Meet stylist and editor of Oyster magazine Sarah Starkey
Please tell us a little about your back ground, where you grew up, what your family life was like and where you have lived
I was born in South Korea and adopted by my Australian parents when I was six months old, along with my sister who was also adopted from Korea two years before me. We grew up on acreage just outside Sydney and had lots of animals: horses, cashmere goats and dogs. Our parents have always encouraged us to pursue our interests, and we’ve been fortunate to have their full support in anything we wanted to do. I’ve spent most of the past ten years living in Sydney, although I lived in London for two years gaining experience in the industry. I've since been travelling around Australia, Europe, America and Asia for work.
What has been your career history, What was the dream?
I studied fashion design at East Sydney Technical College, which was unexpected for me, because growing up I always wanted to be an Olympic sprinter. After studying, I worked for the New Zealand label Zambesi doing PR for a couple of years, before moving to London to assist Isabelle Kountoure at Wallpaper Magazine. I started shooting for Oyster and RUSSH Magazine, and other independent fashion titles, and when my two year visa came to an end I moved back to Sydney. Now, I'm Contributing Fashion Editor at Oyster and continue to work closely with great clients including Ellery, Dion Lee and Museum Magazine.
What do you love about ohheygirl?
I love that all the clothing is one size fits all and that the curation is quite directional, meaning that the shapes and styles work together easily for styling. There's a lot of variety, and a lot of great individual pieces that I'd wear and use for styling.
Tell us about the highs and lows in your career so far as a stylist?
Highs: Travelling, doing work that doesn't seem like 'work', working with like-minded people, and seeing my vision realised in magazines like Museum and Oyster that allow me lots of freedom to create and direct.
Lows: Spending all of my money I earn on clothes.
What inspired you to become a stylist, did you have a different path planned for yourself previously and how do you juggle fashion styling and being a contributing fashion editor for Oyster magazine?
I didn't know I'd end up a stylist actually. I studied fashion design, then did fashion PR and realised neither of those options were for me. But friends suggested I try styling, so I did.
How did the oyster relationship come about and what was the interview process like?
I grew up buying Oyster Magazine since it's an Australian publication. The sorts of editorials I saw in there were exciting and different to what I was seeing in other local fashion magazines at the time. Coincidentally, I ended up living with two of the past editors Paul Bui and Zac Bayly, and I started shooting for them, and they recommended me for a position years later. Oyster is the pathway to working in the industry for a lot of young creatives in Australia. It's a great platform for showcasing experimental and boundary-pushing work, and it's nurtured the careers of a lot of the people I now work with.
What advice would you give to your younger self, or someone starting out on the same career path as you?
Don't do it! Just kidding, but it really is an industry that will test you. You really have to dedicate yourself and commit to it. I've always loved hard work, and everyone knows how driven and demanding of myself I can be, so it's a good fit for me, but I'd also recommend taking things slowly, finding your place in the industry, sticking to your values and having time away to clear your head sometimes. And don't compare yourself to others — everyone's path is different.
Tell me what a typical day looks like for you?
The thing I enjoy most about my job is that no two days ever look the same. I'm a freelance stylist, so one day I could be up at 3am for an early call time or I might not
start until the afternoon, or I could be running between meetings all day, but either way my day always starts with a coffee, a little bit of exercise, and an hour to check emails.
What are some of the things you love and hate about the industry?
Love: Variety one day to the next, meeting and working with amazing people, having a certain level of freedom and creativity that you can't get in most careers.
Hate: Being too focussed on work and forgetting to take time out for myself.
If you could work with only 3 creatives (past or present ) who would it be and why?
Martin Margiela for his visionary aesthetic and choices. Iggy Pop — he's my ultimate hero. And photographer Hanna Moon - she's doing cool work and she's also South Korean.
Who/What inspires you and why?
That's hard, because it's always changing and evolving. I'd say all of the people who inspire me have great individual character, and it's expressed in everything they do.
What would your closest friends say your best and worst habits are?
Best: Telling hilarious stories.
Worst: Repeating the punch-line over and over until someone laughs.
How do you define success and how do you measure it?
Finishing a job knowing that I did my best and gave it my all.
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