#KetchupTalks: Meagan Concessio shares her process of putting together an ensemble and more

Smrithi Mohan
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Meagan Concessio

Celebrity stylist Meagan Concessio opens up about fashion, loving the process, facing challenges and bringing together a look.

If there is anything apart from the nominations that build up our anticipation when it comes to award shows or events it's the red carpet. Our attention is automatically shifted from who won what to who wore what at the event. From seeing someone look stunning in chic couture to waiting to check out how crazy that one person went with their outfit, we love keeping track of it all. While the celebrities who don them are the ones visible to us, the majority of the credit for their looks goes to their stylist. Celebrity stylist Meagan Concessio belongs to the incredible list of stylists in India who have been helping our favourite celebrities stand out in the most vogue outfits there are.

Someone who always found herself being inspired and mesmerised by her mom's fashion, Meagan soon developed a love for the same thing. As someone who believes that fashion is something that constantly evolves, it was the act of dressing someone up and putting pieces together to create a look that intrigued her. She decided to explore the world of fashion as a stylist and has been enjoying her job dressing celebrities up. Jhanvi Kapoor, Ananya Pandey, Tara Sutaria are the few Indian celebrities that Meagan has had the chance to work with. A fashion graduate from London, she is always looking for inspiration, new designers and most importantly the person's comfort when it comes to styling.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Meagan Concessio and dive into the world of fashion, celebrities, iconic looks, making celebs look good for the paps, and more.

Here's what she had to say!

What is your first fashion memory?

I'd be lying if I told you I remember exactly what my first fashion memory is. But I do remember being a kid and watching my mom dress up for work. My mother works in the corporate world so she's always worn suits and dressed up in chic workwear. She also had her friends come in and she would dress them for interviews and important events. My parents are also musicians and I would see my mom deck up in glam looks for her gigs. I was always into that. So I was exposed to someone who loved shopping for fashion and make-up from very early on. And that kind of got me into loving fashion, loving the act of dressing up and making an effort to look glamorous. 

Every year for my birthday as a kid, we would have different theme parties. For my seventh birthday, we had a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs theme and I had worn a custom-made Snow White gown. It was always about creating fashion moments from the very beginning.

How do you define fashion?

Fashion for me is something that constantly evolves, something that makes you feel things. It is a way to present yourself to the world. And I love it very much because I find it intriguing and exciting. I get excited when I see a designer creating something beautiful. I love seeing the inspiration that it comes from. So fashion for me is all sorts of emotions.

How did you become a fashion stylist?

In 2011, at the age of 17, I joined L’Officiel magazine as a fashion intern. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Be it mood boarding, referencing or just putting together things to make a shoot happen, I enjoyed the process very much. The act of putting different elements together to create a shoot versus manufacturing the garment. So that's why my interest sort of led me to fashion styling.

Later that year, I left for London and I did a course in fashion styling. So that's where I learned how to organize things for a shoot, how to style different people, and how to style different bodies. My interest was always towards being a fashion stylist.

What’s your approach when you first start styling someone?

There are a few things one has to keep in mind while styling someone. It starts with where the person is going. If you are attending a certain type of occasion, you would need to be dressed appropriately for that occasion, be it red carpet, street-style, airport, or cocktail, you have to be dressed appropriately for that event. There's always a dress code that you're following, which comes first. After you know what the dress code is, I think you have to have a clear conversation with the client about what they envision themselves wearing. Sometimes they don't wear certain colours, or they have worn something recently that they don't want to repeat. I think it's really important to make sure that you're on the same page before any function that you style because you obviously want to get them the right things that they would like. You have to make sure that there is communication between you and the person you're styling. And then you take it from there.

Also Read: Meet the stylist duo Pranay Jaitly & Shounak Amonkar from Who Wore What When who dress your favorite celebrities

Who are some of your go-to designers for styling?

I really don't have any go-to designers anymore. I think I reach out to a ton of people before every event because you never know if they'll have something new that's unseen or if they just launched a new collection. So I think every event and every brief like, I said earlier, is completely different. You can be styling someone for an airport look or someone for a red carpet, then you'll have to be in touch with a bunch of different designers. 

So I don't think for me, there's like one go-to person., I'm always up for exploring people who are doing very new, exciting work, and I hope that I'm always discovering new, talented and homegrown designers. I love discovering and finding a designer from one corner of the earth and, you know, making someone wear their clothes first.

What’s the most challenging part of being a celebrity stylist?

My friends hear about my challenges on a daily basis and it's something that just never ends. I would say I think that people really don't understand it, people are very dismissive of what a stylist does. So they don't really understand the many difficulties that stylists face. One of them is, you know, just finding the right team to help you execute your vision. I think that it's extremely important to find like-minded people who can give their heart and soul to their job. And I think that is of my one of the main things I've struggled with as a stylist. 

Another thing would be that you're trying to get hold of so many clothes and so many accessories and footwear. It's very difficult to get everything to us in these kinds of timelines because you know, sometimes we get a call two days before saying, ‘Oh, she needs an airport look, or she's doing an event and she needs an outfit’. So you have these crazy timelines you're trying to meet, and you obviously want to kill it and do an amazing job. So yeah, so I think the timelines, it's very hectic, and it's very hard.

What’s the most fun part of being a celebrity stylist?

Getting to travel. I love that my job involves going to new places and meeting different people every day on the job. I particularly love to source jewellery. I find selecting jewellery very therapeutic, as funny as that sounds. 

Is there a difference when you style for shoots versus events?

I would say every kind of styling project you do is different from the next. You’re never really working according to the same brief twice in a row. If you're styling for a brand, you're doing what the brand wants whereas with an editorial shoot you’d have more creative liberty. As for events, red carpets and parties have no briefs but if there’s a brand involved you may be looking at specific colours or styles.

Are there certain types of looks that photograph best?

It seems like there are certain things that look better in shoots than they look on red carpets. You must be aware that on red carpets the shot taken by paparazzi, are normally shot with flash. And sometimes that's not the most flattering for an outfit. So you have to be careful about all those things. I mean, obviously one can go wrong, as well. But more or less you have to kind of just be aware of what things look good in shoots and what looks good at events, and then take that call.

As a stylist, what do you suggest someone should steer clear of?

I think you need to be aware of who you're styling and make that call. I think all you need to do is know what the person you're styling likes. At the end of the day, the person wearing an outfit should be comfortable and happy and should enjoy wearing that outfit. Fashion is supposed to be fun. It shouldn't be taken too seriously. Or you should sort of come to a conclusion that satisfies both parties. So I think yeah, I think it's, it's important to communicate and sort of have fun with it.

If you could teleport yourself to a fashion era, where would you like to go?

I think I would really like to go to the 70s. It just seemed like more fun and a more exciting time. It's very me.

How do you stay up on the game?

I think when if for any person in a creative field, it's important to get inspired by things around them, and then draw inspiration from those things and put it into their work. Me, I'm inspired a lot by the way people dress, so I'm constantly looking for people who have great style. So that's one thing I'm constantly looking out for. I'm also inspired a lot by television and television characters. I am constantly on my phone, just trying to gain inspiration from everywhere that I can. For me, my phone is what takes me to these different, different people or different posts that I see that I constantly gain inspiration from. That's my process, and I'm constantly saving things and thinking of them later.

Any word of advice for up-and-coming fashion stylists?

Firstly, I can only speak about my own experience because this is what has worked for me, I have always prioritized gaining experience over receiving high pay for the first 3-4 years. I'm glad that I had my mind in the right place as someone in their late teenage years and early 20s. I always knew that when I had a summer vacation, I would spend that vacation doing internships and gaining experience, gaining knowledge and understanding of the industry, prioritizing growth over money.

Secondly, it's very easy to say “work hard” but what it actually means and comes down to is making a lot of sacrifices. Missing events, missing people's birthdays, and putting your work first. I have had people join my team and on the first day say ‘I have to go for someone’s birthday or leave early for a dinner.’ I don’t know how they do it but I never had the guts to. It's not about asking someone to only prioritise work 24x7 but it means going that extra mile to create something amazing. Doing more than you’re asked to do and being the hardest working person in the room is what I would advise up-and-coming stylists to be. 

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