Angelica’s styling has that quirky edge appeal which I love and although working on campaigns internationally she manages to indulge in some fabulously eccentric imagery which piqued my interest. Some of Angelica’s avantgarde themes have a subtly brash and outspoken look and convey a narrative that is current but also classic. Angelica Stenvinkel is a Swedish fashion stylist based in London and is driven, creative, ambitious and in demand, with many years of experience in the industry.
A Brief Bio
After studying both fashion design and later on at The Academy of Cutting and Tailoring in Stockholm, she worked in the purchasing department at H&M, including guest design collaborations such as Comme des Garçons, Matthew Williamson and Jimmy Choo. During her years in the fashion business, her knowledge deepened in fashion styling and the feel of high quality and fit became stronger.
In 2012 she started freelancing as a stylist and for the past years, her clients have been a wide range from designers, magazines, production companies, musicians to high profile persons and Hollywood actors.
2014 she moved to Singapore and in 2017 to London where she decided to study Advanced Fashion at London College Of Style to become more comprehensive as a fashion stylist and gain a bigger network.
In the late 90s, Angelica first started working as a makeup artist and throughout her working career, she have been active in the makeup industry in different companies and in various positions. She has been working as a brand manager for professional makeup brands in Sweden, trained makeup artists in Scandinavia and Asia and developed a makeup line called The Studio. She also worked many years at Stockholm Fashion Week as a makeup director.
Hi Angelica, I really need to ask you the question as to how you became the stylist you are today?
Sure no worries James, I really started working as a makeup artist, but after a couple of years, I got more interested in fashion. It was after a trip to Senegal where I was blown away by all the amazing fabrics and how the women were dressed that I decided to start study fashion design. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, so it was all a combination of fashion studies and helping out as a dresser at Stockholm Fashion week that made me change my career.
I also worked at the buying department at H&M with guest design collaborations, where my knowledge in shapes, quality and fitting and how to run a showroom came. Later on, I started working with a local magazine. I did their fashion editorials and at the same time, I´ve got recommended to a production company so I helped them with their tv commercials and campaigns. When I came to London I did assist a few times for LOVE and Another magazine.
What would you say really helped develop your unique style?
I grew up in a small town in Sweden where there was not much to do. I remember I was so tired that everyone looked the same. I always felt that there was so much more in life for me to explore. As a teenager, I bought clothes at charity shops that I made my grandmother sew into something new. People back then thought that was weird, but I had an urge to have something different. I often fantasized about the people that had worn the clothes before me and where that blazer or trousers I bought had been before? Music was my biggest inspiration, and I was really into synth and with that came being dressed all in black. Now I still love to have a bit of “darkness” in my stylings.
Do you have someone who was your inspiration, maybe a family member or other styling creatives?
My best inspiration is my grandmother. She taught me so much about art, nature and designers when I was young. She is still at the age of 89 the best storyteller and listener. My Favourite stylist was definitely Franca Sozzani, former editor-in-chief at Vogue Italia. She included topics and issues in her magazine which other fashion publications avoided, such as domestic violence, drug abuse and recovery and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010. I also tend to like stylists that combine their style with a subculture such Judy Blame did with his punk reference and Panos Yiapanis dark goth-like style.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Anywhere. You have to keep your eyes and mind open! Inspiration can come from small talks to strangers, watching people, travelling, different cultures, art galleries, museums, nature, restaurants, music and artists.
Do you do personal styling? What are the common problems you usually face when dressing/styling clients and how do you address them?
I do some, mostly to actors or artists that I already work with on other projects. One problem can be dealing with their stress. Some people can´t handle stressful situations that well and it tend to come out on the person closest to them- sometimes me. Normally you don’t think those famous outgoing actors or performing artists are shy or insecure, but for a big launch of a movie or event, they can be really fragile. You need to know how to handle different kinds of people in different kinds of situations.
I always stay very calm. Even though in some situations you have to speak up for yourself and let that person know that you don’t tolerate getting a lot of shit. But that is something I told that person afterwards. This hasn´t happened to me many times, but when it did, I got a deeper relation and respect from that person. A good piece of advice is to be professional and know your worth.
Angelica, can you tell us how your average shoot day looks like to others looking in who think it’s easy to style an image?
First is the pre-shoot planning like budget, creative direction, making mood board, put together a team and decide the location. Depending on the size of the shoot it can be a day or days of prepping. I usually start early in the morning before my family is awake. Depending on where your client is based you might have to have zoom meetings late at night or early morning. You will also need time for picking up stuff and brief assistants on what needs to be done. Also always remind brands/designers to send their clothes on time. It can be very hectic and a lot of changes. But I love it. When I am working with tv commercials it can be days of prep and several days of filming on different locations. The final result is a 20-30 sec film!
I can see when I am working with a stylist that the job of being a stylist like a photographer can be very stressful, how is it so and how do you cope and what would your advice be to others who are following your path?
If you want to freelance as a stylist it´s good that you can handle stressful situations. My job can be very intense and after a week of work, I need at least 2 days just to slow down. On the shoot days, you usually work long days and you need to be 100% focused on what´s happening on set. That in combination with travelling before and after a production makes you really tired. After that you have a day or two to return clothes, maybe wash and store them if you´re working on a recurring film. Then all the lovely paperwork that comes afterwards on top of that.
For me, it’s important to take care of myself, get enough sleep, eat well and exercise. You need to be strong both in mind and body for this job!
What are your dream clients and why? if you could please could you give us some examples and why they were such a dream to work for.
I styled a campaign and look book in LA with Jaime King and a kids brand called Gardner and the Gang a few years ago.
The most important thing with the collection was to make sure that they just not making clothing, but they created something that really excites the imagination and that shares the message of comradery, togetherness, and playfulness. We want to see children wear what they’re naturally attracted to and feel awesome in, no matter if a boy wants to wear a pink dress or a girl wants to wear just pants and a sweatshirt.
We had such fun that week and the designer turned into a really good friend of mine. Then of course my production family in Sweden, we worked together for so long now. It’s a mentality in their company that I have not seen elsewhere. Everyone in the team is treated with huge respect. That feeling beats everything.
How do you deal with a team that are not able to deliver your vision?
I know I have very high expectations with the people I work with and with some people you need to be able to explain your vision in different ways so they understand. If they still don’t get it I just move on and do the best out of the situation. Sometimes the result can be good and maybe even better than you expected!
If you could give advice to anyone wanting to become a stylist what would that be and how could they follow their path to become like you?
If you decide to study fashion take an extra job in a clothing store so you learn about fabrics and easily get to know peoples body shapes and sizes. Also how to handle customers is a great experience. Even a job in hospitality is a perfect experience as you will know how to handle stress and also how to talk to customers etc.
Assisting is a great way to enter into the creative industries and styling, but don’t stay too long. Find your style and your expertise and then contact and network as much as you possibly can. For me personally, networking has been the best way to find clients. I started in my early 20s and at that time I didn’t even have a smartphone. It was all about mouth to mouth and recommendations, which I believe is the best tool even today. Now it’s even easier to connect with new people through all social media.
I would imagine many potential stylists who are possibly thinking of entering into the world of fashion styling would love to know how do you achieve your rate or fee and how long does this take to set your ideal rate especially for someone starting off as a fashion stylist or even a personal stylist. I know it’s a little cheeky but It was always tricky for me to set my rates in the early days! Can you share anything here?
As a freelancer, you will have business expenses that must be accounted for in your rate. List out all of your costs and total them up. You will need to add this number to your salary goal and increase your hourly rate to cover these expenses. Think of these: health insurance, taxes, business insurance & licenses, equipment, office space/rent, software subscriptions, marketing and advertising costs.
These questions are good to ask yourself:
1. How much money do I need to make to support my lifestyle?
2. How much money do I want to make as a goal?
3. What do other freelancers charge for similar services?
4. How much money would I make as a full-time employee?
5. What expenses do I have as a freelance business owner?
6. Are my skills in demand?
7. How much value am I bringing to the client?
When I started freelancing in Sweden that wasn’t a problem at all. I had several long term projects with good fees. In 2014 I moved to Singapore which was OK too. When I came to London in 2017 it was a bit trickier. I had to do a larger number of shoots and projects at a lower rate until I found clients that matched mine. I don’t mind working with clients with lower budgets, but I do prefer if the client has a mindset that their business will grow and we as a team will grow together and rates will rise accordingly. Rather than clients that just look for new team members next shoot that can work for a lower rate.
Angelica, please accept my thanks for providing us with a greater insight into the world of Styling and also for contributing to the growing platform which is SILVERGUMTYPE.
Is there anything else that we could add here to help you promote anything?
That’s great James thanks,
I have a date for you all below and thank you James for featuring me and my work.
On the 26th of October the exhibition “Survivors Life Unfiltered” will be released on South Bank.
The exhibition features various kidney patients sharing their insights and experiences of living with kidney disease. We worked with this project before the pandemic hit and I meet so many amazing people. I learned that many of us are very vulnerable without it showing on the outside, even long before a global pandemic hit.
LINKS FOR ANGELICA