Interview with MCFLY/MCBUSTED STYLIST, VIX ADAMS

You may have read an edit of this on the Ticketmaster Blog, but Vix gave such great answers I wanted to post the complete interview here. Vix Adams is a fashion stylist, who has worked on the X Factor, and artists such as Mcfly, Mcbusted and Example. She gives us an in depth insight into the life of a busy stylist, while offerring helpful tips to those looking to emulate her career. She also tells us a bit about her latest fashion venture….

How early on in life did you realise that you had a flair for fashion?

I left college at 18 with my only grade being in fashion art, and when initially taking a year out before heading to University I started working in a fashion retailer.

I loved it so much that I never ended up going to Uni and became retail manager by the age of 19 and then onto a Visual Merchandiser by 20. Fashion was all I ever knew, and then my hobby became my job and then my career.


For those who would love to emulate your career, what advice would you give people in terms of progressing from the moment you realise you may have an affinity with fashion?

The best advice is to learn your trade. Start at the bottom and work your way up.
Follow your dreams and your goals and don’t doubt yourself or your own capability.
Be prepared to work long hours for a lot of days, weeks, months, even years free to enable you to build your knowledge and contacts within the business. Assist anyone and everyone who you can and learn the tricks of the trade. Always carry a notepad and write lists as long as your arm if necessary.
Take pictures, always keep your eyes open as you can get inspiration from everywhere and anywhere.
And finally, never give up.

You started in VM. Is that a good way to start, and why did you want to move into styling celebrities/videos?

I worked as a VM for over 4 years. For me, moving into becoming a Stylist was a fairly natural progression.
I felt the time was right and i was ready to start my career instead of working in a job.
Moving into styling celebrities and videos was just a natural avenue that i found myself moving forward into and expanding my contacts and client base within. It all happened very organically and naturally.

You worked on X Factor as a stylist. When you work on such a huge show do you lose a certain amount of control over the styling. Do your looks have to get some sort of approval? 
 
I worked on last years X-Factor (2014) styling The Boys category.
When you work on such a high profile show that is such a huge production it takes a team of people. so naturally you don’t have as much creative freedom as you would normally when working as a stylist. You have to work along side a number of different factors such as set design, dancers, themes, hair and make up, the feel of the song chosen for that artist that week so its very much a team effort to enable all different elements to work together successfully, not just what they wear.

I imagine with the amount of people on the show it is a hugely intense few months. Can you give us an insight into how your week runs, when getting ready for the show….
 
Yeah, its an incredibly intense few months working on a production of that size. You eat sleep and breathe it for the length of time you are involved in it.
Mondays you have a meeting about the past weekend live shows, and then all pieces that were loaned from press need to be returned.
Tuesday you get your brief for the weekend coming. Song choice, feel of the performance and rough styling guidelines and start contacting press for appointments to pull clothing items.
Wednesday and Thursday you do all your press pulls and sourcing of the items as options .
Friday you take all pieces to Wembley and set up and do an initial run through / dress rehearsal.
Saturday and Sunday are the live shows but dress rehearsals and sound checks happen throughout the day.

Then the routine starts again for the next weeks show.
It’s an exhausting couple of months but you work with incredibly talented people and there is a lot of fun times to be had in down time too.

You are launching you own brand soon ‘ Hat Rats’, people that follow your insta will be aware of your love of hats. What can we expect from the brand? What other projects may pop up in the future?

I have always been a hat wearer and a lover of hats. I never feel fully dressed unless I’m wearing one.
I always had to go to America, especially New York to source my hats and stock up on them as i simply couldn’t find the unique look and quality feel I desired here in London.
So I decided to start my own Brand. Hat Rats will be available to order online (www.hatrats.com) and will ship world wide. It will launch early next year. The essence is being quality and cool.
They will be available as a basic option and also as a made to order customised option so the wearer will get a beautiful one of a kind awesome hat. It’s something I’m super excited about.
At the moment I am still working through samples and packaging as it all goes hand in hand to what Hat Rats is all about. Think of it as becoming part of an elite group of hat loving people who join this community and become part of ‘The Rat Pack’.

All will be revealed soon.


Some people can be rather rigid when it comes to their own style, what is your personal approach to a tricky and resistant client? 

 
I don’t think I have had a tricky or resistant client nor have they been rigid. But i think clothing and what you wear is very personal. Your whole day can be altered by if you feel awesome and sexy in what your wearing or if your uncomfortable in what your wearing it can make you feel awful.
I think its so important to work closely with a client and get to know them and what they like and feel comfortable in and build up a level of trust. I would never try and force a client to wear something they didn’t like or that was totally out of their comfort zone, but it is part of my job to give a slight nudge in a different or alternative direction if i really believe it will benefit them.
I like to think i work alongside my clients and not just doing what fashion thinks they should be wearing. To look cool has a lot to do with presence and attitude so how and what you wear is essential in achieving that feeling and expression.

How would you describe you styling. What would you say is your USP?

I guess I would describe my styling as unique but constantly evolving.
I would say my USP is my communication skills. I love to talk. I love to meet new people, to learn about them, to build a bond and a working relationship with them, to laugh with them, I find laughter so important. Im always open to suggestions and always thinking how to better myself and others.
A skill that I think is imperative when people are putting their trust in you for being responsible for their style.
 
Due to the level of your work, the clients you work with and your enviable looking lifestyle you have a fan-base all of your own now. How do you feel about having a celebrity status and people having an interest in your personal life now?

I wouldn’t say I had a fan base, but if I have managed to create a following because of the job that I do and the positive life I create and choose to live then thats super flattering.

Im proud of my career and I’m happy in my life, so I guess putting that out there for all to see you are gonna get some people that are genuine and supportive which is cool, and you inevitably get some negativity from people as well, but I’m kinda cool with that too.

Its the social media era that we all live in now and i guess it comes with having any sort of following especially within the industry that i am in. You have to learn to take the good with the bad, and sometimes the ugly too.

For a while it was the done thing for stylists to dress bands in similar items or at least the same colour palette. Now it feels like making them all individuals is what’s happening. What is your approach to styling a band?

Essentially it has to be a vision that is met and matched between the stylist and the artist.
I think the days of a band co-ordernating outfits are gone, although I was a fan of the backstreet boys ‘I want it that way’ video too at the time.
Individualism is so important and its great that it is now encouraged for people to express their individuality. It makes artists more relatable too which essentially is what the fan base of bands want.
But fashion has a way of coming around in circles so maybe in 10 years time we will be dressing bands in matching denim and white again.


Is it intimidating when working with clients like Mcfly, who have such a huge and vocal fan base? Do you feel a pressure to deliver an aesthetic to please that fan base?

It can be. They have had such huge success for such a long time that they obviously have a fiercely loyal fan base. The fan base is really important and they don’t want to feel alienated by a sudden image overhaul or change to an already winning formula. But at the same time it is important to always progress and evolve an image so not to feel dated. So working to balance both sides of the equation is where being an experienced stylist comes into practice.


We saw bands like Mcfly when they were extremely young. Was it nice to create looks that enhanced the fact that they are men and not boys?

Totally. I started working with McFly when they were celebrating their 10 year anniversary together as a band. Then worked with them throughout their recent merging to make supergroup McBusted.
I am similar ages to the guys and i grew up knowing of McFly so it seems only natural to dress them in a more grown up way. I wouldn’t dress the same way now as i did 10 years ago so how can we expect them too. I work very closely with them and what direction they want to go in and so it was great to enhance on the strong images they each individually had already and progress that image into a more mature yet still fun direction.

You seem incredibly versatile in terms of your style. Menswear/womenswear, Edgy and alternative to sophisticated and high end. Is mixing things up important to keeping things interesting for you?

Absolutely. I think in order to have longevity in this business you have to be able to be flexible and not just be able to style in one particular way.

Everyone has their niche and their own personal style preference but its so important to be able to flexible.

Being able to predict trends and trend forecast for young edgy artists is as equally important as being able to dress a man in a perfect fitting suit or a woman in a full length evening gown.

When did you realise you were not only good at figuring out what works on women, but what looks good on men?

When I first started styling I actually used to find it a lot easier dressing women. I guess because you are subconsciously aware of trends and have a natural interest in fashion and how to dress to suit your shape and what looks good on a woman, where as dressing a man comes secondary to that. But there came a stage within my styling career that I started to get booked for more jobs dressing men.

Menswear has come on so much over the last few years and there is so much more freedom and flexibility now than there ever was before and i found men are really open to suggestions and trying out new styles and ways of expressing themselves through clothes and fashion as they are becoming more fashion focussed and aware.
I enjoy dressing men equally as much as I enjoy dressing women. I think men like getting style advice from a woman as they trust a woman to know what looks good on them.

Out of all the different types of jobs you do, is there one that is more natural or enjoyable for you?
Thats part of the reason why I love my job so much, because there is so much variety in the types of work that I do. They all fall under the same ‘Styling Umbrella” but one day you can be styling a celebrity for a TV show, the next day you can be styling a show for LFW (London Fashion Week), the next you can be shooting a music video or an editorial abroad. Every day is unique and different and so you never tire or loose motivation or enthusiasm for what you do, it’s an incredibly satisfying and enjoyable career. I feel very lucky.

What era in music had the best/most interesting style in your opinion?

Without doubt the 70’s.I love the flares, the platforms, the large collar shirts with loud prints.Love the skinny logo tees.The colours, the fabrics, the prints. Everything about it was cool, over the top, adventurous, over styled and fabulous.

Your best dressed musician now and in the past?

Theres a few:

Gwen Stefani – The No Doubt era

Pharell in his hat loving stage

Lenny Kravitz

Mick Jagger – In early Rolling Stones days

Cher – In the 70’s

Visually, what are your favourite music video of all time?

Spice Girls – Wannabe It’s was so low budget, No hi res. No photoshop. Totally raw. It totally broke the mould. Every Spice girl was dressed totally individual and represented unique characters and individuality.It was fun and naive, and thats what fashion and music should be.It takes me back to being a teenager, trying to recreate the looks with Buffalo shoes and leopard print catsuits.
Loved it.


You’ve recently announced that you are represented by Mandy Coakley – how does this affect your work day to day? 

 
I joined Mandy Coakley very recently, it just felt like the right time to do so and we already have a fantastic business relationship. Im still the newbie on their books so we have many exciting projects in the pipeline for the up coming months.

Most people I know who work in the styling industry are workaholics. What do you do when you allow yourself some chill time?

I think you have to be a workaholic in order to choose this career. Its not a 9-5. you never know where and what you will be doing from one week to the next. You can be working all hours of the day, every day for 5 months then have no work for a month, thats sometimes just how the business is.
You find time to chill, you make it work, it has a way of being so crazy hectic that all you wish for is a full 8 hours rest then you find yourself craving the busy schedule when you have a quieter period.
The crazy schedule is part of the lifestyle you adapt to when you make the decision to be a Fashion Stylist. It totally consumes your life and every aspect within it, but i wouldn’t have it any other way.

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