Walter’s Wardrobe is the amazing creation of Manchester, UK based model turned stylist Jen Brook. It provides photographers, models, MUAs and designers the chance to come to together at stunning locations and make some awesome images happen. Read on to see why Walter’s Wardrobe caught the eye of the PurplePort team!
So tell us about your background, what do you think has led you to where you are now?
“My creative career began in 2011, when I discovered modelling on a chance opportunity. After 5 years in front of the camera, I came to realise I had worked in France, Germany, Fiji, Australia, Belgium, America, Canada, Iceland, Austria and Finland, hosted several workshops, presented on stage at The Photography Show and started writing for several big name photography blogs such as CreativeLive and FStoppers. However, the challenges were dwindling and my interest in modelling was evolving into a passion for the greater process as a whole – it was here, that Walter’s Wardrobe originated. Inspired by the magical new world of Narnia, each location represents stepping through those creaky wooden doors, wading past the old coats and straight into a new world of ethereal imagination, heavily inspired by themes of whimsical fashion.”
How have you developed your career?
“As a model, I worked hard to gain an abundance of contacts – photographers, designers, MUAs and of course other models. I made efforts to engage regularly with my networks and to support them wherever I could. I had no idea at the time, that this support would provide me with a solid foundation for growing my own business, that would later rely on them to exist and to grow. The creative industry is a very tight circle, where reputation is everything. So when I’m asked for advice by new starters, it’s always the same and the best I can offer: be kind, supportive and work smart. Interpret that however you want.”
Who would you say are your biggest influences?
“In human form, Tim Walker. He’s my favourite photographer of all time. I have no idea what kind of person he is…and I don’t really care if I’m honest. He’s not that kind of hero for me. I just bask in the enjoyment of his imagery and adore the work he produces. Other than him, I love Kirsty Mitchell, Brooke Shaden, Gregory Colbert, Rosie Hardy, Miss Aniela, Rodney Smith and Gregory Crewdson. Each with very identifiable (yet often replicated) styles that I could look at for hours at a time.
In the form of everything else, it’s unlistable. Mood, music, film, colours, seasons…even food! The list goes on and on. When artists take influence from their feelings and surroundings, that’s when they create something original. When they use Pinterest for inspiration, it’s much harder to look beyond what’s in front of you and to avoid replicating somebody else’s work.”
How do you get bookings?
“By selling my soul to the internet! A lot of my time is spent advertising, building a social media presence, keeping in touch with contacts and maintaining the expectations/satisfaction of attendees at each event so that word of mouth carries the advertising banner for me.”
Do you have any tips for people who want to become a stylist or create photography events? Are there any essentials?
“Time, dedication, honesty and reliability. Don’t advertise an event until everything is in place and it’s checked, double checked and triple checked. Prepare for every potential problem, just in case. Once you go live with the event, it’s better to keep going and let it be a flop with lessons to learn, then to pull out and never know. I imagine many will disagree with that, but for me, sticking to your word is more important than cancelling. You get one shot at trust and first impressions…and if you lose it, you won’t get it back.”
What’s your best bit of equipment?
“Pins, boob tape, heel covers and toilet roll!”
How has PurplePort helped you?
“I really like being able to share the BTS blogs, photos and videos in the groups section, as well as seeing attendees achieve so many fantastic FPI’s (Front Page Images on PurplePort.com). It’s exciting to see their work exposed to others, so they might make other contacts for future work.”
Walters Wardrobe: Ruffles and Ready
BTS Cinematographer: Richard Wakefield
Models: Nicky Phillips, Jodi Lakin, Victoria Coutts and Kamila Nowak
MUAs: Olivia Morewood, Sophie Battersby and Abigail Pulleyn
MUA Assistant: Rachel Doig
Designer: Mishi May
Millinery and assistant stylist: Donna Graham
Stylist: Jen Brook
Production: Walter’s Wardrobe