I first met Liz Uy a few seasons ago in Paris during Fashion Week. We bonded quickly over our love for all things Sacai, and we stayed in touch the traditional way—following each other religiously on Instagram.
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Liz (@lizzzuy) jets around the world as a stylist and social media influencer (she boasts over 1.4 million followers), but our paths crossed last year in Hong Kong when she was in town shooting an episode of her E! reality show, IT Girls, and again this year on our Jimmy Choo trip to the Maldives where we caught up on her latest projects.
How long have you been working in the fashion industry, and what were you doing before?
I’ve been working in the fashion industry for 13 years now. I started as an editorial assistant in a magazine in Manila called Preview, working my way up to Fashion Editor and then Fashion-Editor-at-Large. I eventually transitioned into becoming a celebrity stylist, which is what I focus on now.
Can you tell us a little about your business?
I run a company called Stylized Studio, which is a small styling company in Manila. I have a team of 10 that works with me to style my clients. When I first started, I practically did everything—pulling from stores, running around for meetings and fittings… It’s much better with a team to support you.
You’re recently announced that you are now represented by The Society, a New York talent agency. How are you planning to split your time?
I still spend most of my time in Manila but I will travel for special projects. If I need to go to Milan or the Maldives for a shoot, why not? I’m very committed to my job but I would still prefer to be based at home. I don’t mind travelling, but Manila will still forever be home for me.
You work both behind the scenes and in front of the lens. Where do you feel most comfortable?
It was a gradual transition for me from working behind the lens to working in front of it, so I think it was easy for me. It happened very organically, and I am very fortunate that I’ve been able to do both. I love working as a stylist but it’s a lot of fun to be shot sometimes too.
How do you usually dress when you’re working or on the go?
I’m usually in flats and something comfortable when I’m working behind the scenes or when I’m on a shoot. I don’t like to be dressed up when I’m working because I don’t want what I’m wearing to detract from my work. I’m a firm believer that there should only be one star in a shoot, if we’re shooting a single person. I don’t want to take the attention away from my clients.
What are your wardrobe essentials?
I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to dressing. I love structured shirts or loose-fitting tops. And I can’t stop shopping for all things denim: boyfriend jeans are my favourite and I keep going back to Acne Studios for denim. I started wearing Acne Studios about eight years ago, so you can imagine how many pairs I’ve collected over the years.
I’ve seen you in some great accessories this trip and I know you are a big supporter of homegrown talent. Can you tell us about some Filipino designers to look out for?
Zacarias 1925 by Rita Nazareno became an instant favourite for me with her quirky take on traditional bags—she did a Star Wars-inspired collection of R2-D2 woven bags. There’s also Aranáz for intricately designed bags and accessories with a more tropical and rustic flair. Her brand is currently stocked on Moda Operandi.
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What about ready-to-wear designers?
A good friend of mine, Rajo Laurel, is a go-to for me. He’s known for his expert craftsmanship and creative use of colours, patterns, and prints. He does custom creations too. Denim is a staple here in the tropics and Carl Jan Cruz, an amazing young designer who is gaining international recognition, does it like no other.
What’s your focus for 2017?
It’s all about my personal well-being this year. I’m working on shifting my focus—from work to my own internal well-being. I started meditating this year, and I just want to slow down a bit. I love the pace of fashion, but I think sometimes I just need a break. I’m taking a break for the rest of the year and will be back in action in 2018!
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