Graduating from FSU with a degree in Retail Merchandising and Business, Melanie Pace has made quite a career for herself in the fashion world. Starting her own fashion consulting business in 2006 she has done things from styling events for Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus to styling celebrity news personality Giuliana Rancic for appearances an E! News and Fashion Police. Check out the interview she did with CLUTCH this past fall.
Who or what inspired you to start a career in fashion?
I would have to say one of my lifelong inspirations has been Barbie. When I was a kid I was always obsessed with Barbies. I used to put her clothes in my drawers at night and would pray that they would become my size. From a young age I was obsessed with clothing. I was always styling my own hair and doing my makeup. I knew that I always loved clothes and fashion.
Later in my life my college roommate and I were watching E! and she saw a celebrity stylist speaking about her job. She Goggled her, found her email address, my roommate emailed her, and she was able to do an internship with her. That inspired me because I saw that there was an actual career in that field. I researched the Orlando market for this kind of dream job that was very well known in NY and LA but not in my own city that I knew so well. From there it was a lot of free work and always working hard and never burning bridges.
Highlights of a career are what keep things forever going- mine is styling for Giuliana Rancic. I styled her for 3 weeks for her reality show Giuliana and Bill, Fashion Police and her everyday appearance on E! News. Those are the moments that make this job so much fun!
What inspired you to start your own styling and personal shopping business?
I don’t necessarily think that I always knew I wanted to run my own business. I knew that the idea of having the same boss every day and going to the same workplace every day almost made me feel sick. I have more of a salesperson personality, in that I can’t have the same job everyday, and that’s what styling is. It’s almost like the job came to me, instead of me going to the job. I met some really amazing, high-profile clients and my first job was styling for The Ryder Cup in 2006. I had a budget of $20,000 to shop for one client and I got a little taste of what a stylist needed to do. I thought, “Wow! This is really amazing,” and I felt myself shine. From there I knew I wanted to turn it into a career. I started working part-time at some high-end boutiques around town and gained that clientele until I could do it full-time.
Name some of your favorite designers.
Karl Lagerfeld, Diane von Furstenberg, Consuelo Castiglioni for Marni, Donatella Versace.
Where do you find your inspiration for the outfits that you style?
Blogs, magazines, books, art, clients, websites, street style, and my own personal taste.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is all over the board. I have a girly quirkiness to my style, but I also have a tom-boy, harem pant, military vest type of feel. I also have a little bit of sexiness in there too. I would describe my style as a little bit of everything.. trendy, girly, classic, masculine…I don’t really have one style.
What do you love most about your job?
The best part of my job is that it doesn’t really feel like a job. Every day is different. I can coordinate what I want to do, when I want to do it. I also love that I am creating my own success. It’s very rewarding at the end of the day to see how you’ve transformed your clients and how you are transforming yourself. Every year it gets better and better.
What do you think is going to be a "must have" for this fall?
Lace, Navy, Black and white, Leather EVERYTHING!
What did you enjoy most while you were at FSU?
I loved meeting people who were interested in the same things that I was, and I enjoyed watching people from all around the world who have the same passion for clothing and visual display as I did.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned since starting your career in fashion?
Working in the fashion industry is not all glitz and glamour. It’s going to be challenging, and it’s not always going to be easy working for yourself. But at the same time, it’s so rewarding and it’s so amazing to say that I started a business that I actually can make a living from!
Do you have an advice for people hoping to break in the fashion industry?
There is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into being in the fashion industry – especially as a freelance wardrobe stylist. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of hours; it’s not something you can just jump into.
I have been very lucky and very blessed that I got to where I am today without having to be someone’s assistant or intern, but that isn’t usually how it works. You need to be prepared to get coffee, schlep bags around and do whatever it takes to get to where you want to be. It’s important to find out what you want to do early on and then make it happen! Don’t make excuses for yourself. Once you get a taste of success, you can really do anything.
Melanie Pace's blog and website: http://melanie-pace.com
FSU's Premiere Fashion Magazine