Courtney Smith is by far one of the most renowned and well respected stylists in Ireland today. Not only is she in demand in Ireland, she is in demand on an international scale. She has worked with high profile clients such as H&M, Life Magazine and Tommy Hilfiger, just to name a few.
I caught up with the famous fashionista to find out what life is like as a jet setting, celebrity stylist and get some helpful career & styling tips from one of the best women in the business..
You are arguably Ireland’s most in-demand stylists, to what do you attribute your success?
Honestly it’s all down to collaborating with brilliant people and working really hard. I am 7 years freelance this year and I still work 6 days (sometimes 7 days) a week.
You studied fashion design at Sallynoggin College of Further Education and are living proof that PLC courses do lead to successful careers. Do you think it is important to study styling or is it simply a talent that you are born with?
I don’t think it’s important to study it at all. I just never had an interest in doing anything else other than fashion in college. It definitely taught me a lot though, but there are many different ways to learn about fashion and hone your craft. Everyone has different routes to get into fashion and styling.
However, I don’t think it’s really something you can be really ‘taught’, you need to have a creative eye in the first place to make it as a stylist. It’s not just putting a few clothes on someone. I would actually describe my job more as stylist, creative director, creative consultant and pr, because being an editorial and commercial stylist requires all those attributes to do it successfully.
If I could turn back time I would have tried to maybe do a business or entrepreneur type of course because that’s what I struggled with most at the beginning of my career, running a business was completely new to me and I really had to teach myself the ins and outs of business, including things like invoicing, tax returns, bookkeeping etc etc.
Describe a typical day in the life of Courtney Smith:
The only routine I have is that I get up at around 5.45am and head to the gym.
I’m usually set for my day at 7.30/8am and could be on my computer replying to emails or creating mood boards for clients, researching shoot ideas, looking at model portfolios for shoots or jobs, I could be on location on a photoshoot, I could be attending a fashion show or press event, I could be travelling to London for meetings or press events, I could be abroad on photoshoots, I could be in meetings and viewings all day, I could be casting models, I might be filming for Xpose or Ireland AM, I could be pulling clothes for a shoot or returning clothes, writing credit lists for magazines, the list is pretty varied and usually a combination of a lot of the above.
What do you think the biggest fashion trends will be this Summer?
White lace and Summer suedes are the biggest trends to look out for this summer, as seen at Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and Roberto Cavalli.
Do you think Ireland is becoming a more stylish/fashion forward country?
Absolutely, the more international brands that come over here and open shops the more options we have clothing wise. It’s opening up people’s eyes to new styles and brands and therefore we are becoming more conscious about what we dress like.
Which project has been your favorite to style?
That’s like asking a mom to choose a favourite child! Every shoot holds a special place in my heart, one of my most recent ones which was featured in Hunger and Life magazine.
It was a creative collaboration between myself and Lee Malone and I adore it because it’s a little different in comparison to other shoots I have done.
Where are your favorite places to shop in Ireland?
I adore boutiques like Folkster, Havana, Costume, Divine; also Brown Thomas for the cute french labels and for highstreet it has to be H&M and River Island.
What key pieces should every woman have in her wardrobe?
(And if you are like me, some killer vintage jackets and kimonos.)
What fashion trends do you wish would go away/have never existed?
Culottes! Never have and never will get them!
What is your advice to budding stylists, who want to get their foot in the door of such a competitive industry?
Put your head down and work hard. It’s a tougher industry than ever before. You’re only as good as the work you put out there so continue to do test shoots with up and coming photographers and hair & makeup and really hone your skills as a stylist.
Follow Courtney on Twitter & Instagram @CocoSmithStyle