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How to do styling like a pro

“Intuitive. Quirky. Variant. Feminine. Powerful.” That’s how Julie Liu defines her style. Listed by the BFC-British Fashion Council among the 2022 ‘New Wave’ creatives, an annual ranking of the 50 most innovative and inspiring young talents from around the world, Liu is a Chinese-Canadian stylist and art director based in London. With works published by Vogue Ukraine and Document Journal, as well as Lampoon and ODDA, this Istituto Marangoni London Fashion Styling and Creative Direction alumna says she translates “shapes, colours and humanity into creative visual images, with a pinch of humour.”

Vogue Ukraine. Photographer Lara Angelil, Stylist Julie Liu

Vogue Ukraine. Photographer Lara Angelil, Stylist Julie Liu

Vogue Ukraine. Photographer Lara Angelil, Stylist Julie Liu

Vogue Ukraine. Photographer Lara Angelil, Stylist Julie Liu

Vogue Ukraine. Photographer Lara Angelil, Stylist Julie Liu

Vogue Ukraine. Photographer Lara Angelil, Stylist Julie Liu

“She first stepped foot into the industry at age 17, working at her mother’s hairdresser’s beauty and photography studio,” stated BFC describing Julie Liu. “Still learning to fully embrace her third-culture identity, Liu looks to story-tell to the world with a sense of romanticism, power, and a pinch of humour.”

Primary Paper Issue 5. Photographer Olivia Lifungula, Stylist Julie Liu

Primary Paper. Photographer Olivia Lifungula, Stylist Julie Liu

We sat down with trailblazing stylist and Istituto Marangoni London alumna Julie Liu to hear the stories behind her career but also to talk inspirations, aspirations and more. Her two cents as advice for young graduating fashion stylists? “Invest in works and people for the long run. Look at people in the eye. Make a good coffee.”

 

Julie in 100 characters?
I’m a China-born, Canada raised and UK-based fashion stylist and art director. Determined to pursue an education and career in fashion and beyond, I moved to London and successfully graduated with a BA in Fashion Styling at Istituto Marangoni London in 2019. Empowered and rooted by my third-culture upbringing, my works translate shapes, colours and humanity into creative visual images, with a pinch of humour. 

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Un post condiviso da Julie Liu (@juliejulieliu)

How were you able to identify your own style?
Finding your own style isn’t an easy thing that will happen overnight. It’s not easy because it is a decision or journey that reflects on your perceptions and identity down to the core. From understanding who you actually are to what you like and how you receive and execute creativity. I believe all creatives’ “styles” change and evolve— like photographer Martin Parr and designer Raf Simons. And so would be thoughtful to look out for updates from time to time. Study them and study yourself. I myself was able to identify my preferred “style” by countless trials and errors while shooting editorials, countless meetings with photographers and some good open-minded communication. 

Your style in 5 words?
Intuitive. Quirky. Variant. Feminine. Powerful.

#legend. Photographer Gregory Chong, Stylist Julie Liu

#legend. Photographer Gregory Chong, Stylist Julie Liu

#legend. Photographer Gregory Chong, Stylist Julie Liu

#legend. Photographer Gregory Chong, Stylist Julie Liu 

#legend. Photographer Gregory Chong, Stylist Julie Liu

#legend. Photographer Gregory Chong, Stylist Julie Liu

#legend. Photographer Gregory Chong, Stylist Julie Liu

#legend. Photographer Gregory Chong, Stylist Julie Liu

How did you create your own routine as a freelancer?
Freelancer careers demand half your brain to be your own promoter or manager. Having a routine can mean different for everyone. I’m more of a workaholic type of person, so producing and planning shoot after shoot with limited time is what gives me a kick of dopamine. No rest if not always good for you, but it’s one of my understandings of how I can control my timeframes as a freelancer. One of my set routines is definitely regularly following up with my industry collaborators and sending portfolio updates to magazines. However, I’m grateful for being able to work whenever I’d need to and plan to, and overlooking my 9 to 5 friends. A freelancer’s routine reflects their long-time goal and value to time.

What advice would you give to a graduating Fashion Styling student?
Invest in works and people for the long run. Look at people in the eye. Make a good coffee. And always be ready for an opportunity. And if I can, I’d stress this in bold and italics combined, do not stop creating or shooting. There will be times when you might not get a job that you’d want or simply any job, but it’s important to take effort and time to keep expressing yourself creatively. You don’t have to put everything on Instagram, but your brain can’t stop.

Lampoon Magazine. Photographer Jonathan Arundel | Studio, Stylist Julie Liu

Lampoon Magazine. Photographer Jonathan Arundel | Studio, Stylist Julie Liu

Lampoon Magazine. Photographer Jonathan Arundel | Studio, Stylist Julie Liu

Lampoon Magazine. Photographer Jonathan Arundel | Studio, Stylist Julie Liu

Lampoon Magazine. Photographer Jonathan Arundel | Studio, Stylist Julie Liu

Lampoon Magazine. Photographer Jonathan Arundel | Studio, Stylist Julie Liu

Lampoon Magazine. Photographer Jonathan Arundel | Studio, Stylist Julie Liu

Lampoon Magazine. Photographer Jonathan Arundel | Studio, Stylist Julie Liu 

What is an unusual habit that you love?
I absolutely love getting soft-serve sorbet. 

What does being one of the global 50 NEW WAVE: Creatives 2022 of the BFC’s Fashion Award mean to you?
This selection was totally nuts to me. It’s an amazing recognition for not just me but every photographer, model, makeup, hair artist, and others I’ve worked with. I take this as a mark to keep going and pushing harder. Thanks mom and dad.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Impossible to answer. I hope to see myself working at a stage of creative freedom, surrounded by old and new artistic minds, and having found my regular go-to meeting spot where I win over the clients with my favourite barista.

 

 

Nicola Favaron
Programme Leader of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Fashion Styling Programmes, London
School
LONDON
Course
Programme
undergraduate-BA (Hons) Degrees · 3-Year courses