This week we sat down with Ireland’s leading stylist Courtney Smith (@CoCoSmythStyle) to discuss her role at the forefront of the Irish fashion industry.
How did you first get into the industry?
I have always worked in fashion from a young age because it was always my favourite thing – there’s even pictures of me aged seven putting on my first fashion show for my parents after cutting up loads of my mom's old clothes and attempting to make something! After that any part-time job during school always revolved around style and fashion. One of my first ever summer jobs was in a school uniform and suit factory which was interesting to see the production side of things. Then I moved into retail and styling, before studying fashion design and then a postgrad in Fashion Media. So becoming a fashion stylist was just a natural progression really. I always wanted to be a designer but discovered I loved working with the finished product more! I began styling celebrities for a boutique in London and eventually evolved into magazine and campaign styling.
Can you describe a typical work day?
There really is no such thing! It can be anything from filming Xposé / pulling looks for a shoot / travelling somewhere for a shoot / shooting a campaign, look-book or editorial / meetings / attending press events / mood-boarding / emailing / invoicing ... the list is always varied and usually a combination of all of the above! I do however get up at about 5.30am every day, so I have some sense of routine.
What motivates you?
I'm very driven - I have a long list of things I want to achieve in my career and every new year I write down a few things to tick off my list each year, it helps me stay driven and motivated to reach my goals.
How do you integrate social media into your role as a fashion stylist/creative?
Badly I think! It's something I have been working on though. Sometimes I get so divulged in a shoot or job that I completely forget to post a behind the scenes picture even though I know there are probably people following me more interested in that side of my job. But I do actively try and show people a little bit of what I do on a daily basis when I can especially things that are exclusives with brands that nobody has seen yet - as well as things like travelling, fashion weeks and of course my outfit posts.
What has been your biggest career achievement to date?
Honestly every few months I reach a goal I never thought I would before but there's definitely been some cool highlights such as interviewing Khloe Kardashian while being the official red carpet host for Lipsy in London; travelling the world on shoots such as the middle East and America; shooting for brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Brown Thomas and having my own collaborations with top brands H&M and DKNY.
Have you any advice for people thinking of entering the industry?
The top thing is don't be afraid of hard work - it's a tough industry but it has its benefits and if you love fashion then you won’t mind the crazy hours. Basically work your ass off and be resilient!
Is there anyone that influenced you to take this career path?
Not specifically, my dad is self-employed and runs his own business though so watching him work so hard growing up definitely helped me be prepared for employment and freelance life.
With regards choosing fashion as a career path - I like to think it chose me!
Where do you hope to see yourself / your business in 5 years?
Doing exactly what I am now but for bigger clients and continuing to grow my name as a stylist, art director and influencer.
What is your pet peeve about working in the industry?
People thinking fashion isn't a serious career!
What do you do to relax and unwind after a long day’s work?
Something usually revolving around a large glass of red wine! Take a look at Courtney Smith’s blog, or check out her Instagram, Twitter or Facebook page for daily updates. She also regularly features on TV3’s Xposé and Ireland AM, so keep an eye out.