Yesterday (April 3), Fashion North was graced with the presence of freelance stylist Madeleine Bowden, known for styling stars such as Jessie J, Nicole Scherzinger and Elle magazine fashion shoots.
The impeccably dressed but humble stylist spoke candidly about her experiences in the fashion industry since leaving the University of Sunderland just two years ago and the steps she took to get to where she is now.
Bowden is evidently driven, while at university studying magazine journalism she took every opportunity to intern, write and style by testing with photographers and working as fashion editor for the university’s magazine.
She has worked and interned for some of the most successful publications in Britain including Netaporter, Grazia and The Daily Telegraph.
After a lot of hard work, she managed to get herself an internship at one of the world’s most prestigious fashion magazines, Elle, after meeting the editor who described her as being “very Elle”.
Madeleine said of the internship: “It opens all your doors if you’ve got Elle on your CV. Editorials, they throw clothes at you, but styling you have to coerce, it should really be the other way round.”
We were inspired by the advertorials she has created for Elle and her independent portfolio of styling work. One of her Elle shoots was so successful that it was published in Elle magazines worldwide.
Madeleine likes to experiment and improvise with her looks to be creative and different, “I make a lot of stuff. I have an inspiration board in my house. If I’m doing a shoot for Elle, I’ll have a separate inspiration folder on my computer for Elle.”
She referred to ponytails made out of shredded bin bags, protractors used as necklaces and piles of fabric which she transformed in to a billowing skirt as just a few examples.
She was later given an assistant styling role and two days into the job, she was styling Nicole Scherzinger.
Since then Madeleine has styled Scherzinger’s looks for red carpet events, Herbal essences adverts and the X Factor.
Bowden has also had the opportunity to go on tour with Jessie J, styling her costumes and outfits for the tour and for her music video, Thunder.
“One of the most important things to remember when styling is the clients. Take note of their skin colour, tone and body, they have insecurities like everyone else and you have to make sure you’re both on the same page.
“It’s very, very important to know what designers are doing in upcoming seasons. My favourite trend for SS14 is sports luxe – go sheer and simple. I’m Celine until I die and I love a slider.”
Madeleine Bowden has left us all in awe and feeling incredibly inspired by her astounding, rocket propelled career to styling the stars.
Madeleine’s tips for being successful in the fashion industry:
1) Be organised
2) Have good relationships with PRs.
3) Be professional but don’t be scared to be a little cheeky.
4) Don’t be scared to talk to people
5) Don’t be scared to make mistakes.
6) “Intern, intern, intern, intern.”
7) Blag, beg and borrow.
8) Take pride in your appearance, be you and have your own niche.
9) It’s not for the faint hearted, if you want to do it you have to love it!
10) Be humble, be yourself.