How I got my job: Fashion Stylist Cath Sobrevega
How I got my job is a series that spotlights a specific job or position that isn’t often featured in media. Through this series, we hope to shed light on the duties and work-life of some of the most interesting jobs in the Philippines. We’ll also share a few tips from insiders on how to land one of these positions.
This week, Pacifiqa talks to fashion stylist Cath Sobrevega.
What is your job title?
I am a Senior Fashion Stylist for Pam Quinones.
How long have you worked as a Senior Fashion Stylist?
I’ve been in the fashion industry for three and a half years now.
You have an interesting story of how you actually landed the job. It involves Twitter, among other things. Could you tell us the complete story of how you got your job?
I was fresh out of college, figuring everything out when one night, Pam Quinones tweeted that she was looking for an assistant, and I thought “why not?” I sent my resume right away. Two weeks later, I got a text message from Pam asking me to pick up a gown for an awards night and to meet her at a hotel room. That served as my interview. I was training for a month until I finally became part of the team.
How did it feel when you got the job?
I was so thrilled when I got the job. At the same time I felt blessed because out of so many applicants, I was the one they picked. I know a lot of girls would kill just to be in my shoes.
What’s the day-to-day (or day-to-night-to-day in your case) of a stylist like?
My day is very unpredictable. One day I’m in a meeting with an agency or a client, the next I’ll be pulling out clothes, shopping, or sourcing. Another day I may be at a certain shoot. It is always busy, so if you really want this job, you have to be ready to give up control of your time. Although it may be hectic and time consuming, it gives me a certain high that I can’t explain.
You deal with all kinds of celebrities all the time — what’s it like to be constantly working with them?
We have regular celebrity clients that we constantly work with. And I love working with them. It’s not just the celebrities that I love working with, but their whole “glam team.” I’m able to work with talented and creative people, and it’s great because we’ve already developed a certain rapport. Work has become a comfortable place. Suddenly, we share the same jokes, we now have a common language — it’s almost like a family. There’s also that level of respect and understanding that we’ve built. I like to think that our clients are now able to let go and let me do my job. They trust that I’ll always make them look their best.
What’s your educational background and did you always dream of becoming a stylist?
I took up International Studies with a major in American Studies at DLSU. My dream was to work for the UN or an NGO like my mom. I have always imagined myself traveling, going around Africa and helping out people. But then fate brought me here. I’ve loved fashion but I never really thought I could do it for a living until I got this job. It’s not exactly something you study for but somehow it just drew me in.
How do you prepare for shoots and events? Is it something that takes weeks in advance?
We do a lot of advertising projects. Having to shoot for a commercial or print is a long process. You would think it’s as easy as dressing up a celebrity, but it’s not. There are two feasibility meetings with the agency and one pre-production meeting with the client. They present the story, discuss the details and you pitch in your ideas for the outfits. Once approved, you’ll need to source and purchase the clothes. Then, there’s the fitting to make sure everything is ready for the shoot. And then there are post-production tasks. Once the shoot is done, you’ll need to liquidate everything you bought.
Some days we also do magazine shoots, and that requires a lot of “pull-outs” from stores and designers. Prepping for shoots usually depends on how early or late they book it. Usually it’s a week of preparation, sometimes just three days, or even the day before. Unfortunately, clients think stylists are magicians.
What’s the best part of your job?
Fashion has a power to transform and create beauty and when someone appreciates that, I know I’m doing something right. There’s a certain satisfaction I get when people understand my work and affects them in a positive way. I have also been given the chance to meet a lot of creative geniuses, people who are extremely passionate about their work —designers, photographers, hair and make-up artists, to name a few. Their passion and dedication to their craft inspire me to do what I do a hundred times better. They inspire me to dream big and remind me that if you work hard, there are endless possibilities and a lot of doors will open. For me, these are the best parts of my job.
This job gets tough when usually a client doesn’t know what they want, or when they need something and you give it, but they still don’t like it. Or when a client expects something so big and there’s no budget for it. Usually, this is when problems come in.
What advice would you give to someone who says “I want to be a stylist too!”?
If you want to be a stylist, you must really love your craft. You have to be really hardworking because this is a cutthroat industry where a lot of artists want to make it on top. It is pretty competitive, so you must know what you’re doing. Of course, you have to work smart, too.
What’s next for you in your career? Any plans of moving into another line or industry?
We have high hopes for this year. My boss, Pam Quinones, has mentioned plans of giving me and a co-worker some added training in styling and trends. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I have so much to look forward to this year. There’s much to learn and improve on and it just makes me more passionate about what I do. I’m in this for the long run.