A day in the life: Tyla McKenzie, FQ fashion assistant

1 April 2016
By Fashion Quarterly

Fashion Quarterly fashion assistant Tyla McKenzie
Here at FQ, we love that every day we get to meet inspiring Kiwis kicking goals in their chosen fields.

In this, part one of our three part look into the daily lives of local creatives, we’re starting with one of our own – Fashion Quarterly’s talented fashion assistant, Tyla McKenzie. From showroom visits to photoshoots, Tyla is as on the pulse as it gets when it comes to the latest trends and launches. If you’ve always wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes at FQ, or simply how to get into the magazine and styling industry, read on…

FQ: What does your role as fashion assistant at Fashion Quarterly consist of?
Tyla: My role covers the style and fashion sections of FQ. No day is really the same and my tasks usually range from sourcing and styling, co-ordinating shoots, online content creation, range viewings and more.

How much work goes into planning for a photoshoot? Can you describe what you do each day in the lead-up to a shoot?
A lot! It tends to start with a theme, what trend or trends we want to show our readers and that’s usually determined by what we’ve seen on the fashion week runways or in collection previews. The sourcing starts straight away, I’ll normally block a few days out in my calendar to head out to all the showrooms pulling relevant pieces, I always end up pulling way more than what is needed but it’s better to have options!

In between all the sourcing we decide on a location, photographer, model and hair and makeup team. It doesn’t always fall into place that easily though, there’s a lot of toing and froing finding a date that works for everyone. I’ll send out a call sheet as soon as all the shoot details are locked in, then a day or so before the shoot we’ll talk through all the looks as a team.

I’ll pack up all the garments and accessories the night before, then it’s usually an early start for me on the shoot day as I like to be the first on location to allow myself enough time to set up the clothes racks and unpack everything.

Fashion Quarterly fashion assistant Tyla McKenzie

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How did you land your job at FQ?
I have a few friends in the fashion industry and they would often take me along to various events, I had somehow caught Sally-Ann’s attention and she reached out to me when the position became available. I was offered the opportunity to interview for the role and the rest is history!

Who are your favourite designers and how will you be updating your wardrobe this winter?
My favourite New Zealand designers/brands at the moment are Lonely, Georgia Alice, Juliette Hogan, Marle, La Tribe and Arielle Mermin. I like to try and buy local brands where I can, we are so lucky to have such an extensive range of talented designers in New Zealand and it feels great supporting local businesses.

I bought a beautiful woollen coat last winter so that will see me through this season too but in addition to that a good pair of black leather ankle boots and some long knitted dresses will be wardrobe staples. And hopefully the investment of a Phillip Lim handbag too!

Fashion Quarterly fashion assistant Tyla McKenzie
What does your work wardrobe consist of?
I try not to have a separate wardrobe for work and downtime, instead investing in pieces that will translate easily between the two. My outfit is usually determined by what I have on that day. If I have meetings or an event in the evening I’ll dress a little smarter than usual and will most likely wear heels (or at least keep a pair under my desk to swap into).

On days when I’m sourcing or shooting, comfort is absolute key! My clothing tends to stay the same and comfort comes to play with footwear, I love mixing something quite dressy with sneakers. Because they’re slimming and not too bulky, Chucks are usually my first choice of casual shoes. I love that these ones have a Nike inner sole as it eliminates that ‘break-in’ period – I have zero time for blisters!

Who or what inspires you creatively and how do you keep on top of changing trends?
I have a genuine interest in fashion so following fashion weeks or changing trends doesn’t feel like a job to me. I love Instagram for its visual inspiration, everything from fashion and beauty to homeware and interiors, more often than not I find myself in some sort of ‘gram vortex screenshotting images. I love getting out of the city too, a good beach mission or hike is a nice way to escape and clear your head and often results in some sort of creative epiphany.

Fashion Quarterly fashion assistant Tyla McKenzie

Who do you look up to career wise?
I’m pretty fortunate that I work in an environment that is riddled with incredibly strong and sassy career women; Bauer is a very inspiring work place. Outside of that my girlfriends and the people I deal with on a day-to-day basis. Basically anyone pursuing a career in something they love in whatever industry is pretty inspiring to me.

What do you like to do in your downtime?
There’s an ongoing joke in our team that I live in the sand dunes because I love the beach so much, it’s pretty inevitable given that I grew up in The Mount though! If I’m not at the beach with my head in my Kindle, you’ll probably find me brunching with my girlfriends followed by a walk and a mooch around the shops.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to get into styling or magazine publishing?
Start conversations with the right people, if a friend of a friend has a cousin that works in publishing, follow that lead. If styling is your dream, assisting on shoots is a great way to meet the right people and gain experience.

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