Interview with Holly Katz Style, Atlanta Personal Stylist Extraordinaire
Why did you choose fashion as a career?
Growing up I always knew I was a creative person. I have been working since I was 14 years old, primarily in the bar and restaurant industry. It was so easy for me to work at a fast pace which is what is required in the service industry. I always knew I was interested in fashion but didn’t know how to pursue that in college my freshman in sophomore years. After getting a two-year degree, I decided to take some fashion courses and got certified in Retail Marketing and Management. That’s how I started my career in retail. This allowed me to work with people allowing me to be creative with the clothes at the same time.
What was your motivation to break into the fashion industry?
After completing an internship in New York City, I decided that I wanted to go back to school, graduate and move to New York permanently. I completed my B.F.A. in Fashion Design, had no job, didn’t know anyone and decided to move to the fashion hub of the world. I wanted to take my chances, knock on doors and see where I landed in the fashion world.
What was your first job in fashion?
My first job was in production and garment costing for a large ready-to-wear company. It was there that I learned about fabric, trim and how much it really cost to make a garment. I worked a lot with the overseas factories and learned the concept of sketch to production. I also learned the sample process of how styles get approved and go into production.
What inspired you to pursue styling?
After several years (and jobs) in the industry I decided I wanted to be more creative in my job. I am so grateful for all the experience that I did have which made me stronger in my career today. I am more efficient at administrative duties, communication and very detailed follow up. Every single position I had prepared me for styling. I took some additional courses at the School of Style in New York City where I was trained in both personal and wardrobe styling. It’s so rewarding to work with clients who find the courage for change and want to improve their image and sense of style. I also work in fashion show production, have a monthly fashion segment on a local morning television show in Atlanta and give corporate speaking presentations to major corporations.
What is some advice that you would give someone who is thinking about going in the fashion industry?
Most people think that fashion is movies and magazines. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Fashion is a business and that was the biggest lesson that I learned when I actually started to learn how fashion companies really are run. Be clear about your goals and never stop learning. There are so many parts of the industry; denim, women’s wear, menswear, children’s, lingerie, juniors, plus-sizes and so much more. Find what speaks to you and do everything you can to get the job that you want even though you might have to work other jobs or positions to get there. Every job will lead you to your dream no matter how long it takes. Be patient and know you are where you are for a reason. Use your resources and interview others in the position you wish to be in. Seek advice from others in the career you want. Network and surround yourself with smart, career driven people who make things happen.
What has been the hardest thing about styling?
Styling can be very costly at times. Most of the time you have to fund your own projects until the budget comes in or you get paid. This job isn’t for everyone. When you work in big metropolitan cities such as New York or Los Angeles, the jobs are more plentiful and easier to score. I’m either test shooting with photographers or doing editorials which don’t pay much or sometimes even at all. That’s why it’s so important to keep up the personal styling side of my business. This includes giving corporate styling presentations to companies in Atlanta and the surrounding areas in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. You have to have several streams of income to make this work.
What has been the best thing about styling?
Definitely the most rewarding part is seeing the finished product. Sometimes that might be in personal styling, working a fashion show or educating people on television or in one of my corporate styling seminars. Giving people the power to put themselves first and take control of polishing their image makes such a huge difference in people’s lives. People don’t know the formula to great style, which is believing that you can be stylish without buying expensive things. Fashion is not about shopping all the time. It’s about dressing for your body type and figuring out the message you would like to send to the world when you walk out the door each day. Great style comes from within and that’s what I teach my clients.