So as promised here’s my interview with Sania, my gorgeous blogger friend from my previous post. Sania’s been working as a stylist for Scandanavia’s biggest fashion magazine Damernas Varld for the past two years and had the chance to rub shoulders with the industry’s most inspiring people (hello Marc Jacobs!). So this is the first in my series about perseverance and experiences in my industry – what it takes to get the gig! Career dreams and all the rest.
ZW: Ok firstly – tell me what got you into fashion, what is it you love about it?
CD: I got into fashion pretty late in my life. I didn’t know much about the industry when I was younger. I’ve always been creative though and loved putting together outfits and discovering my personal style. My mom subscribed for Damernas Värld forever and I always read it, but it just never occurred to me that this was a product of a lot of hard work from people who had made a career from it. It was somewhere around 2009 that I realized what it was all about. Sometimes I compare it to how Harry Potter discovered the world of magic.. I am a very nerdy person and decided to find out everything about it. Looked for books or websites of some sort of “Fashion for Dummies”-sort, but that didn’t go well at all haha..
ZW: You can’t really learn it like that, by getting a degree – fashion it’s always changing.
SCD: Yeah well I wanted to learn what fashion IS. It was something totally new… ‘trends’? What does that even mean? Or what about the definition of Fashion? I studied Natural Science so these kinds of questions came natural to me I guess. So anyway, that’s why I started by blog, I wanted to collect pieces of information. I wrote about the history of the Chanel Flat Bag – along with pieces about different designers and a lot of other fashion related topics.
ZW: Ok, so how did that lead into getting a role at Damernas Varld?
SCD: Well first the whole fashion blogger thing in Sweden exploded and I was very fascinated and interested in this phenomena…
ZW: How long ago was that?
SCD: This was 2010. I was still in University while I was blogging, studying Economics, something totally different. All I knew when I decided to study Economics was that I wanted to start my own company at some point and do something creative. That’s all I knew, and I thought that I’ll figure the rest out along the way. There was fashion magazine called CHIC and they were having a competition for their readers, where you send in photos and compete to get the ‘Everyday Chic Award’. I was nominated, people voted and I won – then I got to attend their annual gala. The magazine then asked me to move my blog to their site (a very common thing in Sweden, most bloggers have a host of some sort), so that’s how I ended up doing work for their magazine too. I asked them, ‘why don’t you have streetstyle on your website?’ And they asked me to shoot it. So that’s how I started shooting streetstyle for a while, they loved the pictures and decided to feature them in the print magazine, every issue. I had a byline and all and this was huge for me. From there I have the chance to do other articles for them… but then that magazine had to take a break (due to financial issues, they are back now). So, Damernas Värld had contacted me after that to move my blog to their site – with the same offer, that I could contribute to their magazine. I was so flattered and happy, it was really a once in a lifetime opportunity… my boss Martina Bonnier mentioned something about me doing fashion editorials and I seriously didn’t believe it.
ZW: But now you have your own page in the magazine about your personal style…
SCD: Yeah – it’s called Sania Stil and it has been in every issue for over two years. It’s shopping tips with an outfit and snap shots from my blog and a wardrobe favorite – along with some text. Martina, my boss, even let me go to Barcelona to shoot outfits for my page when I was new. It was such a thrill. Then for the first time in May 2013, I had the chance to style my first real fashion story. They didn’t really know what I can or cannot do, and they let me learn by trying. I feel really honored that they took such a risk. I had close to no experience and I was pretty much faking it until making it. To style an editorial for a magazine like Damernas Värld, you usually start out as an assistant and you have to learn so many things. There’s a whole process and at this time I didn’t even realize that I could get help from the assistants. Then the whole thing about borrowing all the clothes, learning all the PR offices and the brand they represent, booking a model, contacting the photographer, having meeting, steaming the clothes… all of those things were completely new to me. All I knew was from those who had done work as stylists and blogged about it. This was not the traditional way that I had learnt was the way to get to this point but I’m extremely and forever thankful for the opportunities I have gotten.
ZW: I remember the first time I saw you, I was shooting streetstyle at London Fashion Week. I knew who you were because of our mutual friend Carolina… anyway you were running as fast as you could, in heels, trying to make it into the Burberry show before the doors closed… That must have been an awesome opportunity because I didn’t get to see the show that season, can you tell me about the best/craziest experiences you had?
SCD: Haha, oh I remember that photo, love it so much!! And yes, the Burberry shows have definitely been a highlight. The fact that I get to do the editorials, it’s amazing – it’s such an incredible process and then you get to see the result in the magazine. The feeling is priceless every single time. We do all the pages so far ahead and it happens that I forget what I did and then open the latest issue and thinking “oh true, I did that a few months ago!” Sucks that you can’t edit stuff that went wrong since they are already in print haha..
ZW: Well you have to make mistakes to learn – if you’re not making any mistakes in fashion you’re probably not taking enough risks!
That’s true! Fashion week is also great by the way. I got to go to a lot of great shows and a lot thanks to the access I got through the magazine. The most amazing show that I think I’ve been to now is, POLO by Ralph Lauren in New York – did you go there? In Central Park!
ZW: I got invited to that but I didn’t go!
SCD: Are you crazy!? NO ways!! Ahh Zanita you missed out big time!! But I get it, the schedule is crazy and you never know what to expect. Feeling really sorry you didn’t go though…ahhh!!
ZW: Oh no! I had a really long day and decided not to go because I thought it was just a cocktail party and I was staying with a friend who was unwell… Damn it!
SCD: Well it was so cool, Central Park was was totally dark – they took us with gold carts up to Cherry Hill where there was loads of male models handing out popcorn and girl wearing Polo, a quintet playing strings.
ZW: It sounds beautiful. (insert depressed expression)
SCD: Then we arrived at the water, we could stand around wherever we like – they had this incredible runway on the water. It’s difficult to describe but it was so beautiful! Afterwards I cried a little. Absolutely breathtaking experience!!
ZW: I cried after a Rick Owens show once. It was really moving, in Paris…but I’m sorry I have to run! So could you just tell me before I leave – what kind of things you could share with me, what you would tell a girl who wanted to get a role like you have?
SCD: And how to move forward?
ZW:Yeah obviously you’re someone who is quite well researched.
SCD: Well what I’ve learned is that one should never say ‘Oh i want to work in Fashion.’ That’s not going to get you very far, you have to define what it is precisely you want to do – do you want to be a stylist, a writer, a designer, work in magazines, editorials, commercials… there’s so much, it’s very diverse. Pin down what you want, and if you don’t know, then research a lot and see what interest you – and when you have an idea then find people and find out what from others in that field, how to get there. My boss asked me at some point ‘But Sania, you do so many different things, what do you want to focus on?’ You gotta pick a path and then put everything into it. Work hard (which is pretty easy once you find your passion) and it will all pay off at the end. You should always give a little more than you’re asked to do. If the deadline is Friday, turn it in on Thursday. And another very important thing is to always be prepared to deal with unexpected situations. Don’t get mad, just solve the problem. Most importantly: be nice to people!
Photos by Me 🙂