Lingerie Styling Uncovered: One Stylist Gives us a Sneak Peek
“So long before a bra fitter or lingerie consultant gets their hands on lingerie, I am there feeding the industry with beautiful products and preparing them to reach the consumer level,” – Tamar Kendall
by Michelle Broomes
The intimate apparel industry demands professionals who are masterminds at handling undergarments at all levels. Not only do we need the best experts at designing and manufacturing top-notch garments and accessories, but also those who can put the end products together for the best outcomes.
One such professional whose role it is to create masterpieces out of end products is the lingerie stylist.
The role of lingerie stylist is now an industry demand but how much do we know about it, particularly for those of us who are new to the industry?
Many of us have heard of jobs such as bra fitter, lingerie fitter, lingerie consultant and lingerie specialist? But what really is the role of a lingerie stylist and how does it fit into the lingerie industry and beyond?
I spoke to UK-based lingerie stylist Tamar Kendall and she shed some light on the subject. Tamar has worked in the fashion industry since 2003 and has honed her skills towards lingerie styling.
For those of us looking for a new experience in the intimate apparel and fashion industry this information could provide a fascinating twist to our careers.
Interview with Tamar Kendall
1. Tamar, can you explain what lingerie styling is all about, in particular, how it compares to other popular lingerie roles such as lingerie fitter, bra fitter and lingerie consultant?
Lingerie styling really fits in with the media side of the industry. For the most part I see my job as a marketing role, whether it be styling lingerie for a lookbook or a campaign it must always be presented at its best in order to grab the attention of consumers. I also style lingerie editorials which promote a lifestyle, product, or simply inspire people to dress more creatively. So long before a bra fitter or lingerie consultant gets their hands on lingerie, I am there feeding the industry with beautiful products and preparing them to reach consumer level.
2. Why did you get into lingerie styling and how successful do you think you’ve been so far? Can you mention any big names you’ve worked with?
I have actually worked as a freelance fashion stylist since 2003 and always been captivated when working with lingerie and swimwear. Within the intimates sector I found products with amazing detail that I felt truly passionate about so after some time and much deliberation I decided to specialise my craft down into lingerie and swimwear. I was nervous about pigeon-holing myself at first but I have actually found that being a specialist in this particular area has gained me more work and given my clients added confidence in hiring me. To date I have worked with big retailers like Sainsbury’s on their TU swimwear range but I get really excited working with UK independent brands by helping them to build their brand image.
3. How important is multimedia in getting your message across about your work and the world of lingerie styling?
As we all know, multimedia is a crucial tool for delivering any message these days and personally I would have trouble getting work without it! I keep an online portfolio of my styling work where potential clients can browse through some of the lookbooks and editorials which I’ve styled. I also started blogging a couple of years ago. It started out as a humble personal blog but it has taken off to such a degree that I am currently in the process of expanding it. Whatever your brand, start a blog today! It gives potential clients or consumers a sneak peek into your world and really helps to build up brand image.
Finding Work as a Stylist
4. Outside of the lingerie industry, where else can a lingerie stylist find work?
As mentioned before I style lingerie and swimwear editorials which are featured in all manner of publications. The lingerie market has expanded so much in recent years that we are seeing a lot more lingerie running alongside mainstream fashion stories in glossy magazines. Of course the underwear-as-outerwear trend means that my job role does sometimes cross over into the fashion world.
5. What kind of educational or training background should a lingerie stylist have? Can you speak of your own training which has helped you become a lingerie stylist?
Before I began my career as a stylist I assisted two other stylists on high-end editorials, advertising campaigns and TV shows for two years. This experience gave me a broad appreciation and knowledge for the industry and how it works, and even now almost 10 years on I find I learn new things every day. It is an ever evolving industry with new bra making technologies and new fabrics constantly emerging so I make it my duty to stay well informed with all new developments as they come.
“Every day I wake up to a new challenge and the chance to work with some amazing products and people.” – Tamar Kendall
6. What are some of the pros and cons of being a lingerie stylist?
As with the fashion industry any freelancer would scream ‘budget!’ as a con. Being self-employed is a constant roller-coaster and having to deliver a brief to a client’s tight budget can also be very frustrating. However I would never swap my career for anything. Every day I wake up to a new challenge and the chance to work with some amazing products and people. Better still, my real sense of joy is seeing a designer delighted with a lookbook concept that I have delivered and knowing that it will have a real positive impact on their business.
On the Future
7. Where do you see your career in about 5 years? Are there any big names or projects that you would love to work with?
Because I love what I do I really hope that in 5 years’ time I will be doing more of the same! It would be great to style for an amazing brand like Agent Provocateur but I’ll always want to be involved in working with smaller brands too. Also, I think in 5 years’ time my blog will be something really spectacular…watch this space!
Thank you, Tamar.
Name: Michelle Broomes aka Shelly
Bra size: bigger than you’d imagine!
Email address: email@example.com
Favourite lingerie brands: Panache, Bravissimo, Curvy Kate, Freya. These, in my opinion, are built to carry weight.
Bio: In my early years I was always known to be an “academic” because I was good at the books and always got really good grades in school. I’d never been really good at anything practical until I became a lingerie fitter. Now I talk about lingerie nearly all the time and -ask my hubby- I am a fierce critique of bras and the like. Throw in matching knickers, jewellery and heels and I’m in lingerie heaven.
Lingerie philosophy: Well fitting lingerie is always sexy even if it’s from the bargain bin!