Category Archives: fashion

RAFAEL THOMASETO KEEPS THEM COMING BACK FOR MORE

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A producer is the closest thing the entertainment industry has to a parental figure. As the head of any production, this individual oversees every aspect from beginning to end and ensures that it all runs smoothly. It’s a tiresome and exhausting vocation, the main reward of which is getting more of the same work. A producer will tell you that they choose this vocation because they love the creative process and being surrounded by others who take part in it. For a successful producer, diversity is the key. Similar to directors, a producer’s work on a notable ad campaign can mean as much (or more) recognition and compensation than on a film or TV presentation. The career of Rafael Thomaseto encompasses all of these different creations, leaving him in the enviable position of having an eclectic body of work and possibilities to pursue. His resume encompasses a strong list of production credits, including independent films, commercials for major brands (such as Chanel, Samsung, Nissan and Jose Cuervo), the clip of the song “Perfect Illusion” by the iconic Lady Gaga and the production of videos for the YouTube. The common thread among all these is the talent and work ethic he possesses. The best advertisement is performing your job with excellence and the word is out about Thomaseto.

As producer of the film “Inherent Greed” (Directed by Zachary Wanerman), Rafael oversaw this production which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and also impressed Louie Torrellas (CEO of Ambitious Media Productions). Torrellas relates, “One of the executive producers on the film recommended Rafael to my company, Ambitious Media, which was in charge of producing Inherent Greed. We hired him and he instantly took over the project and made it work, to great acclaim. Our first partnership was such a success that as soon as I received the briefing of the entire media production for LA Style Fashion Week, Rafael was the first name that popped into my mind. It was going to be a challenging job but I was sure he was qualified and experienced enough to handle it. Again, my expectations were attained. Once Rafael joins a project, he will do anything possible to make it work and to make it the best.”

Hired by Ambitious Media as head of production for the city’s biggest fashion event would seem to be a completely different environment than that of a soundstage or location shoot for a film however, Thomaseto’s skill set is equally applicable to both. Though Los Angeles Style Fashion Week has been around in some incarnation since the 70’s, the past decade has seen it evolve into a much more expansive and widely attended event. The city and the industry have taken an obvious step towards using their entertainment producing infrastructure to promote the fashion scene as a major player worldwide. While the surroundings and the players are different than the ones he is so accustomed to, many of the applications of Rafael’s abilities are lateral. Instead of overseeing a film production, he developed a documentary which showed the increase of the fashion scene in LA. Locating and hiring the director, cinematographer, and film/photography crew to shoot interviews with the major players in the fashion industry as well as the big name models who would be appearing at the event; all these were familiar procedures for Rafael though they were in a wildly differing venue. The producer notes that his ability to bring aboard world renowned fashion photographer Lemuel Punderson as the main director for the production was a particular source of pride.

A complete dichotomous experience of working with the beautiful people, Thomaseto’s past success on a number of productions for Traverse Media resulted in them hiring him as part of the production team for the experimental “Crypt TV.” Traverse Media, a production and talent management company committed to creative and enterprising content and filmmakers, hired Thomaseto as part of their Production team coordinating the project for Crypt TV. Crypt TV is a digital genre brand co-founded by Jack Davis and horror icon Eli Roth. Declaring its motto as “#WeirdIsGood”, Crypt TV creates and distributes dark, edgy, and scary video content on Facebook and across its family of publisher sites. One year after launch, with 2 million direct social followers and a syndication network of 2.5 million unique monthly visitors on the sites in its network, Crypt TV has quickly become the fastest growing leader in digital productions of this genre. In addition to working with the best up-and-coming filmmakers across the world, Crypt TV creates engaging original video content directly for the Top Hollywood Studios including: Universal, Fox, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Netflix, and others. Crypt TV is uniting fans and creating a movement that’s redefining what the future of the genre among millennials.

Although hired on shortly before the shoot, Rafael quickly solidified all aspects of the production of the three short films which Traverse created for Crypt TV: “Lust Kills” (62,000 VIEWS), “Gluttony Kills” (371,000 views), & Sloth Kills (272,000 views). These three films were produced in just a matter of weeks and had received several thousand views in a mere matter of hours after being released. The expediency and process by which entertainment is created and delivered continues to evolve with technology and the public’s sensitivity to it but the need for professionals like Rafael Thomaseto will be a constant throughout these changes, as will the need of entities like Ambitious Media Productions and Traverse Media. The upcoming projects which Thomaseto is currently involved in with both companies assures this fact. The new edition of LA Fashion Week (which is a biannual event), an indie feature film in 2018, and several short films (a continuation of his partnership with Crypt TV) will all add to the association that Rafael has with both Ambitious Media Productions and Traverse Media in the very near future.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA PRODUCER EZGI EREN: MAKING DREAM COME TRUE

Social Media; it’s intimidating and sometimes confusing to older generations and the thought of being without is unthinkable to younger generations. Your interpretation of it and its prevalence in your life is somewhat delineating and defining of your generation en masse. Social Media producer/manager Ezgi Eren is right in the sweet spot of Social Media (SM) and the idea of online interaction. Forgive the pun but she seems to be hardwired to achieve in the industry. She grew up in Izmir on the west coast of Turkey and used Myspace to connect with others worldwide about her interest in music, fashion, and creativity. A self-described shy young girl, being online empowered her with an ease of sharing thoughts and ideas. These days you’ll find Eren shuffling back and forth between her two modern day home cities of New York and Los Angeles conducting her work with clients and growing their brands with her SM skills. Her early interest and embrace of SM and its ability to connect with others for a variety of ends has served both Eren and those she works with quite well.

Dreaming has always been a part of Ezgi’s formula for life. While attending university she had thought she would be pursuing a role in music management, working with famous musicians from around the world. Her intuitive nature working with SM would lead to a redirecting opportunity. She recalls, “I was 20 when I started an internship at Opening Ceremony Web. I applied when I was still in Turkey. At that point going to New York was still a pipe dream but I ended up having a few Skype interviews and got the job; they even waited over a month for me to get my visa. My official title was Online Marketing and Social Media Intern. I worked directly with the Social Media manager and I learned a lot from her. I started out with compiling FB albums with the brand’s press mentions and later got to help with insights and analytics to figure out which posts work best on all social channels. I learned a lot about insights during this internship. I tracked all stats on google analytics and presented these to the whole team once a month. It was terrifying as an intern but I’m so grateful I got to do it as it made me so much better at public speaking.” Once again, SM helped a somewhat shy Ezgi break out of her shell.

Eren’s skills became so adept that she was recognized and hired to work as a social media manager to celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, whose social media presence is almost as well-known as her famous hair styles! Atkin was chosen Creative Influencer of the Year in 2016 by WWD. “Jen Atkin has always been one of my professional inspirations. I think she was one of the first people who was relatable on social media without even trying. She just makes her followers feel like they’re on her journey with her and I think that’s a powerful connection to establish. It’s such an honor to work as a social media manager to one of my ultimate social media she-roes!” notes Eren.

 

Ezgi is also most recently working on a new segment for Whitney Casey’s company Finery. Finer  is a highly interactive web based system for organizing, styling, and management of one’s wardrobe. It’s yet another indicator how people are using online methods to cultivate organization and style. Ezgi was brought on as Finery’s social media producer/manager shortly after the company’s conception in 2016. Casey (CEO & Founder of Finery) states, “It was important for us to have a social media manager from the beginning of our company to make sure we have a strong visual brand identity from the get-go. Ezgi worked closely with us from the beginning to achieve that and knows a lot about who we are as a brand and who exactly our customers are. “ Finery recently launched an exciting new segment on the site called “Featured Wardrobes”. Casey states “Our initial idea was to launch a blog for Finery to dip our toe in content and spotlight our friends and people we admire in the fashion industry but then we started receiving more and more comments from our users asking for styling advice, inspiration, etc. People don’t just want to see their clothes; they want you to help them put them together in different ways. We had various wardrobes we were curating for different reasons, mostly to continuously test out the site and its new features. Ezgi started helping me put one together and I loved all the items she curated, I even bought a few!! Most importantly it was great to see a wardrobe in front of you that was curated for a specific style. This combined with the comments from our users had us thinking, why not feature different influencers every month and give their fans a chance to go through their wardrobe digitally, instead of going with the same old blog content? Ezgi has been a key player in Finery in this process of rolling out a whole new way of presenting content. She knows the brand so well and cares about developing real relationships with our audience, which is part of what makes her so great at what she does.”

Seeing this professional woman who shuttles back and forth between NYC & LA, working in an exciting new industry…it’s hard to imagine that shy young girl from Izmir who only gained the courage to truly open up when she was typing to someone on a computer. In such a short amount of time both Eren and the way the world uses SM has evolved a great deal. Learning to find your passion and embrace change has worked well for Ezgi and it’s a good lesson for all of us. When considering change she states, “I think about this a lot because there’s no way of predicting what shape SM will be in in 20 years or more, but I think a big part of working in SM is collaborating with people from many adjacent industries: photography, videography, design, tech, styling, & others. I try to acquire as many new skills as possible from them along the way and just be more prepared for whatever SM managing turns into in the future.”

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Makeup artist Jen Tioseco shows off natural beauty to Saucony shoot

Jen Tioseco is an artist. A face is her canvas, makeup is her paint. She uses her brushes to create something beautiful, or to completely change the way someone is perceived. It takes a certain skill to completely alter someone, making them unrecognizable, or just simply enhancing natural features that someone already possesses, and that is what makes Tioseco so sought-after. She is truly one of British Columbia’s best makeup artists.

Tioseco has worked with many prominent individuals throughout her career, and her work has been seen by millions across not only Canada, but the rest of the world. She has worked with the popular singer Dani LeRose, and did the makeup for two of her recent music videos. Last year, she worked on several editorials for the edgy magazine ION, showing off her innate talent. She even did the makeup for television personality George Stromboulopoulos.

“I am a huge fan of his show, and getting him stage ready and chatting with him about the charity he was representing was incredible. While men’s makeup may not seem creative, it actually is. You are working around stubble or a 5 o’clock shadow, under eye circles and blemishes, all while trying to give the illusion that they aren’t wearing any makeup at all.  Trust me, it’s a skill,” Tioseco described.

Those shopping at Saucony have the chance to see Tioseco’s fine work. Last year, she worked on their newest campaign, which is still in all of their stores. The renowned American athletic shoe manufacturer offers a variety of shoes, such as running, trail running, racing, walking, and a college collection. The shoes are designed for the main purposes of racing, running, and walking. Tioseco was already a fan of the brand, so when she had the opportunity to utilize her skills on their campaign, she was all for it.

“I had worked with the Creative Director, Jessica Law, on a Google shoot earlier in the year.  Having loved working with her and being a fan of Saucony runners, I knew it would be a fun shoot,” said Tioseco.

The shoot required Tioseco to overcome a difficult challenge for many makeup artists: making someone look completely natural while still wearing makeup. This, however, was not a problem for someone as seasoned as Tioseco. While it was not the most creative shoot she has worked on, she always enjoys making someone look their best naturally without it looking like they are wearing makeup.

“Trust me 95 per cent of the time the no makeup look is much more difficult to achieve, making it more fun to execute,” she said.

Jessica Law reached out to Tioseco after being impressed with her work on their previous shoot. Law needed a makeup artist with a high level of professionalism and attention to detail, and she immediately brought Tioseco back on board to work alongside her once more.

“Jen’s professional yet fun attitude is an amazing energy to have on set. She knows how to work in a timely and organized manner, while staying calm and positive. Jen’s ability to adapt to a situation is so refreshing.  If it’s a last-minute look change, or a change in the schedule or location, Jen always stays calm and gets the job done,” said Jessica Law.

The models on the shoot were true athletes, making the campaign more authentic, but causing some problems from the makeup perspective. Both athletes suffered from acne. However, Tioseco was able to cover up any marks so they appear to have no makeup on.

“I was able to cover their imperfections in a way where they didn’t feel like they had a lot on their face, but they could run and sprint for photos with confidence,” Tioseco described.

In addition to makeup, Tioseco was also responsible for doing the hair on the shoot, something she does not often get to do. Again, simplicity was key, and she had to make a traditional ponytail. This may sound simple, but having it perfectly frame the athlete’s face, and getting it at the right height, is actually quite a challenge. Again, despite not often doing hair, Tioseco’s adaptability shone, and the hair was perfect. She always enjoys taking on extra responsibilities.

“I actually got to do some special effects on this project. I love dewy sweaty skin, so I was very excited I got to break out the glycerine and recreate drops of water on the skin,” she said.

Not only was the work fun, but the location of the shoot also made the project extremely memorable for the makeup artist. Originally from North Vancouver, she travelled further north in British Columbia to Squamish, a stunning town filled with mountainous views.

“There was still snow on the ground and we go to hike the lookout where we shot. It was so beautiful and the team was so amazing, you forgot that it was freezing outside,” she said.

No matter what she is doing or where she is working, Tioseco loves being a makeup artist. And with such talent, it is no doubt why she has seen such success throughout the entirety of her career.

Model Francois Angoston travels the world doing what he loves

Francois Angoston has always had one dream. It never was what he would do when he grew up or who he would be with, it was where. He wanted to travel. The Guadelopian native spent his childhood dreaming of seeing the world, and eventually he realized the best way he could live his dream and work hard: modeling. Since that time, he has never looked back, and now is an leader in the industry.

Throughout his esteemed career, Angoston has represented some of the world’s largest stores and brands. He has worked with the world-famous department stores JC Penney and Macy’s, as well as Belk, Bon-Ton, and brands like Pendleton, SanMar, Bonobos and IZOD.

“As a model, it’s a lot about being flexible and ready, to fulfill the client’s wishes and expectations when it comes to how they want you to highlight their clothes. The best way to promote a product is when you can relate to it. I love what I do,” said Angoston.

Angoston’s charisma comes through every photograph he takes, and he has contributed to the success of many campaigns. While working with the iconic shoe company Skechers, Angoston showed what he can do to the world, allowing all to see why he is considered one of the best.

“It’s always been a great experience working with Skechers. When I began to work for them, I met the director and I have to tell you, that she was quite a bit intimidating at first. She even got me a little bit shy,” said Angoston, laughing. “She is a fire ball of energy and she never stops. But you know, when you get to know her way of working through observing, you see that strong, ambitious and big-hearted woman with other eyes. She knows what she wants and there is no way around, but she would always make sure that everyone is happy in the end. I really admire her for being so tough and ambitious.”

Angoston represented Skechers through many different mediums, including television Commercials, print campaigns, catalogues, billboards, and in-store advertisements. He held the leading role of sole model for a print ad campaign the company ran in 2015. He could be seen across the country showing off the Relaxed Fit Footwear collection.

“I liked the fact that working with Skechers offered me a lot of exposure in different sources such as magazines, billboards, TV commercial, catalogs and so on.  On set, I worked with a lot of interesting people,” said Angoston.

One of those people was Lindsey Clarke, Vice President of Creative and Advertising at Skechers. Clarke believes Angoston’s talent is one-of-a-kind. She says he has the unique ability to look totally natural and at ease while consciously modeling, a skill that is not easily found. After his first shoot, Clarke was so impressed with Angoston that she invited him back for the 2016 and 2017 campaigns, as well as the television campaigns after seeing the success of the print ads.

“Having worked closely with Francois, I can attest to how commercially invaluable he is. His dashing good looks and extraordinary modelling abilities have established him as a highly sought-after model who brings immediate prestige to any publication, brand, or production he models for. Francois’ stature in the fashion and modeling industries is monumental,” said Clarke. “Though Francois undoubtedly looks exceptional no matter what he is wearing, he is able to combine his professional-looking clothing with the Skechers in such a way that the images emit a strong sense of poise and sureness that few models could pull off.”

This unique talent transcends to all of Angoston’s work. While working in London with the brand Express Gifts, Angoston was able to show a different audience what he is capable of. Express Gifts had seen Angoston before, and knew they wanted him to represent their brand. After meeting him, they were immediately convinced, and he has been working with them for years now.

“I worked a lot already for this client and we are always having a good time. Working with Express Gifts is easy for me, as I exactly know what the client expect from me on how I represent their brand. I shoot E-Commerce content and TV commercials with them. The TV commercials are always a lot of fun. Also I became their ‘Polo Guy‘. They love to shoot Polo Shirts on me, from Superdry to Ralph Lauren,” said Angoston.

Express Gifts is a company based out of the United Kingdom. They have many different brands, ranging from clothing, to greeting cards, gifts, and home and garden items. They are an extremely popular personal shopping service. But most importantly, working with Express Gifts once again gives Angoston that chance to live out his dream.

“At the shootings for Express Gifts, the team is always super nice and we’re always having a great time and good laughs. I get to travel all over Europe. Sometimes I really miss Europe, and especially the food there,” he concluded.

Launching a Successful Fashion Label in Modern Times

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Magdalena Z. in a dress from the LUKEWILD ‘Janko Cruise’ Collection shot by Misha Photography

Patricia Luke, founder and head designer of the popular fashion label LUKEWILD, has loved fashion for as long as she can remember. Originally from Marbella, Spain Luke first began designing clothes at around the same time that most of us began learning how to read and write.

“I don’t remember when I discovered my love for fashion, I think I was born this way. I remember designing my first dress when I was 5 years old,” admits Patricia.

While designing clothes had been her passion from early on, Patricia attempted a more linear path first. She graduated from law school, but once at the crossroads of becoming a full-fledged attorney and following her heart, she chose to be guided by her heart. She promptly moved to New York where she attained a master’s in design from The New York School of Design, and began turning her fashion dream into a reality. From that point on her life has been centered wholeheartedly around fashion design, which was clearly the right path as she’s made a major mark as one of the most awarded young Spanish fashion designers in recent times.

By 2013 Patricia had founded her label and created her first collection. “Once I realized I was able to design and create clothes for my family and friends, things that they loved and would have bought in a store regardless of who made them– then I knew it was time to express my power worldwide. It took time, as it is for any small company to be successful, it requires a strong foundation, organization and a good team, but with effort, sacrifice and passion LUKEWILD created its first collection– BECONFI in 2013.”

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In 2015 she was chosen as one of the best fashion designers in Andalusia, and she was invited to present her Poseidon Collection at the Best Young Fashion Designers of Eastern Andalusia Competition where she was chosen as the runner up. Earlier that same year, Patricia presented The New York Garden Collection from her label LUKEWILD at the Marbella Crea event during the Starlite Festival. Again, the audience was taken by her designs, as were the judges, and the collection earned her the Marbella Creativity Contest’s Best Young Entrepreneur of 2015 Award. The following year Patricia premiered LUKEWILD’s Raices SS/2017 collection at the 2016 Starlite Marbella Festival where she earned First Prize for the Best Collection of the Night.

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Fatima A. wearing a dress from the Raíces Collection shot by David Rodriguez Photography

For the Raices Collection Patricia created a series of dazzling dresses made from high-quality silks, Swarovski stones and delicate lace with a color scheme that included red, black, white and a mix of blue. Drawing her inspiration for the collection from her home town of Marbella, Patricia says that her focus for the collection was to create “unique silk dresses designed to increase the sensuality and power of the woman.” She definitely nailed the mark. Francesca Palumbo, Mariana Minie, Carla Candia, Natasha Mass, Sofia B. and Fatima A., the models that wore Patricia’s designs from the Raices Collection at the 2016 Starlite Marbella festival, looked beyond ravishing as they glided down the catwalk.

As one of the most notable music and art festivals in Spain, and in Europe for that matter,  the Starlite Festival pulls in a huge crowd for one month every summer and boasts an impressive list of musical acts that include household names such as Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Julio Iglesias, Tom Jones, Alejandro Sanz, Bryan Adams, Pet Shop Boys, Tony Bennett, Malú, Alejandro Fernández, Lenny Kravitz, Andrea Bocelli, Plácido Domingo, Anastacia, Laura Pausini and David Bisbal.

Considering the scale of the festival, being chosen as the winner of the Best Collection of the Night Award was huge recognition of Patricia Luke’s prominent career, one that not only brought her international recognition, but also reinforced her rare gift and star quality as a top designer particularly of silk and swimwear.

Patricia recalls, “My models walked down the catwalk in my dresses looking very proud, sexy and with a strong and confident step… The next day I came back to NYC proud and more motivated than ever!”

Aside from just being an exceptional and top designer with a strong vision for the direction she wants her label to go in, Patricia Luke is a brilliant entrepreneur and business woman, which is one of the reasons she’s managed to create a successful label and keep it afloat in such a competitive industry. Prior to launching LUKEWILD in 2013, Patricia learned the ropes of the fashion business as an executive sales associate for Michael Kors, as well as spent time assisting for well-known New York fashion labels AMoi and Astier NY.

One of the aspects of Patricia approach to LUKEWILD that has made her label successful is her understanding of the fact that building a business takes time, effort and above all, consistent customer interaction.

She says, “Nowadays, we are what we share and this is what’s building identities of individuals and brands. In the last 5 years, LUKEWILD has became a source of new fashion ideas and inspiration, that’s what has made people follow and buy from us.”

Her keen business sense and understanding of how to build the LUKEWILD brand from the ground up and create an identity that people will immediately recognize when they see her designs has been tantamount to making LUKEWILD recognizable to customers across the world. Beyond this, Patricia has devoted countless hours to identifying the kind of customer that wears LUKEWILD, why they choose the brand over others and how they want to feel when they wear certain clothing styles.  

“Along with being a fashionista, we like to play psychoanalyst too.  It’s not enough to understand just our customers’ needs, but also what drives and motivates them and that’s exactly what make us different and unique in the industry,” explains Patricia.

At the end of the day, she says LUKEWILD was created for a person “that believes in love, dreams and romance. Someone who wants to express their body and their spirit while keeping their elegance. LUKEWILD is not only about the unique dress that was designed purely for that person, but about how that dress makes them feel while wearing it.”

 

 

 

ASHLEY-GIANNA HALLETT: CREATIVELY USING TECHNOLOGY IN THE FASHION WORLD

The way in which we conduct business, just as with our social lives’, has changed dramatically in the past decade. In fact, less than a decade. Cyber Monday is a term that everyone understands. While there are many examples of how technology can be cumbersome, the consumer experience is one which has become much less difficult. Online marketing and shopping was in its early stages in 2009 when Ashley-Gianna Hallett was working at Burberry in London during their entrée into the online world. As a lead force in Burberry’s approach to their website and virtual shopping, Hallett was an important part of enabling fans of this iconic British luxury fashion house with access to ready to wear items while still retaining the signature style for which it has become known. Much of the world approached online shopping with trepidation in these early days but Ashley dove in headfirst with a confidence that resonated with the company and the variety of professionals she worked with, resulting in the successful online shopping presence Burberry has to this day. As during her time with Elite Model Management London (as Talent Manager and Women’s Model Booker), Hallett has always proven that her forward thinking and love of fashion are a union which serves to make each half better.

It’s always a good idea to treat others well because you never know what the future will bring. Ashley has become a force in the London fashion world these days but just a decade ago she was still studying at university. She was just a girl from a big family in South East London who loved the Arts and Fashion. At twenty-one, while finishing up her studies, she began working as a temp Assistant in the showroom of Burberry HQ. She was quickly recognized and would soon join Burberry as a member of the Digital Commerce team. This was a fairly new venture at the time, one which differs greatly from means of the past. Comparing print media and ecommerce, Ashley relates, “E-commerce and print media are different. Print tends to be advertising/advertorial whereas e-commerce is the selling of individual products with detail shots to follow- the customer can directly purchase a product. E-commerce can fit into website advertising via a landing page. A landing page on a website is also like a small scale campaign that focuses on a feel, a look, a story, a collaboration of models wearing several looks from that particular collection. It all depends on the context of the image that is used and where it sits on the website. On most occasions, imagery used for print media will also be used for the site but would can also have a ‘clickable’ feature to purchase individual pieces. These shots would have the same feel although there would be a focal point on each product which is important for the customer. One of the problematic but exciting factors of this avenue is that the aim would be to shoot the collection reflecting the styling of the initial shoot (i.e. Runway show/Advertising campaign). The challenges we faced were reflecting the initial styling whilst also being able to show the customer the product for exactly what it is. An issue that is apparent with all commerce styling from my knowledge and experience of working with several other online brands.”

In creating an online Look book for Burberry, Ashley needed to understand the needs and perspectives of all involved parties from the company through to the production teams and eventually the consumers. This required laying out all aspects and logistics on a granular basis.

The needs and desires of all these groups required a massive amount of preparation, communication, and anticipation. Hallett would meet with the Marketing and Production Design teams to identify the entire collection, breaking down the product lists into Ready-To-Wear and accessories. The collections being shot would be coordinated with the desired models and their schedules. Ashley worked on successful projects/collections such as Prorsum Look Book (2012), ‘Burberry Nude (2011), ‘April Showers(2011), ‘Winter Storm (2010) during her time at Burberry. Coordinating and planning shoots with the studio teams (photographers, stylists, retouchers) while ensuring that the availability of the product, model, and creative teams were all in sync, necessitated that Hallett and her 6-member team were always on top of things and held the Burberry image as paramount. The online shopping presence which Ashley was so instrumental in facilitating during her time at Burberry is the standard of the industry in fashion these days, even though it came into being less than a decade ago. Hallett recalls, “So much has changed in such a short amount of time. When I began at Burberry within the Digital team, some of our processes for shooting were manual. It was a way of being meticulous with the many products housed in the showroom. It was an exciting time as we could develop our own ways of working influenced by the structure and needs of the business. I had a template which was working fine although, as time moved forward and the Digital aspect of the business was rapidly growing, it was only natural for us to refresh our ways of working. I think it was surprising to everyone in the industry how fast things moved. Working closely with styling teams to determine how to shoot from a creative vs e-commerce perspective, model choices for collections, styling guidelines, ensuring we had a faster turnaround of delivering the finished imagery to the website teams…all variables for the normal presentation of products had to evolve quickly. We were growing with the needs of the department and business. Speaking to all teams to ensure we were all aligned with how to produce a slick and seamless structure of shooting key products meant that communication was key and going with a gut decision was most often a necessity.” One of the results that Ashley was proudest of was her oversight of quality control during the re-shoot process. This is often one of the areas which can lead the process to a standstill. Over a two-year period, Ashley was able to minimize the re-shoots by forty percent. Currently considering the further evolution of her career in the Fashion industry, Ashley reveals, “To have a key role in the strategy and brainstorming of creative concepts, to develop an idea and turn a thought and vision into something real and substantial alongside a client, to have creative input into all aspects of a project from the strategy, idea, location, talent, stylist, photographer, budget, retouchers, contractors, set designs…that is a deeper involvement and a lofty goal but I’ve always believed in myself and believed that I could work with other talented and hard working professionals who are committed to greatness as well. Pursuing a career that is creative and in which I am surrounded by creatives, that’s the way I want to look back and see my life.”

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XIAO SUN: LEADING A MODEL LIFE

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Xiao Sun in an accomplished actress with numerous TV and Film credits to her name but she began her career achieving fame in Canada as a model. Miss Universe Canada was a springboard for her to work with Vogue Italia and Cosmo TV, which would eventually lead to acting roles in films such as Les 3 P’tits Cochons 2, Anna, Tidal Waves, and even work on X-Men: Days of Future Past,. Trained as a dancer in China, and the emigrating to Canada in 2009, Xiao has followed suit with Cameron Diaz, Milla Jovovich, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, and so many other models turned actress. Proving that you can’t contain natural charisma and talent, Sun has crossed from print and runway into TV and silver screen at a swift pace. While excited about her current success as an actress, she looks back toward those early days, what she learned, and how to apply it to her current status.

It is difficult to imagine that just seven years ago, Xiao Sun was living in China with great aspirations inside her head and heart. In just those few years she has moved across the planet, began a highly successful global modeling career, and is now a celebrated actress. Iconic names like Vogue and Cosmo are part of her resume which now includes monikers like “leading actress.” To those of us on the outside, viewing her career, it all seems fast. Xiao will tell you that it is all a product of focus and hard work, but also notes that she had early indicators of inclinations. Sun states, “I was obsessed with clothes and style at very young age. I used to often dream about the clothes I would wear for different moments in my life. I love how creative you can get on a piece of cloth; you can transform a person into a totally different look, feeling and energy with different styles of clothes.”

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Xiao moved to Canada in 2009 with her parents and entered into Ms. Universe Canada where she placed in the Top 10 national finalist and won Best Model Award (Sun was the first Asian Canadian to ever win the Best Model Award). While she learned more about interacting with the press and public presentation, she especially enjoyed the interaction with youth (in the form of motivational speaking) and interacting with charities as an ambassador of Canada. Denis Martin Davila is the President of Beauties of Canada which runs the Miss Canada Universe organization and pageant. Speaking of Sun’s win for Best Model, Davila comments, “This achievement of Ms. Sun’s is no small feat, and truly signifies her extraordinary talents as one of Canada’s top models. To win such an award, let alone place so highly in the national pageant, is only a possible achievement for the most capable and experienced of models, and Ms. Sun proved her talent with this. Miss Universe Canada is the biggest national beauty pageant in Canada, and its only 60 contestants are selected from thousands of applications across Canada after rounds of regional competition each year. Ms. Sun shined among these thousands of other beautiful and talented models and proved her high stature in her field. To win such an award from the biggest pageant in Canada is one of the biggest national honors for a model in this country.”

Xiao was approached immediately following the competition to start her modeling career. The crowning achievement for any model on the planet is working with Vogue and Cosmo; something which Xiao achieved almost immediately. She recalls that being in Italy to work on Vogue Italia was the complete experience for her. She comments, “Vogue magazine is my favorite fashion magazine to read. I have visited Italy a few times, and loved each time. Needless to say, the street fashion, shops, and the food are amazing too!! I also love people dress up for different events, like they wear gowns to go to a concert. Makeup artist Paul Venoit’s simple but bold style was really inspiring. The first look Venoit created for me, was only foundation, with black rectangular eyebrows…super edgy, I never knew that I could rock that kind of look. I was shocked how amazing I looked like in the final pictures. It has brought my modelling career and the way I look at myself as a model into a new different level. Paul Venoit is a legendary beauty expert that I had heard a lot about before I worked with him. He has worked with many celebrities including Scarlett Johansson, Lady Gaga, etc. I was very excited to work with him on this project, he is very fun and relaxed. He can effortlessly create stunning fashionable looks for everyone with his magic brushes. He could easily crack a joke and make anyone laugh on set.  We had a great time working for Vogue Italia, and we’ve worked together numerous times after this project.”

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Natalie Dean (producer/writer of the award-winning Entertainment Tonight Canada as well as director/producer of Cosmopolitan TV’s Oh, So Cosmo) saw Sun on Ms. Universe Canada and recalls, “I cast Ms. Sun on the heels of her winning the prestigious Best Model award from Miss Universe Canada and placing as a top 10 finalist in the nationwide competition, which is truly an accomplishment that only a very gifted and uniquely beautiful model can achieve. The Oh, So Cosmo production was very well received and achieved great ratings, reviews, and buzz. Ms. Sun’s modeling was highly effective and truly leading and critical to the production itself, and I am glad to have cast her.” This began Sun’s transition into being a personality on TV and would peak her interest in acting. Although she loved the talented professionals she worked with and the creative approach to style in her modeling career, there were certain aspects that did not suit her temperaments. Sun confirms, “What bothers me about modelling is that a lot of it is about your look, what you were born with…unlike acting. That’s not something that you can work on. The length of your legs, your body proportion, your face shape…these aren’t things that you can improve upon. Obviously everyone who is a model is very beautiful and has a nice body, but nobody is perfect. People have different tastes and preferences.  As models, we get judged by on our look first. and the idea of that stressed me out.

The progression of Xiao’s career path seems to be that each is more successful than the previous choice; dancer to model, model to television personality and actress, and now film actress. Being a part of the X-Men franchise and Les 3 P’tits Cochons 2 (one of this summer’s most popular films in Canada) bears the fruit of this driven actress’s hard work and desire to continually improve on her talents.