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29th May 2017 / TFCS Mentor Spotlight / by Chia Sihan

Violet Foo:
Gems from the styling battlefield

There were times when I barely slept, and it didn’t stopped me from pursuing this career.

From unpredictable photo shoot setups to clients, not much else can faze this TFCS Style Mentor, who has been freelancing for several publications including the Singapore Women’s Weekly, ICON, The Peak, 8Days, Her World, Harper’s Bazaar, i-Weekly, Esquire and Simply Her.

Apart from editorial fashion spreads, Violet has also worked on commercials and television shows, with her latest role being the lead stylist on Asian Food Channel on Singtel TV. Her versatility and eye for detail make her the go-to stylist for clients across industries.

How did Violet realise styling was her true calling? “I had no qualms about staying up all night to fill up Excel sheets with image captions and prices of products featured, even though I was mentally and physically drained by the entire photo shoot. There were times when I barely slept, even though I treasure my beauty sleep during off days. Still, it didn’t stop me from pursuing this career, and I hope it doesn’t stop anyone whose dream is to become a stylist too.”

Branching out into other sectors, she has also worked on commercials and television shows, with the latest being the lead stylist on Asian Food Channel on Singtel TV. Her versatility and eye for detail makes her the go-to stylist for clients across a wide spectrum. She shares with TFCS her take on how the industry is evolving for freelancers.

How was your personal experience of breaking into the industry?

I was always looking out to outgrow myself and learn everyday. There was so much more to styling that I wanted to learn about. I just want to die in the styling battlefield again and again.

Why did you decide to go freelance?

Being a freelance assistant will open your eyes to many possible avenues and platforms, from filming, commercials, advertorials to the corporate world in general, apart from magazines.

How important is it for a stylist to get formal fashion education?

I started off as a intern back then with magazine, and slowly worked my way up. I personally feel 2-3 years of exploring and learning is enough. Then you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone to look for a mentor who is working in the freelance world.

When did you have the “aha!” moment when you realised this is what you want as a career?

Despite the perpetual late nights, I had no complaints even though I was mentally and physically drained and still willing to push on. There were times when I barely slept, and it didn’t stopped me from pursuing this career. I would love to try my hand at working on movies if the opportunity arises.

What is your take on social media? How do you leverage on it?

To be honest, I enjoy using Instagram because of the potential exposure. I have learnt so much as everyone is sharing their work, just as I do sometimes, although in Singapore, the social media focus tends to be more on food.

How does a newbie get started in the fashion styling industry?

Work hard, remain down to earth, and accept event invitations gratefully when you’re invited. Take the opportunity to support your industry peers when you can.

Please share with us 5 tips on how you make it work for you

• Be genuine, sincere, honest, appreciative, humble yet confident.
• Never give up, although there will be times you just want to sit down and literally cry in the rain while holding up a broken umbrella and dragging a broken luggage across a rain-flooded field, which was what I did for a shoot.
• Be passionate and give your all; you will see the outcome, as people will recognised your works and get to know about you through mouth of word too.
• Don’t be lazy, reorganise your portfolio every now and then and send it to clients that you would love to work with. It helps to keep your quality of work high.
• Be respectful to fellow stylists, and to everyone around you. And remember to love yourself.

About the Writer

Chia Sihan

A story junkie by nature, this TFCS scribe thrives on uncovering the backstories of her interview subjects, whether they are heads of corporations or a working Mum caring for a child with a developmental disorder. She finds it a privilege to be privy to these personal experiences. Some of the publications she has written for include the Singapore Women’s Weekly, L’Officiel Singapore, and Harper’s Bazaar Junior. It is this genuine love for storytelling and collaboration that led her to kickstart her journey as a co-founder of The Fashion Collective Singapore. Now the chief storyteller at TFCS, she is particularly inspired by the personal journeys of TFCS Mentors, not to mention their dedication towards the refinement of their craft.

Head over to The Editor’s Journal to read articles contributed by Sihan.

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