We got to the pool and everyone was raving about this strawberry drink. Aylin, Keythlin and I went to go check it out. We stood in line at this place called the hut. The hut served drinks and food. Hanging out at the huddle (the pool, football field, basketball court, and ping pong tables area) was the only place we could interact with the people there for sports. There was a boy standing in front of me. He turned around and said, “Oh your name is Sasha too?” I looked at his name tag and we were both named Sasha. It was super funny and I got to take a picture with him. I have never met someone with my name before. All the fashion girls got in the pool and I sat on the edge because I was NOT getting my hair wet.
Eventually, the pool closed and we headed over to the football field. Aylin, my roommate, headed back to the room. I wanted to meet all the athletes so I stayed. I met a guy named Josh who was there for track. I turned around and then there were a group of people standing beside me. I met a girl named Leah who ran track. I also met a guy named Logan, who was 6’7. Yes, 6’7. I was looking up at him, but I guess we all were. I also met a girl named Sophia. She said she wanted to hook me up with some IMG boys so I said “What the hell” and followed her around. I met a couple of guys but they were all way too young. I also got to meet international people. Sophia introduced me to a guy who was from Guatemala. I got to use some of my Spanish. Hahaha or should I say Jajajajaja.
Then we headed to the volleyball court. Sophia told me she thought all the fashion girls were mean. I asked her why. She said she was on an elevator with some girls from the fashion camp and they were rude to her. They whispered about her and said “Why is she sweating so hard?”
I was upset to hear the fashion girls had a bad rep. I had to clear the fashion girls names and interact with the athletes. I played a game of volleyball with a bunch of athletes. The girls were all apprehensive to interact with me because they thought I was mean like some of the other fashion girls. Eventually, they warmed up to me. The girls were from all over the world. I met people from Brazil, Spain, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and so many other places. I managed to get through a game of volleyball without actually hitting the ball (I was not breaking a nail). Eventually around 9:40ish the councilors blew this horn and made us all go back to our dorms. I got to exchange contacts with all of the people I met and then I headed to my dorm. Aylin and I stayed up talking for a while.
Wednesday June 26th
The next morning I skipped breakfast again. I wore a dress made by my mentor, J. Renee Prudhomme. I headed to go see Karla Welch with Keythlin. The athlete boys literally attacked the golf cart and we barely got a seat. We arrived at the Field house again.
Karla Welch is a celebrity stylist that resides in Los Angeles, California. Welch was on the stage and was interviewed by David Cunningham. She was asked how she defines herself as a stylist. Welch described herself as a “Psychologist, the best friend telling you you’re going to fit into the dress…an image maker… an indispensable part of a celebrity’s team.” Welch was introduced to the world of fashion through music. Welch’s husband is a photographer and a director. Welch would assist him on set.
Next she was asked, “Do you have a mentor or an important relationship that helped you get to where you are today?”
“I find having the relationship of a mentor super important.”
Welch did not automatically know what she wanted to do in life. She has been in many different industries including the restaurant business and the clothing industry. Welch believes it is normal to not know what you want to do with your life. She advised, “Don’t really sweat it.” Welch added, “I find having the relationship of a mentor super important.” During her career in the restaurant industry, she had “two wonderful male mentors.” Welch claimed she has not had a mentor in her stylist career. Welch believes styling is an “insular career” where the “stylist is alone.” Welch has a team but the looks and the way she styles falls on her. Welch added, “Being insular is not always good.” Welch believes she had “side by side mentors” that are women who she “came up with.” Welch believes the mentor does not always have to be an established successful person, it can be “someone to share your ideas with and realize you’re not alone.” She added, “Sharing is caring.”
“Being insular is not always good.”’
The interviewer, Cunningham, chimed in, “Everyone should work in a restaurant.” He continued, “If you can be a great waiter or waitress, that is a great skill.”
“Everyone should work in a restaurant.”
Welch agreed, “The skills I learned there, I can apply to every job. It’s the act of service and the act of taking care of people.” Welch continued, “Service is an act of kings.” Welch’s restaurant skills have helped her further her career: “I use those skills every single day.” Welch jokingly demanded, “And tip ya’ll.” The audience laughed.
“Service is an act of kings.”
“And tip ya’ll.”
Cunningham inquired, “What type of jobs are common for stylist? And what’s the difference of styling onset vs. for an event?”
For red carpet events Welch works with celebrities and does “everything, from press junkets, to their ad campaigns, to all their appearances.” Welch talked about red carpet styling vs. editorial, “It’s become equally as powerful, If not, I’d say more, than an editorial stylist at this point. It wasn’t like that when I started at all. Editorial stylist were like ‘red carpet’ we were kind of like the black sheep but now we’re like ‘haha’.” The fashion industry is changing and now stylists are not restricted to being editorial or red carpet, they can do both. Welch referenced her being able to style Justin and Hailey Bieber for an editorial Vogue cover with Tonne Goodman. Welch talked about Goodman, “Talk about a mentor. She was so wonderful to me. It was one of the best experiences of my life to get to do a shoot with her.” Welch believes editorial stylist have a responsibility to create a vision and a look while red carpet stylist have to be more serviceable and reactive. Welch reminisced on a recent vacation she was on, “Justin [Bieber] called and was like, ‘I need you in the studio in like 15 minutes with 15 hats.’ and I was like, ‘Well, I’m in Mexico’. “ Welch was able to get in contact with her team to help Bieber with his fashion crisis and get him what he needed. This example, shows how hectic the stylist profession is.
Cunningham, the interviewer asked, “Can you tell us the process of getting booked on jobs?”
“I know what I want almost 90% of the time.”
Welch explained that her agent will call her and give her the job. The agent lays out “the parameters” of the job and gives Welch a color scheme and the model’s sizes. Welch then connects with her team. Welch described herself, “I’m very like a directorial stylist,” she continued, “I know what I want almost 90% of the time.” Welch described her team’s role, “I rely on my team to inspire me and bring me ideas.” Welch explained her process, “For example, I’m going to do a Levi’s campaign with Lily Aldridge tomorrow in Nashville. I’m gonna go there after this. We had to think about, ‘what kind of shoes do we want to project this look.” Welch envisioned Aldridge to look like the lead singer in the band, The Velvet Underground & Nico, Nico.
Welch continued, “I take the time with my team and I take the time with myself to really tap into my own feelings on something and then do my research. It will be pulling up pictures of Nico. What are the shoes of the season? And thinking ahead to next season. What’s everybody going to walk in? What’s going to feel like Lily? What’s going to feel like Levi’s?” After that, Welch and her team begin shopping in showrooms and shops. Welch explained, “My team will send me photo streams and I’ll tap on each picture of what I want.” Welch shared, “ Styling is incredibly creative and fulfilling but it’s also very repetitive and very very grueling. It’s a lot of moving.” Welch believes people will either love or hate being a stylist, she compared it to a “gateway drug.”
Cunningham continued, “What does an average work day look like for you?”
Welch gets to her studio at 9:00 A.M. Normally Welch has already received many emails because she is on Pacific time and most people in the fashion industry are two hours ahead on Eastern Standard time. The night before, they plan the next day. When her team is in the studio in the morning, they go back over the plans for the day. Welch shared, “Let’s see, today at my studio, what’s everybody doing? We have a girl going to a premiere very last minute. So we’re out pulling clothes right now. We have a political client who is being apart of the debates tomorrow so we’re also dealing with that. And then we’re prepping for Lily and then it’s answering emails. And doing returns to the showroom… So the interns are packing returns, we’re doing FedEx.” “I mean I probably get around 300 emails a day,” Welch estimated. “And then for me as well, I have a brand, so I work on that part as well,” Welch added.
Wow, I honestly never knew how much goes into being a stylist. Listening to all the speakers that week, I realized that all jobs are equally as stressful, no matter if the job is fashion or another career. Managing stress is a part of any job and it is important to really enjoy what you do and take time for yourself.
Cunningham asked, “Do you have any off time?”
Welch responded, “6:00. 9:00-6:00 and if we’re done, we can go home early.” During demanding fashion seasons, Welch and her team can stay until 11:00 pm and they do not leave “until the work is done.”
Cunningham asked, “How did you build your client base?”
Welch responded, “Never saying no.” Welch began her career working in advertising and with her husband on his shoots so she was able to get access to celebrity clients. Brooke Wall discovered Karla Welch in Barneys.
“Instincts are a really important part of the business…”
“I think there’s always a bit of luck in people, but I think you have to work for your luck,” Welch explained. Welch was discovered in an unusual place. Welch reminisced, “I was prepping a job for the singer Feist, and I was working a job… 12 years ago.” Welch was wearing high waisted jeans, a striped shirt, and red lipstick. “This woman kept on following me and I’m always really friendly, it’s important to be friendly. But I was like, ‘what is this chick doing following me?’ and she was like, ‘excuse me.’ And I turned around and said, ‘I don’t work here,’ and she looked at me and she said, ‘I love everything about you… are you a stylist?’ and I said, ‘Yeah are you an agent?’ she’s like, ‘Yeah I’m Brooke Wall’.’” Welch went home and looked up Brooke Wall who is the president of the Wall group. The Wall group is owned by IMG which is owned by Endeavor. All of the stylist, hairstylist, and make up artist I met that week, worked for the Wall Group while all the models and talent worked for IMG. Welch met with Wall again and Wall signed her “right on the spot.” Both Welch of Wall are Canadians. Welch discussed, “Instincts are a really important part of the business…”Welch continued, “That little voice that is saying do that or don’t do that is usually right.” When Welch signed to the Wall Group she immediately decided to say yes to every job. Welch explained, “Even if it wasn’t a job that I could possibly be interested in. Cause I knew I could learn from it.”
“I think there’s always a bit of luck in people, but I think you have to work for your luck.”
Cunningham interrupted, “But you seem to work with a certain kind of person.”
“…it’s important to be friendly.”
Welch responded, “I think that has all kind of happened. I think there has been a rise of really strong powerful amazing women and I got them all.” Welch added, “Now I get to say no and I pick people who I really believe in… And their projects and what they stand for and of course, how they look.”
Cunningham continued, “How do you work with designers and brands? And how do you build those relationships?”
Welch responded, “That’s the best part of my job because at the end of the day I’m a total fashion junkie. If I could have done it all over, I would have moved to New York and been Anna Wintour’s assistant. There’s no denying I love fashion, but this has worked out great too. So it’s fine. So that’s my favorite part is having formed these relationships.” When Welch works with a client and requests clothes from a fashion house, “the houses are either going to say yes or they’re going to say no.” Welch adds, “But when you work with them enough, then you have leverage.” Welch still experiences rejection: “Givenchy says no all the time.” Welch believes, “It’s all relationship building.” She advises, “Take no with a smile.” She added, “Just keep asking.”
“Take no with a smile.”’
Cunningham continued, “How do you pull specific looks for you clients?”
Welch has a specific system and “alchemy”. “If I style you, I’ve been thinking about you for a while,” Welch explained. Welch believes it is important to keep an account of references. “Always clock in you mind, and it doesn’t even have to be in your mind, you guys all have smartphones now you can Pinterest the hell out of life,” Welch joked. Welch “clocks references” and remembers specific images in her mind. Welch used Sarah Paulson as an example, “She was dressing in T-dresses and frilly shit. And it just wasn’t what I thought she was, which is a strong, quite handsome, powerful woman.” She began thinking about her and then styled her more “modern and chic”. Welch is constantly doing research, she looks at every single show on Vogue Runway and she “screen grabs” and makes her “book”. She then “reaches out three weeks in advance” to secure looks. Welch believes her younger clients like Amandla Stenberg can wear anything, but her older clients need an established look. “I love creating threads,” she continued. Threads are established, identifiable looks.
“How do you work with hair and makeup?” Cunningham asked.
Lacy Redway is one of Welch’s favorite hairstylist to work with. Welch believes she is the “captain of the ship” when it comes to hair and makeup. Welch decides all parts of the look including hair and makeup. She talks to her clients first and then goes to the hairstylist and make up artist to discuss what she has chosen. “Some stylists aren’t like that, but I am,” she added. “9/10 times they’re receptive,” she continued. She believes it is important to take the hair and make up team’s thoughts into consideration but it is also important “to have that thick skin to say no, ‘this is what we’re doing’” when the hair and makeup disagree. “If you want something you have to really be able to take it and standby it,” Welch added.
“If you want something you have to really be able to take it and standby it.”
“Do you have a style muse or someone you would point out that is your biggest inspiration?” Cunningham asked.
“Not really, I’m kinda just really, really open. I’m my own muse,” Welch responded.
“I’m my own muse.”
Cunningham asked, “How do you convey your personal style through clothing and how do you convey someone else’s personal style through the clothes that they wear?”
Welch explained, “I just want people to be the best version of themselves.” “Those red carpets are pretty horrifying and in a way we’re creating a bit of armor for them,” Welch continued. Welch defined her own personal style, “I’m kinda a real kind of Tomboy, little French style. But I have pieces that I put on that I feel great.” Welch professed, “I think that’s the best part about cultivating your own personal style, what makes you feel like the best version of yourself.”
“What makes you feel like the best version of yourself.”
Cunningham asked about Welch’s collaborations.
Welch started her own fashion line. She believes she is at heart, a stylist, and she will “never” call herself “a designer”. She created her line to accommodate for what she thought was missing in the industry. “I wanted a perfect shirt,” she explained. Welch’s collaborations extend
beyond just beautiful clothes. “I also use all my projects as a form of social justice leveraging.” Welch worked with Levi’s and they became advocates for gun safety. Now their CEO, Chip Bergh, has made it the legacy for the company to uphold gun safety. Welch believes collaborations brought her passion for styling and advocating together.
“What advice would you give to someone that’s starting out?” Cunningham asked.
Welch advised,“The only way to become a stylist is to work with a stylist.” Welch continued, “Treat it like an apprenticeship, it’s a trade.” She advised, “Become that person’s indispensable arm.” Welch’s second assistant, Erica Cloud, worked with Welch for twelve years and now she has he own styling agency. “I look for assistants and even interns that can learn to think like me. I don’t want their take on a shoe for my client because my client has booked me, they have not booked my assistant,” she explained. Welch believes it is important to shadow a stylist for a long term amount of time. “6 months is not a job… commit to someone… go and do it for three years,” she stated. Welch believes it is important to work for someone that you are passionate about: “Find someone’s work you love and be their person.”
Cunningham asked, “What is the best piece of advice someone’s given you?”
Welch advised, “Don’t let your ego be bigger than your skills.”
“Don’t let your ego be bigger than your skills.”
A slideshow began and Welch described some of her work. Welch did two looks for Levi’s. One look she did Joan. Another look she did SZA. SZA wore two pairs of pants. Welch and her husband shot the Levi shoot.
Welch showed us pictures of a model named Lily. Welch loved the photos she took but hated walking around “hot and stinky downtown LA” to take
Welch dressed Tracee Ellis Ross for Instyle in Paris.
Welch dressed Lorde in Billboard Magazine in the window. Lorde told Welch, “I’’m feeling like a puffed sleeve” and Welch had to put together an outfit with that feeling.
Welch references instagram to find new designers.
Welch dressed Sarah Paulson in a lime green dress.Welch had to beg to Prada to give her the dress. They made a longer version specifically for Paulson.
Welch also showed us Amandla Stenberg in a suit. The brand was Tom Brown.
Q & A and Comments
Someone asked Welch how to create their personal style. Welch believes everyone has their own personal style.
Someone asked what Welch majored in in college. Welch majored in Art history and English. Welch ended up dropping out of college and pursuing other careers.
Welch grew up working in her father’s menswear store and developed a love for fashion there. Welch believes the uprising artist, Lizzo, is a great example of the world being more accepting of being yourself and authentic.
Welch is obsessed with menswear. Welch stated, “You’re going to wind up in a tux if you work with me.”
When asked about how she dresses her clients, she tries to style them by their age. She never goes “super sexy on a young person.” She also does not style children.
Someone else asked about difficult clients. Welch believes it is important to learn from difficult clients as much as you can. She believes all you can do is try your best.
I asked her how she balances her life. She said she is constantly trying to balance her life. She said there is no right or wrong way to balance your life, but she still has not figured out how and does not think she ever will.
After that, we did a styling activity. IMG bought clothes from Goodwill. Each group was given a theme and they had to dress their mentor in an outfit based on the clothes. My team and I got harajuku. Our mentor, Derek, was so cooperative. Derek allowed us to put him in a skirt and slick his hair back. He strutted the runway in his harajuku outfit and we got second place. Welch loved our outfit. Welch’s favorite look was Jared’s school guy look. My personal favorite was another councilor, Jibran’s cowboy look.
I really enjoyed the styling activity and it was one of my favorite parts of the week.
I got to talk to Welch after and she was very genuine and sweet. She loved my outfit.
A letter to Karla Welch,
It was so nice to meet you and learn about how you became apart of the Fashion industry. It was comforting to know that it is ok to not have everything figured out and I appreciate your genuineness.
Sasha C. Yates
We headed to lunch and I was sick of eating IMG food. Kayla, Sienna, and I devised a plan to order Chipotle on UberEats. We had to ride all the way to the hotel on the other side of the campus to get the food. We did not want to order it to the cafeteria because we thought we might have not been allowed to order food from off campus. Eventually we got the food and I was sweating in the Florida heat. We rode back to the cafeteria, but by the time we got back, it was time for Christelle De Castro’s session. We ate and headed to the golf carts. As we approached the cart, there was an army of kids waiting to pounce on it. Before it stopped, the boys attacked the cart. The driver got up and yelled at them to never get on a moving Cart. Kayla, Sienna, and I were left stranded and had to hike all the way to the field house. The IMG boys were definitely gentlemen, they took all the seats without even thinking about the girls. Wow. How attractive.
Christelle De Castro
Eventually, we got there late. We had to sit all the way in the back. Castro is a renowned photographer/videographer. Castro was on stage giving an activity. She told us to write down our intentions and goals for our lives. After we finished, she began telling us about her life. She was not interviewed, she just told us about herself.
Castro began photography at 19. She described nineteen as a late time to begin photography. Her interest in film began when she took a TV video production class at fourteen. “I went to like a really bad high school,” she explained. She continued, “Academically, not the best, but where we really shined was in the creative.” Castro described, “There was like a 30 minute segment that we had on public access TV. So I grew up, as a kid, watching all these cool high school kids on TV. And I just wanted to start making these video projects just like they did.” Castro enjoyed the film class thoroughly. “My teacher really believed in me. I think I was the only student that took it really seriously,” she added. Most people only took the class because the teacher was lenient and they could skip class. “I took his class and I really really enjoyed myself and he just let me take cameras home and he really just fostered my interest in filmmaking,” Castro continued. The teacher allowed her to take whatever equipment she needed. He even let Castro take home a computer over the summer so she could edit. Castro reminisced, “When I was at fourteen, I was like, ‘I want to be a director, that’s what I wanna do’.” Castro’s parents owned a mom and pop grocery store. She was not able to pursue her directing career because she had to stay local and help her mother on the weekends. Castro went to San Francisco State. The college was a train away from the store. Castro really wanted to go to New York, but she settled. “I was bored out of my mind,” she added. She felt that the school was too big and missed the one on one attention she had received from her high school teacher. She began reaching out to local filmmakers in neighboring schools and worked on projects with them. One student she met was a photographer. She had focused more on videography and photography was a new world. Castro explained, “Photography and filmmaking definitely goes hand and hand but it’s two different mindsets. Photography, you only get one still.” Castro was fascinated by the idea of only getting one picture and not being able to use video. The student photographer encouraged her to try photography and gave her a camera and film. Everyday, they would shoot together. Castro felt comfortable to learn and grow with her peer mentor. “None of my questions were stupid [to him],” Castro explained. Castro began doing street photography and taking pictures of people and items in San Francisco. Castro remarked, “In a year, I had my first photo exhibition.” After the exhibition she realized, “Holy Crap, there might be something to this.” She began establishing her aesthetic and blooming as an artist. Castro started showing in group shows in galleries and a couple of years later, she got her own show in New York city. After the show, Castro began taking photography more seriously. She moved to New York in 2008. She was working in a diner in San Francisco and dreamed of making photography a career. When she moved to New York, she became a commercial photographer. She started shooting for brands and fashion. Castro’s niche is fashion and musicians shoots. Castro defined herself as a photographer, a director, and an artist.
Castro began showing us her work in a slideshow. She told us a story about the band Five Seconds of Summer. She described, “They are so nice.” After a year long tour, she photographed them and they were so kind. She expected them to be grumpy from touring but she was pleasantly surprised. “I can’t say enough good things,” she added. She also advised, “I like people with good attitudes.”
Every single person who has presented has emphasized the importance of being nice to people. If there is anything you should take away from this series is to be nice to people.
She continued scrolling through her photographs. “Do you guys know Austin Mahone?” she asked. The audience responded, “Yes!” Castro continued, “I totally didn’t know who he was when I shot him. Also, super nice. Lovely.”
Castro also had pictures of V files.
She also had pictures of her bestfriend’s shoe line, Nicole Saldaña. Check out her shoes! They are really cute! But super expensive!
Castro told us a story about how she received a vague email from a hotel. They were requesting her help on a project. She initially thought they wanted some pictures for their lobby and agreed to help them. They actually wanted her help with a twenty-two story building. She was commissioned to take pictures of people native to the Bowery district in New York. She began taking pictures of business owners and influential people in the district. She would introduce herself to people in the area and then request photograph them. She photographed 66 people and covered every window of the building with their portraits. She used Duratrans Prints to put the portraits on the windows. The windows look normal in the day, but they illuminate at night with faces. It was beautiful.
Castro also teachers at Parsons in New York.
Q & A
The first person asked Castro if she shoots digital or film and how does she retouch photos. Castro used to shoot exclusively film. She was “against digital” for a long time. Now she shoots both digital and film. Castro hates retouching photos and she has a team to do it for her. Castro believes a photographer’s personal style comes with time.
She saw my hand way in the back of the room and chose me to ask a question. Castro was the first person I met all week that was employed in the film industry so I was really excited to meet her. I asked her what was her favorite camera at the moment. Her favorite camera is the Arri Alexa. I thought it was going to be a Blackmagic. Blackmagics are popular right now. She also emphasized that the camera is not important. She believes it is important to focus on the quality of your work instead of purchasing a fancy camera.
Someone else asked how to know if they are on the right track. Castro explained that there is never a right choice. She believes it is important for people to explore all their interests. She also said being one thing does not mean you cannot be another thing. She encouraged us to not limit ourselves.
Another person asked how to shoot pictures well. Castro emphasized the importance of being personable and making sure the client is comfortable.
Another person asked how to not get overworked. Castro believes it is important to give yourself enough time to complete jobs. She shared that she has had times where employers have expected her to complete projects in three day windows and that she had to decline. “I need more than three days,” she demanded.
She was asked how she stands out when she creates her work. She believes it is important to have a personal style. She believes style and aestheticism is formed over time.
Lastly, she was asked why she likes being a photographer. She enjoys the messages she can convey with photos. She feels the way she grew up shapes the way she takes photographs. Castro is an immigrant from the Philippines and she said that shapes her perspective and inspiration. She believes we should seek inspiration from our environment.
We began an activity where we had to take pictures of each other. Kodak lent us Printomatic cameras. The camera had film in it and printed the photos immediately. We had to work with our team and take pictures. We had to take a close up, a long shot (full body), an extreme close up (only apart of the face), and an extreme longshot (full body and the surrounding environment). My team and I headed out and we started to take pictures. It was so hot that we eventually lost momentum. We got some good pictures. Castro told us to take fifty pictures but our camera stopped printing after a while. Eventually we realized each camera only had 10 pieces of film in it. After we got more film, we went back to the fieldhouse to show Castro our work.
She came around and took her favorite picture from each group and put them all together. We all went and looked at the pictures. I also got a chance to talk to her about film separately and she was extremely helpful and informative.
A letter to Christelle de Castro,
I believe it’s interesting how you started in filmmaking and then switched to photography. I also think it is interesting that you do both. I only know people who do one or the other. I enjoyed talking to you and I felt like I was being heard when I spoke to you individually. You have a really humble and impressionable presence and I hope to learn from you further in the future.
Sasha C. Yates
Dinner & The Mermaid Pool Party
The fashion girls headed to dinner and then we got ready for the mermaid pool party. They were serving mock-tails. Aylin and I got one and then we hung out by the pool with the other girls. We played truth of dare. We also got to meet a real mermaid. Everything was fun until it started storming and we all had to go inside. IMG shuts down the whole campus when there is rain because Florida has frequent destructive storms.