Styling with Katelyn Johnson

Meet our fashion stylist, lender + renter of the month, Katelyn! Strutting through showrooms, photo shoots, and art school, this stylish girl is making her way up in the fashion industry. After hearing about Style Lend from one of her models during a photo shoot, Katelyn has been an active lender and renter on our app! Take a look at our fun day exploring Katelyn’s neighborhood and cute home!

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 Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in a modest town north of Sacramento, studying ballet from the age of 3 until 20. I picked up photography in high school and there found my second love. I would combine ballet, fashion, portraiture, and landscapes as the subjects of my photos. After graduating high school I took a little time off before university to work in an office. While there, I finally realized I wanted to pursue fashion. I moved the Bay Area 4.5 years ago, and have gotten to do just that! I still take a couple ballet classes here and there, and now let other people do the photography for me while we collaborate on the artistic direction. I am now assisting at Artists Services, and look forward to moving to NYC next summer!

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When did you start renting/lending from Style Lend and why?

I started renting from StyleLend about 2 months ago, as a way to rent special pieces for events, but also to rent wardrobe for photo shoots as I’m a commercial and editorial stylist for ads, music videos, and magazines. I lend because I’ve collected some exciting pieces that I don’t always get to wear, and want to share the excitement with others in my city.

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What do you love most about being a stylist?

What I love most about being a stylist is definitely the creative aspect. Most of what I do is getting to run around to scout gorgeous clothing, props, and locations. I get to put it together and create something from scratch with other talented people who each have their own impressive backgrounds. I’m fascinated with the many places from which style can draw inspiration, and how we use it to tell our stories. The designers have produced their visions, now stylists and photographers get to put that onto a person in a scene, extending that portrayal of a world – either actual or aspirational.

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What is your fav styling assignment you’ve had?

My favorite styling assignment I’ve had was actually one that started out not as wardrobe styling, but as prop styling! The photographer was a new contact at the time, and wanted to test out my skills before committing to a full fashion editorial. As we got to know each other and developed our ideas together, we became more trusting and pulled out a great concept from unknown parts of our creativity. It became a rather dark series actually, but I think it was a turning point for me that really helped me find my signature aesthetic.

The series touched on inspirations from dutch baroque still life, from ideas of memento mori, and the relationship between child and mourning mother. Although I am not religious and nor was the concept, it was from this that I drew the title, “Pietà,” after the pose of Virgin Mary holding a crucified Jesus. It included such pieces as a cow fetus, a taxidermied snake, ostrich eggs, classical sculpture, and a vintage monkey fur jacket. We shot it on a large format camera with 4×5 film slides. The tones and textures developed so rich and smooth, just dreamy. You can see it at katelyndjohnson.com/pieta

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Fav designers/brands?

If we’re being so ambitious here, as we should be when it comes to something as fun as fashion, I really love designers like Proenza Schouler, Haider Ackermann, Mary Katrantzou, Prada, Peter Pilotto, Dior, Lanvin, and Balmain. I love the detailing and unique materials of Proenza, with it having a deconstructed but refined aesthetic to it. Haider Ackermann is one of the best in color and draping in the industry, and the complex patterns of Katrantzou or Peter Pilotto always get me. I hope to one day get to own such pieces, but for now I stick to something slightly budget-friendly, like Opening Ceremony, MSGM, Self-Portrait, Three Floor, Miista, 3.1 Phillip Lim, No. 21, Sandro, Derek Lam, and C/MEO. I love and encourage color, pattern, and embellishment, so very rarely will you catch me in head to toe black, or without a piece of Alexis Bittar jewelry.

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How would you describe your style?

I feel like I’m a mix, maybe on opposite ends. I can go super minimalist with clean, tailored lines, or maximalist with too many colors and details. I love asymmetry in either case – a sleeve missing here, a cut-out there, a pattern on this shoulder, or a panel of fringe or ostrich feathers splashed across a shoulder. More often than not, my background in classical ballet heavily influences my style, as it did in my editorial. Its romanticism and femininity usually manage to sneak in somewhere. The movement of the clothing is really important to me.

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What would be your dream item to rent from Style Lend?

One of my dream items to rent would likely be something mentioned among my favorite designers. However, there is a beautiful Cynthia Rowley tasseled cocktail dress for rent on the SF StyleLend (from lender Paula Lam). It’s a gorgeous mix of black, royal blue, eggplant, and gunmetal. Asymmetrical, of course, sleeveless mini with a crew neck. I need to create an opportunity to wear this!

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Why do you like the idea of renting/lending VS buying?

Renting vs buying is a great way to save money on buying a piece for a special occasion while also letting you connect with others in your area! For lenders it’s really a nice way to get a little return on some pieces you’ve invested in, and I like to use it for my shoots because SF is sadly short on showrooms (a typical resource in the fashion photography industry). It’s so nice to be able to have more access to beautiful clothes you might have seen walking the runway or may not typically be in your budget, making something you’ve dreamt of wearing a reality!

We want to give a huge thanks to Katelyn for inviting us over and letting us into her stylish lifestyle! Every item worn by Katelyn can be rented on our app!

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