Fashion stylist and creative director Eva Borland knows a thing or two about turning ideas into reality. Originally from Dublin but living in Rathowen, Eva has carved out an impressive portfolio of fashion styling, which she says is all based on a complete creative experience. “Sometimes I might get a little idea from a dream and the next day I set about gathering a team of photographers, models, and hair and make-up artists to help implement my idea into a photo shoot”. This strategy certainly seems to be working well as Eva has some impressive names under her very fashionable belt including styling look-books for designers, and photo shoots with magazines such as Suburbia and Prudence as well as working behind the scenes with Flawless Magazine. Of course, you don’t gather this sort of success over night.
In order to be a stylist, one must have sheer determination and dedication to the cause. There tends to be a misconceived perception that it’s a glamorous lifestyle of shopping and playing dress up with beautiful models at your disposal, but Eva is quick to set the record straight when this topic arises. “You have to really love it [fashion styling] otherwise it won’t work. There’s long hours, lots of travelling and dragging bags around and that is when you have actually secured a shoot! There’s a lot more hard work behind the scenes to get you that job in the first place.” The planning and organising is just as big a part of Eva’s career as the styling and directing of a photo shoot or look-book. It can be a ruthless industry at the best of times, one which involves consistency and perseverance. “The networking side of things and building a list of contacts is crucial. You won’t be inundated with calls from designers or magazines, it is purely up to you to constantly put yourself and your work out there for people to see and hopefully love and then you subsequently get more work from this. In order to build your portfolio, you also need to build relationships with other industry insiders be it photographers, magazines or designers.”
Having studied chemical and pharmaceutical science in college, Eva decided this was the wrong career path for her so she took the plunge, like many Irish of her generation, and relocated to London where she secured a coveted job with high-street giant Topshop on Oxford St. “London really opened my eyes to fashion. Over there, every street is like a catwalk. You see so many different styles and it was really refreshing to see everyone expressing their unique personalities through dress.” Having had enough of the bright lights of the English capital for now, Eva decided to move home and try her hand at college again where she achieved a distinction in Image and Fashion Styling from Limperts Academy in Cork. During this particular period, knowing it was vital to gain some more work experience Eva assisted with fashion shows and events as well as landing herself a position as Visual Merchandiser in Topshop in Cork. All of her persistence paid off and she subsequently secured work with a model agency, at the same time taking part in a one-to-one dress making course with Lisa Zagone, costume designer at Cork Opera House. The saying goes that you find work when you’re in work and this was certainly the case for Eva. A year spent working for Flawless Magazine was then followed by the bold decision to take her career into her own hands and concentrate on freelance styling, and so far so good: “I love freelance styling as it really gives you the freedom to express your idea through fashion. It is 100% creativity which I thrive on, but at the same time the lack of security that comes with is can be a little daunting. You really get out of it what you put in.” Eva plans to spread her wings even further by developing more business opportunities, based on the hard earned success that is achievable from styling.
A scary thought, particularly in this economic climate but Eva has high hopes for her future, starting with moving back to her roots in Dublin. “Most work opportunities are in the capital so it just makes sense for me to live there. I’m still finding my feet in the industry so hopefully Dublin will present me with my niche to allow me to be creative and become recognised for my work.” If fortune favours the brave then Eva will certainly be very fortunate.
Facebook: Evie B Styling
Model: Joanne Northey @ 1st Option Models//Stylist: Eva Borland//Photographer: Anita Sadowska
Model: Lorna Aherne (wearing one of Eva's own designs)//Stylist: Eva Borland//Photographer: Anita Sadowska
Model: Robin Sibanda @ Lockdown Models//Stylist: Eva Borland// Photographer: Anita Sadowska