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Life & Work with Molly Downing

Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Downing.

Hi Molly, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
My mom got me interested in fashion, she has worked in the fashion industry for most of her career, so from an early age I was going to NYFW viewing collections, going to her fashion shoots where I would hang out with the wardrobe stylists and hair and make-up talent. I attended Teen Vogue Fashion University at age 14 and was very inspired by meeting Diane von Furstenberg and hearing her speak about her path in the fashion world. One of my earliest memories is walking through Neiman Marcus on Wilshire Boulevard with my mother and hearing the names of luxury fashion brands. I could say Karl Lagerfeld before I could say basic 3-year-old words. I started my career in styling while I was attending fashion school at FIDM in downtown LA. During my time at FIDM I worked as an intern in the fashion closet at Vogue in west LA.

From there, I learned the ins and outs of the fashion industry through working events, sending garments to photoshoots and seeing the day-to-day of the fashion industry. Later I decided to move to New York to take an internship at the Vogue’s corporate office there. I was more hands-on, attended more photoshoots and got in with the in-house stylists. I came back to LA after my internship, graduated from FIDM and decided I wanted to be a wardrobe stylist. I worked at C California Lifestyle magazine for two years on the fashion editorial side being on set, helping create editorials and fashion trend pages. For the past five years, I have worked with luxury brands and magazines for some of the biggest talents in fashion and entertainment, including: Gucci, Monlcer, Chanel. Then I decided to see the other side of the industry so I went to work for CAA in digital talent and packaging which brings me where I am today – I work as a fashion stylist and manage digital creative campaigns.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It hasn’t always been a smooth road, moving to New York and not knowing anyone was challenging but at the same time, a great growth opportunity. The COVID Pandemic has been a huge challenge for people like me in the styling business. I try to stay inspired by doing my own photoshoots, reading about what other artists are doing and focusing on what fashion designers are doing right now.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I do both personal and commercial styling. In the personal space, I dress both men and women–my look would be considered unconventional luxury. I help my clients find their own unique styles and elevate their wardrobes. It’s so gratifying to see my them become empowered through expanding and updating their wardrobes. In the commercial space, I connect digital talent and brands to create branded content that is distributed across all platforms and I do wardrobe styling for print and film shoots.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
Lynne Segall – I met Lynne when she was the Publisher of Hollywood Reporter/ Billboard, now she is now the Chief Revenue Officer at TheWrap. She has been my biggest career coach and mentor along the way Mom – Executive director of marketing for South Coast Plaza. I’ve learned so much from my mom. Dad – My dad was a creative director in the advertising business in its heyday – Doyle Dane Bernbach *aka* DDB worldwide, and his creative spirit keeps me inspired, I get a lot of inspiration for my shoots from my parents. Also, my love of travel all over the world has played a big role for me in inspiring me creatively – Everything from packing and organizing clothing and props to bring along for an impromptu photoshoot to feeling at home in the airport, being in hotels, meeting new people constantly from different countries – wherever you go in the world, meeting like-minded people – or people in the same industry, it all happens organically. Being inspired by the color of the water in Greece, the texture of the cobble stone streets in Paris, or the color of the red rock in Sedona, seeing Zion National Park in the winter, the food and the energy of the people in Milan, street fashion in Tokyo – traveling keeps me inspired and gives me the motivation to keep coming up with new ideas and new ways of looking at my work. I also like to collaborate with others in the industry while I’m traveling. I like letting the creativity and the vibe on set take over the styling process. My passions range from music to art, to sports to fashion. My philosophy has always been that a wide range of passions brings an incredible dimension to your life and to your work.

Contact Info:

  • Email: styledbymollyd@gmail.com
  • Website: mollydowning.com
  • Instagram: @samollyan


Image Credits:

Photos 1&2- Ivy Hyve (photographer) 3 – Holly Parker (photographer) 4 – C Magazine 5 – C Magazine 6 – C Magazine 7 – Ivy Hyve

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