Monday 29 April 2019

FAKE BAKE gets a lesson in Ultimate Chic from super Stylist Jess Walsh…

As avid fashion devotees, what we see on glossy pages or on social media looks like a chic snapshot in time. But as part of Team Fake Bake, we already know the hard work that goes on BTS to make sure everything is picture perfect. But what’s it actually like to be in charge of what goes on? We caught up up with super stylist Jess Walsh to ask her what the truth is, what her styling tips are and what Spring/Summer 2019 has in store for us. Jess has worked with leading brands like Lavish Alice, River Island and Boohoo as well as stylish celebs we love from Laura Whitmore to Vanessa White. Oh, and did we mention she’s a natural in front of the camera and a bit beaut herself.

Over to you, Ms. Walsh.

Jess, tell us how you got into styling….

“I always wanted to work in fashion from a young age and, at 14, was lucky enough to get some work experience with a well known department store in their buying/marketing department. I did make the decision, though, to keep going with my studies and achieved a 2:1 in Fashion Promotion with Styling at UCL. I have literally taken every opportunity and run with it: one of my first sessions was for VERY, and I also started styling clients for events. I was then lucky enough to meet top stylist Gemma Sheppard, who was working with X Factor at the time. She became my mentor, and still is to this day. Gemma has been brilliant with advice and opportunities and has helped me build confidence and resilience in this competitive industry. Gemma also helped me with experience: I assisted her with a shoot for Ashley Roberts’ new shoe launch, and soon saw my name appear in glossy credits! Since then I have done such varied work, and even set up a River Island Style Studio in Liverpool, but I knew I wanted to go out on my own, so I launched Styled By JW last October.

We’ve read your CV! You have so much prestigious experience but do you have any particular highlights?

One of my first standout jobs was going on location with Megan McKenna to Dubai, for Miss Pap, who Megan had just created a range with. It was super glamorous and Megan was so professional and easy to work with. I do love working with top bloggers, too, and Dubai really is a creative hub right now for them. Even on their way to meet me, they are already styled to the max.

I really, really enjoyed styling at the NTAs as I got to work with Sir Tom Jones and his backing dancers - he’s a legend, and of course, part of The Voice on ITV1 so that was brilliant fun. I’ve worked with Kidz Bop for their You Tube Channel and I have to say, I have a hugely supportive family and they love seeing my name pop up in OK! Magazine. It’s actually a tough physical job and you have to be super-organised, from the original layouts to finally sending back every item of merchandising, it’s all down to the stylist! But the final looks are always, always worth it!”

Fashion is so fast paced now. How do you keep up with incoming trends but put your own stamp on them?

“My first port of call has always been as it really is best for the latest designer shows, brands and collections. I also love WGSN that keeps me informed about up-and-coming colours and textures as well as related make-up and hair trends. Drapers Online also keeps me up-to-date about the professional side of the fashion industry. As well as my favourite glossies, of course, socials are invaluable for me to spy on inspiring fashion artists. I am lucky that I get invited to lots of brand events, and I also love festivals for spotting street styles. This Spring/Summer I have been doing a lot of tonal styling, which means dressing in different variations on the same shade from head-to-toe. Bleached denim is also huge right now. I am lucky that I work with really accessible brands, that most of your readers can get into, also.”

Who are your own style inspirations?

Olivia Culpo is a current favourite of mine - I know Fake Bake work with Olivia a lot, and she just has immaculate style doesn’t she? There are so many past and present figures - I am obsessed with fashion history as a subject, too! I met Chloe Sims recently and was so impressed with her - I haven’t styled her - yet! - but she knows a lot about fashion and isn’t afraid to take risks!”

How is the fashion world currently feeling about the tan?

“As we move towards summer, most of us do feel better with a tan, let’s face it! I work with so many celebrities and models who are literally obsessed with skincare, so of course, they are all faking it! The fashion industry loves a warm complexion, no matter what your base shade is, and we are all about the glow, too! I think clients like different looks now for different occasions, depending on what their overall image will be. This summer’s fashion colour palette is really varied: beige, oatmeal, Tutti Frutti shades, mimosa, citrus, sage green, dusky blue, the list is endless! But Living Coral is the shade of the season, and a beautiful, golden glow works really well with that.

For me personally, I like a classic look, so for that I go for Fake Bake Original as it is the first self tan I ever tried. I always go back to it - as it’s the best! For a lighter formulation, I adore Fake Bake Flawless Coconut Serum - plus, it smells delish! I’ve just styled the new Barry M Campaign and their shade range is so impressive - it’s all linked.”

What is your most coveted style item, that you don’t own yet?

A Cartier watch - I am putting it out there into the Universe……”

Finally, do you have any advice for would-be stylists reading this?

“Start as soon as you can, and get as much experience as you can - and if you get offered some intern experience, take it - when you begin, it is all about building up your contacts and learning what works. Study - art, photography, textiles, there are so many useful subjects as you really need to know about how fabrics, colours and shapes look, drape and photograph. Photography and digital tech are so important, as you’ll want to learn all of the tricks of the trade. Work, work and network. Retail experience helps you to get to know the customers and in your local area, approach noted names - and introduce yourself!  Networking isn’t just about who you meet it’s also about what you can offer - and hopefully, one day you won’t just be looking for a mentor, you’ll be a mentor yourself. And finally, you are your own brand. Stylists aren’t just BTS now - people want to get to know you. So start a blog, brush up on your socials skills and get to know other creatives, and get started. Then it’s all down to you, a dose of luck, and a whole lot of hard work.

I have the best job in the world. It’s not a 9-5 one, it is so varied but I get to work with fashion every day, and see the finished result either in print, on screen or online.

Cartier, here I come……”

Jess Walsh, we are right behind you, sister.

All featured Fake Bake products are available at

Follow Jess and her pro account on Insta @styledbyjw
Follow Jess and her personal style on Insta @jessica_walshx

To find out more about the degree Jess studied go to

Cartier image courtesy of @cartier

All other images courtesy of Jess Walsh


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