Interview with Fashion Stylist Sarah D'Arcey of Sarah D'Arcey Style

Please share a bit about the journey that led you to become a fashion stylist. Was it a dream from a young age or one that came later?

I grew up on a farm in the interior of British Columbia and wore jeans and boots almost everyday. I was not very fashionable! Through highschool and university, I was an accomplished athlete and basketball player. I lived and breathed that passion. I realized in my second year of university that I was not going to make a career of playing basketball, so my attention turned to art history and then fashion. 

I moved to Toronto to attend fashion school and fell in love with styling. I interned and then worked for Dress for Success Toronto where I honed my skills helping women find their self confidence through their clothing. I also interned and volunteered for many other projects. I then returned to Vancouver and started the whole process to build out my portfolio and build a clientele. I now have clients from all over the world.


Where or how did you learn the skills required to help you fulfill the very varied roles required as a fashion stylist? Self taught, shooling, apprenticeship?

I’ve always been a very hard worker. My parents instilled that work ethic and being independent and reliable from an early age. I did go to George Brown College in Toronto for fashion. It was a very hands-on education, however much of my success I attribute to being the hardest worker in the room. I never assisted another stylist, which I wished I had so I could have learned and avoided some of the mistakes I made. I learned so much from the photographers, creative directors and talent I worked with in the industry.

I don't think many people understand the full depth of what a stylist might do. Can you share a short recap on the many different roles this career might offer and what each entails? 

There are many spaces where you can work as a stylist. Fashion stylists work for individuals, fashion houses, clothing brands and in film/TV. Some of the main responsibilities include providing fashion advice; choosing and coordinating outfits for models in photoshoots or actors in television and film and elevating a celebrity’s brand for red carpet, press appearances and other work they may do. I think people believe that stylists just completely impose their will and style on a blank slate, but that isn’t the case. You meet someone, you recognize what their taste is, and then you channel it.

What comes easiest for you as a fashion stylist? What is the hardest?

I love when fashion tells a great story, so putting together clothing that will tell a compelling story whether the job is for a high end luxury client, celebrity or to a very commercial job, my superpower is honing in on the right pieces that will do that. I think one of the hardest parts of working as a stylist is when you are booked on a job and other members of the project don’t have the same care and attention to detail. I aim to give my best to each and every job. It can be difficult to work with someone who does not.

When you have booked a new job, what comes next? Do you meet with someone to go over what the vision is or are you given free rein?

Usually once the job is booked, I like to create a moodboard and share with the client the options that are available so everyone has a chance to share their thoughts and ensure that the pieces are on brand and signed off by the client. I like to have a motto of “no surprises” so when we get from that booking to creative meetings, and then the final shoot, the client feels involved, supported and that they had their feedback implemented. There are at times where free rein is given, but I still like to have the client involved.

Where do you get the garments and accessories? Is it all borrowed, purchased, or created from a drawing?

That can vary depending on the job. For a celebrity red carpet, if the look is a custom piece, it will be shared first in a sketch and then there is back and forth with the client, myself and the designer. Other pieces are seen on runways and called in through the designer or their PR/showrooms. They are sent out on a loan. There are opportunities for designers to pay the stylist and the client to wear their pieces. That can happen often in celebrity styling. For commercial jobs, there is a budget you are working with and you have to manage to have all purchases, rentals, loans come in at or under budget. In personal styling, the client pays for all costs of the clothing as well.


Is there one funny or interesting story you can share from your time in the business?

The past year has been incredible for my business. Last May, I was really tired. I was talking about taking some time off and going to plant myself on a beach in Maui, thanks to a delightful invitation from a good friend. Around the same time, I received a request to style three clients for the Goldhouse Gala in Los Angeles. My instinct was to say I am going on vacation, but my gut screamed to not pass up this opportunity. As it turns out, always listen to that feeling. I think it's some of the most magical and valuable advice one can take away.


Dolce & Gabbana had agreed to work with us to style Vanessa Yao, Tzi Ma and Ludi Lin. We created a custom gown and two couture suits, carefully planned and hand carried from Milan to the gold carpet in LA sizzled. Dolce & Gabbana loved the way Ludi was styled and wore the suit from Goldhouse and extended the invite to us for the 10 year celebration of Alta Moda and Alta Sartoria in Sicily, Italy. The experience has been truly the highlight of my career thus far.

I would love to close with one of your favorite quotes. Could be on fashion, on working as an artist or a go to that inspires you on tough days.

"You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it" —Edith Head


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