to tell movies, TV, and all the other media to stop glamorizing the fashion industry. It is so fucking hard. It is long days, and low pay when you first start out. You have to be passionate and work really hard. I want people to take it more seriously than they do.
I have noticed the largely exclusive nature of the fashion industry. I know this comes from being a highly competitive field- but have you noticed it or experienced it?
Are you talking about just diversity?
Personally, I have had experiences with people where I reach out to them and ask if I can help them with anything for free- because I would love to learn from them, but they don’t reply/ aren’t interested in being a mentor. I get vibes that they think you are trying to steal ideas from them, when you are really just wanting to learn.
I have, I think it happens because we are in Seattle. I think it is divided. I think sometimes people don’t know how to approach someone. Like if you ask someone to grab coffee, and you want to talk to them about what they do- that’s the right way. There are other people who are like, “ Hey, I was wondering if, maybe you could tell me how to style and then you help me choose the clothes, but I will style the shoot, but I want to learn your process and it will be my name on the shoot.” And I am like, no way. It does suck not having a community built here for stylists, I wish we weren’t all competing with each other. Sometimes, I won’t be able to take on all the shoots and I wish I had someone, that I could trust, to refer. If there was a community, we could all support each other and when we can’t take on jobs, we can refer each other. We need to get over that metal wall, that there are only so many jobs and if i don’t take all of them, I won’t get any.
Picture your 5 year plan. Do you see yourself remaining in the industry?
I can tell you as of today, I want to get into software development. I can definitely still see myself as a stylist but I am looking towards more of leadership role- like an Art director. I love photoshoots because I love seeing a project from start to finish- which is probably why I got into fashion. Having a photoshoot is kind of the same- we have this concept, we create the mood board, I find the wardrobe, we find a model, hair and makeup artists, we find a location and we create an image that lasts forever. Right now, when I get hired by clients, I am helping them get their concept together- but I see myself as being the person creating the concepts in the future.
Introduction and Interview by Seattle Ambassador, Kayla