A career in fashion is as exciting as it is challenging, now try juggling two careers at the same and that might sound impossible. But for Ashley Hargrove, that’s just part of her daily routine. The Austin stylist went from working as an architect to styling for T-mobile commercials all while engaging with her 47k Instagram followers. We had the chance to catch up with Ashley where she shared with us her story, her work ethic and a glimpse into her daily routine as a wardrobe stylist and fashion blogger.
Fashion Mingle: How did you get your start as an Austin stylist?
Ashley Hargrove: I grew up always wanting to be an architect. I helped my father build and renovate multiple houses to flip and fell in love with all aspects of design. I set a goal to graduate high school in 3 years and start pursuing my dream to become a successful architect. College took a lot longer than I had expected, but I emerged with a degree in Business Management and Architecture. As luck would have it, I ended up graduating in 2008 when the economy tanked. I started looking for jobs in other cities close to Fort Worth and quickly found an architecture firm in Austin that was actually hiring. After all of the headache with moving and starting a new life, I was full force working at a firm; 50-60 hours a week. What I quickly learned is that having a job where I am confined to a desk was absolutely not for me, especially in a city like Austin. After working at the firm for about a year, I started brain-storming about what else I could potentially do without having to start completely over with an entry level position at yet another desk job. It finally dawned on me; I am amazing with customer service and still have an amazing eye for fashion. The interim years from high school through college were spent working at Neiman Marcus helping with personal shopping, getting paid minimum wage. There was absolutely no way I was getting back into the retail world, but I thought to myself, I know fashion, I am great with people, and I know I can start a business inspiring people to dress better.
FM: What drove you to be a fashion blogger?
AH: Great question! A lot of people get my jobs confused as to what I actually do as a wardrobe stylist compared to a fashion blogger. I started my first fashion blog years ago when I started my wardrobe styling business but never actually kept up with it because I couldn’t seem to tie the two together at the time. Once I started getting into more commercial and print advertising styling, I quickly realized this is not a fashionable side of fashion at all. I am catering to a client who needs talent dressed a certain way which limits creativity. I can’t express style with commercials so I wanted another outlet that I could express the fashionable side of my job.
FM: How do you manage to keep a balance between your career as an Austin stylist and fashion blogger?
AH:I have no life! But really, since I started blogging again, my free time is extremely limited. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love blogging and it is such a fun hobby to have. Since I have been monetizing my blog and Instagram, I have had to start looking at the process like a job at times. Companies reach out, send you contracts, expect specific content, captions, etc., in hope that you provide the reach they are expecting in return. That gets stressful!
If I am on set for 10+ hours a day on a big wardrobe styling job, I am not able to post as much as I normally would when I would have a day dedicated to blogging. I have to shoot more content in anticipation so I can schedule posts to go up when I am not able to post them myself. Then, once I get back from set I will spend a couple of hours interacting on social media so I don’t have to miss an entire day. The blogging side is definitely tougher when I am on set for days at a time, but I make it work! I have a VERY supportive spouse who supports me and my careers fully! He’s even my photographer!
Wardrobe Styling by Austin Stylist Ashley Hargrove
FM: What sparks your creativity when collaborating with designers and brands?
AS:I definitely have to look for pieces from those companies that exude my own personal style. I have to turn down retailers and brands that just don’t fit my aesthetic, which is a goal of mine to actually keep up.
FM: Your Instagram following is incredible! How do you keep your followers engaged?
AS: Let me tell you, it is an effort! I spend at least 3 hours a day interacting with my followers and people that I follow. If I don’t comment or like photos, I rarely get followers. Once I start interacting, it starts a chain reaction and I start seeing more interaction on my page.
FM: Can you describe a typical day in the life of a fashion stylist and blogger?
AS: My day-to-day changes frequently depending on what types of projects I have to prep for or if I have a shoot that day. A normal, casual day that I’m not wardrobe styling is actually pretty hectic trying to keep the blog together. I try and get up, go work out and get to the house to catch up on emails, interacting on Instagram, which can take hours. Then start scheduling out my posts for the day, plan outfits to shoot around 4 pm and finally start getting my actual blog post together for that day.
Now, if I am prepping for a wardrobe styling job I will get up early, skip the workout, make my schedule on where I need to pull and shop to make things as efficient as possible. Organization is key with shopping for multiple talents that aren’t the runway model type. With commercial styling, you get more of the “real” talent that have real bodies of all shapes and sizes. Most people require shopping at multiple stores and I will normally need to get 10-15 outfit options per model including shoes and accessories for men and women. Some jobs will require days of shopping and then days of returns after the shoot is complete. If I am actually on set shooting that day, I will normally get up around 4 am for 5 am call-times and be on set until 6-9 pm most shoot days!
FM: What advice would you give to a designer that is interested in receiving media coverage?
AS: I would suggest reaching out to as many social media influencers as possible. I feel most businesses underestimate the reach of Instagram and other social media platforms. A lot of my commercial jobs now are companies hiring PR firms to shoot campaigns strictly for social media and not TV or print ads, which were popular even last year.
If you want to learn more about Austin stylist Ashley Hargrove, take a look at her incredible Instagram. Wish to collaborate with her? Signup to our nationwide fashion directory and connect with her or other fashion professionals.
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