When it comes to finding a job in the fashion industry, many talented creatives often mention the struggle that comes with finding a clear path to their dream profession. The problem is, they don’t know where to start, and that’s completely understandable when few people in the industry are willing to share their best-kept secrets. Are you regularly ahead of the up and coming trends within the fashion industry? Are you looking for clearer advice on how to become a freelance fashion stylist? You’ve come to the right place then! Art director and fashion stylist Simone Furlan teaches you everything you need to know about his stylist career and how to start your own in our new Level Up class:
Simone Furlan is a freelance fashion and celebrity stylist based in Milan, Italy. “As a teenager, my dream was to become a musical performer—a good one. I haven’t necessarily succeeded in that, but I am now an art director and stylist specialised in the music industry. At the end of the day, I didn’t fall too far from my dream job,” explains Furlan.
Before landing in the fashion industry, Furlan studied Art History in the Visual Cultures department at Goldsmith’s University in London, and briefly interned in contemporary art institutions and press offices. He interned at Peggy Guggenheim in Venice, Cinecittà Studios in Rome, Massimo De Carlo in London, and worked a few years for the fashion brand Giuseppe di Morabito in Milan.
“My collaborations involve working with artists, brands and magazines, depending on the type of project. I am currently focusing on bringing the ‘wow effect’ within my work and projects, inspired by visual art references and meaningful concepts. I am obsessed with culture, especially the history of visual art. I am definitely a fashion addict but not a victim; I prefer to re-watch Mugler’s and Mcqueen’s shows over and over again rather than running to buy the last collab collection. My aim is to quietly but steadily shock the viewer, while always featuring a veiled sense of chicness in everything I create,” shares the stylist.
Furlan has worked with music labels such as Universal Music Italia, Sony Music Italy and Warner Music Italy, over 40 musicians and producers, and many iconic brands and magazines, from Calvin Klein and Converse to i-D Italy and Rolling Stone Italia. In other words, the Italian stylist has already made a name for himself in the fashion and music industries.
“First things first, in order to start out as a stylist, you must constantly look at fashion shows and trends,” says Furlan. In fashion, just like in many other creative industries, it is crucial that you make the effort to learn about previous trends, including the history of fashion, in order to become able to draw upon those references.
Furlan recommends aspiring stylists to really delve into visual cultures in general and not just fashion: “You must have a lot of references to create the perfect look for the perfect shoot. In my case, for example, I didn’t study fashion styling or fashion design. I graduated in history of art, and that means I have a lot of references I can look at when I’m doing my work. But I had to study by myself, I had to learn a lot of things that people learned at university through different fashion-oriented courses.”
“You have to make a name for yourself and build a very strong identity. In order to do that, you need to stay focused on the message you want to convey with that look and that image,” explains Furlan.
In his case, when he first started out as a fashion stylist, Furlan decided to collaborate with a photographer friend, Mattia Guolo. Together, they created a project titled ‘Devus’ where they could explore some specific ideas that they felt they couldn’t explore in their respective jobs.
“Create images, post them on Instagram—you have to post and make your work public,” Furlan further explains. You guessed it, trying to be mysterious behind a private Instagram account won’t get you very far as a stylist…
As Furlan shared with Screen Shot, it’s easy for a stylist to think that they have a clear image in mind of exactly what message they want to convey through their work. But as soon as they’re working on the shoot, they might realise that this image wasn’t defined enough after all.
“There’s a gap between the mental world and the reality,” says Furlan. That’s where moodboards come in handy: “They can really help you focus on an idea and make the images you want to create clearer.”
But when it comes to creating the perfect moodboard, make sure you carefully pick your images—as Furlan explains, don’t pick too many. Instead, select the most “specific and eloquent images in order to convey the message you want to convey.”
As a successful stylist, you’ll soon realise that free time comes very rarely in your agenda. That’s why, in order to remember to do everything you thought about, make sure to stay organised. “Sometimes you don’t have time to think. You must have an agenda where you can write all the things you have to do and all the things you have to remember because, during the month when you’ll be working, you’ll probably only have one minute to make some decisions.”
From tutorials on how to perfect a smoky eye to suitable makeup looks for every occasion you could think of, one thing is clear, the makeup industry has submerged the internet with a certain approach to creativity that somehow doesn’t surprise anyone anymore. This led the new generation to become bored of seeing the same makeup content on social media, and rightfully so. So where does the future of the beauty industry lie? And what is the new makeup trend that will break the internet?
Surprisingly, ‘ugly makeup’ or ‘makeup brutalism’ might just be it. Screen Shot spoke to Eszter Magyar, also known as @makeupbrutalism on Instagram, about ‘ugly makeup’, her interpretation of makeup brutalism and how it might just be the next big thing.
Makeup brutalism is basically the contrary to mainstream makeup trends that are found online—such as the ‘natural glow’ or ‘chic cat eye’. Although the same kind of style was first visited by people like Alexander McQueen for his fall 2009 show in Paris, where makeup artist Peter Philips gave models bleached brows and oversized, smeared lips, Eszter Magyar kickstarted and added a name to the trend through her Instagram account @makeupbrutalism.
Magyar’s Instagram page gained in 2018 the title of ‘most hated beauty account of the year’. For her, makeup brutalism aims to create an anti-aesthetic revolution by encouraging more people to move against beauty norms. Born in Budapest and now based in London after living in Berlin for a few years, makeup activist Magyar is on a mission to disrupt the beauty industry.
How did she first start? Speaking to Screen Shot, Magyar explained that “Makeup brutalism started way before the account itself. It was a pretty organic process, me, who was bored with perfection, sat down at home and played with makeup and after a few years, here we are. I am a person who is naturally attracted to different and impactful creations. I was always questioned about everything. People told me that I don’t look gay enough to be a lesbian or I don’t look old enough to be a professional. I don’t even look Hungarian enough to my country—my features are more German or Swedish-looking, they say. I was left outside all my own categories all the time, so I guess that was the base of my observant behaviour which lead a makeup habit to become my career.”
Magyar’s own sense of not ‘fitting in’ is highly recognisable in her makeup looks. Makeup brutalism is about taking what the beauty industry considers ‘the norm’ and pulling it apart to create something rough, sometimes disturbing, but real.
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“[Makeup brutalism] comes from the architectural style Brutalism, which I adored from a very early age. I realised that people who don’t know the reasons behind that particular style often easily consider it ugly. I am a little bit of a philosophical type, I love to look behind the evident. For me, all these additional things are adding so much to the image, to the value. For most people, brutalism is ugly and hateful, as makeup brutalism turned out for a lot of people too. I don’t remember how I came up with this word, but it turned out as a perfect hit!” Disliking something because you don’t understand it, or have never stumbled upon it before certainly sounds like a recurring pattern.
But Magyar doesn’t seem to be preoccupied with people’s perception of her work. With more than 109,000 followers on her main Instagram account @makeupbrutalism, the makeup artist also has three other Instagram accounts. Among them is @uglymakeuprevolution, which currently has 43,400 followers. The main difference between those accounts is that while the former only represents Magyar’s creative vision when it comes to makeup, the latter belongs to “everyone who wants to be part of it,” as she told me. By starting her experimentations by herself and then sharing her approach to beauty on social media, Magyar unknowingly created the makeup brutalism movement; a new and refreshing creative vision.
What about ‘ugly makeup’? Is there such a thing as ugly makeup, you might wonder. Apparently so, only, Magyar is using the term in a provocative way, while others might use it literally. “The usage of the word ‘ugly’ is pure gaslighting—to catch people’s attention. You don’t have to take it literally, but all the looks are irregular indeed, exciting and liberating.”
But to Magyar, celebrating ‘ugly makeup’ does not only mean provoking Instagram users. While we now know the clearly-defined steps that makeup artists, fashion designers, musicians, and many other creatives have to take in order to ‘make it’, @makeupbrutalism is almost the antithesis of it.
Magyar steered clear from makeup tutorials and sponsorships. Her feed is not full of over-the-top positivity and girl boss attitude. Where most influential Instagram users would present the rest of the world with a perfectly-curated profile, @makeupbrutalism shares with followers such a novel approach to beauty in general that it makes it unbearable to some. And Magyar does it for the sake of creativity, not for the likes or the attention. “I had no purpose with this account, it was just experimenting. I was not driven to have that big of a following or never dreamed of getting that much attention.”
Disregarding the mainstream definition of what is considered beautiful, Magyar’s ‘makeup activism’ celebrates the ugly and disturbing, making a name for makeup brutalism in an industry that constantly looks for perfection.
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In my recent interviews everyone asked me about my future plans. I don’t know if this is a coincidence or people can feel it but I was thinking about this a lot lately. My main goal atm is to lead makeupbrutalism to the offline world. I would like to see it as a book, as workshops and mostly as real life “art” (💡) Why? Because what if one day this platform will be over ? I would lose all the hard work of the last years, I would lose my “legacy” ( wow such a big word .. but you know what I mean ) , my identity – I don’t know who I would handle that. The truth is that as makeupbrutalism my reality is virtual. • • • • It is time for change that • • • • • #makeup #makeupbrutalism #esztermagyar #uglymakeuprevolution #makeupactivist #artist #conceptualart #conceptualartist #lashes #lashesextension #falselashes #falsies #makeupartistsupport #makeupartistfesture #makeupartistfeaturepage #skin #skincare #makeuponfleek #avantgarde #avantgardemakeup #conceptart #merchendise #unisex #myrealityisvirtual #makeupactivist #dazedbeauty #makeupcoyote #theartistedit
When speaking to Magyar, I mentioned Kylie Jenner’s monopole on the beauty industry as well as on influencer marketing. I asked her what she thought about today’s beauty industry and whether she was aiming to revolutionise it. “What is beauty anyway?” she answered. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, but then again, what happens when literally everyone has constant access to other people’s false representation of themselves?
“There are so many definitions out there by so many great thinkers. Kant, Aristotle, etc… There are so many answers, layers and directions that at the end, we can choose who’s definition we find the most attractive. I don’t want to choose someone who felt the need to change herself entirely just to be acceptable. It’s pretty ironic that someone who was so easily impressionable has such a huge impact. That’s not the message I go for. Trends are something natural—they are always here around us, telling us how we should look—but the fun part is, what a flaw is today may just be the biggest and most desirable trend tomorrow. So what’s the point? If something changes so quickly—does it even exist?”
For someone with such a strong influence on their social media audience, Magyar’s nonchalance comes as a surprise. When beauty and wellness sectors started to realise the importance and power of influencers, they took advantage of the promotional opportunity that arose with the rise of authoritative voices. By commissioning these influencers to promote specific beauty products, they gave their customers a false sense of control, which in turn propelled the makeup industry to new heights. However, we are now wondering if this is actually changing to reverse?
And no Kylie Cosmetics for the makeup revolutionist Magyar. When asked whether she feels like an influencer in a niche market, she answered: “I don’t think I’m an influencer in the way the Jenners and the Kardashians are. And to be honest, I have a bad taste in my mouth after this word. I don’t even like to be called one, I feel it’s offensive.”
What about pressure then? Leading a liberated approach to the art of makeup must come with some pressure—or even hate. This is the sad reality of social media after all. “The only sort of pressure I felt was reflected in my behaviour and how I react to others. First, my mindset was to be nice with everyone, but I then realised it would be like putting a filter on my personality, so I just decided not to be nice to people I don’t want to be nice to. It was liberating honestly. It is my way of self-expression—I don’t owe anyone anything.”
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What’s next for Magyar then, if not fame and more followers? “I want to find the way to lead @makeupbrutalism in the offline world; as art, as a workshop series, as a book.” Otherwise? “I’m a makeup artist, and that is a big surprise for most of the people,” so her life is as busy as it gets.
Anyone who dared to share their creative vision with Instagram and received the title of ‘most hated beauty account of the year’ would probably have gone down another path by now—not Magyar. When it comes to makeup and beauty, her visionary ambitions have not yet been completely explored. Makeup brutalism, along with ugly makeup, is the new trend bound to revolutionise the beauty industry, whether you want it to or not, and to take it further—this movement may hold a meaning that is far more important to society than that of a trend itself.