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She's constantly surrounded by some of the most beautiful clothes in the world, but ethics and sustainability are what really make a garment appealing to stylist Lauren Bockow. After working with her on our summer lookbook and hearing a few of her behind-the-scenes tales, we asked Bockow to share what prompted her to want to work with sustainable brands, and what life as a stylist is really like.

Fashion styling is one of those "dream jobs" that is infinitely harder and less glamorous than it looks. What was your journey into the profession? After studying photography in Boston, I moved to NYC, where I was showing my art in galleries. Rather than being a starving artist, I got a job in advertising at CBS. I learned all about branding, research and marketing. It was very much a sink-or-swim sitution, and in order to survive I needed to find emerging brands that no one had worked with at CBS.

I found that I was really great and passionate at spotting trends and emerging brands, which led me to working as a trend editor for American Express. At AmEx, I helped build their first web-based flash sales company, which later became Vente-Privée USA. After successfully launching this brand, I felt the need to go back to my visually creative roots. I landed a job in a fashion photography studio, where I was introduced to styling.

Do you have any on-the-job war stories you can share?
When I first started as an assistant, I once had to return $15,000 worth of clothes in less than an hour at a large dept store. I was given a shopping cart full of clothes stacked up to my head, plus an additional huge Ikea bag full of clothes, and I was supposed to do it all in one trip.

All of the clothes were completely mixed up in huge piles, even though they had been purchaced from four separate departments. Once I was almost done, the sales clerk insisted on keeping the original receipt, which I agreed to just so I could get out of there. When I returned to the stylist's house, she demanded that I go back to the store to retreive the original receipt. I went all the way back, only to find that the original had already been stored away and would be impossible to retrieve. At this point, the store was getting ready to close, but somehow I convinced the manager to go back through their files from earlier that day and print me a copy of the receipt.

You've styled shoots for the likes of Bloomingdale's, DVF, J. Crew, and recently became a full-time stylist at Net-a-Porter. What made you interested in also collaborating with ethical and sustainable fashion brands? The past few years, I have become more "sustainably" aware of what I consume, from food to fashion, and my goal is to become more socially and environmentally responsible. I believe it will change how we treat and trade with each other worldwide for the better, in turn making the world a better place.

We enlisted your talents for our summer lookbook. Which one of the looks you styled was your favorite? There were so many I loved! I’ll have to give you my top three: the white crewneck sweater by Litke with the Ace & Jig track shorts, the organic cotton Easy pants by Litke with the Samantha Pleet tank, and the Hatsuyo pegged pants by Crazy Wind.

Did you discover any new designers at Ethica that you'll be keeping your eye on? Litke – I definitely want to keep an eye on this one. Also, Etnia Barcelona’s sunglasses.

Has your approach to fashion changed at all since becoming more interested in and involved with the ethical and sustainable fashion space? Yes, I’m much more reluctant to spend money on unethical brands, and I'm constantly researching and keeping my eyes open for new ethically minded brands.

What's your dream gig or project? I would like to combine my artwork with my styling and create something more conceptual for films. I'm actually working on a few projects right now.

As someone who is constantly surrounded by beautiful clothes, what are your favorite places to shop? I love finding hole-in-the-wall thrift stores that have unique pieces that you can't find anywhere else at a cheap price. In NYC, I also like the Brooklyn Fox, Oak, Honey in the Rough, Dover Street Market and many others. Other than finding unique local shopping spots, I prefer skipping crowds and shopping online instead.



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