Fashiolista Jo Blankfield has created a personal stylist profile arising into its twelfth year of unimaginable success in the industry. Jo’s career guide as a fashion stylist boasts of a collective itinerary consulting with broad forum of services. Freelancing her aspiration to assist clients improve their image whether corporate or your street walk in boutique sheik fashionists. Wide-ranging consultancy styling from personal, editorial, wardrobe, merchandising, photographic, catalogue, fashion gala’s, and commercial just to name a few of her mode talents.
Not long ago, I became acquainted with the style fashion diva at the Spring Racing Ultimate Fashion workshop staged at the SOFITEL Melbourne at Collins Street. Jo’s mesmeric charm leaves you hypnotic as she silently approaches you for a chat about aspiring fashion stylists and designers. Observing the mogul strutting her flair of tips and ideas is inexhaustible.
Jo Blankfield has a layer of depth as she relaxes to respond to questions and comments which are out of the ordinary. Learn more about the fashiolista’s life and current ventures from both sides of the industry – what inspires this driven stylist.
What firstly made you want to become a stylist? And how long have you been a stylist for?
I actually fell into styling, originally I trained and performed as an opera singer and studied law at university. For fun and a bit of money, I started assisting my best friend’s mum backstage at fashion parades, and with the styling and gradually realized it was something I had a natural talent in. I started this when I was about 17, so I’ve been in the industry for over 12 years.
How did you first start working as a stylist? What was your first styling job?
I assisted for many years and during this time realized that my interest was in personal styling, so I started taking friends and their friends and mum’s shopping to get experience and then the word got out and it grew further and further. Outside of assisting, I honestly don’t remember when my first solo styling job happened, but I moved from assisting into presenting side by sde with my mentor and then by myself. Whilst still assisting her.
Had you previously study any fashion related courses? Or did you learn on the job.
I have not done any fashion realated courses and have only learnt from on the job training. Saying this I spent years training on the job, probably over 5 years and even when I was styling solo or running events myself, I would still assist to learn more. 12 years on, I’m still learning from others, including my clients!
Two years ago you were apart of the Westfield National Tour for Autumn/Winter. Tell us more about the experience of touring!
I was fortunate enough to work with Westfield as their touring stylist for some time. I toured with Gok Wan, styling the looks back stage. The expectations and pressure in this were incredible, but so enriching. I was literally given 8 minutes to style a complete stranger from scratch, including ensuring that they had hair and make up done in this time as well. I learnt so much from this experience, working with Gok and working under the pressure and learnt that anything really is possible!
What would you say is your favorite part about working in the fashion industry?
I love the fact that as a personal stylist. I can really make a difference for my clients. I make them feel better about themselves and show them the simple tricks and tools to ensure they always look good and feel confident.
You also do visual merchandising, what’s your favorite part? And how do you go about creating inspiration for VM
VM for me is really an extension of my styling. I like to think about what will inspire the people looking at the display. What is the VM there for, am I setting a scene, is it to sell product, is it to inspire an idea? I get a lot of my inspiration from the context and then create from there. I guess you could say I have quite a practical and logical approach to VM and styling.
You also host styling parties! Tell us more about this.
Booking a personal stylist can be an investment, one that people aren’t always able to make or uncertain about, so styling parties are a great introduction to the service, but also a great way to get personal styling ideas in a group in an affordable way in your own home. Really it’s a great reason to get the girls together and learn about how to dress for yourself and know what works for each other so when you shop together you can help each other.
How many Celebrities have you worked with? What was the experience like do you ever get “star stuck”
I’ve worked with Celebrities from time to time, including Jennifer Hawkins, Gok Wan, Trinny and Susannah, cast members from Neighbours, Home & Away and Winners and Losers, Brynne Edelstein to name a few. I have always found them to be lovely and down to earth and I don’t get star struck as I view them as real people who happen to be well know.
Where is your all time favorite place to shop?
I’m an eclectic shopper. I have great pieces from random shops overseas from Japan to New York and pieces from great Australian designers including Thurley and Sass & Bide, as well as main stream pieces from Portmans, Jag, Sussan etc. I will always check out any store and shop everywhere. I always look for a piece that fits well, suits my style and budget and will work back with my wardrobe.
Most treasured item in your closet?
This is a hard one! I’m a shoe girl, and have a shoe wall, so I guess it has to be my shoes. I have an amazing pair of Givenchy wooden heels that I picked up for an absolute bargain in NYC. I live in them through summer, and also a pair of leopard print Payless shoes that I always get a compliment on when I wear them and they cost me $20 about 4 years ago and they’re still going strong!!
Five items every girl needs in their wardrobe?
Honestly your key wardrobe pieces do depend on lifestyle, however every girl needs a well fitted bra, it can completely change your shape! Great Jeans are always a good piece to have and any age, shape or personality can find a style that will suit them. A leather Jacket or blazer that isn’t too long is a key piece for anyone. The jacket should end around your hipbone or slightly shorter. This will mean you can work it back with pants, jeans, dresses and skirts as it won’t be too long and overwhelm the look. I often guide my clients to try print pants as they can really lift a wardrobe as too many flat colour pieces won’t mix and match well. They come in so many styles that they really can work for everyone. Remember that the print doesn’t have to be big or too colourful. Finally an LBD or something similar if you don’t wear black. Basically a dress that you can dress up or down and can recreate to look different each time you wear it with accessories and layers. If you had a time machine what is your favorite fashion era you would like to travel to?
I’d like to travel to the future to see where fashion and style is going. My feeling is that over the last 5-10 years we’ve become more about style than fashion and are trying to work with the best styles from past eras that suit current body shapes and lifestyles and am keen to see how this will develop into the future.
How would you describe your signature look?
I’m quite chameleon-like in my style, however I only wear heels, so I guess that’s my signature look. Obviously I wear sneakers to the gym, but otherwise I always wear heels at work, casually or going out. Right now I’m loving boyfriend jeans and in winter I’ll often be seen in a leather jacket or leather pants.
Favorite stylist trick?
Rubber bands to ¾ your sleeves, which will highlight your waist, make you look taller and leaner, and make an outfit less bulky!
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by the everyday person, particularly my clients. I love seeing them transform and appreciate their openness and willingness to try new things and open themselves up to me and the experience. People who are confident in their style are also a huge inspiration to me as they own their look.
Lastly What advice would you give anyone looking to work as a stylist?
Don’t be in a rush. Learning to style takes time and on the job experience is the best thing you can get! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always be open to learning. Think about what aspect of styling you want to do. Do you want to be an editorial or commercial stylist, is VM your thing, do you like personal styling, do you want to be working in shopping centres? The opportunities and areas are limitless these days and knowing where you want to be and trying them all first is a great idea. I’ve been fortunate enough to work in all aspects of styling and although I am capable of all, I have realized after 12 years that my passion lies in working with the everyday person and working both one on one and presenting at events to do this.
Special Thanks to Jo Blankfield