19 Apr 2017

Making fashion look picture perfect

1:13 pm on 19 April 2017

New York-based prop stylist Rachel Stickley talks about her wildly creative craft in the latest episode of the podcast My Heals Are Killing Me.

Photo: Supplied

Rachel Stickley Photo: Unknown

You’re relaxing reading a glossy magazine and as you do you come across beauty advertisements and editorials. Your eye is drawn to the perfect white snow-freeze style whip that sits poised in an open jar of moisturiser. It’s elegant. The light draws a halo above it emanating a warm glow with the suggestion that you’ll be better off with this product in your life - like the picture you’ll be glowing from the inside out.

But whether you’re lured in by the advert or not, next time consider how long it took for the product stylist to make it picture perfect. It’s a skill — even an art form — as New York-based Kiwi Rachel Stickley knows all about. When she’s on the job her art tools are at the ready and she could be doing anything from sourcing furniture to melting lipsticks.

Stickley has been working in New York for six years and left a job in advertising to go freelance — a dream career for a creative person who doesn’t like the routine of a 9-5 office job. But the glamour of working with models and styling the latest beauty products also comes with the challenge of being covered in paint and not to mention the long hours.

The industry demands it, according to Stickley whose experience in New York has opened up a range of opportunities that she never expected to find herself in.

"New York is a place that’s really unique in the United States where it really embraces young people and immigrants, and if you have aspirations and you wanna work really hard, everyone has been in your shoes before," she says.

Styling editorial shoots and working with cosmetics and lifestyle brands offers different hands-on creative challenges. And while it looks easy, it requires thinking outside the box and having an eye for detail.

"There's a lot of knowledge that goes into understanding textures and the tools used to manipulate them," Stickley says.

Find out more in this week’s episode of My Heels Are Killing Me when Rachel speaks to Sonia Sly about the pros and cons of the prop styling world, emerging stylists who are breaking into the industry via social media and an inside view on trends in one of the most stylish fashion capitals in the world.


*Disclosure: Rachel Stickley is the sister of Wireless editor Marcus Stickley.