Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannah Lewis.
Hi Hannah, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born in Akron, Ohio and from a young age, I was obsessed with fashion, art and music and as I got older pursued any chance to get my feet wet creatively. In high school, I ate up any art class I could and modeled, a not so average high school job, which really gave me an introduction to photo production and styling. But my journey really began when I had the opportunity of a lifetime to intern at Art Partner Productions in Paris, France. I loved the energy in the office, and it really helped me see different creative career paths that I never even knew about. I returned home and a few months later began my degree in Visual Communications in Seattle. The program was more graphic design oriented and I quickly became burnt out spending day and night behind a computer screen. At the time, I had just begun working at Urban Outfitters as a part-time job while I was in school, and was instantly drawn to the Visual Merchandiser and took any opportunity to work with and learn from her.
Soon after, I became a Merchandising Assistant and decided to leave school and continue to pursue visual merchandising. I went on to manage various departments ranging from housewares to menswear, and at the time the company really gave the freedom and opportunity for department managers to take ownership of merchandising and display. I ended up being with the company for about four years and was lucky to learn from some incredible and inspiring people, however I wanted to push myself further into fashion and decided to move to LA in January of 2017. I began school at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising a few months later to finish my degree. The Visual Communications program at FIDM is much more hands on and driven towards other aspects of visual design than just graphic design. I soon after started interning for a celebrity wardrobe stylist and after got a job as Sonia Young’s assistant. The years I worked for Sonia were so critical in shaping my career and we built a bond that was more like a mentor than a boss.
However, I realized that celebrity styling wasn’t quite the direction I wanted to go in and decided to spend my last six months of school focused solely on finishing my degree. During this time, my classes were mostly centered around propping and installation, reinvigorating my interest in display and visual merchandising. I was able to get some freelance prop work in the free time that I had, which continued to fuel my interest in prop styling. The pandemic hit two weeks before I was to graduate and like so many others, completely changed my post-graduation plans. In June of 2020, I started freelancing for Amazon Imaging with their home brands, and my love for prop styling really took off from there. As the production world continues to open up, I have gotten more and more opportunities, and I am so excited to see where they take me in this new direction next.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
As you can tell, I’ve sort of fumbled a bit along the way in figuring out exactly what path I’m going down. That hasn’t always been the easiest mentally, and as someone who struggles with severe anxiety and depression, I have gotten into my head at times about that unknowing and have had to learn to trust myself better and not follow what other people may want or what I think they may want. Part of the beauty about being a creative is having so many different paths to choose from so long as we don’t allow ourselves to get hung up on what we think we should be doing and wind up pigeonholing ourselves. The more I push myself to explore more, listen more, learn more and find more inspiration, the clearer things become. It’s been beautiful to see different experiences and opportunities I’ve had in styling, merchandising and display come together to bring me where I am today.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I have had so many incredible opportunities to work on some pretty special moments, from Black Panther to The Oscars, but as someone who has been obsessive about fashion from when I was a little girl, it still feels funny to have landed in prop styling. But I love being able to create original objects and build more, it is so much more of the creative output I had with visual merchandising and display that I was craving since starting in wardrobe styling. I love the intersection of propping within fashion and have been brought onto some fun, fabulous projects. Fashion, music and art inspire me the most and speak volumes in what I create.
I’ve worked on some incredible female-driven teams and I want to keep that momentum, it’s such an empowering place to be and use as a tool to inspire other women as well. I’m excited to push myself even further and continue to try more, learn more, build more, create more. I would love to go even further with set design and larger installations. But overall, I am excited to see what opportunities to create come as our world continues to open back up and see where prop styling takes me next.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @hannahmeow_meow
Lauren Miller, Myles Heidenreich