Currently based out of Vancouver, Canada, Patricia Lagmay is a fashion stylist known for styling leading fashion editorials and esteemed lookbooks and campaigns. Her work with brands spans professional labels such as Priory, Samsung, Wings + Horns, and Aritzia, and her editorial spreads have been published by Hearst Media.
Lagmay spent time both abroad in Canada and locally in Los Angeles, where she was initially drawn to pursue a career in styling. Once just a place of work for Lagmay at the age of nineteen, the renowned stylist was represented by THEY Representation by the time she was twenty-one, and remained with the agency until 2012, when she began working exclusively with Aritzia.
While at Aritzia, she refined her talents and made a significant impact on the brand’s growth and development , with her role becoming more senior as time progressed. Lagmay contributed her innate skills to the retailer until 2015 as a lead stylist on their seasonal lookbooks, campaigns, and eCommerce catalogue. Most recently, for the past year and a half, she’s worked with the clothing line Priory, styling and art directing their Fall ’15, Spring ’16 and Fall ’16 collections.
Throughout her profession and on many occasions, she has established herself as an invaluable asset to the fashion industry. We recently had the chance to sit down with Lagmay and discuss a few of her crowning career highlights, which we’ve outlined in our exclusive, one-on-one interview below.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in the Philippines and lived there until I was 10. My family moved to LA and lived there for six years, and then relocated to Vancouver, where I’ve now lived for the past 11 years.
What inspired you to purse a career in styling?
This is going to sound like a cliché, but I don’t think I had a choice. I’ve been drawn to it since even before I realized it was a career.
What types of platforms does your work span?
My work spans print and digital. I work on editorial stories for varying publications, alongside styling campaigns, lookbooks, and eCommerce for established and emerging brands.
Does your approach to styling differ from one platform to the next?
Print has a longer lead-time whereas digital is more or less immediate. This dictates what season the clothes I choose have to come from so that when the story hits, the clothes are available.
Who are some of the top clients you’ve worked with?
I worked with Aritzia extensively for the last three years. I’ve also worked with Priory, Wings + Horns, Sitka, and Samsung, among others.
In your opinion, what are some of the most important characteristics a stylist can possess?
You really have to love it. The decisions you make as you style won’t make any sense otherwise, since a lot of it is instinctual. You also have to be extremely organized. There are a lot of moving parts to a shoot and it takes a healthy dose of OCD to get everything done.
How do you try to incorporate those qualities into your own styling?
I make sure to listen to my instincts. There can be a lot of cooks in the kitchen at times, and paired with the number of trends that arise every season, it’s easy to get caught up in styling to please the whole team. But as the stylist on set, you’ve been hired for your taste and opinion, so it’s important to know when to stick to your guns. As for being organized, I’m definitely a bit OCD so that part comes naturally!
Your journey with THEY Representation is a fascinating one. What was your first role with them?
I started out as an intern when I was 19 and eventually became the Head Booker and Marketing Manager, handling all bookings for the artists, dealing with production, and managing the agency’s brand. After a couple of years I was ready to move on from my role. Since I’d already been styling my own shoots, THEY’s owner and agent suggested that I jump over to the artist side instead and become a represented stylist on their roster.
What about your time working with Aritzia? You were a stylist there for over three years. What were your main roles? Did your roles change as time went on?
The areas of the business that I worked on more or less remained the same, but my involvement with each of them progressed as the years went on. I worked on the brand’s seasonal lookbooks and campaigns, alongside styling (and often art directing) their extensive eCommerce catalogue.
With Priory, how do your roles as a stylist and as an art director differ from one another? Similarly, how do they complement one another?
Technically speaking, a stylist is someone who deals primarily with the clothing—choosing which pieces to use, putting the looks together, and ensuring they look good on the model. An art director is someone who deals with all the creative facets of a shoot—from the photography, to the styling, to the hair and makeup, to the casting, all the way down to the posing. I find it difficult to not have an opinion on all of those different areas since each of them greatly impacts the final images. I can bring the best clothes in, but if what I have doesn’t work with what the hair stylist has chosen, or vice versa, it really doesn’t matter. In that sense, styling and art directing are very intertwined.
Tell us a little bit about the Samsung commercial you worked on. Who did you collaborate with? What brands were incorporated into the shoot?
Samsung was looking to change their creative tonality and this commercial was their first step in that direction. We had an amazing international crew—the director and producers had flown in from Copenhagen, the clients from Seoul, the talent from the U.S. and Europe. My goal, along with everyone else’s, was to bring a sense of authenticity to the characters. To do this, I pulled from a variety of sources—from vintage stores to more contemporary brands such as Reigning Champ.
What has been your most challenging project thus far, and how did successfully completing it help you grow as a stylist?
Each project’s been challenging in it’s own way so it’s hard to choose. Some have been a challenge from a creative perspective, some from a budget perspective. They’ve all worked out regardless, so I try to keep that in mind whenever I’m faced with another hiccup.
What is one thing that people on the outside of the fashion industry would never suspect about being a stylist?
There are just as many unglamorous parts to the job as there are glamorous ones, if not more. From taping shoes, to dealing with customs, to trying anything to get a stain off of a garment – the list goes on.
Why is having a stylist so important?
When it comes to shooting a brand’s lookbook or campaign, a stylist brings an important level of objectivity to the set. That outsider’s perspective combined with the designer’s vision is what brings the collection to life. A stylist also knows how to make the clothes look their best for the camera—which requires more trickery than you’d think.
Can you elaborate on a favorite project or two that you’ve worked on?
My favorite part is the mix of it all so I definitely can’t choose just one. Working on varying projects is what keeps the next one as interesting as the last.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
It can come from anywhere—runway, the old lady walking down the street, a recent film, old editorials.
What are your personal hobbies and interests outside of styling?
Eating. Good meals with good friends and I am a happy camper.
How would you describe your own sense of style and fashion when it comes to your own wardrobe?
I definitely have a uniform. Lots of nude, black, and navy, and not a whole lot of anything else.
What brands do you aspire to one day work with?
The Row, Celine, and Protagonist.
What brand or client is up next on your agenda that you’ll be styling?
I don’t like to count my eggs before they hatch, so we’ll just have to wait and see.