Tips For Aspiring Fashion Pros From Stylist Star, Alison Isbell

Alison Isbell, Fashion Stylist
Whether we're sitting in the front row or at a late-night fashion fete, we're always keeping an eye out for stylist Alison Isbell. Then again, she's not too hard to find. Sure, it helps that she's always sporting that can't-miss hair and wonderfully chic, curveball outfits, but it's her smile — her presence — that always commands our attention. As a beloved figure in the fashion scene and a stylist on the rise (she has editorials in Dossier, Nicotine, and many, many others), we thought we'd grab her to chat about her start in the industry, her tips for aspiring stylists, and what she loves about a night out in NYC.
Now, we know you come from Salt Lake City — a conservative town a long, long way from the fashion centers of New York, London, Paris, and so on, so what did your parents think when you told them you’d be running off to NYC to style clothes?
“I think they were a bit nervous for me financially — and rightfully so. They didn't quite understand what being a stylist entailed, and at some point, in the beginning, I recall being asked if being a stylist meant 'working at the mall...’ No, Mom and Dad, I do not work at the mall. As I continued assisting, and my own work progressed, they were able to see what I had been doing and began to understand. Despite any uncertainty they had in the early days, they’ve supported me unconditionally. My parents are my biggest fans, cheering me on every step of the way and giving me the confidence to believe in myself and my work.”
Now, you have a very distinctive look about you — has that helped in your work?
“I think creating an identity has absolutely helped to set me apart from the crowd, but I don't think that it's necessarily imperative to do so. Actually being talented and smart trumps simply just, 'looking cool.' Still, having a signature or original look can go a long way toward promoting yourself.”
We see you at events a lot. Does that play into your work?
“All the characters I meet during a night out definitely inspire my work. For some reason, when the sun goes down, a peculiar spell is cast upon the city. People shed their inhibitions and insecurities and gain the creativity and courage to dress and do things that they would otherwise be too afraid to in the light of day. Also, being part of the scene plays an important role in what I do, especially when it comes to networking. The majority of the work relationships (and great friendships) that I have today are the direct result of a night out at a fashion party or an art event.”
What's your advice to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps and break into styling?
"Work your ass off, become resilient, remind yourself why you love your job every day, and most importantly, be nice to everyone!"
And, Ms. Super Stylist, what are your night-out fashion tips?
“Pretty simple: Don't be afraid to dress up in anything that strikes your fancy, and be sure to wear shoes you can actually dance in!”
Styled by Lauren Edelstein; Hair and Makeup by Bethany Brill.
Vintage dress, American Apparel dress, Matiko shoes, Pamela Love Super Skinny Crystal Block Cuff, $500, available at Pamela Love; Pamela Love Short Crystal Block Cuff, $950, available at Pamela Love; Anndra Neen Barrel Cuff, $218, available at Paire.
Photographed at Edi & The Wolf, 102 Avenue C; 212-598-1040.

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