Women in Power: Erica Matthews Fashion/celebrity stylist & content creator

Please tell us your career field in 5 words?

Fashion/celebrity stylist content creator

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You have been in the fashion industry for many years now, styling celebrities and high-end magazines such as Vogue

How did you first get into fashion?

I am definitely blessed to have some of my work featured in Vogue magazine. Surprisingly, I never knew the job role existed! It really began as a hobby for me while working in retail and I worked my way from a sales advisor to a visual merchandiser. But things really began moving for me when a high street brand PR Director/Stylist Arieta Mujay spotted my work, she took me under her wing and taught me the basics. The next thing I knew I was assisting for editorials and designer shows at Fashion week and assisting with styling Celebs like Kelly Rowland etc.

What inspired you to join the field?

I think it was the encouragement of hearing that a hidden passion of mine can become a career. “Fashion Styling” was definitely a more elite role a few years ago when I started. With the support of my mum, I took the chance – quit my job and so many opportunities began coming my way.

 

Your portfolio is quite impeccable, I do not even know where to start from. What would you say are your top 5 styling opportunities you have had?

Styling Shingai Shoniwa for the Africa Express performance with Sir Paul McCartney

Styling Samantha Harvey for a Pepsi campaign

My First International job in Milan styling a Lookbook for Designer Alberto Zambelli

My First ever international commercial campaign for Sleek Hair

Seeing my styling featured in British Vogue twice

You have been in this industry for a while now did you think it’s easier now or back then to gain exposure and work?

I think there are elements which make it both easier and harder now, but the real exposure is about knowing the right people. Previously you didn’t really have that many platforms to promote yourself for free, whereas now we have so many i.e. Instagram – which I believe is the number one visual platform to promote yourself. Because of this shift, brands/clients now Increasingly want to book “people”. So the number of followers you have and your stats can increase your chance of being booked apposed to just how great your portfolio is. But it’s important to always be flexible and fresh. 

Do you think social media has helped in your career field now in terms of gaining more exposure than you would have in the past?

In a world with no social media, we used strong branded websites and word of mouth which still are the strongest career builders in my own opinion. But I definitely feel that social media has helped by; putting a face to my name, making me more accessible and building my brand presence.

Do you believe there’s competition in the fashion styling and social media industry as people claim there is?

Unfortunately, there is and I have experienced it myself. I see people with little experience of styling being featured in magazines as style experts and creating collections with designers. I’ve seen editors give up their front row seat at fashion week for socialites. But I make it my business to open the fashion door to working & aspiring stylists out there, especially via my youtube tutorials. I believe that there is room for all of us and if you work hard and keep improving, it will pay off!

I know family always comes first for you has there been times you have had to. Miss Big opportunities because of a family commitment?

My family is so important to me and I think I love them even more because they understand my grind. I don’t have any kids of my own so they all understand that big opportunities only propel my career. – Last year I missed my nieces huge birthday party because I flew out to Monaco for a last minute job.

 

You have a great following you are now on 20+ followers on all your social media platforms there are a few influencers and brands that only care about the numbers. Do numbers matter or is content more important? 

Content and numbers are equally important! I say this at least twice a week when answering questions in my DM’s. Consistently great content helps to build all your social numbers. If you want to loan items as a fashion stylist then PR’s are more focused on your portfolio and body of work. So you can push your social if it showcases your work well!, But now that I have stepped into the influencer world with more brand collaborations I have found that they are a lot more about followers and your interactions etc.

 

You have used your platform very well, not many people know this but you are a mentor, content creator and new to YouTube

What made you start YouTube and mentoring? And are you glad you started it

I was in a really low place in my life. Recently heartbroken and just came out of a surprise operation and lost my visual job I was doing on the side. I was listening to a Joyce Meyer Podcast and she said: “if you want to know how to make yourself feel better – Help somebody else”. For years I had spoken about starting YouTube, so I used my savings and bought a camera and a light and decided to just film. I thought, If I could help just one person out of despair it would be worth it! The lovely messages I get from my subscribers really knock me off my feet sometimes! It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made!

Where do you see yourself in the next 2-5 years?

This year has already served me some surprises which I will be announced VERY soon! But I have learned not to make my life plans a box to keep myself in. Being freelance is fun and exciting and you literally have no idea what opportunity could be coming around the corner.

I always love working hard in silence and letting my successful moments make the noise. But you can definitely find me somewhere between working much harder to build my brand and my presence and drinking more water lol!

 

How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working on today? What was a pivotal moment? 

I was working as a visual merchandiser full time and I had a manager who just didn’t want to see me grow. I wanted to study fashion – she said no. I had an opportunity to be featured in company magazine – She (tried) to say no. I was offered to be head stylist assistant for a fashion show at London fashion week – she said no. I have always been a creative free-spirit and she clipped my wings so much, I knew it was time to fly.

What are the most important decisions that you face daily as a leader?

Time is precious. So I make sure that I cherish each moment. I always make sure that I am organised and at least do three major things on my to-do list every day! For years, I read productivity as work, work, work. Now I know this also means I need to have “me moments” where I switch of and focus on making myself happy.

 

How do you maintain your and your team’s daily motivation and inspiration despite obstacles, pushback or setbacks?

It’s surprising to some, but I actually work alone. I motivate myself daily with a morning social ban. I read my bible devotionals and meditate and set out what I need to achieve for the day.

Most importantly, I have learned to take each day as it comes which means over preparing. With experience, you learn the different things that can happen on a day-to-day basis and always remain professional in any situation.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you have received?

“The harder you work, the luckier you get”

 

What are the most important traits of successful leaders today?

consistency, faith, fearlessness, versatility and persistence

 

Now-a- days you don’t see leaders who have faith in any industry, so What is the most important characteristic that every leader should possess?

Patience

 

That’s very true, I believe patience takes you very very far, What are the most pressing challenges that leaders are facing today? And why?

I think the biggest problem is jumping on the comparison train. At the height of the digital era, we spend a lot of our time scrolling through our phones, bombarded by other peoples showreels. We end up being pressured into PR’ing our own lives, whilst wanting someone else’s ‘perfect’ life. It’s dangerous because the journey is just as important as the milestones. Brand identity and individuality are crucial in such a saturated industry and more than a few end up becoming clones. Very few use their individuality as a driving force for their success.

 

that’s why we are seeing young people, changing careers every day because they are constantly comparing themselves with other people. Do you have a mentor? If so, what traits are you seeking a mentor and why?

I don’t currently have a mentor, but the ones I worked with were always realistic, optimistic and very thorough with accountability in my goal setting.

 

What are you doing daily to ensure your growth and development continues as a successful business owner? If so, how? 

As mentioned before, I think a good balance between work time and my time is very important. I work with a goal setting based diary that I use every day. I have some main goals to achieve throughout the year – both business and personal ones. Every month I work towards these goals day by day. consistency is key, patience is key and you’ll always find me listening to some motivating podcasts or a book – the current book I’m reading is ‘In the meantime’ by Iyanla Vazant.

What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?

Best decision: Putting my happiness first

Worst decision: Working for a client I cared about for free.

 

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

Very Cliche, but fashion is in my blood. My mum was a designer. She studied fashion and has attended Paris Fashion Week shows like Yves Saint Laurent when she was younger. She gave me her fashion gene for sure! I would literally drive her crazy because she would wash clothes and fold them away and I couldn’t help but change my outfit 10 times in a day.

 

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

Even in fashion, the job roles are still significantly dominated by men., I would love to see a lot more women in leading roles i.e. photographers, creative directors, fashion stylists etc.

 

What woman inspires you and why?

There are so many powerful and hardworking women out there that inspire me but Kahlana Barfield is definitely one of them! She worked her way from the bottom to the top and has etched her mark in the industry as the editor in chief of Instyle Magazine US! Her expertise range from fashion and beauty to all things lifestyle! She has created with an amazing name for herself with all of her hard work and she does all this while being a great wife and mother! What a superwoman!!

 

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

The advice I give out the most is telling women to “just believe in yourself”. Self-belief can truly move mountains. Without it we would never start, we wouldn’t get back up, we would keep comparing ourselves to others and we wouldn’t keep pursuing our dreams. So believing in yourself and your own ability and your individuality is POWER!

When do you feel most creative?

I feel the most creative at night, I am such a night owl.

 

If your life was a song what would it be?

I can’t share my life story one day! Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire!!

 

And what words of wisdom would you like to share with young and older women in the beauty, YouTube and Instagram industry? 

The industry is fast-shifting and there are people less qualified than you doing things you want to do – simply because they decided to believe in themselves. So starting from today, stop second guessing your self, stop procrastinating and get started with what you have now!

 

how do you balance travelling and spending time with family?  

I am quite lucky that with a close-knit family we have a tradition that Sunday’s are a family day. So I see everyone on a Sunday and try my best to never work on a Sunday either.

 

20 years in the future what advice would you have for yourself 

Hard work definitely pays off, believe in yourself, love yourself, don’t settle and trust your intuition!

 

What would you say to yourself when you were 16?

Life will change so much for you. Cherish each day you have, especially the ones you have with your dad! Work hard and follow your passion because it will lead you to your purpose!

 

If you were a Juice what would you be?

 Could I be a cocktail instead? lol!

 

( me cracking up) lol cocktail is perfectly fine, quite different. Who do you look up to the most?

There are so many inspiring women, so I look up to women who are confident, humble and kind!

 

What’s the last movie that made you cry?

Moana.. it’s completely underrated!

 

wait wait Moana like the Disney movie like Moana one of my favourite movies made you cry, awwww glad I am not the only one who cries to this then phew lol. So What’s the last movie that made you laugh?

I’ve watched it so many times!! Bridesmaids

 

I feel like we have the same taste in movies, you have reminded me to watch Bridesmaids this weekend And finally 5 words of encouragement to young women who would want to be in the fashion industry ?

Hard Work Always Pays Off!

 

Well that definitely sums it up, hard work always pays off, you were a gem and you gave me a few motivational words of wisdom to take with me. Thank you for allowing me to interview you and we would be rooting to see more of your work in the future

I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as we did, you can follow Erica on all social media platforms 

Website: www.ericamatthews.co.uk
Blog:www.stepstostyle.com
YouTube: www.youtube.com/ericamatthews
Email: info@ericamatthews.co.uk
Social: @ericafmstyle 

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Georgia says:

    Love this post keep up the good work and articles

    Like

  2. Kate Asheley says:

    Amazing interview, I am really inspired by Erica’s work ethic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. camilleshow says:

      Glad you really enjoyed please let us know who you would like me to interview on Women in Power Series

      Like

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