So Tell us, What’s your name, where you come from and where do you live now?
My name is Justine King, I’m from Dublin, Ireland and after a time spent living in New York I’m back in my hometown and love it here!
Tell us what you do/ who you are?
I work in fashion, both as a freelance stylist and as the Creative Manager of a company called Opsh.com which is an online shopping platform that allows women to shop the online high street with one account in one place. As a freelancer I primarily work with the fashion and lifestyle magazine show Xpose, presenting and styling fashion slots on a weekly basis as well as doing editorials when I can and contributing to fashion slots for 2FM, RTE’s Two Tube and the RTE Today Show.
So, can you tell everyone about your journey to becoming a stylist, presenter and an overall fabulous fashionista?
I always adored clothes and my mother says that I decided exactly what I wanted to wear since I was a toddler, which definitely left a lot of room for dodgy experimentation! I was always drawing dresses and made my own magazine called ‘’The Model’’ which consisted of stick drawings and cut outs from other magazines but the sentiment was there! I studied drama at Trinity College in Dublin and really loved costume class, particularly researching costume ideas and making moodboards.
I didn’t enjoy actually constructing the garments but loved buying pieces from charity shops and putting the costumes together. I didn’t know there was such a job as a stylist! I spent my summer holidays in New York and interned with a PR department at Catherine Malandrino and I suppose that was where I saw first hand what stylists do and thought ‘Yep, that’s the dream.’ I then finished out college, moved to New York and interned with a boutique Fashion PR agency called PR Consulting before landing my dream internship with my long time idol, stylist Mel Ottenberg. Up until then Mel’s work was quite arty, with editorials in magazines like ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘Purple Magazine’ but while I was working with him he became Rihanna’s stylist which meant working on some incredible projects!
When I moved back to Ireland I won a TV competition to become Oasis’ (the shop not the band!) Personal Stylist then went freelance three years ago, working as an editorial, TV and commercial stylist. My editorials have been in Xpose Magazine, Social & Personal, U Magazine, The Gloss, Life Magazine, The Irish Independent Weekend Magazine, Woman’s Way and Hot Press and last year I worked on The Voice of Ireland styling team which is where I met the lovely Jamie!
So what’s a typical day in the life of Justine Like ?
I always get up by 7am. I firmly believe reclaiming your mornings by doing something -whether it’s watching an episode of Gossip Girl, going to the gym or reading a magazine- is they key to a happy work day! So I give myself about an hour of “me time” before I need to leave the house. I work with Opsh Monday to Thursday and although it’s based in an office, no two days are the same! I walk into work so about 45 minutes, dive into a bucket of coffee and get cracking on my emails. After work, I’ll usually have a press event or launch to attend and if not, I’ll catch up with friends for drinks or a movie.
Describe your fashion and lifestyle?
Although I’m a stylist I don’t feel the pressure to have to wear the latest trends if I don’t like them. My job is to make a model look amazing, not to model those clothes myself and I think the crazy obsession we have with social media mean many ‘stylists’ blur those lines and make money off modelling clothes themselves on their Instagram! My style is always changing, I genuinely dress for how I’m feeling that day. I used to be more edgy but I’m going through a current love affair with minimalist simplicity having just come back from Tokyo where Normcore is having a major moment.
What did 5 year old Justine want to be?
I always wanted to be ‘a TV presenter or a telephone operator’… My brother still mocks me for that one. I just thought the headset looked pretty cool.
Is the world of a stylist all glitz and glam and freebies?
You do get A LOT of freebies which is obviously fantastic and you get to go to some very cool dinners and events which I try not to take for granted but it’s not all glam. There are many days spent carrying an outrageous amount of heavy bags and there’s a huge amount of administration work involved that people don’t really see. And as with every self-employed person, sorting taxes is definitely not glam!
In your line of work is it important to have a degree in fashion?
No I don’t have any formal degree in fashion. You either have an innate flair for styling or you don’t. And the rest can be learned on the job. My advice to anyone looking to become a stylist or work in any area of fashion is to intern with at least 3-4 different people – put yourself forward for everything, and don’t be afraid to wing it!
Is it important to have an agent or booker? Or is it all word of mouth and networking?
I don’t have an agent or booker, I manage all of that myself, but I think London and New York is a different ball game. Here I get booked because I have good relationships with most people in the industry and it’s a case of “big fish, small pond” but London is so huge it seems you’d need an agent.
Do you have any words of wisdom for people wanting to have a career in fashion?
Work hard. Don’t expect things to happen for you overnight; hard work pays off and you can never learn too much from work experience and internships. Keep your head held high and go after what you want, but be prepared to go in at the bottom and work your ass off; it will eventually pay off
Be Nice To People. It may sound obvious but nice people go a long way. No matter how talented you are nobody wants to work with a bitch so be kind to everyone you encounter and you will be remembered for it.
Start Testing. Although I look back on my first test shoots and cringe, it makes me realise how much I have learned –and am still learning- from every shoot I do. It is also a great way to build up a solid contact base of designers, photographers, models, MUAs and hairstylists. Gather up your aspiring creative mates or put an open call out on Twitter and Facebook for others looking to collaborate on a portfolio shoot.
Don’t be afraid to ask. If you need help or advice, reach out to stylists you admire and just ask them- most would be more than willing to help you.
Believe in Yourself. In this industry you will come up against a lot of bitchy and jealous people, particularly when you’re starting out. Don’t let them get to you just because they weren’t brave enough to put themselves out there to go after what they wanted. Put yourself out there and tell people about your dreams.
It may seem self-indulgent but if you’re not talking about them then nobody is. Use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to update and display your work and you never know whose eye it may catch.
Who are your style icons?
Kate Bosworth is my ultimate girl crush- she is amazing! Margot Robbie is fabulous. Pandora Sykes and of course, Olivia Palermo.
What’s the most underrated item of clothing or accessory?
A leather jacket. Winter or summer, it’s my absolute staple piece. It funks up a summer dress or looks cool just styled with a tshirt and jeans. I have about 5 different styles and I’m always on the lookout for more!
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I’d like to be Head of Creative with Opsh or another amazing fashion brand, overseeing the brand’s visual message and working on some incredible global campaigns!
What do you like to do in your downtime?
It sounds weird but I love going for walks, with friends to catch up or alone to clear my head. I love cooking too. Apart from that, wine with friends, festivals in summer and I love the cinema!
Tell us something fun about the city you live in?
Dublin has this incredible creative buzz going on right now. We’ve come out of the economic recession with a new era of actors, musicians, designers and creatives- it’s amazing and a really positive buzzy place to be right now!
Where else can we see your work or find you online?
Her Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat: @justinekingxx
Click here to find Justine on Facebook.
And you can find out more about Justine and see some of her amazing work on her website: http://style.justinekingstyling.com/