Ruthia Fuller is a freelance Creative Director and Fashion Stylist based in Miami, FL. She’s been published in 12 fashion magazines, worked on CNN productions, done commercial work for local brands, and even had the opportunity to work with an HBO actress. While all this sounds glamourous, Ruthia is quick to point out that a day in the life of a stylist is not as glamourous as people might think.
Ruthia’s family is from Haiti, but she was born in St. Martin and grew up in Fort Myers, FL. Ruthia commented that she grew up dirt poor and that her parents could never afford new clothing for her and her siblings, so they shopped in thrift and consignment stores as well as Goodwill. “This was before shopping at Goodwill was considered shopping for vintage,” Ruthia says. To keep her wardrobe fresh, Ruthia coordinated her wardrobe every day before school. She would arrange pieces differently than she had previously worn them, so it always looked like she was wearing something new. She says that this formula of coordinating outfits followed her throughout her life. She still curates looks in a similar way today, even though now she has a 3rd bedroom that serves as her closet!
Over the past 8 years, Ruthia has worked in corporate retail in many different departments with numerous roles. She says that she loves that creativity is always brewing right around the corner and she’s been able to take something back from the many departments she’s worked in. This resulted in a new perspective each time whether it was from fit, quality, garment construction, product development, sourcing, fabric, color analysis, or design. She says that she’s always been drawn to fashion but wasn’t sure if she wanted to focus on trend, design, or visual. She admits that becoming a Fashion Stylist felt like a lofty and unreachable goal.
How did you get your start in styling?
While working in corporate retail, I’ve always felt like I was missing something. I started doing personal styling here and there as people often asked me to help them with shopping, cleaning out closets, etc. I eventually began studying fashion styling from two well-known stylists in the industry and earned a fashion styling certificate. This helped me identify which route I wanted to take, fashion styling versus personal styling. I chose the former and this allowed me to release the beast within.
What is a day in the life as a stylist on a photo shoot like?
A typical day runs about 12 hours. Production starts with steaming clothes, taping shoes, and set design if needed. Once the model is done with hair and make-up, the shoot begins. I spend most of my time helping models/celebrities get in and out of their clothes/shoes and watching the set to make sure everything is correct on camera/video. It’s all about the details: jumping on set to pull a thread hanging from her top to smoothing out a wrinkle in her jacket.
What’s your favorite thing about being a stylist?
I love curating looks in ways that might be considered unusual. For example, making a lower priced item look luxurious, mixing prints, colors, and textures in a way that creates an emotional response.
What is the most challenging about what you do?
What people don’t understand is that the act of literally styling is only 30% of the job. It all starts with pre-production: before the photoshoot. When I’m managing the creative direction, this consists of putting together the color palette, props, and sometimes booking locations, models, photographers, make-up, and hair stylists. I’m attached to my phone and laptop researching, emailing wardrobe requests, and running around town to different showrooms. Shopping for 10 hours a day is not fun especially when you have to return most of the merchandise a few days later. There is so much preparation that is required beforehand and organization required afterwards, it can be very stressful at times.
What is your style philosophy?
Iris Apfel says “More is more, less is a bore,” and I could have never said it better myself.
What is your favorite style?
I’m head over heels over styles that are eccentric, daringly innovative, dramatic, fearless, and bold. Looks that make you “Oohh” and “Ahhh”.
Who are your favorite designers?
Marc Jacobs, Iris van Herpen, and Carolina Herrera just to name a few. I have so many
If you could provide a few basic styling tips for women, what would they be?
I personally focus on timeless and statement pieces when shopping because they never go out of style. It’s easy to get dressed when you have a closet full of showstoppers. Trends come and go, but you’ll always look effortlessly chic and stylish no matter what season it is.
What type of styling work do you prefer?
I’m in love with working on editorials! I also really enjoyed working on a tv show. I’d like to experience doing more tv, and expand to working on e-commerce, advertising, and brand look books. I’m open to all aspects of wardrobe styling and will consider all opportunities that are thrown my way.
Where can people check out more of your work or book you?
You can check out my website www.ruthiafuller.com. I’m currently located in the Miami, FL area but am open to traveling as well.
Photographer: Fabio Zarate
Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist: Olessya Knyazhevskaya
Model: Avalon Ramsey @Modern Muse Models
Wardrobe Stylist/Creative Director: Ruthia Fuller
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