Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
I’m Emma Lightbown, a fashion stylist based in London. I work on photoshoots, TV commercials and occasionally style a celeb or two.
What does your job involve? What happens on a typical day?
Every day is different, which is one of the main reasons I love my job! Some days I can be at home working on my laptop to create mood boards and have calls with clients, other days I’m out sourcing clothing for the shoots - hunting down the perfect pieces or I’m on set styling the shoots - its always very varied.
What’s great about what you do?
Variety is a huge part of what I do, I’m also lucky to work in some incredible locations all over the world. I love that I get to work with new people everyday too - you meet lots of interesting characters in this job.
What are the toughest parts of your job?
Shoot days can be tough but enjoyable, they can be very long and there are often a lot of clothes / kits to load and unload. Taking everything back after a shoot is also not my favourite part of the job.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
Travelling is always a highlight for me, some of the places I’ve shot are Dubai, LA, Monaco, Iceland and Paris.
What's been the biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?
Becoming a parent and learning to balance life a little more has to be the biggest challenge. It was recognising that I didn’t have to say yes to every project, I could pick and choose a little more as I had already put the ground work in earlier in my career.
What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the arts?
I began my career as a commercial fashion model, so have spent my entire career being on set. Styling seemed to be an obvious transition when I decided to stop modelling as I’d always loved fashion and had spent years watching how stylists worked on set.
Have you noticed any changes in the industry in recent times? If so, what?
Social media has had a huge impact on the industry, both positively and negatively. It's brought an influx of new creatives into the industry and new platforms for brands to showcase their products meaning they need more shoots. I also feel user-generated content (UGC) has lead to some brands lowering their budgets as they’ve got used to paying an individual content creator rather than a full team.
How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career?
Even as a child, I was always very creative. I loved art, drama and graphic design at school. For a long time I wanted to be an interior designer and in the past couple of years have scratched that itch by introducing set design and set building into my work.
You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?
Believe in yourself a little more and move to London sooner! I came from a small town outside Leeds and spent years travelling backwards and forwards to London for jobs and castings - life would have been much easier if I’d have just bit the bullet and moved sooner.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in your field?
Getting experience of being on set is key - you can be the most creative stylist in the world, but if you don’t understand how a shoot works and how to behave on set, then you won’t get very far. Offer to carry bags, make tea and steam clothes - the aim is to make the stylists life easier that way you become invaluable and they’ll offer you more responsibility on set and eventually may pass on work to you that they are unable to do.
Where can people find you and your work online?
My website is https://www.fashionstylist.uk/ but you can also find me on Instagram at @emmalightbownstylist and on Youtube where I have a fashion series interviewing celebrities and interesting people about their favourite things in their wardrobe and the stories behind them. https://www.youtube.com/@emmalightbown