Focussing on Diversity
Geelong based personal stylist Emelia Morris does it all. From personal styling, to talent styling and editorial work, all are within her ambit. Yet she didn’t plan on being a stylist. Emelia was a public sector employee for a decade. And she wasn’t always confident about fashion or her own personal style. But her desire to become a more confident person led to opportunities she’d previously never considered, ultimately leading to her passion, personal styling.
How did you make the change into styling?
I shifted my mindset and that was really the pivotal moment for me. Clothes became my armour, my way to communicate with others without saying a word. I built my confidence in fashion so that I not only looked good, but ‘felt’ good too. It was life changing to experience with so many feel good moments with a simple mindset shift. With this knowledge I knew that I wanted to help others have those feel-good moments which led me to do a styling course and now I’m lucky enough that I get to help my clients have those life changing, feel-good moments too.
You are currently the fashion editor of gt magazine. What does a day at work look like for you?
I contribute to the fashion pages in Geelong’s gt magzine each week on a freelance basis and absolutely love it. I’m really proud to work for such a fantastic publication that I get to share with my amazing Geelong community.
Fashion is fun, but there are some big issues that need to be addressed. What are your views on diversity and how it can be improved in the industry?
There is so much that needs to be addressed in the fashion industry. I’m really passionate about advocating for more diversity and representation in sizing as well as more representation of minority groups such as people of colour. The reason why this is so close to my heart and why I am advocate for change for this space is that when I was growing up I really didn’t see girls or women who looked like me in the fashion industry. There were no curvy bodies or people of colour. This confused me about my own personal style. I felt scared and overwhelmed by fashion as I didn’t fit into the general mould of what I thought fashion should be.
Unfortunately, I still hear similar stories from my clients and other women in 2021. It makes me sad that fashion is still impacting women’s confidence and self-esteem when I know fashion can be a wonderful empowering tool. This is why the industry needs to be challenged to be more inclusive by representing a variety of different people. For example, we need to see different sized models, body shapes and ethnicities in advertising and marketing campaigns. It’s no longer acceptable to show only one version of a person that is deemed beautiful. Brands have the ability to include or exclude and really, it comes down to their own choice.
Why do you think brands still continue to promote their clothing on size 6 or 8 models when the majority of Australian women are size 12 or above?
I am a huge advocate for sizing diversity in the fashion industry and there is still a lot more work to be done to achieve this. A lot of brands are stuck in the past where it was the norm for brands to only shoot sized 6 to 8 models. Times are starting to change, and some brands are leading the way by showing their collections on different sized models across their campaigns.
However, other brands continue to show only a size 6 to 8. In my opinion it is all about vanity as they only want certain looking people wearing their clothes. This needs to end as all women want to feel beautiful and included.
I would also like to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with showing fashion on size 6 on 8 models as many women fall under this size group. But there are a lot more sizes and body shapes that need to be represented in the fashion industry.
The average size of an Australian women is a size 14 to 16, but many brands stop at size 12. That means that women who are a 14 and above are not catered for. It’s ridiculous to think that the fashion industry is ignoring this group.
As an advocate in this space, I do hope to help change the landscape within the fashion industry and work collaboratively with brands to evolve and make change in these areas.
What are some myths you would like to bust about being a stylist?
That Stylists are only reserved for the rich and famous. Now anyone can use a stylist. If you think about it, we all wear clothes and everyone deserves that opportunity to feel good. I know that when I need help with taxes, I take it to my accountant who is skilled in that area. It’s the same as if you’re having trouble bridging the gap with how to dress and your wardrobe. This is where a stylist can help you.
What is your favourite thing about being a stylist?
I love being able to help my clients transform into a confident version of themselves and building authentic genuine relationships with them. I really am in the happy business.
You won the Australian Style Institute’s 2020 “One to Watch” award. How did it feel to be recognised for all your hard work in the industry?
Never did I ever think that I would win such a special award and I won it in such a turbulent time (thanks COVID). But I adapted and was still able to achieve some great work throughout this time. It was such an honour to be nominated by my mentors and peers who noticed my styling achievements in 2020.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about becoming a stylist?
There are so many different avenues that you can work in as a stylist. The sky is the limit and there are so many opportunities within the industry. I would definitely recommend doing training. My next word of advice would be to assist, assist, assist and get yourself a great mentor. Learn and absorb knowledge from others within the industry and I promise that will help you to become a better stylist. This often means you will most likely have to assist for free at the beginning, but trust me the more you learn, the more it will help you later on to be the best you can be.
What are your tips for helping us get the most out of our wardrobes.
Basic or essential pieces are key as they will help you make up so many different outfits. From experience, a lot of my clients often are missing key basic pieces which is why then end up in a style rut. These basics are the foundation to a good wardrobe. They are your tees, jeans and button-down shirts. They might not be the most exciting things in your wardrobe, but they are the glue to help you bring and mould your outfits together.