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  • Writer's pictureSavannah Bradley

Marissa Pelly on Styling, Risk Taking, and Saying No

"I could watch old music videos all day — back when we had these big, high-fashion moments in music."

 


Every Stitch is a new interview series asking fashion’s new creative class how they manage their closets, lives, and careers.


Marissa Pelly is a stylist and consultant based in New York. She's dressed some of your favorite artists, from Mahmood to Camrus. Here’s how Marissa picks up every stitch.


 

The self-appointed work uniform:

I always want to be comfortable and confident when I work. That’s usually a baggy pant, a crop top, a blazer, and sneakers. If I’m going to get a client dressed or I'm attending an event with them, I’ll throw on some heeled boots.


The journey to becoming a stylist:

I came up in the industry very traditionally. I graduated from FIT in 2016 — I was interning at Complex at the time and went on to intern and assist an array of celebrity stylists. I spent some time in L.A. working with Big Sean’s team, which was super formative for me. I moved back to New York in 2017 and began freelance assisting and market editing for a ton of celebrity wardrobe teams while I focused on my craft, building my book, and networking to cultivate my own clients.


The stylist-client connection:

For me, it all happened pretty organically. I met so many people assisting — managers, producers, label execs, etc. You never know who is watching or who you will make an impression on, which is why it’s so important to treat everyone with the same respect & kindness and give everything 110%. Once you get your first 1-2 clients, it’s like a domino effect from there.


The creative flow process:

Definitely [through] watching music videos! I could watch old music videos all day — back when we had these big, high-fashion moments in music. That’s always so inspiring to me. Also: getting out in the stores, seeing new collections, really just doing a ton of research. It’s so important to always be a student.


The approach to risk-taking:

I tap back into my younger self often — I do everything for her. I used to have really bad work-related anxiety once I got my foot in the door. It was like, I finally have this thing I wanted so bad, I can’t mess it up. But when you are young, you also have this fearlessness — laced with a bit of delusion. I think about the 18-year-old girl in her dorm room wondering if styling was even a possible career but going after it anyway, or the 22-year-old who packed a suitcase and went to L.A. with no money. She made it happen, so when I need to take a risk, I remind myself I’m still that girl.


The perfectionism of it all:

It’s really hard [to let go of]! But you have to make it a habit. It’s crazy to me that, most of the time, all of this hard work gets reduced to an image on the internet. Once you accept you can only control so much, things get easier. I give everything my all and then some... anything beyond that is none of my business.


The moment she knew she made it:

When I could finally start being selective about the jobs I take on. There’s so much power in saying no. The moment I could say no and not feel insecure about it, I knew I reached a comfortable level of success.


The advice she'd give burgeoning creatives:

So much, but right now, my favorite is to find your community as soon as you can. I’m so happy to have found mine, but I wish I did earlier. Fashion can be overwhelming, but good friends and peers who know what it’s like make everything so much easier. I wouldn’t trade that support for anything! 🌀







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