Allison Bornstein

There’s a lot of roles out there calling for creativity, and in the post-Covid world, many different ways to manage them. We talk to a freelance stylist and a market director, to see how they’re making WFH work for them.



A STYLING SERVICE BORN IN LOCKDOWN.

 

At the start of this year, Allison Bornstein was a New York-based stylist responsible for Katie Holmes’ recent game-changing style transformation and a YouTube styling series in collaboration with makeup artist Violette. Like everyone, all this was put on hold in March when a shelter in place order went into effect, and she was left trying to figure out exactly what she could do career-wise without leaving her own apartment.

 

The proposition was simple. After brainstorming ways to raise money for Covid relief efforts, Allison decided to charge women $150 for a virtual styling session with her to reorganise and re-style their closet, of which $50 went to the New York Food Bank. She posted on Instagram giving her email address and the response was overwhelming.

 

HOW HAS COVID-19 CHANGED THE WAY YOU WORK?

 

I’ve realised being adaptable is so important. The fashion industry is often built on notions of exclusivity, and for so long many stylists wouldn’t consider offering up their services in this way. I think Covid has made us realize that we are all in this together and fashion is something that can actually unite us. My clients range in so many ways but I think that we all want the same thing which is to be seen and validated.

 

DID YOU EXPECT SUCH A GOOD RESPONSE?

 

I was SO surprised!!! After I posted it, I checked my email and already had a few responses. My first three appointments were women from Brussels, Australia and Florida and in 2 months I worked with 100 women. We can sometimes look at fashion as frivolous but we are realizing that it does affect how we feel and it’s worth thinking about and investing in.



THIS BUSINESS MODEL MUST HAVE REALLY TAPPED INTO THE CURRENT ZEITGEIST.

 

I think as women, we often feel guilty when we take time for ourselves, especially in a global pandemic. Since many self-care rituals were not possible during Covid, this was a way to give women the permission and space to think about themselves for just one hour. Besides the obvious benefits of donating to the Food Bank, women also knew they were benefiting others, so they felt more comfortable taking a self-care moment. In addition, the premise is that we style your closet so you can rediscover pieces you already own without purchasing anything new. So everyone wins.

 

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH ONLY COMMUNICATING WITH CLIENTS VIRTUALLY?

 

I thought it would be a lot more challenging than it is. There is something very personal about being in a woman’s closet but it all still translates via FaceTime! There is also an intimacy to it that you don’t necessarily get in person. You are forced to look at each other and listen and watch in a way that you might not do face to face. It feels so cool to be working with women in Australia or Hong Kong from my Brooklyn apartment!

 

WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE DURING LOCKDOWN? 

 

I have been filming YouTube videos at home but I’m eager to work with other women again for my videos. It’s important for me to show a variety of body types and since I can only try things on myself, I’ve been feeling a little limited!

 

DO YOU THINK LIFE IN LOCKDOWN HAS CHANGED THE WAY PEOPLE WILL DRESS ONCE WE REACH A “NEW NORMAL”?

 

I think that women are tired of excess. They want wearable, versatile pieces that make them feel put together but still make sense for a work-from-home-lifestyle.

 

WHAT’S YOUR TOP TIP FOR LOOKING PRESENTABLE WHEN MEETING CLIENTS FOR THE FIRST TIME OVER FACETIME?

 

Jewellery can take a really casual look and make it feel more exciting. Even if I am in leggings and a t-shirt (which I often am), if I put on a necklace or some hoop earrings, I immediately feel more put together.