I first met the eclectic creative agency, I’ll Be Your Mirror at our showcase and runway at SWG3 back in 2015. I was working the guest list on the door at the time and was blown away by their witty charm, weegie banter and effortlessly cool dress sense. From styling some of Glasgow’s most exciting bands including Smash Williams & WHITE to fashion film and direction with a wealth of industry experience under their belt, the pair have hit the ground running. From sass-queen Mariah Carey to the ethereal grunge melodies of My Bloody Valentine & The Jesus and Mary Chain, I discover both Kirsty & Stuart’s muses and learn they are not shy of tough love.
Individually, can you tell me where you guys started out and how you got into the realm of styling?
K:After studying Fashion Business at Glasgow Caledonian University I fell into luxury fashion management despite being more interested in the creative aspect of the business. When I started working with Miu Miu I did my best to progress within the company and eventually moved to London. Being based in the New Bond St. store meant I was surrounded by the real Miu Miu – not just the filtered range we had in Glasgow. I was dressing celebrities with the collections as they came off the runway which got me excited about styling again. Stu and I had had been talking about starting up a business together so when I moved home it just happened and here we are now.
S: Like Kirsty I fell into luxury fashion management after studying Media Theory & Production followed by a few too many years of focusing on my social life and not really worrying about a career. We both knew there was more out there for us and when Kirsty came back from London and I was about to start my fifth year at Prada. We finally plucked up the courage and launched IBYM with a week of Instagram posts dedicated to our love of wide leg trousers! We started out pitching ourselves as just stylists but as we progress we’re taking a much larger role in jobs – art direction or full project production as well as styling. We’re very hands on.
Why do you work so well together as a team?
K:He’s the sock to my sandal. We were best pals for years before we started I’ll Be Your Mirror so we’ve always been a team in some capacity – our friendship is the foundation of our business so we have a lot of fun and most of the time it doesn’t even feel like work. Professionally we’re good together because we’re always pushing each other to do better and we’re not shy of a bit of tough love.
S: We’ve been a wee team ever since we met, supporting each other professionally and personally and I can’t really say why – we just click. I think we’re both an odd combination of outlandish and introverted, focused yet chaotic, my strengths are her weaknesses and vice versa…we always joke that together we make one well rounded human being!
How long was it until you got paid for styling work and what was your first paid job together?
K:We hit the ground running; our first editorial was published and our first commercial job was paid. Since then, every bit of editorial work we have done has been published which has given us reassurance in what we are doing. We both left great jobs to focus on making I’ll Be Your Mirror a success so seeing our work featured by publications like i-D, Hunger and CAKE gives us faith in that decision.
In the creative industries, what does Scotland have that the rest of the UK does not?
K:Tattie scones and Irn Bru; I spent my time living in London constantly daydreaming about those but the thing I missed most that you can’t get anywhere else was the Glasgow patter. Glasgow has such a good energy – everyone is nuts.
S: I think we have a different perspective on the world and more of a drive to make an impact. Being outside a major creative capital means you have to shout louder and be bolder, it encourages you to take more risks and really fight for what you want.
Who are your favourite brands to work with?
S: Anyone that will trust us to give a touch of our signature weirdness to a project; we’re very much inspired by Miuccia Prada’s belief in finding the beauty in the ugly.
How much of the styling process is improvised, and how much can you plan for?
S: We always have a vague plan and a few outfit ideas in our head but more often than not, something that you’re expecting to be a knockout is a bit of a let down when you actually get it onto a body. So much of a project is influenced by the energy of the day that its almost impossible to go in with concrete plans and not veer from them.
What is your go-to item in your own wardrobes?
K:We’re both scruffs; big jumpers, band t-shirts, oversized coats, men’s tailoring, layering, clunky shoes, clashes, contradictions – stuff that shouldn’t work but *kind* of does and socks. I love socks. Sometimes I’ll wear something fancy but then I’ll pair it with something grotty. Fancy-grotty, that’s me.
S: Whereas I’m just grotty. A big coat, a sloppy jumper, knackered shoes and that’s me good to go. We both have a mutual love of grey jumpers (I’m at 8 at the last count) and I have a wardrobe full of plain white tees. I mean ideally we’d both be in our PJ’s all day if we’re being 100% honest!
Who are your idols and what inspires you?
K:Chloe Sevigny, Iggy Pop, Miuccia Prada, Fran Burns, Debbie Harry they just have *it*. Whatever *it* is – they are up to their eyeballs in it.
S: Miuccia Prada, Kurt Cobain, Gareth Pugh, Nicolas Ghesquiere – The Balenciaga Years, Tim Blanks – all great but I don’t know if anyone makes it to ‘idol’ status. I’ve never been one of those people that has a favourite musician or actor that I slavishly obsess over.
Where are your favourite hang outs in Scotland?
K:Cafe Strange Brew in Shawlands is owned by a good friend of mine and does some if the best food I’ve ever eaten. In less than two years, Laurie has won every award going and is already moving into bigger premises. I’m so proud of her as no one works harder than she does. My other friend Laura runs her micro-café, Brew Box from The Tardis in Merchant City. The quality and assortment of food she sells in such a wee place is unbelievable – definitely a must if you work in the city centre.
S: The East banks of Loch Lomond are one of my favourite places in Scotland, if not the world. Its so peaceful and feels a million miles away from the stresses of modern life. King Street in Glasgow reminds me of growing up in Brighton so I enjoy a mooch round there. I love the Gallowgate and The Barras – it’s like stepping into a completely different world to the rest of Glasgow.
How does Interiors Design play a role in styling?
K:For us, it’s as important as the clothing. We really enjoy shooting on location so quite often we find somewhere cool and build a concept around it. For that reason, I love working with filmmaker/photographer Bryan M. Ferguson. He has an amazing eye for colour and shares our obsession for interiors stuck in a time warp.
What is the soundtrack to your daily life?
K:Where do I start? The last 5 songs I listened to were:
Compulsive Gamblers – The Way I Feel About You
Bleached – Think Of You
The Feelies – Only Life
My Bloody Valentine – Feed Me With Your Kiss
Ramones – I Want You Around
Fuzzy noise. I went a bit ticket-daft last month so shows I have coming up are Mogwai, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Arab Strap and Brian Wilson – lots to look forward to.
S: In complete contradiction to Kirsty, I don’t really care about music and can go weeks without listening to anything. Albums generally bore me and I stop listening a few tracks in so a decent playlist is more likely to keep my attention. I’ve been listening to a great 1994 list on Spotify recently – everything from Mariah Carey to Marilyn Manson.