By Liz Peters
If you don’t know about Xina Giatas, you are in for a treat! Xina is a fashion stylist with a fantastic ability to blend different styles together to creative fun and innovative looks, both on set and in her personal wardrobe. I have always loved how she can rock a 1950s skirt with a band tee and one of her millions of pairs of Keds, always flawless, fun, and fresh! I have known Xina since 2011 and watching her constant determination and growth in her work has been inspiring. Not only is she a talented stylist, she is a pleasure to be around. Her positive vibe on set and one on one reminds me of the most beautiful woman in Puppet Land, Ms. Yvonne! Check out Xina’s work on her site:
How would you describe your demeanor on set?
It changes throughout the day. When I first get to set in the morning, I’m very focused on the game plan. I believe that performance and outcome is heavily based off of preparation. While the models are in hair and makeup I take my time seriously, working closely with the photographer, client and my assistants to set up our day for success. Once the shoot begins I try to keep things upbeat and forward moving, with the assistance of good music and coffee! Its very easy for me to keep pushing through the day with focus, yet in a neutral, stress-free way.
How did growing up in Rhode Island influence your style?
For the smallest state, Rhode Island has a large variety of art, music and cuisine to be taken in. Its home to the Rhode Island School of Design, less than an hour from Boston and less than four hours to NYC. Growing up, I do believe that my biggest style influence came through the different experiences, subcultures and events my mom exposed me to. We would take long weekend road trips to discover museums and fine dining, all the way to flea markets and live rock & roll shows.
How did you come to be a fashion stylist?
When I was a little girl I would sit in the waiting area of the salon while my mom had her hair cut and would peruse the pages of Italian Vogue. I was always drawn to the fantasy told in each shoot; The model as a character - what was her story? What was the mood? The fact that images can evoke a feeling in a viewer is fascinating to me, and I was drawn to that idea of moving an observer through a photographic story. I began studying analog photography & darkroom developing processes throughout high school and into college. Towards the end of my training, I was finding myself very interested in the wardrobe and fashion in the shoot. Although still very important to me, It was at this time that being behind the lens took the backseat to fashion styling.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I feel so lucky to have built my life here in NYC, because the city streets here are their own runway. I don’t focus so much on labels and trends as much as I do personal style. Seeing a nitty gritty kid on the Lower East Side, or the old money woman on the Upper East side - I truly love it all. I tend to absorb ideas from my close friends - you Liz, being one of them! I also love how the internet has bridged the gap of global fashion. We are so lucky to have apps like Instagram that can instantly expose you to any style, anywhere in the world - in seconds!
Do you have any advice for someone trying to become a stylist?
Reach out to stylists that work with your dream clients and most fit your aesthetic. Don’t be afraid to use your network to cast a wider net - a word of mouth recommendation goes a long way. Ask them for assisting opportunities and consider this your on the job training. Ideally, over time, when stylists you assist are not available for a job, they will have you fill in for them here and there. In the meantime, pair up with other strong up and coming artists and shoot on the weekends for your portfolio. Don’t fall into the rut of assisting for too long, though! Develop your website, spread the news, walk the walk and believe in yourself - you are your own best agent!