From the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry came a guru who paved his way up from the bottom to being the fashion editor for Marie Claire Mexico- Antonio Gonzalez de Cosio. We had the privilege of not only interacting with this inspiration but sitting through one of his lectures where he educated us on the importance of a fashion story and the ins and outs of the industry. Antonio started his career being a contributor to small publications and newspapers and paved his way up the ladder eventually working as a stylist, a fashion editor and a judge on the likes of Vogue, Marie Claire Mexico and Mexico’s Next top model. He enlightened us not only about how a concept would transcend through your brand but also gave us a few hacks to getting work done in the industry (according to his past experiences).
Fashion has its own language
Fashion is a way of life for most and as such it communicates itself in a certain way. “Other disciplines in the world have its own language. Working in the industry you have to understand and communicate the in the same manner as everyone else in the industry.” It comprises of two parts- codes and your brands message. Decoding the language a brand has and understands the message that you would like to narrate for the story is how you would communicate what you want to say to your audience. Antonio uses the example of Chanel and the classic codes which have transcended over time and are still used in their collections today- Chanel never loses the DNA of the brand. The same codes which Coco was identified by in her time is being translated into the codes that Chanel uses in each collection in every season (in different moderation). In similar instances Tom Ford re-branding Gucci with a message of sex using vintage themed bomber jackets in the nineties and even today with Alessandro Michele using the same codes but with a different message (because the social impact of the 70’s is similar to what is happening now).
Understanding the perception of a customer also aids in the communication of a message. Antonio narrated the story of how YSL was able to be naked and sell the concept of a perfume because of the perception of the ad. Perception plays a huge role in telling a fashion story.
Thinking on your feet
More times that you would expect circumstances won’t go according to plan. In those times you have to think fast and think smart- improvise. Antonio was the first fashion editor to put a black girl on the cover of Marie Claire Mexico. The cover happened to feature the multi-platinum album dropping mogul (who at the time debuted as a solo artist with Crazy in Love) Beyoncé. The problem was that the wardrobe didn’t suit the stature that the celebrity had acclaimed to, so he improvised with a basic wardrobe and minimal makeup to rally let the artist shine- “Sometimes when you don’t have the good elements you have to use your imagination and try to be simple to make it work.” He went on to explain that situations don’t allow you to panic but it gives you another opportunity tp prove yourself and do better.
You have to be clever and you have to act fast in a situation like this. You have to act on your feet.
Respect your client
Styling the likes of Paris Hilton and Eva Longoria ends up being a challenge but your mission is to exemplify the brand image they’re trying to set .The crew comes together to make the client shine a.k.a. catering to your clients’ needs and image is your biggest priority. The way you portray the image of the client must relate to their personality. “You have to respect the client and make them look the best that they can with the element you have.” As glamorous as the industry seems the reality of the matter is the celebrity is the image you need to publicise and you are merely there to make them look good. Times are changing now and in that case you can see a major shift in the entourage getting recognition.
Depending on the demographic your brand wants to cater to the art direction of a shoot will change. Art direction played an important role in Antonios life. On a shoot for the cover of Marie Claire Antonio played with the elements of the brand catering to two different markets. “Needed an image to catch a younger audience- more relateable (she’s laughing, she’s smiling, she’s looking at you). The same elements you can talk to different people. The picture cans speak to different audiences so you need to know how to communicate.”
Any last minute advice?
Don’t look for the big brand, look for the big opportunity.
By putting things in perspective for us he allowed us to discover that we are at fashions pinnacle with so many opportunities in from of us. “Experience and research taught me everything I know”- One of his main points to keep in mind was never stop researching, never stop asking, never feel saturated because once you think you’re done then there’s nothing left to do. And most importantly when you’re looking for a job don’t look at the status or the pay look at how much they can nature your talent, how much they value you. Big corporations are looking for young blood to mold them into budding young professionals to take over some day. It can be extremely daunting going into the field- “the devil wears Prada happens in real life”, but don’t let that stop you from going for the big opportunity.