By Heather Newberger
Charlotte Sims is easy to admire. For one, she’s stunningly beautiful, with a unique sense of style that draws from every decade. Unafraid of embracing patterns, chunky jewelry and adventurous lipstick, Charlotte’s outward appearance speaks loudly to the person that she is - creative, talented and multidimensional. From her experience styling on figure, to her ease manipulating products for still life, I envy Charlotte’s ability to startle what can often be a very hard line.
A ceramics artist and figurative painter, Charlotte draws from all parts of her self to offer clients a well rounded experience. And she delivers. In the time we’ve known each other, I don’t think there has been a day Charlotte hasn’t been booked. Sought after for her keen eye, and well rounded skill set, Charlotte Sims is a true artist, in every sense of the word.
How did you get your start as a stylist?
My journey was long to get here. My mom is an apparel patternmaker and so growing up, my twin sister and I were surrounded by 1980s colorful fabrics and garments, always playing dress up. Growing up, my mom always advised us not to go into fashion, ha! That was okay with me though, because my true love was for art. Eventually I went to Pratt Institute for an undergraduate painting degree. Color stories, textures and shapes filled my thoughts always. A couple of years after graduating and working an archive job that did not challenge me in the way that I needed, I started stylist assisting a friend. My first job was for Getty Images. They had rented an entire school and each room was its own set and team. I was thrown into a classroom set to style with about 30 kids. I had so much fun! That was 15 years ago.
Do you need money to be a stylist?
Myself and many of my colleagues are proof that you don’t need money to be a successful stylist. My collecting developed from not having money or access to the nicer things. As a teenager, I would wander up and down the strip of thrift stores with my sister and best friend. From there, I first began to create with my wardrobe. I believe the best stylists are the ones that are innovative, and constantly examining and imagining the new and different. There is still a long way to go in making this industry intersectional and inclusive, but I believe the most innovative stylists are the ones that think out of the box, and sometimes a lack of access is beneficial.
How do you think your art influences your styling?
I am a figurative painter and sculptural ceramics artist. I am a fashion, props and textile stylist. Styling is interdisciplinary. I can bring all my artistic skills together. Just as in my art, every component of the set holds value – color, positive and negative space, texture and their relationships to each other. My art is very personal and I don’t see it as a commodity. When I started styling, I felt able to bring my abstract artistic concepts and apply them to my day job. I was hooked. It was creative and fun! I feel fortunate to have found this career.
What advice would you give a young stylist?
Follow your heart. Life is full of adventures and from those adventures you will gain the most knowledge. Believe in your creativity. Styling is a very unique career. Prepare yourself to be self employed. Build your community. Take risks and challenge yourself with new career opportunities as they come.