Welcome to 'At-Home With'...our new feature series where we (virtually) get up close and personal with some of Ireland's most interesting and creative women. They each give us an honest peek into what their "new normal" looks like–from life lessons they've learned in lockdown to the beauty and health products they've been using to self-soothe.
An Irish girl in Paris working in fashion, aka modern fairytale. Sophie Shannon truly has one of the most incredible career trajectories when it comes to working in the fashion industry. After graduating from costume design and wanting to take her career to the next level Sophie moved to New York where a string of high-profile fashion opportunities came her way.
Most notably, her current role as Senior Stylist to celebrity stylist, Mimi Cuttrell which has seen her help create the most iconic red carpet looks and effortlessly stylish street style moments - hook them to our veins!
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Working for Mimi from Paris - which is always a good idea - Sophie shows the best way to enjoy fashion is to not take it so seriously and that stepping outside of your comfort zone can be the most rewarding experience. Considering the amount of hard work, passion and dedication it takes to be successful in the fashion world, coming full circle in Paris sounds like the perfect payoff.
Back to basics, what was your life like growing up?
Life was sweet. I grew up beside the sea in one of Dublin’s beach towns. I had that typical Irish experience of attending an all-girls school, the kind where there was trouble if you were caught wearing your skirt above the knee. It was an innocent time!
What made you decide to work in the fashion industry?
My love of the aesthetically interesting and avant-garde. Fashion knows no boundaries, there is complete freedom. I had always been hugely drawn to the eccentricity and expression associated with the industry. I wanted to create. I went on to study Costume Design for Stage and Screen in college, this is where that passion really began to flow.
Which city do you feel has the most incredible sense of style?
A difficult one! For me, New York will always have my heart in terms of style. It’s a complete melting pot, each outfit more funky than the next. I think that New Yorker’s feel comfortable and confident to fully express themselves no matter how whacky or over the top their look and that’s a beautiful thing. It also makes people-watching over your morning coffee all the more interesting!
That being said, there’s nothing quite like the classically chic, old-school styles that are uniform to the modern-day Parisian.
Can you debunk one myth about the fashion world?
Yes - It’s not always as seamless and glamorous as it looks. Fashion is hard work, full of highs and lows. But if you can stomach it, it has a variety of incredibly rewarding jobs to offer.
How did you end up working with Mimi Cuttrell, how is that experience?
I was living in New York, toying with the idea of moving back to Europe. A close friend of mine had been working with Mimi for some time and had mentioned that she was looking for a new member to join the team. We met and the rest is history! I am now Mimi’s Senior Stylist and work for her directly from Paris on all client pulls and dressings. I love my job, no two days are ever the same. I am incredibly grateful to be working in a field that allows for such constant creative freedom and expression. This particular role has been undoubtedly the most valuable of my career to date. Some major fashion moments have been created and some life lessons learnt along the way!
What has been your ultimate career highlight so far?
Seeing our fashion month looks come to life and strut down the streets of New York, London, Milan and Paris! It’s always exciting. I love the glamour that surrounds a red carpet moment, but there’s something truly special about the raw edge that chic street style brings to the table.
Why did you decide to move to Paris?
I wanted a new experience. When I think back, every one of my proudest moments to date has been a direct result of me throwing myself deep outside of my comfort zone. Why not move to a city where I don’t know a lot of people and don’t speak the language and see where it takes me.
How crucial is it to develop yourself as a brand on Instagram in order to get work?
To be totally honest, it's not crucial at all. Personally speaking, Instagram is just for fun. I have never used it as a work tool. For me, getting work is about getting out there, utilizing your contacts and being willing to graft hard.
Who should everyone be paying attention to right now?
Jacquemus! One of my favourite collections of the year so far has been Jacquemus Fall ’20, there’s something very beautiful about the simplicity of his work.
I also think it’s always interesting to watch the up and coming brands, the young designers. Those who are doing their thing and doing it a little bit differently. Some of my favourites right now include Charlotte Knowles, Peter Do, Helena Manzano, Dion Lee, Supriya Lele, Barragán, Ottolinger and Ninamounah.
Lastly, some all-time favourites who I have been paying attention to for as long as I can remember include Mugler, Vivienne Westwood, Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester, Jean Paul Gaultier, Haider Ackermann and Helmut Lang.
When it comes to personal style, what advice would you give?
Explore! Be yourself. Don’t follow a trend or copy someone else’s style. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and cool.
What are your plans for the future?
I try to take things as they come and not to plan too far ahead. My roots are in the design world and I know that eventually I’ll get back there. However right now, I love what I’m doing and the growth that comes along with it.
What is your French boulangerie order?
A cappuccino with oat-milk and a petite madeleine to go, s’il vous plait!
Main image by @sophieashannon on Instagram