Alizé Demange is one of the most in-demand stylists in London right now, with her roster made up of figures dominating the music, television and fashion industry. We began by talking a bit about her journey into styling.
When did you first become interested in fashion?
“So I think I was always a really creative child. I really loved to draw, I loved everything to do with art - my mum was quite arty. I started to be interested in clothes and illustrating clothes. There were films and people around me that made clothes feel glamorous, way more glamorous than my own life. It became a really attractive thing. A big inspiration for me was my grandma, she’s super glam. As a child I used to try all her stuff on, it just started this thing where I thought clothes can make you feel so good. They can change your mood and how you feel about yourself”.
Alizé told me a little bit about her academic journey. She left secondary school knowing she was heading to art school. She wanted to study Fine Art, but quickly realised whilst doing her A-Levels she wanted to work in Fashion. She thought she wanted to be a fashion designer.
“I didn’t know any other pathways existed in fashion, so for me it was like if I want to work in fashion, I have to be a designer. This was pre-social media, and before we had access to the long list of credits that appear under editorials.”
Alizé ended up going to Kingston University for Fashion Design and was introduced to styling through a module pathway.
When did you start to consider styling as a potential career?
“I had a family friend, who wanted to start a brand. I was working with her and she knew a random person who was looking for an assistant stylist for a random test shoot, and I just did it. I was like I really like this and then they let me assist on a video shortly after that. I also had a friend who started styling, and I would help him. Things sort of just snowballed. As soon as I left uni, I felt I really liked styling and I could do it in my own time. I did end up returning to uni to do Fashion Marketing instead. That was really helpful for my styling career.
Even though styling is a creative job, it’s a lot to do with relationships and being able to partner with people and brands. You need to understand the market too, because there are so many facets and so many different kinds of stylist you do. I’ve mainly worked with talent so the basis is a lot of collaborating, building relationships and understanding the market. Now I’m doing more commercial work.”
How did you make the leap from talent styling into more commercial styling? What did it look like for you and how have you managed it?
“It’s been quite natural and again based on relationships. A lot of the people I’ve come up with in the industry, I was friends with a lot of them. People that are artists, work in the music industry and even people I went to school with are artist managers now. It’s so strange, London is a small place and knowing these people has meant we have full circled these things. It’s also been based on the test of time - because I’ve been doing this for so long, I was still crossing paths with everyone. Even when things weren’t going my way, I was still trying to make things happen.”
The London Stylist mentioned how sometimes she had to take on unpaid work, just so she always had a project to do.
“The journey is not linear and how it’s key to remember sometimes you have to take a step back to leap forward. It’s important to always be inspired by your work, so the times when things aren’t going your way you remain motivated.”
Alizé is passionate about training and advising aspiring stylists. In the past she has offered online courses, mentorship programmes, assisting roles and internships.
What other advice would you offer to budding stylists who maybe want a career that has flourished like yours has?
“It’s hard, since making the online course, it’s a very different world we’re navigating - especially cost of living. The industry is changing. Before I was doing a lot of talent and it was possible because in the UK music industry there was a big drive there, and new budgets behind these artists. And now it’s gone back down again, and now I’m doing commercial [styling], which is something I’ve always wanted to do. A piece of advice is that you are always going to grow with this job and you’re going to change. Your wants and needs are going to change and that’s okay. You can’t be rigid, you just have to go with it. Also, whatever you do genuinely vibe with is what you should go with too.”
“For a long time I thought talent [styling] was the be all and end all for me. I thought having notoriety and people knowing who my clients are is what will make me successful, but actually it wasn’t what I was yearning for anymore. I think a point of advice is to go with your gut and do whatever it is you actually want to do. What you genuinely lean towards is what is best for you.”
I wanted to find out what the most rewarding part of the job was. Alizé said it’s when you get the work back and it looks amazing that it’s energising and all the stress is worth it.
What would you say the main stresses are and how do you alleviate them?
“If you talk to any stylist, they’ll tell you there’s a lot of stress involved. Whether that is short lead times, you can’t get something, or clients ask for impossible tasks, some things are not in your control. That’s a full circle moment though, even though some things are not in your control, you can only do your best. However, in the moment that can sound really shit when you really need what you’re after.”
She also described the job as a labour of love, you have to love the stress and drama that comes with the job. She said the best way to alleviate this is to be really organised, have as many back up plans as you can and communicate the potential hurdles with your clients.
My final question was about Alizé’s upcoming work, especially since she has moved into a new facet of styling.
Is there anything new that you want to explore, or anything new work that we should look out for?
“I just shot some footballers for Adidas and that was really fun. Wholesome and great teamwork. That was obviously still working with talent, it was more like a hybrid job. It was working with such an amazing team, I'm still buzzing from it. That’s always a highlight of work, when you are able to work with good people and a great team, it makes the moment much better. The energy on set also improves from talent. Everyone leaves the set feeling like that was really cool.
I want to keep working with brands and talent long term, but also would love to start fashion commentary too. That’s it, that would be my career goals.”
We laughed about how vague her response was, but that’s typical of any creative professional. We love to maintain an air of mystery.