token girl: like a girl, but better

Wednesday, 12 January 2005

'i'd like to thank my manager, my cat, my fans, er...'

Is there something missing from this snippet of award-ceremony acceptance speech speak? Yes lots, just read on.

This month sees the high profile launch of the exclusive NATIONAL LONDON FASHIONISTA COLLECTIVE, the new union for British stylists and image-makers. Just-approved by the National Trades Union Congress, these integral fashion workers have finally got their well-heeled way and have been granted the right to union representation. The Collective’s impeccably turned-out spokeswoman, known simply as Stef C, like some kind of fake DJ, was kind enough to talk to STF about the nascent organisation’s mission statement.

‘We’ve been given a chance to enhance and promote the position of Stylists both in the industry and within the public sphere,’ she begins very reasonably.
‘THE TIME TO BEAUTIFY OUR URBAN LANDSCAPE IS NOW,’ she explains, ‘ and in the future, the stylist or image consultant is going to be the figure primarily responsible for making that happen, you know? Through ads, photo-shoots, celebrity-styling and, ultimately, the clothes we pick to wear together to make an outfit.’
In the long-term the snappily moniker’d NLFC hope that every British child will eventually be awarded with a stylist when they reach school finishing age, and leave the style-vacuum of school uniform behind them. They hope to pilot schemes in some of London’s least trendy boroughs including Harrow and Ealing over the next 12 months. Year 10&11 students in several schools will be assigned stylists in an unprecedented fashion attack.

The Fashionistas’ policies are outlined in a 200-page limited edition brochure which has been sponsored by New Look and is published by EMAP (available from all good newsagents). Alongside outlandish demands for the Pope to canonise the very much still ALIVE and still trend-setting Katie Grand, Stef C points out their essential objective – to grab for stylists the recognition they surely deserve.
‘Stylists are the creative visionaries of our age, you know what I mean? These days everyone’s a celeb, for god’s sake; even photographers get their own features in ELLE!’

In addition she’d like to see more artists recognising the fundamental role their stylists play in their respective pathways to success. I suggest Kylie & Kelly Osbourne as examples of this publicly unacknowledged debt.

In the meantime ITV’s essential lazy breakfast treat, This Morning, has overturned all the cast-iron production policies which ensure the programme’s political abstinence and general inoffensiveness by throwing their formidable weight behind the NLFC’s launch. A week of programming will see their ‘Challenge the Stylist’ spot shifting into focus, its on screen time allowance doubled. The usual self-promoters who fill the interview sofa will be replaced by in-depth stylist profiles.
One element of the NLFC’s TV coverage ought to demonstrate just how much their launch has captured the public’s imagination: it has already been the subject of a heated phone-in and studio debate on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff by TV’s most forthright and intransigent ex-tabloid hack Matthew Wright to little or no avail.
But in a final word Stef C admits how far the young organisation still has to go to establish itself.

‘It’s one thing posing on the dance floor of a club in a fancy frock, but it’s another thing entirely to see your work hanging on a clean white wall in the Tate Modern.’ I agree.

don’t just sit there! Get creative!
Type! Knit! Unpack your sewing kit!
Customise, buttonise and layer!
Accentuate your uniqueness through your threads!

if there were no stylists we’d all be naked and/or ugly

Anna-Marie, May 2003

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