The fashion industry is vast, catering to thousands of people with various careers to offer. Today we sit with Anchal Notani, a fashion stylist to get a glimpse into the world of fashion, from the eyes of a stylist.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Anchal Notani. I’ve been in the fashion industry for four years now. I’ve done my diploma in fashion design from FAD (Pune) and pursued my B.Com. from Vivekanand College. I started my career as a fashion designer, but I didn’t quite enjoy it. So I started fashion styling, mainly by collaborating with individual designers, magazine shoots, etc. I even did work for free. I built contacts, that are so important in the industry.
Oh yes. Having contacts in any industry is so important. You never know when or how someone might help you!
So, how do you explain to a layman what fashion styling is?
Uh, first of all, I’d like to clear out that fashion styling is not the same as fashion designing. *laughs* A lot of people get confused between the two. Fashion designing is when a designer designs the outfits, and fashion styling is when a stylist designs the look. Meaning that they take the outfit, add jewelry, shoes, decide the hair and make-up for the model, and create looks as per the theme. We mainly come into the picture for campaigns, editorials, etc.
What does the process look like?
The process is hectic. Very very hectic. And not at all systematic. A lot of projects just flow at the last minute and sometimes there are too many characters. We have to source all the material. Then there are trials, where each person has to try on the clothes, jewelry, and shoes to see how it looks. Sometimes models don’t provide the right measurements, so the fittings aren’t right. So then things need to be altered to sit perfectly. But it’s just so much fun. I love playing around with clothes, shoes, accessories – I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is the most prominent misconception people not working in your field have about your job?
A lot of people assume that my job is ‘glamorous’. They just think that the fashion industry is all about glamour and beauty. But obviously, there is much more to the industry than that. We work very hard to source items and then manage everything.
What challenges do you face as a stylist?
There are so many challenges. Management is so important because we have to dress up 50 or even 100 characters, most of them are projects which come last minute. Sourced items are mostly loaned items. So to manage all the jewelry, clothes, and shoes of so many characters is a task. So I just have to calm down, strategize, and be a multitasker. Look for the solutions. Make it happen!
Opinion time! Which Bollywood celebrity is the worst dressed, and who is the best dressed?
*Thinking hard* I think the industry who I personally think don’t have a good style. But I think I’m going to have to say Deepika Padukone.
I feel like everyone says “how can you not like Deepika?” I think to the general crowd her fashion is great. But just as a stylist, I feel like what she wears has been done. It’s nothing new. For best dressed, I’d say Alia Bhatt.
You’ve been in the industry for four years. What suggestion would you propose to your younger self?
I think I would definitely tell my younger self to take it easy. In this industry, you’re not made to fit in. You need to stand out. You can’t be a choice. You have to be unique.
What has been the most unforgettable moment of your career, so far?
*Very confused* it’s so hard to choose one!
But I think what’s at the top of my head is when I got to go to Turkey, I had styled Amir Khan. We had stayed in a really good hotel. And I got good treatment. Ate plenty of desserts. It felt really good, getting good treatment not because you’re a celebrity but because you’re a part of the team. I think what I absolutely love about being a stylist is that I get to travel. I really love that.
But really, every shoot I do, I make loads of memories. It’s tough to pick just one.
What are hopes or demands from the industry for the future?
Well, my expectation from the industry is to get better with the way it functions. It has too many loopholes and a lot of hierarchy and even a wage gap between men and women, even in the fashion industry women aren’t paid well. Some people don’t get respected in the industry, such as the spot boy for example.
If a shoot is scheduled for 6 in the morning, someone has to come in at 3 and set up everything for the 6 am shoot, right? And even after we’re done with the day, someone has to sit back and wrap up everything. These people don’t get respected enough in the industry. I truly hope that these people are treated with respect and paid up to the mark. That everyone should be considered.
Anchal Notani can be found on Instagram (@anchalnotani)