SO had cocktails with creative consultant and freelance stylist Susan Bender at Rachel Stone's fab party in London. Bender, who works with designers on their catwalk collections, as well as styling shoots for various magazines and celebrities, had much to share.
What's a typical day like?
Each day is different depending on what project I'm working on. I usually check my emails first thing in the morning, around 7:00 am, and check my diary to see my schedule for the day. I work with the fashion brand Issa and spend a couple of days during the week working with them on developing new designs, fabrics and overseeing the whole creative process. If we are working on a show, I will oversee the casting of models, fittings and hair/make-up tests. Other days can entail me preparing the clothing for a shoot. This involves going on appointments to all of the major fashion designers' PR offices to choose the looks for my shoot, checking locations with the photographer, casting models and working on the hair and make-up looks for the shoot. I work with advertising companies often and am usually called upon to put together moodboards for an individual project and present it to the clients.
How long have you been in the industry? I have worked in the fashion industry for 14 years.
What's great about what you do? I absolutely love what I do, my job allows me to travel all over the world, so far this year I have travelled to Brazil, Monaco, Corsica, New Zealand and Australia for work. I get to meet the mostinteresting and inspiring people; every day is never the same.
What are your current projects? Currently, I'm working and preparing the S/S '13 Issa catwalk show which is in September.I have a project where I am contributing to a new fashion website and a fashion show in Russia at the end of October.
Would you describe yourself as a socialite or homebody? I am definitely both, I'm usually invited to three or four social engagements in the week. But weekends are when I'm at home catching up with friends and family.
What are your handbag essentials? I always carry an iPhone, it's great for taking photographs which is part of my job. I'm always on the lookout for inspiration. My BlackBerry I use as my mini-office. A Smythson notebook; MAC lip conditioner (I cannot survive without it). Prada sunglasses (I love big glasses and these are always with me); credit cards kept in a Louis Vuitton limited edition cardholder from a party they held at the Serpentine Gallery; NARS velvet matte dragon red lip pencil — I always carry this in case I have to go to an event in the evening at short notice — and a miniature perfume bottle of Michael Kors.
What's currently playing on your iPod? 2Pac, Notorious BIG, Common, Podcasts by NY DJ Tyrone Francis and SBTRKT.
What's your ideal date? An art gallery opening, dinner at NOBU Berkeley Square, and then out dancing.
Who's your celebrity crush? Will Smith; he's a true gentleman and an incredible actor, producer and role model for young black men. I don't really have crushes on celebrities I prefer real people.
Your parents are Jamaican. How does that make you feel as Jamaica recently celebrated her 50th year of Independence? I am very proud, it is part of my heritage and I will celebrate with all my heart; Jamaica is my second home. I recently met Prince Miller who sang at the 1st Independence in Jamaica and sang at a recent concert in Birmingham 50 years later, that is an incredible achievement.
What are you drinking? Appleton rum with Jamaican ginger beer and a dash of lime.
How and where do you see yourself 10 years from now? Married with a bunch of children running my own brand and charity. Still travelling but based half of the year in London and the other half in Jamaica.
What gets you up and out of bed each morning? My alarm and the prospect of a delicious home-made smoothie after my morning workout.
Finally, who do you most admire? I admire anyone who has made something of themselves from nothing. To have achieved and excelled in a certain field despite adversity. My mother and sister who have supported and inspired me throughout my life; Barack Obama, the first black president of the USA; Oprah Winfrey; Bill Gates, Mo Farah; Bob Marley, Maya Angelou... the list is endless.