CrowdInk had the chance to sit down (virtually) with Alarna Hope, a fashion stylist with a true passion for her business. She told us a little bit about how she got started, what keeps her fashion-passion going, and her number one secret to molding your own fashion sense and wardrobe.
CrowdInk: Tell us about your brand. How did you get started? What was your inspiration?
Alarna Hope: When I was younger, I always used to put clothing together for my mother and older sister. My sister would constantly get compliments for what she wore to class and she’d always tell me I had a knack for dressing her. Then I started dressing my mother. I was 14 or 15 when I started to take her into Katies, the women’s clothing store and I’d tell her to go in the fitting room and I would bring her clothing. She used to tell me when she looked at the clothing on the hangers that she didn’t think they’d suit her and I would respond with ‘that’s just hanger appeal’. She would end up buying a whole season’s worth of clothing when she shopped with me and I looked forward to seeing how happy she would be in her new clothing.
At this stage, the role of a stylist wasn’t something that was really known, so as someone always interested in fashion history, I decided that I wanted to become a costume designer. But when the age restriction to leave school changed, I wasn’t old enough so I studied Fashion Design instead and that’s when I found out Fashion Styling was a role I could work my way up in. I interned everywhere I could and read as many books on it as I could find. I did courses in Australia and overseas and I styled and styled and styled until I’d saved up enough money and built enough of a client base to work for myself.
My inspiration was my mother, someone who’d always chosen the same things to wear and wondered how it was possible that when she went shopping, she’d come home with the same old stuff. She didn’t like her body, she dressed to completely cover it and wore clothing that was too big for her. When I started helping dress her, she found her interest in clothing again and even her friends noticed.
CI: How do you spend your free time?
AH: It may sound boring, but I love fashion history. Any chance I get, I’ll read one of the books I’ve got on it or I’ll go to The Powerhouse Museum and stay for hours. Last week, I was in Melbourne for work and I had a free day to explore, so I went to the 200 Years Of Australian Fashion exhibition and I actually had tears in my eyes the entire time. It was amazing, I couldn’t believe I was there.
CI: What’s one fashion accessory that you can’t live without?
AH: A watch. When I’m not wearing it, I feel unorganised and naked! I have three, a gold one, a silver one, and a black one and I wear them with everything. If you’re in the market to buy one, pick something classic as your first watch purchase. It’s a forever item and needs to stand the test of time (pardon the pun!).
CI: What’s your favourite outfit?
AH: At the moment, my favourite outfit is my black high-waisted pencil skirt, my sheer white tailored blouse and my army green 1920’s style military coat with black pointed toe pumps. I feel very Diane Keaton in it!
CI: What is your number 1 styling advice for women?
AH: Remember your outcome. Every time I take a client shopping, I enforce that saying. We get so caught up in shopping, or fall in love/lust with a statement piece that we either forget what we came in shopping for, or we forget our own style and end up with a mismatch of clothing in their wardrobes – which is what they hired me to fix in the beginning!