We are excited to introduce our new Director of Styling, Preston K. Preston is responsible for creating the overall styling direction for each season. He partners with the designers early in the season to learn about their inspiration for the product, then makes it come to life in all channels of the business related to style – from styling the looks you see in store and online imagery, the PR showrooms, to the mannequins in store.
How did you discover your passion for styling and fashion?
I’ve been creative for as long as I can remember. My start in the industry was creating window displays and working in Visual Merchandising. I really started to enjoy pulling looks, pairing items together, and working with color and textures. Oddly enough, dressing mannequins ended up not being so different from dressing models – except the models are a bit more talkative.
How did you get your start as a stylist?
I was working retail in Boston during college and was recruited by an executive for a large, American luxury brand. What seemed to be a simple interview turned into almost 10 years of creating, styling, and learning the business. After years in the visual merchandising world, I still found myself wanting to do more…. at the same time, a stylist role became available at the company, and the rest was history for me.
What’s the coolest place you’ve traveled for your job?
The last brand I worked with was a British heritage brand, so I was lucky enough to travel to London almost every month. As much as I fell in love with London and considered it my second home to NYC, I would say Paris was the best place to work. The dining and shopping were obviously incredible, but the people and style watching was amazing.
Who or what has been the most important influence in your life?
My parents have been a huge influence in my life, teaching me the rewards of working hard and staying dedicated. I had my first job when I was 14 working at an apple orchard in Pennsylvania. Although it seemed like a horrible idea that my parents had back then, it really taught me the important of work/life balance.
What is your dream job?
I love styling, creating, and the overall business of my industry. One day I’d love to work on my own products, whatever they may be.
What is next on your ‘To Do In Life’ list?
More travel to Europe!
Where do you find your inspiration?
Living in New York inspires me. I really take note of what people are wearing, from downtown kids to the uptown set – it’s all important. Of course the shows and trend reports are always important, but I like to take inspiration from the city itself.
Preston on the streets of NYC.
How would you describe your style?
I grew up on the East Coast, living in Philadelphia, Boston & New York, so I’ve always been a pretty preppy guy. I like to mix my love for classic American dressing with some cooler, more trend driven elements.
How does your work influence your style?
Work & my style are one in the same for me. Working on different shoots, brands, locations, and trends always tend to influence the way I dress. The AE crew was making fun of me in Mexico during our summer shoot – I flew into town wearing chino shorts and a chambray shirt, and left wearing way too many neon bracelets, beaded necklaces and straw hats.
Preston took up the local style in Sayulita during our Summer 2013 photo shoot.
What trend are you most excited about this season?
For guys I’m still liking the interjection of camouflage into an everyday look. I think of it as kind of the new leopard print for guys. Girls wear leopard bags, hats, jeans and shoes… we have camo.
What jean fit do you live in?
I’m liking the AE Destroyed Slim Straight Jeans. They’re slim without being too skinny and have just the right amount of wear & tear to give a cool, worn-in look.
What is your favorite look with jeans?
I like mixing textures: a ripped up jean with a more tailored suit jacket, or a clean selvedge jean with a vintage army coat.
Want to see more from Preston? Check back on Thursday for our first video in our Styled by Preston series. He’ll be taking your through all of the biggest trends for summer and how to wear them.