Becky Daly is a New York based fashion stylist and writer who has worked for such magazines as W, Elle, Jane, Instyle, Page Six, Lucky, Harper’s Bazaar, and Interview. Her job largely involves working as a market editor, doing cross media magazine promotion for television. You know those fashion interest pieces on shows like E News, The Today Show, and Good Morning America? Daly is frequently the one who puts the whole thing together. In addition to her magazine and TV work, she also writes occasional style pieces for The New York Post and bettyconfidential.com.
Jon Miller: When did you get the calling to work in the magazine industry?
Becky Daly: I remember going to the salon with my mom and picking up Seventeen while she was having her hair done. I think I was about nine years old – it had never occurred to me to read a magazine before, but I opened it out of boredom, and it was like, “Whoa. Here is every fun thing in the world right here on these pages.” I think from that moment on I knew that magazines were in my future, and as I got older, it was the fashion aspect specifically that seemed to come into focus.
JM: Once you entered the field, did you have the fashion instinct right away?
BD: I’m not sure I’d call it a “fashion” instinct so much as an aesthetic one, but yes, I think that is something that comes naturally to people who have it. It can be honed and perfected and in that sense developed, but I think it has to be there intrinsically to begin with.
JM: Working in what is arguably the most important fashion center in America, you must find yourself surrounded my fashion mavericks and forward thinkers daily. Who do you find personally inspiring?
BD: My favorite sources of inspiration are designer Alexander Wang, Elle’s style director Kate Lanphear, and blogger Scott Schuman (aka the Sartorialist). Actually, it’s almost embarrassing how much that list belies my personal style. I really respect how these three people, through their various mediums and in their own very different ways, keep fashion progressive while never forgetting how real women want and need to dress themselves for everyday life.
JM: It seems to me that Alexander Wang is one of the few designers to take on the American Apparel behemoth’s strong arm on youthful/sexy jersey basics and actually win. Most of the fashion focused women in my life are losing it over his tanks and tees. In fact, based on their newest designs it seems AA is copying Wang’s aesthetic. What do you think is his formula for success?
BD: I think Alexander Wang’s formula for success is a little thing called [model] Erin Wasson. Most truly inspiring designers have a truly inspiring muse, and he’s no different. Erin Wasson’s personal style is so downtown sexy and chic, but with that “I just picked this up off the floor” not-trying-at-all vibe. Alexander Wang managers to emulate that so perfectly in his designs. The clothes he makes are the clothes women want to wear because they give everyone that aura of being so chic you make even a t-shirt look good.
JM: The way clothes are being designed and marketed seems to have ideologically shifted very quickly in the past few years. What are the big changes you have noticed?
BD: Right now, the two biggest shifts I’m seeing in fashion appear to be completely divergent, but in truth, stem from the same source. The current economy is forcing the industry to rethink design, and that seems to mean either taking it down a notch to provide designs that everyone can feel comfortable in, or stepping it up in terms of investigating new materials, functions, and production techniques.
JM: Many of the changes you are talking about seem to have recently been focussed largely on the development of “green” and “sustainable” diffusion collections. Do you think this is more of a marketing fad, or an actual moral shift in the production standards of these companies?
BD: While there are some “green” lines that began with the idea of sustainability – Loomstate and Rogan come to mind – I think in most cases with diffusion lines and in-store collections it’s a little bit of a mix. Even if many companies are only invested in sustainability for their own profit though, don’t we all reap the benefit anyway? The ends are good, even if the means may not be truly pure.
JM: The fall collections have all hit the stores by now, and I know I have already started stockpiling for when the cool weather hits. What big trends for this fall have you most excited?
BD: Fall is my absolute favorite season and always has been. I love the sense of change, the crispness in the air, the colors, and the fact that I can wear something other than those 10 damn sundresses I’m so sick of at this point. This season in particular, I’m so happy to see designers embracing the jeweled colors of autumn – the runways were all basically done in a palette of burnt oranges and reds, deep blues, peacock greens, and gold. I’ve also already bought about three pairs of flat, over-the-knee boots. They’re super sexy, but the fact that they’re flat keeps them from going Pretty Woman.
JM: What designer’s Fall 2009 runway shows did you find particularly fantastic?
BD: Have I already mentioned my love for Alexander Wang? Can I count him again? If so, then Alexander Wang, Diane von Furstenberg (my god – the sweaters!), and Balmain.
JM: Both Balmain and Alexander Wang have put a lot of focus on shoulders in there garments this season either by exposing them, ornamenting them, or padding them. Even just a few years ago some of these concepts would have seemed unthinkable. Any predictions on the next big “unthinkable” we should be expecting?
BD: It’s true – structured shoulders are SO in right now. I’m hesitant to make any predictions on what the next crazy trend will be – I’ll leave that to the designers. A word of advice though: do hang on to any designer or even just well-made garments you may own. Trends may come and go, but as we’re seeing currently with the resurrection of the ’80s shoulder pads, fashion history has a way of repeating itself. Next fall you may just be kicking yourself for selling your Go-go boots to Beacon’s.
26 Interviews by Jon Miller
26 interesting people.