Blanche Macdonald Fashion Marketing Graduate Amy Lu Talks Styling, Career Moments and California-Living

Blanche Macdonald Fashion Marketing Graduate Amy Lu Talks Styling, Career Moments and California-Living

Fashion Styling with high profile clients on a daily basis, Amy Lu has created an aesthetic that makes fashion believers of even the most disenchanted crowds.

These days, Amy is most often found jet-setting about the hottest of US destinations, or surrounded by racks of dreamy pink and cream designer gowns. Putting it simply, Amy has made it. A self-proclaimed lover of all things sparkly, Amy is always bringing something luxe into the mix, never shying away from texture, and using her incredible knack for layering in editorials that are always alluring: daring yet polished, edgy yet refined.

Building a high profile styling career overnight isn’t a reality. Amy understands that. It is a passion for what she does, along with immense drive and talent, which makes her a salient figure in the world of Fashion Styling today.

Her strong work ethic, paired with an inimitable eye for Fashion and unrivaled creativity, has landed her in the driver’s seat of numerous artistic projects and lust-worthy editorials. Since graduating from Blanche Macdonald’s Fashion Marketing Program, Amy has worked with renowned photographers, models and celebrities in locations around the globe. Following her time at Blanche Macdonald, Amy relocated to Canada’s Fashion epicenter, Toronto, where her career success continued to flourish. She had no other direction to go but up.

I love clothes and beautiful images. Styling has allowed me to dive deep into both worlds.

Currently based out of San Francisco, California, her work has appeared in editorials for FASHION Magazine (in which she was also voted one of Canada’s “Best Dressed”), Vanity Fair, Interview, People, Zink, Sport Illustrated Women and Hello Magazine, and in national advertising campaigns for Coca Cola, Levi’s, Anthropologie, Cover Girl and Nike. If this wasn’t impressive enough, she has also worked with celebrity clients including: Jessica Pare, Selena Gomez, Nina Dobrev, Russell Crowe, Jason Priestley, Lily Cole and Georgina Chapman.

This award-winning stylist has also received BC Apparel’s Fashion Stylist of the Year award and some images she styled for photographer Barbara Cole won the Grand Prix of Fashion Photography at the International Festival of Photography in Cannes. Chances are you’ve seen this fashionphile make appearances on Inside Entertainment and Canada’s Next Top Model.

We recently checked in with Amy to get an update on all her fabulous happenings and styling feats:

So San Francisco! How was it that you ended up there of all places? 

I have always wanted to live back on the West coast; I have a life-long love affair with Los Angeles but San Fran is the best of both worlds – city vibes, beautiful nature, and it’s a quick flight home! I anticipate I will be traveling to LA often but there are definitely amazing things happening here. Toronto is an incredible market for fashion photography; there is world-class talent there. But coming to San Francisco was a personal decision. I missed the ocean.

Your aesthetic clearly reflects your love for beauty found in nature. Can you remember some of the most memorable locations that you have worked in that parallel with this artistic pull?

Besides the Fashion, working in brilliant locations is my favourite part of the job. I have been blessed to shoot in some of the most incredible nature locations in North America. I’d have to say shooting all over the Lake Tahoe area was one of my most favourites; it was mind-blowingly beautiful. Oftentimes we shoot in big fancy mansions too, which is uber inspiring!

We know while you were in Toronto you were represented by one of the most prestigious talent agencies in Canada – Judy Inc. Are you now doing Freelance work, or are you still repped by them (or someone else)? 

I’m still with Judy Inc in Canada and have been represented by them for over a decade. But since moving to SF, I am doing more freelance work. Judy Inc does work with international clients, but I find it makes the most sense to be represented by an agency that is in the marketplace you want to work in. My plan is to align with a top US agency once I am a little more settled in!

Sounds like the best of both worlds. Now let’s talk clothes. For your shoots, which shops and stores do you love to pull from? 

It really depends on what the job is. And of course what the budget is like! For ad jobs in Canada, I love Holt Renfrew and Zara the most. For editorial, it’s all showrooms and online designer look books. It is hard to choose a favourite designer because they change all the time, but I usually start with Chanel, Saint Laurent, and Greta Constantine.

What would you say was the pivotal moment in your career? 

There isn’t one I can pinpoint, I was as excited to style a granola bar advertisement at the beginning of my career as I was to style A-list celebrities later on. All of the moments lead to the next big thing. I did have a dreamy moment when I was surrounded by Marchesa gowns in the Lowell hotel in NYC a few years ago, I do love beautiful clothes after all. And more recently I was shooting in LA with one of my favourite photographers, Richard Bernardin. I took him to this lookout spot I have been frequenting for years and we shot a whole editorial around it. That was pretty epic.

What is it that inspires and drives you in your artistry?

I love clothes and beautiful images. Styling has allowed me to dive deep into both worlds.

Day-to-day, I am inspired by nature, which is one of the reasons I moved back to the west coast. I love the ocean, sunshine and flowers.  From an industry standpoint, I am always inspired by innovative Fashion photography. Sometimes I feel totally over it and then see a killer editorial by one of my favourite teams and then I’m totally fired up again.  I am also intrigued by the total transformation of our industry by social media; to be honest, I don’t completely understand it or my place within it, but have seen it change before my eyes and can’t help but be inspired.

You clearly found your calling! Having now worked extensively in the industry, how do your feel your time at Blanche Macdonald set you apart from others?

I am grateful for my time at Blanche because it gave me an entire year to dive deep into Fashion without distraction. I spent all of my time reading magazines, studying, thinking and daydreaming about Fashion. When you dedicate that much energy to any craft, it makes a difference. The opportunity to immerse myself in Fashion for the duration of the course was, in hindsight, invaluable.

So beautifully put. For any future students coming to Blanche Macdonald to study Fashion Marketing, what advice would you give them?

Take advantage of all of the opportunities. Volunteer or intern whenever possible, network, go above and beyond what you think you should do. It’s not only about getting good grades; it’s about making the most out of the opportunity as you can.

Of the many projects that you’ve done, which kinds are the most unforgettable?

Unforgettable projects can be unforgettable for many reasons; sometimes the photographer is someone I have wanted to work with for years; it could be an incredible location, or racks of the most amazing clothes; a beautiful model, the buzz of working with a celebrity. It’s all relative to where you are on your path.

You said it perfectly. It’s truly all about perspective. Looking back at your career from where you currently stand, what is your biggest point of pride, your “tour de force” if you will?

There are so many moments and they change all of the time. Sometimes it’s the early morning drive to location, or a quiet moment on set, or seeing a story on shelves in print where I’m like, ‘Wow, this is a cool job!’ I’m really proud of some of the images I’ve worked on, the experiences I’ve had and the career I’ve created for myself. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Creating a career for yourself based on what you love. That is definitely something to be proud of! What is your personal motto in career and artistry?

Be true to yourself and just fucking do it! Listen to yourself, work hard, and don’t give up.

Lastly, what tips can you share for any budding stylists who are just starting out in the industry?

Get started! It takes a long time, a ton of dedication, passion and hard work, but if you are in LOVE with clothes and photography, it is the best job in the world.

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