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Meet Sonia Kessler of Native Styling in Marina del Rey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sonia Kessler.

Sonia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised in a small town, one hour north from Paris, France. I grew up with a mom who knew how to sew and repair her clothes, crochet, knit, and just be really crafty with the way we lived. It was always about buying amazing quality items and keeping them for a long time or investing in things that would never go out of style. When I moved to Paris and transitioned to Fashion School, I realized how much Fast Fashion had an impact on the city, especially as students who couldn’t afford much: that was the only way to stay on top of the trends and blend in. There used to be a really popular clothes making district called le Sentier that was very happening in the 80’s and saw everything falling apart as soon as fast fashion came around. It was heartbreaking to see, but I also learned a lot about the luxury market and how haute couture designers always made a point to be exclusive with their designs and make collections in small batches. It wasn’t sustainable, but it was most definitely mindful in a way.

I then got an internship as a Personal Shoppers Assistant here in Los Angeles, something that I had always wanted to do, and was so thankful it turned into my first job. I was always drawn to the ability of being someone’s therapist but focusing on the closet and how others perceive you in the world or the image you want them to see. You hold such a special place in a client’s heart and are there to make them feel special. I always say “your clothes speak before you do” and whether you want to realize that or not, it’s most definitely true. I started being more aware of the negative impact of the fashion industry in the world around 2015 by getting educated watching documentaries and reading books about sustainable fashion. I started Native Styling in 2017, a Personal Shopping business focused on sustainability and mindfulness and grew a network here in Los Angeles of like-minded people trying to better the industry, as well as helping clients creating a positive impact with their closets. I now also work for luxury retailer Moda Operandi as a Personal Shopper and still strive to help clients curate their wardrobes to last them a lifetime.

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?
It has not always been a smooth road, although I am most definitely very privileged and grateful my career turned out the way it did! I made the decision to come to Los Angeles when everyone was telling me that was the wrong decision, and I couldn’t be happier that I followed my heart, struggled for months to get a visa, moved with no friends or family around, and ended up where I am at now. Choosing to focus on sustainability is also not an easy choice as there aren’t many brands or businesses your clients can turn to, we’re not at this point in our society, so it is a tough reality to navigate and it all has to be about finding a good balance The journey definitely could have been much worse, and I don’t think that a career that is worthwhile comes without struggles, so I am glad it happened as it did, and I am very curious to see where the industry will grow from here!

Native Styling – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am a Personal Shopper and Stylist who makes a point to specialize in sustainable fashion and companies trying to make a positive impact in the world. As I was mentioning, the fashion industry is not at a point where there are enough choices for clients to fully fit sustainability into their lifestyles just yet. So my main skills are about finding that balance between what is good for the client and what is good for the planet. If we can’t find a sustainable alternative, then how do we make these items last as long as possible? There is a big part of education in what I do and constant learning which makes it very exciting. I never want to compromise on style, and styling is where I strive. For clients who I am converting to sustainability – which I do a lot of – the alternative options have to be just as good as what they are used to, so I am very picky with the brands I choose to sell, and I think it shows!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I don’t know that there has been one main event, but to have people find me on Instagram or other platforms telling me they’ve been following what I do from a far and want to learn how to get there, or just telling me “great job, I love what you do!” That is incredible to me. But of course, getting to speak at events, working with high profile clients, getting more press….all of that is just the cherry on top of the work I do!

Pricing:

  • 2hr shopping session – $250
  • Closet organization (3-4hrs) – $300

Contact Info:

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