While browsing through Instagram, I recently found an interesting profile. It was the feed for a fashion stylist, Freddie McCalmant-Bell. His business is Freddie Styling. He offers a unique vision that I think should be shared. His website is www.Freddiestyling.com and you can find him @Freddiestyling on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr. He offers a fresh approach to working with his clients. He says, “The experience is 100% collaborative. If you’re a client I take YOUR ideas, YOUR aesthetic, and YOUR style and create suggestions to help elevate those choices. All clients are special and have a valid opinion on what they’re comfortable wearing. Don’t be afraid to suggest, speak up and know even though you may know nothing about fashion or the industry, style is personal and we all have it.” Here is the interview with Freddie McCalmant-Bell of Freddie Styling.
Where were you born and raised, what was childhood like, and what did you want to become when you grew up?
I was born in Langley Virginia, but we were raised in different parts of the states because my father was in the military, but from age 6-18 I was raised in New Mexico. Childhood, from what I remember was easy. I was able to grow up carefree and I never had to worry about growing up to fast. My older sister and I were very fortunate enough to revel in our adolescence.
Growing up, the idea changed a lot, and I thought about vet as a child due to not knowing of any other jobs and I always had stuffed animals or the plastic wildlife toys, I was obsessed with animals and nature. Then as I got into middle school I started dancing a lot. It actually wasn’t until my first year of college that I realized I wasn’t cut out to be a dancer and quickly changed my major to Fashion Styling.
What did your parents do for a living, and was there any entrepreneurship in the family?
My Dad is an officer in the Navy, actually about to retire, and he has a lot of “get rich quick” side businesses that he’s tried, but I wouldn’t call any of them SUCCESSFUL businesses. Ha-ha. My Mom works for the Government; City Finance.
What does fashion mean to you?
I see it as a way of expressing one’s inner self and kind of escaping an idea of what normal is, especially with men’s fashion. I’ve never understood why on the red-carpet women can have so many styles of dress in so many colors, with different necklines, sequins, tapering, and ruffles etc. but men wear the same black tux, with a different designer label. Men’s fashion can be so much more, and I thrive to be one of those that helped progress it forward. Fashion to me is more than style. It’s individuality, it’s self-expression and we live our everyday lives in clothing! We might as well make it fun, interesting and bold while we can!
Describe your personal style.
Eclectic, eccentric, and constantly changing. I tend to find the tackiest articles of clothing the most appealing and incorporate those into my wardrobe.
Who is your favorite designer? Why?
That’s a hard question to answer. I can be attracted to one designer this moment and another one, the next. In this moment in time, I’m inspired by Vetements. I just love the dark atheistic of their clothing, and symmetrical, over the top design.
How did you get involved and interested in fashion?
In high school, I was in the drama club, I wasn’t acting in the first year of it, but I was helping a lot with costume design, and that’s where I got engrossed in the idea of fashion illustration specifically.
How did you get involved with entrepreneurship?
It kind of came with fashion school. We had to present our portfolios through a website and it just took off. I started doing my own styling outside of school and started doing freelance. I just stumbled upon it.
What do you like most and least about being an entrepreneur?
What I like the most, is that I get to be in control of every aspect from production, to production management, to model scouting to wardrobe styling. it’s all in MY control. That’s what I really love, Being the boss.
My dislikes, well, I feel like its contradictory at the fact that I hate being alone with this work, don’t get me wrong my team and the people I hire to do shoots help tremendously but it’s a lot of pressure to create a brand, an aesthetic, and a service by yourself.
Talk about your businesses. What exactly do you do? What’s a typical day like? Are you only a stylist or do you do other things too?
Freddie Styling is a wardrobe styling service. I, Freddie, will plan/execute photo shoots, client consultations, and styling events to either help promote a brand, showcase mine as well as other like-minded brands, or spruce up or change your closet/style aesthetic. It really depends on the client and what specifically they ask for.
A typical day is just a lot of planning. I sketch out all my photo shoot concepts, and then I style around my initial sketch. It’s a very backward way of conceptualizing but it helps me get my idea down on paper and ready to execute. Then I go into model scouting where I tend to use men around my area who have little to almost no experience in modeling and want to build a portfolio. (I’ve always wanted to help launch the careers of others if they are as passionate about the industry as I am.) Then photographer scouting which takes a little more time to find those with the proper experience. After finding a cooperative group of talented individuals I’ll schedule a shoot day that works for everyone then we’ll execute the shoot on the scheduled day.
Me personally, because it’s freelance I must act as Production Director, Wardrobe Stylist, and recently Makeup Artist. I tend to try to pick up as many skill sets as possible just in case there are any problems that arise on Shoot Day.
Where did you learn about fashion? Are you a designer? Did you go to school for fashion?
I was self-taught for quite some time doing Fashion Illustration until I decided to leave New Mexico and my dance major behind to attend Academy of Art in San Francisco, California and start my fashion styling degree. I put my sole focus on Styling but have dabbled in making my own clothing. I haven’t quite gotten to where I’m comfortable enough to release or sell anything but maybe in the future!
What is your favorite book right now and why?
Is it cliché if I say Vogue or Instyle Magazine? Haha! My reading is solely fashion based. I’m trying to inspire myself constantly and with new issues every month, that inspiration never ends!
Do you have any hobbies? What are they?
I like to go out occasionally to see a local show, either theater, drag, or fashion. I think because I was a theater kid and a dancer all throughout high school and some college, I miss being on the stage so the next best thing is to go see a show. I also love thrifting! Finding hidden gems that were tossed and dismissed is probably one of the most fulfilling things for me and more than likely some of those finds become styling statement pieces for my photo shoot concepts!
What’s one thing you’re passionate about?
Other than my styling business? I’d have to say my relationships I hold with family and friends. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without their support and I hold those people closest to my heart!
What are your goals for the rest of the year
Create more exposure for my business. In New Mexico a lot of people don’t know what I do so I’ve been thinking about moving back to California, Los Angeles to be more specific. Also, find more talented, like-minded people that want to collaborate and make art together! I also want to make my website a lot more collaborative at this point it’s mainly a portfolio, I’d love to host contests and maybe a subscription service soon as well!
What is your favorite quote and why?
I actually have two
“It takes twenty years to be an overnight success”
I love this quote because it makes me realize that I am 21, building my brand/service from the ground up and it’s okay to not be super successful right now. I have so much ahead of me before I’m the next Luxury Law or Mikiel Benyamin and that’s okay. Of course, I want to be recognized for my work, traveling and styling celebrities or fashion shows but I need to put in the work first and that takes time.
And the Second is:
“I feel confident. I feel empowered. I feel in control”
This has been a personal mantra for me to get myself out of a slump, or a creative roadblock or help me move forward through personal relationships. It helps me stay grounded, stay focused, and stay mentally/spiritually positive!