Alastair McKimm — Exclusive Q&A Interview

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Joan Smalls by Karim Sadli for The Last Magazine F/W 2011 Cover


Alastair McKimm, Belfast born stylist is the mastermind behind numerous extravagant editorial outfits. He’s contributed his talent to a number of high fashion magazines, such as Harper’s Bazaar, i-D Magazine, Vogue and Dazed & Confused. Not to mention the amount of campaigns he’s been shaping, including Helmut Lang, DKNY, Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss, to name just a few of many.

After nailing an assisting position for i-D in London, he then established himself as a freelance stylist. Now, based in New York, he’s not only a stylist but also a fashion director for the Last Magazine. With his degree in fashion, he has an unbelievable sense of understanding the human body and how to transform it into an art masterpiece.


Q: How did you end up in fashion? What inspired the career choice?

It was really a last minute decision when I was 17 to go to fashion school. I was always really interested in photography and that was my hobby so the plan was that I’d go to photo school. The day before I applied I saw an amazing documentary about John Galliano, which really inspired me to pursue fashion design. So when I left home in Ireland it was to England to get a degree in fashion design. It was at university where I first found out about styling and started buying i-D magazine.


Q: Your first styling job

I really can’t remember what my first job was, it is hard to say as a lot of the work in the beginning was doing test shoots with friends. My first page in i-D was a men’s feature on hoodies under blazers. My next one was a double page of tailcoats and jeans. I went from that to 4 pages, then 6, then eventually shooting stories and covers.


Q: Who are your favorite fashion designers?

I have a lot of favorites. I really love design more than fashion (the kind of fashion that changes seasonally). I love designers with a personal aesthetic and point of view who aren’t trying to follow the trends.


Q: Favorite stylist trick

Using good clothes.


Q: Your favorite fashion era

I’m enjoying it right now so this is probably my favorite era. Now and the future I suppose. I’m really excited about work these days.


Q: Which element of your job do you most – shoots or shows?

I love and hate all if it equally. It all depends on the day, the magazine, the team, the client. What I do love is that every day is different.


Q: Who or what influences you?

My wife, my friends and New York.


Nadja Bender by Amy Troost for i-D Magazine June 2013


Q: Which trends would you like to disappear?

I’ve never really been interested in trends. Trends are definitely an interesting human study, how designers feel the same inspiration at any one time. The most powerful representation of that was a few seasons ago when everyone did Asian inspired collections as we were all told that the Asian market would be taking over. That seemed like a knee jerk reaction but it was very powerful.

Trend seem to be a necessity for corporate magazines as its an easy way to group collections for editorials. Personally I’m always interested in the designers with their own aesthetic who aren’t following the herd.

I would however like to see the floral trend disappear in the London collections. 



Q: Who is your fashion icons? 

Don’t have one.


Q: Is there any specific celebrity or model you would really like to style?

Not really anyone specific. There are so many incredible people out there.


Q: Your wardrobe must-haves

Whatever you want.


Q: What’s your philosophy on style?

Philosophy wise I suppose I always go back to minimalism. Trying to make people look good or propose something new is the daily task but I enjoy good design with a minimalist approach.


Q: Who do you think of as a muse?

My wife, Amy.


Aymeline Valade by Nathaniel Goldberg for Harper’s Bazaar April 2013


Q:  The best career advice you have ever received

‘Let them think it was their idea.’


Follow Alastair on Twitter and Instagram.

Interview by Alexei Key