ET Canada’s bombshell Stylist, Alicia MacNamara, on her first job, Canadian designers and her advice to future ambitious stylists
Beauty and brains, Alicia MacNamara is the Stylist for Canada’s number one Entertainment News destination, Entertainment Tonight Canada. At ET Canada, Alicia oversees wardrobe direction and maintains her craft and passion for fashion design. After focusing her studies on political science, history and fine art, Alicia graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor in Education and Masters in Teaching. Alicia tackles both her passion for fashion and teaching by mentoring students through a styling internship program at ET Canada.
Between the masses of shimmering dresses on racks, two walls taken up by shelves of the tallest heels imaginable, another wall dedicated to the jewelry lining it sits Alicia at her sticky-note covered desk and day-planner. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Alicia despite her busy schedule and talk about the making of her exciting career.
Creativity lives inside of all of us in different forms, for Alicia the fine art of seamstress and pattern making came to her naturally. Not only brave but bold, Alicia’s first venture in the industry was a personal business, “Initially I did custom evening wear and bridal gowns for private clients” this venture showcased her couturier skills and grew her industry experience and network. This experience lead Alicia to working in wardrobe, “In 2010, I became the assistant costume designer for Dan For Mayor: Season 2.” This experience set her career into high gear where she had the opportunity to work on sets of multiple television series. Her lengthy resume includes working as Assistant Costume Designer and Wardrobe Supervisor for episodes of Covert Affairs in 2010, as well as wardrobe assistant for episodes of Against the Wall in 2011.
Styling encompasses different job requirements in each setting and brings new challenges. When Alicia transitioned from television series to on-air filming at ET Canada she found that although they sound similar by both being on sets, they are completely different. Rather than characters having their specific style throughout a television series, on-air filming at ET Canada is “Non-stop busy! There is always another event, we are always on television or working on editorials, it’s not like a television series or show that stops and finishes, it’s completely non-stop” this means that new dresses and styles change on the show in an instant. Alicia scours every nook and cranny in the 6ix and beyond as she sources, bringing in new styles every day to create and assemble a vision that is as unique as it is stylish for the on-air staff at ET Canada including Cheryl Hickey, Sangita Patel and Roz Weston to name a few.
Being a Canadian entertainment news outlet, Alicia believes it is important to keep it Canadian with the show in terms of style, “Canadian designers are to be respected and spotlighted as the leaders in our community” she says, “we wear Canadian on the show because it is important to invest in our fashion community first.” As a celebrity stylist in Toronto, Alicia keeps her personal style Canadian conscious, “I try, if I am purchasing clothes personally, to purchase from my sponsors, whether it is a Canadian boutique or a Canadian designer or Canadian brand.” Alicia explains that working at ET Canada “Is nothing short of entertaining and when I do have that rare down time, all I want to do is get back to work”. The passion she has for her job radiates from her presence. To date in her styling career her most stand out moment is explained as the time she dressed Sangita Patel in a stunning white and shimmering gold accent cut out dress by Canadian designer L’Momo for the red carpet at the Emmy Awards this year.
Passion fuels the journey that life takes us on and with the career that Alicia has built herself this far in the industry, she makes sure to pass the opportunities on to aspiring stylists and fashion students. Alicia takes on student interns at ET Canada to give them access to experience and the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of not only the wardrobe department itself but also the opportunity to network oneself in the fashion industry. Alicia’s words of encouragement to fashion students include volunteering in any fashion setting to network yourself, “you need to work on creative projects with whoever you can get involved, whether it’s volunteering to work for a designer or work for an online magazine, or even being creative with artistic friends who have their own passions as say a makeup or hair artist, whether it be on social media or in an online portfolio to show what you are capable of doing. You have to develop an aesthetic and show your work ethic to set yourself apart from your competition”.