South Africa has its share of inspiring stylists, but how do newcomers get that crucial break? Conrad Roselt shares his take on how to kick-start your styling career in South Africa.
At 24, Joburg based Conrad Roselt has some insider scoop on how hard it is to make it as a stylist. “Assist on as many projects as possible,” he says. True.
“The local scene is small. We have fewer designers and suppliers, where as in New York the options are endless. With fewer publications newcomers struggle to get that all-important break. But, if you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll get there,” he says. Networking is key, but so is determination, says the 2010 Lisof graduate who took a leap of faith and relocated to New York, for four months, in pursuit of his passion.
As a fashion student, Conrad was “obsessed” with avant-garde stylist Nicola Formichetti. “I was inspired by his work. Naturally, I wanted to work for him.” Nicola Formichetti is renowned for his futuristic take on fashion and styling. His career accolades include avant-garde collaborations with Lady Gaga and the role of fashion director at Vogue Homme Japan.
Conrad, who describes his personal style as “comfortable” and favours “mostly leather, black and shorts”, recalls how he had no family or friends in the Big Apple, but needed to give it everything he had. “Getting there was challenging, but it was a dream of mine, and I was prepared to do whatever it took. I was fortunate to meet up with renowned milliner Albertus Swanepoel, and became good friends with Chanelle Vlok (his intern) and her roommate Nadine Oosthuizen (who works for Valentino),” he reminisces.
Just as he had hoped, Conrad’s Formichetti dream materialised. “I called his agent, then made contact with his assistant, and the rest is now history. Conrad’s experience abroad includes working behind-the-scenes on Lady Gaga’s Rolling Stone and V magazines shoots, and Judas music video. “As assistants, we sent out requests and sourced for garments and accessories. All the options were edited and then shipped to Los Angeles where the video was shot.” He was also tasked with researching emerging designers whose creations could be incorporated into the production. Although short, the New York stint was just what he needed in order to cement his career choice.
Since returning to South Africa, Conrad has collaborated with Voila, Destiny, Destiny Man, Dossier and DeKat. Next, he hopes to collaborate with young artists, designers and musicians, and explore new mediums of fashion. Counting Australian-born rapper Iggy Azalea and fashion designer Christophe Decarnin as inspiration, Conrad adds: “I’m inspired by attitude… that makes people stylish.” And, clearly, that’s what makes him an interesting name to watch.