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Meet Melissa Souza

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Souza.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Melissa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Styling really began for me in my grandmother’s closet! She had an amazing shoe collection and I can remember choosing shoes and furs and walking her hallway like it was my own personal runway. Even way back when I was riding and showing horses, I was coordinating western horse blankets with mine and my teammates riding outfits and showcasing my style just as much as my horsemanship! I was styling whoever would let me growing up.

My first paying client when I started out was a personal styling client introduced to me via a friend and was actually a guy. I quickly decided I didn’t want to limit myself in the styling world and started an internship which led me to a celebrity assistant stylist position where I was styling television personalities, musicians, and celebrities. It was from there that I branched out on my own. To date, I style red carpets, editorial covers, musicians, philanthropists, celebrities, television personalities and journalists, and continue to offer personal styling.

Throughout my styling career, I’ve had the opportunity to style some inspirational and talented people like Laila Ali, Lisa Edelstein, Rita Wilson, Carmit Bachar, Isabella Gomez, Rayvon Owen, Azia Celestino, Pilar Holland, and many others. Because I love the variety different styling jobs allow, I also style for corporate clients, photographers, personal style clients and I work in commercial styling and catalog. Last year, I was asked to come on as fashion editor for the luxury publication CVLUX magazine and that is truly a full-circle moment.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I honestly believe that anything worth having, should be worth working for, and that includes the challenges because that’s where we learn and grow. I’ve had some amazing opportunities, but even so, it wasn’t always easy.

I often hear how styling is such a ‘cool’ job where you get to shop for people all day. I chuckle because it IS a ‘cool’ job, but I don’t just get to shop for people all day. Depending on the type of job: red carpet, editorial, commercial, things vary. There’s typically a mood board, research of the event or the look, and then hunting down those perfect pieces. It’s a lot of schlepping wardrobe and accessories everywhere: from pulling at a showroom to stuffing in my car, to unzipping tons of garment bags and organizing racks, to repacking garment bags, packing suitcases, organizing wardrobe and accessories and dragging back to the correct showrooms. It’s budgeting other people’s money. It’s being a therapist when a client is having a bad day and needs reassurance that a garment doesn’t look horrid.

I love all my clients and I work with amazing people, but I think everyone has a horror story of that tough client! You know, when you bust your tush, but you’re asked to go beyond and feel like you’re trying to pull off a miracle. But it’s in those times, as much as the good ones, that pushing yourself makes it worth it and forces us to see what we’re really made of. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say it’s a tough job. A typical day can consist of emails, phone calls, running to showrooms, fittings, more emails, more running to showrooms, and it’s not a 9-5. Sometimes I work 14+ hours a day, every day of the week, and sometimes I don’t work for a week or two at a time.

I love what I do, but there were struggles, there can still be struggles: not getting the designer you and/or your client want, or wondering when your next job will be when you’re first starting out, for example. But I wouldn’t change what I do. I am super passionate, and when a client’s look comes together and is ultimately successful when all is said and done, it’s all worth the struggles!

Please tell us more about your work.
When someone asks me what I do for a living, I tell them I’m a wardrobe stylist, but that encompasses a lot. I could be styling a celebrity client for editorial, press events, and/or red carpets, musicians for their appearances, red carpets, and music videos, philanthropists, influencers, and personal style clients. I style journalists and celebrities for television, and I style covers and editorial pages. I’ve worked as a costume supervisor for film. Currently, I’m also the fashion editor for a luxury magazine. I’m versatile in what I can style; you name it, I will style it!

To date, I focus on creating aesthetically pleasing styling, bringing a unique aspect to my clients. Not only do I provide styling services, I also often provide creative consultancy to a variety of clients and projects. I also speak at fashion events and on panels.

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