You set up styling education platform AD Creative to help young creatives get into fashion, and you recently hosted WePresent’s documentary Drop School, which followed an aspiring designer’s journey into fashion. How do you see your role as a mentor and someone paving the way for the next generation of creatives?
Going back to what I mentioned earlier, I felt like I didn’t have a very good way into the industry, and if I had had more of a direct mentorship or help like that, it wouldn’t have taken me, like, 10 years to do what I was doing. It wouldn’t have taken me seven years to start making any money, and I ended up meandering because I didn’t have that entry point. Once I made it on my own and started having my own assistants, I saw how quickly they were able to start working and finding their own clients, and I just wanted to share that in an accessible way.
I’ve always had people messaging me and asking how I got into it, and it does feel like styling is a kind of gate-kept world. Styling can be laborious and it’s not well paid until you get to a certain level. Whether you do other stuff or you’ve got a good client base, however you build your business, there are many, many different ways of doing it. I come from a working-class background so for me, it’s important to mentor because I don’t know any other way, and even I had loads of privileges. It’s hard to live in London and do this job and be freelance and pay the rent.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
You have to follow your gut. It’s such a cliché and sounds so corny, but you really do have to follow your gut. A lot of people end up working in a job that they don’t want to do. And it takes commitment; really committing to the idea that you’re not going to have any time left for yourself if you’re going to pursue having your own business. Society wants you to go and work and work for the man. So you’re going to have to push hard if you want to be able to live freely.
At the same time, if you think you’re being overworked, you probably are. If I work 15 hours for my own business, that’s my problem, but don’t glamorise the “Girl Boss”. If that’s not for you and you want to live a soft life, that’s okay! Not everyone has to have a side hustle. If anything, it’s probably just glorified capitalism, because why do we have to work so hard to be able to buy? It’s actually okay to live normally within your means—we’re meant to work to live, not live to work.
What’s next for you?
Keep watching out for Add to Wishlist, because I definitely want that to be my main focus right now. I’ve worked on some great things this year so far and I’m so pleased that I’ve done Jorja [Smith]’s Falling Or Flying tour campaign, that I haven’t got into my 2024 bag yet! I’ve had such an amazing 2023 in terms of hitting all those goals that there isn’t much I feel like I haven’t done. Maybe a collab on a collection, or making something. I want to have my own tracksuit!
Thank you for having us, Alizé!