Phaedra Godchild is a fashion stylist and co-partner of Styleista. Styleista is a fashion styling team based in Calgary that specializes in wardrobe styling, personal shopping and commercial/editorial.
I was always interested in fashion. I don’t think I really knew that it was what I wanted to do until about 2005, when I had just moved back from living abroad. I decided to look into what education there was because I knew that I wanted a post secondary education. So when I found Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, that was when I decided that’s what I really wanted to do. It was a fashion design degree, and I thought that I wanted to be a fashion designer until shortly after I graduated, I realized that I didn’t like to sew. So I decided to take all of the knowledge that I got from the program and filter it into styling.
I have over 12 years of experience in fashion. I have my bachelor’s degree in fashion design and technology with a minor in marketing. I’ve done everything from retail management with Holt Renfrew, Aritzia and Tory Burch, to being an entrepreneur here with Styleista, which is what I do full time now.
Brenna Hardy, my business partner, started Styleista. It started from her having people requesting her to style them and personal shop for them. She had some corporate clients as well. Then when her and I joined forces so to speak, we both had client lists and we both had businesses that we brought to the table. We put that together, redesigned our logo and went from there.
Today I visited four different consignment stores and I went into them and met with their team and selected what I want. I pulled about four to five items from each store and that took up most of the day. Then I had to check a bunch of requests for personal shopping via email. Later, I get to put together a draft for an upcoming blog I will be doing which is on the fall trends, and I’m also putting together the framework for the next blog which is going to be all about the spring/summer 2018 trends.
We want to make it really clear that we do work with any budget. So as a personal shopper we consider ourselves an affordable luxury. The way that we look at it is you hire someone to do your hair, or you hire someone to decorate your home so why would you not hire someone to put clothes on your body? That’s the first thing that people see, it’s the first impression besides what comes out of your mouth. You are telling the world who you are as a person through your clothes.
I would say that fashion is a competitive market. When I started it was less competitive but now to start as a stylist, especially in Calgary, you have to be really conscious that you are going to be starting from the bottom. You have to build a body of work. You as a fashion stylist have to have a brand on yourself. Like what is your style? It is hard, you definitely have to hustle, you definitely have to put a lot of free time into things.
There are a lot of people that are considered in the industry to be rude, or to be standoffish and cliquey. That perception is partly true but it’s really not your concern as a fellow stylist or someone else in the industry. You just really want to focus on what you are doing and just be kind to everyone around you.
Calgary’s fashion is up and coming for sure. I would say it’s evolving. When I first moved here eight years ago there wasn’t as much of a fashion scene. I think Calgary’s working really hard to put itself on the map. I would say in one word it’s evolving and I think it’s actually doing really well.
I love my career because I get to do what I love and I also get to make an impact on other people’s lives. That might sound silly because we are definitely not saving lives in anyway but we do get to make people feel really great about themselves.
My advice for anyone getting into the fashion industry is to be very patient and work very hard.
As told to Hillary Ollenberger. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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