Jenny Walton: Journey Of A Sartorialist
Jenny Walton is a New York based fashion illustrator for Markers and Microns as well as the fashion director for street style blog, The Sartorialist. She spends most of her time walking the pavements of European or American cities, chasing fashion weeks and working alongside her partner, Scott Schuman, the genius behind The Sartorialist.
Within a few years of being on the social media scene, Jenny has garnered more than 121k followers on Instagram who are obsessed with her style. woman with drive recently caught up with her in Florence to talk about her success.
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Where does your love of fashion and design come from?
I owe that to my mum. She is very creative. She always sewed for us and taught us how to embroider. I did not realise how much she influenced me until I was older. My mum is also very thrifty and taught us how to find bargains at flea markets or create something from anything.
You studied fashion at Parsons in New York. Did you want to become a fashion designer?
I did think I would go down that path. It was where I learned to draw and love fashion. When I graduated I got a job as an assistant to a knitwear designer who was big on embroidery in New York. I stayed in that job for two years.
Why did you leave?
I needed a change. I was living in Southern Brooklyn and the job was in Queens. I had to take the train and it was an hour each way. I started bringing a sketchpad on the train and that was how I started to get better at illustrating. Then I started thinking about doing something else.
When did you realise you had hit the big time with your fashion illustration?
Right after I quit my job. I was interning in Philadelphia when I got an email from the editor-in-chief of InStyle magazine in New York asking if I would illustrate an 18-page story for their Style 100 – the best looks of that year. That was the first time I was published in a big magazine. It was a great career motivator.
How did you land the job as fashion director at The Sartorialist?
In January 2014, a guy came up to me at a New York fashion show and asked if he could take my picture. He introduced himself as The Sartorialist. I knew Scott by name but had no idea what he looked like. He told me he liked my style. He took my picture and put it up on the blog.
We stayed in touch and it was during the next New York Fashion Week in September that he told me he was working on a book, and that it was a lengthy process. I asked if he needed help. Then I quit my job and started working with him.
How long after did you start dating?
It was almost instantly. Since we started working together, we have pretty much been together every single day.
How does that work, mixing business and pleasure?
It is tricky for some but it works for us. There is something really nice about working closely with someone you care about on so many levels. I found I was always extending myself working for others but never really knew if they appreciated all that I gave in my job. There is something comforting about working with someone who you know only wants the best for you and still loves you if you mess up.
What does a fashion director for The Sartorialist do every day?
I go to fashion weeks with Scott, and at the end of every day we go through his photographs to work out what more we need. I sort images based on colour, lighting, patterns and trends. Scott tends to cover men’s fashion weeks and is in his element there. I do most of the women’s shows. My job is about being a second set of eyes.
What has Scott taught you about street style photography?
Scott always says a photo is one-third the person, one-third the environment and one-third the light. He watches the light and schedules his shoots around it. He looks at how buildings reflect on faces to make a face or outfit glow.
Do you feel like you are the blogosphere’s most powerful couple?
I do not think of it like that but I do know people love living vicariously through us. They love seeing where we eat and shop, and which hotels we stay at. It is so much fun to share all that with our followers.
Having just returned from Florence and Rome, how do Italian women dress differently to American women?
The look is softer in Europe while in New York it is very athletic right now. New Yorkers exercise like crazy and it is common to see women in their athletic gear all day. This look is huge in America because people feel like they are on track to eating and living well. But you do not see the romance in this style of dressing and that is what Italian women do well.
Who are you collaborating with at the moment?
I am working with an English jewellery designer, Monica Vinader. She makes beautiful jewellery and I love the minimalism. I did six different drawings of occasions when women would wear her pieces, which were launched at New York Fashion Week last month.
How would you describe your personal style?
There is no code to the way I dress. For me, it is about being authentic in what works well. I have loved ballet flats since I was a kid. I love simple, tonal nude heels and still wear them. I have worn tiny crystal earrings every day for the past 10 years.
I do try other styles but I like classics. There are certain silhouettes that you just know work well in highlighting your best features. I also love vintage shopping. I will look at literally every single thing in a vintage store and reimagine those pieces. I dress for light and shade and keep it stylishly simple.
Would you reconsider going into fashion design again?
Yes, I would love to do some fashion design at some point. These days if you start a fashion label, you have social media on your side and everyone around the world can see what you are up to. If you have got a good idea, it is a great time to put it out there.
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