The View magazine hooked up with top fashion stylist Ashley Veraart, and talked about her childhood, how she got into styling, the workflow, her ambitions, and much more.
TV: Hi Ashley, tell us a bit about you.
AV: Hey! I grew up in the south of Holland, in Zeeland, but always felt a bit out of place there and dreaming of leaving as soon as I had finished high school. I was good at learning, so after finishing my bilingual pre-university track, I decided maybe against my own aspirations to go the University of Amterdam, and study Anthropology. After a year or so I felt that it was interesting but not completely fulfilling my dreams. After three years I got my bachelor degree and then decided to switch to fashion. Then studied at the styling academy Artemis for two years where I learned about the different directions in fashion and styling, and became very passionate about styling for photography. Decided to devote myself to this and started building and working on a portfolio and assisting several stylists.
TV: When was the first time you got in touch with fashion or creativity?
AV: I was always interested in fashion. Loved shopping with my dad when we went abroad, so you could shop clothes that you could’t find at home. I liked to dress non-standard, and especially living in a small town in Zeeland, that could be hard sometimes and other kids could be very harsh.
TV: You chose to become a stylist?
AV: When I got into fashion it was clear to me that styling was what I wanted to do, especially styling for photo shoots. The greatest thing to me is to be on a set with a team, and have everything come together (hair, make-up, location, model, styling, lightning, photography). Combining different clothing items to create a new look and to tell a story within those images is the best thing.
TV: How did you go into the styling world?
AV: Hard hard work. I have been assisting different stylist over a period of around three years, and building and working on my portfolio as well. A lot of free work and test shoots, together with learning from the stylists that I was assisting. I’m not great at networking and I think this makes it even harder. But I rather be myself and convince people with my work and drive.
TV: Take us through the workflow for a stylist.
AV: It depends on the job of course how you go about it. With commercial clients most of the time we have a meeting to talk things through. I check out the work of the rest of the team, do some research, make a moodboard, sometimes I also make a shopping list and think of places to shop to get all the clothing and things required. Sometimes a client asks me to photograph my sets before the shooting date. And with my editorial work, I most of the time have a hotline with the photographer to constantly discuss ideas, make a moodboard, select a model, book a hair and make-up artist, think about the style for hair and make-up, discuss the story-line, location, lightning and styling.
TV: How do you stay educated as a stylist, aside from doing productions?
AV: You have to keep yourself updated and I do that by looking at the shows every season, keeping up with the trends, analyzing the trends, research the magazines, and work of other stylists and photographers.
TV: Can you share about a couple of your recent projects?
AV: I work a lot for Grazia Magazine in Holland, and for them I do lots of different jobs from shopping pages to celebrity’s to editorials. The last project I was working on is an editorial for our Wedding Issue. We wanted to do a wedding shoot, but not only with traditional white dresses, and added some colors and flowers. It turned out really nice and you can see the result when the issue hits the stores on the 13th of May. And right now I’m really busy with two editorials for retail magazines Fashioncult and Jeanscult. These editorials are more like free work almost because it’s a bit more experimental and we as a team are completely free in what we want to. Besides these editorials I’m also preparing for fwo commercial shoots for shoe brands Blink and Bronx for which we are shooting the autumn/winter campaigns.
TV: You are repped by ERA Management. How important is having an agent?
AV: I think an agent and having someone represent you gives value. It’s a confirmation of the quality of your work to have somebody else from the professional scene believe in you. Also it makes you more visible and easier to find for clients.
TV: How big are your ambitions?
AV: I dream of shooting for Vogue one day. I would love to work for big international magazines like Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, and being able to make beautiful editorials and see your work published in these magazines. Best would be combining this with more commercial work or campaigns for international brands. But I’m realistic as well. I’m willing to work really hard and will continue chasing my dreams but taking it step by step.
TV: What do you do to relax?
AV: I love spending time with my husband, family and friends. Going out for dinner and watching movies. Also I love to dance. I started dancing when I was four and danced a lot (around 3 to 4 times a week), until I was eighteen and moved away from Zeeland. But I always continued dancing and still follow some dance classes whenever I can, especially modern, jazz and hip hop, are the styles I love.
TV: Thanks Ashley!
Check out more of her work on the ERA website.
Interview minimally edited to keep authenticity.
Images copyright to their respective owners.