Tea with Talia
An expert talks career, style and the future face of fashion
Toronto has flourished as an artistic and cultural hub in the last few years, particularly in the fashion industry. Talia Brown is one of Toronto’s highly established and successful professionals in the business. Talia is a freelance personal shopper and fashion stylist. Growing up in the small town of North Bay, four hours north of Toronto, she knew from a young age that she adored fashion. The stylist first began dealing with clothes in her teenage years. “I worked in the florist shop of a department store and they would occasionally give me children’s wear to sort and handle. Even though I didn’t particularly want to work with children’s wear, I knew that I loved it “says Talia. She went on to study English at Queens University and by the time she started a career in fashion she had no educational background in the art.
Talia has dipped her toes in many waters in the business of fashion. She began her career with internships at Marni in New York and California. Talia explained “When I landed my internship in California they threw me into wardrobe almost immediately because it was evident that I could do the job”. Of all the successful collaborations she has had the pleasure of being a part of, Talia insists that her favourite jobs have been to work on multiple shoots for Fashion Gone Rogue and Vogue Italia. She was the stylist on set for ‘Dahlia’ the lingerie shoot featured in Vogue Italia. The honour of a feature in Vogue is a dream Talia has had almost her entire life. She also enjoys her photo-shoots with photographer Javier Leveria insisting that they work extremely well together and often possessing similar creative visions. “Sometimes the work we have done together for no pay has been work that received more positive attention than paid assignments I have been a part of” Talia exclaims. The stylist points out that when her and Javier leave the set for the day they know they have created art.
Reaching the level of professional success that Talia has with no formal fashion education, allows her to understand the difficulties of breaking into the business of style and fashion. The Toronto fashion industry tends to fluxgate in terms of available jobs in the last few years. Print is becoming electronic and magazines, which contain a large percent of industry employment, are a dying art form. The spirited stylist exclaims, “Technology unnerves me, I love the romance of holding and smelling a magazine”. She realizes this is not the typical answer, however, she believes that with this new age of technology come pros and cons, especially in fashion. In the more recent years, graduates and young professionals starting their career are moving abroad to look for more opportunity, causing the job demand in the industry to shift repeatedly. When asked if the job market would expand in five to ten years, Talia replies that it truly depends. She explains that everyone with an interest in fashion deems himself or herself a stylist of some form. In recent years it has made it complicated for employers to regard styling as a specialized skill and paid profession rather than a hobby.
Due to the fact that Talia has worked her way up the style ladder, she has experienced the professional fears and barriers most fashion students will. Becoming a professional stylist in this new age is absolutely more of a possibility than it may have been fifty years ago, however, it can still be tricky for future graduates. Talia advises students to be ambitious, patient and confident always. “Do not take no for an answer” she warns, “because there are many people in the industry who will break you down”. Talia claims that her hands on experience has provided her with the largest amount of knowledge she has acquired. The classroom taught her the interpersonal skills she values but being thrown into the industry gave her the skills for her successful career. She advises that in this new generation of extensive post secondary education, students shouldn’t forget that you really only learn to do a job by doing it.
The talkative trailblazer is extremely excited about spring/summer 2013 trends. Talia confesses that we have had monochromatic colour schemes for a long time and finally this season we can look for pops of bold and bright colours. She acknowledges that rich silver and gold tones will be all the rage. “Nails are huge right now. Nails have shifted into an essential and creative part of fashion and dressing yourself to go out” Talia comments. For the upcoming warm season, this pretty professional has a few work gigs lined up. She is working on an editorial ad campaign for Persona and a series of photo-shoots for various look books. Talia is also working in wardrobe for a pilot television series that has not yet aired; from there not even she knows where her fashion journey will take her next.