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Fashion Stylist Interview ~ Justyna Baraniecki

July 30, 2012

I’ve recently had the honor of interviewing the ever so beautiful & talented Justyna Baraniecki from Chameleonic.  She’s a Fashion Stylist & Art Director who specializes in fashion show production, art direction, editorial styling and creative collaborations. And best of all? She’s a Fellow Canadian!!!  (She currently resides in Ottawa, Canada.)  Not only being a former model, blogger extraordinaire, and a super stylist, she also has had her own magazine! Isn’t that amazing?! She is what I call a wonder-woman!! Check out her portfolio, facebook page, twitter – @chameleonicME and her lovely blog!

NB: Firstly, please tell us about yourself – what are you all about?

JB: I’m 28 and all about creating stuff.

NB: Did you attend a school for fashion? If so, where at?
JB: No, I studied Art History at Carleton.

NB: When did you realize you wanted to be a fashion stylist?
JB: I was a pretty unsuccessful model (NB: totally surprised, you’re gorgeous!) and quickly transitioned to styling about 10 years ago.  I have been styling professionally for about 2 years now (the other 8, let’s call them formative years….)

NB: How did your fashion magazine The Dinner Jacket come about?
JB: I was in a bit of a rut and wanted to create something.  At the time I worked for a company that published magazines online, and the idea blossomed from there.  We were one of the first online fashion mags in Canada (second only to Nylon).  You could call it opportunity, timing, inspiration.  I met and worked with a lot of great people and met my current partner, Joel.

NB: Can you describe your daily routine?
JB: Ha! No such thing.  I’m usually up between 7 and 7:30am and get the day started.  I work at my day job from 8:30 until 5 and work for the magazine (Style Magazine) as well as freelance from 5:30 until 10.  I’m a workaholic.  Never without my blackberry.  No weekends or evenings off right now.  I’m always on the computer, whether its emailing designers to pull items for shoots, casting models, marketing myself and Joel, I’m always on.

NB: If you had not gone with your dream career – what could you see yourself doing?
JB: Nothing else, really.  I’m determined to do this full time, so there are no other options for me.

NB: What is the most important thing you’ve learned through running your own magazine and fashion blog/brand?
Learn who to trust (and not to trust) pretty early on.  If you can’t trust your business partners, you’ve pretty much lost it all.  If you want to do something professionally, its going to take a mountain of work.  Don’t fake it till you make it – you’re only fooling yourself.   Be humble. Be discerning with who you associate with.   Study. Study. Study.  Technical knowledge enhances your creative skills.  If you know how to light a scene, your styling will only get better.  Forget about glory, styling is a very thankless job.  You have to love it, the limelight won’t come to you as a stylist.  {How many famous photographers can you name, vs. stylists?  To be a stylist means you love your work more than you love getting credit for your work.  That’s the nature of the beast}

If you want to do something professionally, its going to take a mountain of work.  Don’t fake it till you make it – you’re only fooling yourself.

NB: What is your favourite part of the creative process?
JB: Seeing a tiny bubble of inspiration grow into a production.  The whole thing is fantastic.  I’m quite lucky to work with Joel ~ we collaborate from beginning to end.  He’s as much a part of my styling decisions on an editorial, as I am a part of his decisions in post production.  I love seeing our work get a little better every time.  Seeing growth is the most rewarding part for me.

NB: What does a styling job typically consist of?
JB:  It depends if you’re doing client (designer/brand) or editorial.  Editorial is less pay more work, client is a bit less work (depending on the theme) but more pay.  For editorial, you’re pretty much doing everything (booking models, hair, make up), you’re story-boarding the shoot with the photographer, you’re pulling items from designers (this will take up a HUGE amount of time), you’re scouting locations and getting permits if necessary, you’re the timeline person and point of contact for everyone involved.  You’re the multi-tasker.  Oh, and you put together all the outfits.  And if you’re lucky enough to have an assistant for the day, you can focus on directing the model, while your assistant writes down all pieces used.

NB: What is your favourite photo/photo spread? And why?
JB: Welcome to my World, photographed by Mert & Marcus, styled by Alex White  for W Magazine, March 2007.  I want to live in that world.  If there is a heaven, I hope it looks like this, and I hope I get to go to there.

NB: How long from start to finish does a Fashion Photo spread take?
Depending on the size and type of editorial.  For a 4 page beauty, I’d say you’re looking at 30 hours (more if the model’s skin requires extra retouching).  For a 12 page fashion, you’re looking at 80 hours.  And everything else is somewhere in between.

NB: It’s no secret that you love fashion – what are your favourite brands & designers?

JB: Several – for Canadian, I love Yasmine Wasfy (Lustre – Montreal).  She has the perfect tailoring for everyday wear.  I adore the elegant modern minimalism of Alexander Wang, I adore Dolce & Gabbana’s feminine tailoring, and I’m currently obsessed with all Australian designers: Style Stalker, Natalia Grzybowski, Ellery Land, One Teaspoon… too many to count!

NB: What fashion magazines do you subscribe to?
JB: 10, Vogue, Vogue Paris, W, GQ

NB: If you could travel anywhere for inspiration, where would it be, and why?
JB: Several places.  Morocco because of this whole thing! (ABFAB in Morocco) Rio, because why on earth not? Australia, because of the beaches and fashion! And Italy – Food.  So much food, so little time. Though right now, I’d take an afternoon drive to the country.  Any time away from the computer is considered a vacation in my books!

NB: What was your most rewarding experience throughout living your dream career?
JB: Holding a python.  Even though snakes are my biggest fear.

NB: What’s your mantra?
Just keep working. Just keep working. Just keep working. Just keep work….

NB: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
JB: Living in California, working for a luxury lifestyle magazine and shooting every day.

NB: Your top five styling tips for an aspiring Fashion Stylist?
JB:  You have to be organized.  You have to have good credit (you need a credit card to loan out clothes – before designers trust you).  You have to love it, because there’s very little ‘glory’ – most of the credit will go to the photographer.  You have to think on the fly, did I mention you have to be organized?   If you really want to do it, get in touch with working stylists and assist them for a week: see what its really like (stylists that pull from designers direct, not boutiques).  Styling is probably not what you expected. ;)

NB: Any inspiring words for aspiring fashion stylists?
JB: Learn to develop a critical eye.  Learn to learn from your mistakes.  Learn to make mistakes and grow.  There is no end point in this career path, there’s only getting better and stronger every time.   Learn time management and multi-tasking.  Your shoots are only as good as the pre-planning.  Accept most people will credit the photographer.  If you’re ok with that, and you’re quick on your feet, organized, tenacious, won’t take no for an answer and a workaholic, then styling is the job for you!

There is no end point in this career path, there’s only getting better and stronger every time.

Images supplied by Justyna Baraniecki
Other images via Google and © to their Respectful Owners.
B&W photos via Julie & Kat from
Interviewed by Natalie Brooke for  Musings Of A Brunette © 2012

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2012 9:03 PM

    i love these, they always serve as an inspiration. :) its always nice to know that the people who have these careers and passions are just like the rest of us, they have to work at what they want.

    • July 30, 2012 9:09 PM

      Hi Vika!!

      Thanks for the lovely comment – I totally agree. These hopefully not only inspire whoever reads them, but inspire me as well! I look back on them when ever I need inspiration. :) I have a few more coming – SO excited! xxo

  2. July 31, 2012 2:15 AM

    Nice interview!

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