As part of our partnership with Huawei and its global smartphone photography competition Next-Image awards 2020, Leah Abbott, the London-based stylist who has perfected Jorja Smith’s own sense of style explained how important it is to be brave when it comes to creativity.
“To have courage in creativity is to know that there are no limits to it. I had to have courage when taking a chance on myself and leaving my original safety net to follow my dream”. Abbott unveiled the Positive Power of Creativity by sharing personal and emotional aspects from her everyday life for the ‘Hello, Life!’ category, showing us how her daily surrounding directly impacts her work.
For Abbott, “there is no wrong answer to creativity.” That’s why the stylist gave us her best tips on how to be confident in your own creativity and what it means for her to be fearless in her work and field.
When it comes to finding inspiration, Abbott usually turns to the world’s natural resources, which can be mirrored in the many earthy tones she includes in some of her best styling as well as in the images she submitted for the Huawei Next-Image awards 2020. “I look at things like plants that have their own natural shapes, colours and designs. And for me, ‘Hello, Life!’ means capturing all the things that I cram into my day, beautiful things I pass without much notice, but also all the things I prep with immense detail.”
To depict the intricate details of the otherwise ordinary aspects that make up her every day, the stylist tells us how she used the “Huawei P40 Pro to capture all the elements that inspire my creativity and vision. Playing with the phone camera’s sharp focus, light balancing and zoom, so that it all comes out just right.”
Feel like you can draw inspiration from everyday life too? Capture those moments on your Huawei smartphone and submit them to the Huawei Next-Image awards 2020 for the chance to win a creation fund of up to $10,000 USD.
As Abbott learned, inspiration can come in all different shapes and sizes, as long as you take the first step of looking for it. “If I ever have a fashion emergency, I will run to the market and by doing this I will be exposed to a world of different cultures, and different ways to interpret life, which undoubtedly inspires my work.”
In order to capture what surrounds you, you will most definitely need to master DIY work and photoshoots with friends. That’s how the celebrity stylist first experimented with clothes. “Some of the best content is shot on a smartphone with friends and you never ever know who is watching you. Try not to stick to your own ‘safe’ taste, explore different eras, hire costumes, have fun with varied styles and models, this all shows versatility and most importantly helps to build that portfolio.”
Through her styling career, Abbott has shown her own by drawing inspiration from many mismatched ideas and producing looks and outfits that incorporated these elements and made them work perfectly.
When asked about her first few years, Abbott admitted how terrifying it was. “I think a huge moment for me which really made people take notice was my client Jorja’s ‘On My Mind’ music video. It was actually my first solo video job and I originally said no as I was terrified! Thankfully I did, however, go through with it, and the styling is now as much a topic as the song, people still refer to it as some of their favourite work of mine, for me it was a job which kick-started my self-confidence.”
Taking risks means greater rewards. Speaking about the viral outfit Jorja Smith wore at the Brit Awards 2020, Abbott told us that just before the event, the original outfit she had planned for the singer fell through, meaning she only had a few hours left before finding the multi-coloured jumpsuit. “I think this ‘viral’ moment really taught me not to play it safe and work up to the last moment to make something perfect, the things that feel most like a ‘risk’ often have the best reward.”
Different is good—it means you have enough imagination and creativity needed to surprise people with your own ideas. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd. As Abbott said, “Everyone sees beauty in different ways.”