Interview | Sophia Banks-Coloma
Hollywood stylist Banks-Coloma chats about her passion for fashion
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 08:10
Australian-born stylist Sophia Banks-Coloma has the fashion world at her fingertips. A celebrity stylist, designer, trend forecaster and costume designer who lives and works in Los Angeles, she has her hands full juggling Hollywood’s hottest fads and A-listers; her clients include Kirstie Alley and Kristin Chenoweth. She’s been named a Harper’s Bazaar Style Leader and was Forbes’ 2009 Undiscovered Designer of the Year. The Daily sat down with Banks-Coloma to discuss her inspirations, her personal style and more.
Tufts Daily: Were you always interested in fashion?
Sophia Banks-Coloma: I actually made my mom buy her first Chanel jacket when I was five! I was always interested in fashion. I loved reading Vogue Bambini and I convinced my Mom to let me take fashion-drawing classes when I was 13. I would design my own dance costumes, too.
TD: It seems like you have a pretty full schedule. What are you up to at the moment?
SB: I’m costume designing, which is quite funny because I didn’t get into costume design until just last year. I just designed for a movie that’s called “Syrup” (2012) with Amber Heard, Shiloh Fernandez, Kellan Lutz and Brittany Snow that’s actually perfect for the college demographic.
In the past, I studied acting and I have always been interested in film, so there was this awesome moment when I was on the [“Syrup”] film set, and realized that all of my passions had come together. In addition to the costume designing, I’m also designing, styling [and] consulting. I styled for some of “The Hunger Games” (2012) tributes and recently did a photoshoot with Kendall and Kylie Jenner.
TD: Where do you get your inspiration?
SB: For my label, Whitley Kros, the inspiration is a girl who travels and gets inspiration from the places she goes.
TD: Where can college students get fashion inspiration?
SB: My one regret is not going to an American college. I think it’s such a fun experience.
When you’re young, you can have your own style. It’s okay to make mistakes and experiment to find who you are. Just have fun and take risks.
The younger demographic can play with color and accessories, so take advantage of that.
TD: What’s the biggest difference between East Coast and L.A. style?
SB: Less clothes [laughs]. But California was birthplace of the Beatniks and it’s where the true ’60s vibe occurred, so it has that relaxed California-beach feel.
TD: What’s your personal style?
SB: I try to wear what works for me, and I’m such a pants girl, so I’m always in pants. Also because when I go to events, I don’t want to be in a dress next to my clients on the red carpet!
TD: Who are your favorite designers?
SB: Stella McCartney, A.L.C., Céline, Givenchy, Chanel, Peter Pilotto ... those are the things that I love [and] always wear.
And then there’s this one designer called Alessandra Rich, she’s a British designer. I love that stuff. But then there are designers like Christopher Kane — stuff that I love, [but] I just don’t wear myself because I think it’s important to go with things that work for your body type.
TD: What’s your favorite item in your closet?
SB: Either my Birkin bag or a pale pink [Alexander] McQueen jacket.
TD: If you could meet one person in the fashion industry, dead or alive, who would it be?
SB: Absolutely Coco Chanel.
TD: What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
SB: I don’t know. I love the idea of doing different things. When I was doing a business degree before I got into fashion, I thought I wanted to be a strategic consultant because you [were able to] move from project to project and I love that. One week it’s one thing and the next it’s another. I like a lot of change and I think I’ll always be working on different projects — you learn something, you challenge yourself ... and you grow.
TD: Lastly, for all the aspiring designers, what’s your advice on turning a passion into a career?