S is for Stylist

By the age of 21,  she had already styled for the likes of Kelly Rowland and Sarah Harding, and now 25 – Courtney Smith has been named one of the top 20 international fashion stylists - in the 'Contemporary Fashion Stylists' book, alongside her worldwide contemporaries including Rihanna’s stylist.  Regarded as one of the most in-demand stylists of the moment, travelling the globe and working with the country’s top models and photographers to create beautiful editorials, A-L caught up with Courtney on her career highlights to date.



What is your official Job title?

Fashion stylist and Fashion Contributor (I contribute as a specialised fashion presenter for a variety of tv and online shows aswell as contributing to magazines as a fashion expert and writer)


Tell us about your studies/training?

I studied fashion design in Dublin then continued to do a postgrad in London College of Fashion in Fashion Media; which was a fantastic course that covered fashion styling, photography, public relations and writing all under one course… it gave me a great taste for all aspects of the industry and has really benefited me in different parts of my career as my job isn't just one thing – to be successful you need to be completely flexible to dip your toes into different areas!


What experience during your studies/training was most valuable?

I found the course in Sallynoggin Dun Laoghaire where I studied fashion design superb – my tutors were real sticklers on perfection and it taught me to be more patient and expect more from myself; they didn’t believe in cutting corners. In London all our course tutors for different classes were industry professionals; this was so important as they really had different approaches and could give us real experience feedback from their careers. That definitely made a difference. The best advice I ever got from a tutor was to be the best version of me – and stop trying to aspire to be like someone else. Because it's my ideas and thoughts and individuality that will make me shine at the end of the day! I still remember that advice to this day.


What was your very first job?

My very first job was actually a cocktail waitress in a private Golf and Spa Hotel – I was NOT very good at it. I even spilt something all over a guest's very expensive suit once. Needless to say I didn’t last very long, but it was only a summer job anyway!



Walk us through a typical day?

I love this question; because there really is no such thing as a typical day in my job! The only regularity is that I wake up at 6am every day (and press snooze button a million times until 6.30am)! I like to get one up on the world by getting up early and getting loads of work done before anyone else gets to their office at 9am! Other than that I could be doing anything from; emails, admin, styling a shoot, pulling looks for a shoot, steaming, writing magazine credit lists, writing articles, filming a tv segment, styling a fashion show, attending a press event, meetings, making mood-boards, casting models, travelling to a shoot abroad, the list is varied and endless and it could be a mix, or one, or all of the above on any given day!


What are 3 staple wardrobe items?

Killer boots, classic leather jacket, great jeans.


What 3 skills would you say are really important in what you do?

Imagination; eye for detail and creativity.


If you could style anyone for the day who would it be?

Miley Cyrus; I reckon I can cement her with an iconic style identity which she seems to be attempting (but she seems lost with direction at the moment) plus how much fun would that be?


Who are your career inspirations?

My career inspirations are people like Grace Woodward, Grace Coddington, Katie Grand, Rachel Zoe and Victoria Beckham – female powerhouse's in this crazy industry of fashion. All with their own empires continuing to grow, all with incredible visions and direction and all incredibly inspiring.


Who are your fashion icons?

Bianca Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, Nicole Richie.


What advice would you give to those starting out in this field?

Get ready for some hard-work; I have had assistants come on board who are blinded by the so called ‘glamour’ of the industry but don't really understand the grafting involved and the work it takes to build your name in the industry. If this is REALLY what you want then be prepared to work for it…and in all honesty when you first start off it’s long hours, bad pay, horrible jobs BUT it pays off in the end when you see your first shoot in print or on a billboard – there is no feeling like it! And yes – a little glamour will follow the work (eventually).


What advice do you wish you had been given when you started?

I don't wish I was given any different or more advice than I received… any mistakes I made along the way have only made me a better businesswoman and stylist. Sometime’s it’s good to figure these things out on your own!


For news and updates on Courtney's projects please visit: 




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