Freelance fashion, celebrity and commercial stylist James Yardley kindly agreed to be interviewed about his career. Based in London, he’s styled celebs including The Saturdays, JLS, Nicole Scherzinger, Kylie Minogue and The X Factor whilst working for Frank Strachan.
James now works independently with international and UK based-celebrities, including Rochelle Humes and Tess Daly, alongside commercial brands. He also works closely with suppliers such as fashion store Garment Quarter to achieve his on-point looks. We managed to squeeze in a chat with him amongst his hectic schedule…
We’d love to know how your career path progressed to get you to this stage. Could you give us an overview?
I started interning at 21 at Attitude magazine under the then Fashion Director, Frank Strachan. I was supposed to only be there for two weeks and then after two months finally left.
On my first day working at my new job Frank called me and asked if I’d like to start work as his assistant. I took a massive leap of faith, quit my new job and joined Frank the very next day.
Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion stylists?
It’s so cliché but work hard and be kind. It shines like the brightest light in this industry. There are so many people who want to work in fashion and sit at a pretty desk writing emails, but in reality it’s long hours, hard work and determination that makes you into an actual Fashion Stylist. What I mean by ‘actual Fashion Stylist’ is being one of the few who can pay their bills with it as a job, not just write it in their Instagram bio.
We imagine your job’s pretty varied, but what does a typical ‘day in the life of James Yardley’ look like?
I actually couldn’t answer this. Every day is different. Some days are sitting in front of my computer for hours sending emails, others are spent out doing appointments and loaning/buying clothes and other days are spent on set at TV/photo studios. Every day is different, some amazingly fun and some not so much.
Which celebrities have you styled? Do you have any favourites? If so, why?
I’ve styled a varied amount of celebrity clients now but I’d have to say my favourite is Rochelle Humes. She’s just a laugh and she’s become my friend after all these years too.
How do you approach styling a client for an event? Do you get to know them first, research the event or TV slot, or have an overall objective?
It’s a complete meeting of minds. Recently I styled Tess Daly for the BAFTAs and I had an overall objective in my head. I could see the dress in my head and had drawn the design, and with the help of the designer and Tess’ opinion we created the perfect gown for the event. Overall the dress made Tess feel confident, and also gained the best press of the night.
How do you approach different body types? Do you have any tips for dressing different shapes – hourglass, pear, apple, athletic?
Follow what you know, not the latest fashion trend. Respect your body and do it justice by wearing pieces you know suit you and overall give you confidence.
Do your clients ever come with preconceived ideas of what they want? How much input do they have?
The beauty of styling celebrities and not just models is they have a voice and I love that. I would never say I completely styled someone head to toe. As I previously mentioned it’s a meeting of minds and all my clients have opinions – and I work with that when I’m styling them.
You’ve picked the outfit, but what about the extras? ow impoAre accessories, shoes, hair and makeup your decision too?
In the case of working with celebrities I always voice my opinion on hair and makeup but it’s again more of a meeting of minds. We all like talking about an outfit, hair, makeup etc. and by discussing it all openly and brainstorming ideas, I believe that’s how you create a killer look!
We’ve had a peek at your Instagram and noticed you co-designed a dress for Rochelle Humes. Is that something you’re looking to do more of? What else have you designed? Any upcoming projects?
Yes, interesting you ask. I’ve done a few bespoke dress collaborations with designers for Rochelle and also Tess recently. I really enjoy the process and having an opinion so it’s definitely something I’m looking into doing. There are a few upcoming projects – stay tuned!
The industry has had a lot of media attention recently about the introduction of plus size models. We’d love to know your views on it as a stylist?
I really enjoy the fashion industry for pushing limits, and I’m all for plus-sized healthy models but I’m not for promoting obesity. There’s a limit, that’s not for me to call, obviously, but I would never support the fashion industry in promoting underweight models, so I don’t think we should be promoting over weight models either.
Tell us about your relationship with Garment Quarter – how do you work together? What do you like about working together?
I LOVE the team at Garment Quarter. I’ve had a long standing relationship with them since I was an assistant and I’ve always enjoyed the amazing selection across a varied amount of brands. There’s always something new and exciting, and something I’m dying to put one of my clients in.
Is there any reason you’d choose designer brands over high street when dressing your clients?
I personally love to mix up designer brands and high street pieces when styling my clients, however I do tend to lean towards designer brands when it comes to quality and unique cut and design. It’s something that only designer brands can offer and can’t be rivalled by the high street.
Quick-fire round – snap-decisions please!
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Instagram or Snapchat? Snapchat
Worst habit? Not replying on WhatsApp even when I’ve read the message…
Best habit? Saving money!
Mood right now? Excited. I finally get a holiday this week.
Last thing you ate? Protein bar
Last thing you texted? ‘Sounds magical!’ To my flatmate
Favourite saying? ‘At the end of the day…’ I love to summarise everyone’s conversations!