Organised closet, organised life: What a career as a wardrobe stylist looks like

Anita Krizanovic
is a successful stylist. On her website, one can see numerous fashion
shoots for magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Elle or Vogue and she styles TV
shows, influencers and artists as well. Apart from that, she recently
launched a new project: fashion illusion. As a wardrobe stylist, she helps
her clients organise their closets and thus translating to an organised
life. As her career shows, success does not necessarily have to be defined
via a straight forward career path. FashionUnited spoke with her about her
work.

How did you become a stylist?

When I was 16, I worked as a temp for Buffalo Boots in Frankfurt,
Germany and in five years, I not only worked in the stores but also at
fairs. That was my first connection with the fashion industry. After that,
I reached my current styling career via detours. After graduating from high
school, I trained as a fashion PR consultant – at a time when editorial was
still sending out fax messages! After that, I studied marketing
communication in Cologne and worked for various companies, among them Bread
& Butter Berlin. In my late twenties, I finally fulfilled my childhood
dream and studied fashion design in Berlin.

During my studies, styling was the topic when presenting my own
collection; I started networking with colleagues and people in the industry
and realised first projects already while still at university. During our
practice semester, I had the opportunity to work for the first episodes of
the TV show „X-Factor“ and that convinced me to make this my profession and
start my own business as a stylist.

What does it take or what does one need to do to be successful as a
stylist?

It is important to enjoy the profession and networking is also
essential. The creative industry is constantly changing; especially social
media has changed much in recent years. And one has to continuously assert
oneself and keep at it. The most important thing is never to lose trust in
oneself and the most beautiful feedback is happy customers. In the end,
that it what defines success most clearly. More than anything else, those
who want to work as stylists have to be realiable. Because one has to first
gain the brands’ and agencies’ trust before one can borrow a collection.
And of course, at the end of the day, one has to be good at one’s job, and
apart from creativity and networking, one has to know designers and trends,
be good at organising and not lose the fun in fashion.

A few examples please: Which projects were you in charge of as a
stylist?

Most exciting was working for a daily styling TV documentary that we
shot all over Germany for a few years. I was in charge of styling and
organsing more than 130 candidates and had to manage my own styling team.
Here, we captured real women with real problems who got help with various
wardrobe and styling problems.

Apart from TV, I worked as a stylist on editorials for Elle or Vogue,
advertisements, music videos, e-commerce or celebrity outfits. Every job
requires tackling it in a different way. One meets so many different
people; after all, that makes the job so special, intense and diversified.

Which ones were particularly fun and why?

Particularly fun are projects with colleagues who bring a certain kind
of energy along and who make sure that work does not feel like work. I like
to remember my cover shoot for Elle Slovenia with photographer Suzana
Holtgrave who lent me wonderful Chanel pieces. The whole process is always
terribly exciting, from choosing the look via the enquiry and acceptance to
delivering the actual production. Every time I am excited like a small
child when big brands say yes and I open the parcels like Christmas
presents.

Apart from the whole process, the biggest joy is the finished product,
the completed music video or to see the celebrity on the Red Carpet or to
open a magazine with your editorial in it or the happy private client who
looks at you happy and content after your visit.

And what are the disadvantages of the job that nobody thinks about?

As is the case with most creative professions, work is omnipresent.
There are no fixed timings to work or relax and one has to learn to take
self-care breaks and to stick to them. As soon as I accept a job, my brain
goes on overdrive and I start visualising the looks and prepare lists of
what has to be done when; there is no off button for that. Also by now, I
have many colleagues who have become friends so we talk about work even
outside of work. I don’t see this as a real disadvantage but one has to
know one’s limits and learn to know when they are reached.

I do see it as a disadvantage of how spontaneous one has to remain in
this job. That also affects one’s private life. Many times I have to cancel
plans because a job has come in on short notice. I am very grateful to my
friends and family for understanding this.

Recently, you launched your new project “Fashion Illusion”. What
prompted you to do this?

I first had the idea more than 15 years ago when I read an article about
Kate Moss’ wardrobe stylist at the time. The idea to organise closets for
others, to shop for them and to style them fascinated me. I already saved
the website name „Illusion Fashion“ many years ago and used it initially as
a blog. Last summer, I remembered this moment and I said to myself ‘if not
now, then when?’.

The concept for Fashion Illusion was already there; I just had to tweak
it and feed content to the website and since the beginning of the year, the
wardrobe service is now online.

I realised how unsure people are when it comes to fashion and that I
wanted to be closer to the end customer and help them.

What exactly do you do?

My motto is ‘to have a well organised wardrobe is the beginning of a
well organised life’. That means gaining confidence through analysis,
clarity and structure and becoming the master of one’s wardrobe. I offer
different service packages; mainly it is an in-home service, meaning I come
home to the clients and go through their wardrobe together with them. That
also includes weeding out and gaining an idea of what is there and what is
actually needed.

The most exciting part is the clients’ wow-effect when they realise the
connection between a lack of a clear view and purchase decision that are
not smart or the surprised expressions when seeing the many potential looks
that their wardrobe offers. According to their insecurities, I help them
with type of figure, new job, new phase of life or occasion to find
something that fits and more than anything to feel good for a long time.

Often, less is more. I do not want to primarily push new purchases or
encourage consumerism but to first “shop” in one’s own closet.

And to those who are already confident in their style or generally have
less time, I offer services like personal shopping or cleaning out their
closet. With my different packages, I have tried to cover all needs.

You have been called the German Marie Condo; how do you feel about
that?

Marie Condo helps people clean out their past; I help people design
their future. Marie Condo provides structures, how to best clean up; I,
however, help people keep their own style and needs in mind and give each
client individual advice.

What can each one of us do to consume fashion more sustainably?

Sustainable consumerism does not only mean switching over to organic
qualities but to wear the clothes that one owns as long as possible and to
make future purchase decisions more consciously. Because even a jeans made
out of organic cotton takes 8,000 litres to produce.

Of course, one should not take the fun out of certain trends and can buy
something that one does not really need but that should not always be the
case and when buying something new, one should not buy impulsively.

As part of a TV documentary, I was at the second largest recycling plant
for textiles in Germany and it is simply horrifying to see the heaps of
clothes, partly unworn, that end up in collection bins.

This is why I help my clients select purposefully, advise about repair
and care and depending on the state, suggest selling on various online
portals or at the flea market. Or I help them make the right decision for
donating the clothes, making sure they end up with people who need them.
Regardless of what one decides to do, it is important to extend the
clothes’ life span.

Photo: Anita Krizanovic

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This article was originally published on FashionUnited DE; edited
and translated by Simone Preuss.

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