Sophia Banks-Coloma is a bonafide styling success, dressing celebs and costume designing for movies. The talented stylist and designer of Whitley Kros is the toast of Tinseltown and even though she has multiple projects on the go she had time to grant me an interview.
- Occupation: Celebrity stylist, fashion designer and trend forecaster
- Label: Whitley Kros
- Website: Sophia Banks-Coloma website
- Facebook: Sophia Banks-Coloma
- Twitter: @Sophiabanksc
- Place of residence: I divide my time between L.A, New York and Sydney
Tell us a little about yourself
I am an Aussie fashion designer and stylist, currently based in L.A. I work with a number of celebrities including Kirstie Alley and Kristin Chenoweth and I am a designer for contemporary label Whitley Kros.
I’ve just finished working as a costume designer for a new film in NYC called Syrup styling Amber Heard, Brittany Snow and Kellan Lutz. The film is produced by Academy Award winning Director Barrie M Osbourne.
How did you get your start in fashion?
I got my first job as an assistant designer at Marcs in Sydney. I worked there for a year before heading to L.A on holiday and knocking on doors until I got a great job as a designer at fashion label McGinn. As soon as I moved to L.A I started designing and styling and so it really all started to come together.
Why did you choose fashion?
My love of fashion started when I was about five years old. I would make costumes for my dance performances that I would perform in front of anyone I could roundup at the time – parents, neighbours etc! Fashion is something I’m passionate about and so pursuing a career in the industry was an obvious choice for me.
Is the fashion industry what you expected it to be?
I’ve always been very passionate about fashion and I love the job just as much today as I did when I first started in the industry over ten years ago.
What does your job consist of?
In any one day I can be sourcing dresses for clients, liaising with designers to arrange loans, researching new designers and trends, attending various fittings with celebrities and attending events.
Describe your week
- Monday: Dress client for her press tour – she needs 25 looks so I start pulling items for her. Once finished, I answer questions for a media interview.
- Tuesday: Style client for their own reality TV show. In the evening I have dinner at Soho House with a new designer.
- Wednesday: I have three red carpet events for the weekend and I’m styling a client for her TV show launch, so it’s a busy day! In between times I try to visit my husband on set of the movie he’s filming and fit in some snuggle time with my baby girl.
- Thursday: Style magazine cover shoot for one of my clients and then rush off to a client’s movie premiere.
- Friday: Three fittings for red carpet events.
- Saturday: Spend the day with my client, going through their closet and making new looks for them for the next month. I also go shopping to add some must-have items to their wardrobe.
- Saturday night: movie night with my husband
- Sunday: Family day with my daughter and husband, walking around our neighbourhood, grabbing food and relaxing at our house and reading.
Roughly how many hours do you work per week?
I work around 70 – 80 hours a week during awards season or if I’m working on a film, and I usually sleep around 5- 6 hours a night. However, after busy spells I’ll take two weeks off to be with my baby.
What are the key skills you need for your role?
- An understanding of design
- The willingness to work harder and longer than anyone else
- An ability to take risks
- An understanding of different body types and what works for various shapes and sizes
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love being creative, dressing celebrities and having the chance to design and trend for companies. All my roles complement each other; my trend research helps me see what is making the trends and so I can then dress celebs in the latest looks and my design experience allows me create some great pieces for my clients. It’s a win-win situation!
What do you find challenging?
A challenge in the work of a stylist is making solid connections with designers and PR firms. You need to prove to designers that your client will enhance and bring out the beauty in the dress, matching the designers vision.
What do you do in your time off?
Any free moment I get I spend it with my daughter Coco. Playing with her instantly relaxes me after a stressful, busy day.
What’s the highlight of your career so far?
Most recently, styling Kristin Chenoweth for her new album launch appearances and dressing clients for the Emmys has been great!
Do you have any advice for someone starting out in fashion?
Persistence. If you just keep going you will eventually make it!
Also you have got to have taste and a point of view. If you’re not willing to put a stake in the ground with what you like then you will never have a voice.
Finish this sentence: Fashion is…
“In the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening”. Coco Chanel said this and I could not have said it any better than her.