Since starting his career, fashion industry insider james Aguiar has seen and done it all, from visual merchandising to makeup, from retail to television. To top it off, he’s interviewed some of the most major heavyweights in the industry, including Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, and Valentino, and Christian Lacroix. Now, he’s entering a new stage in his career with First Comes Fashion, a super-cool website that is dedicated to bringing fashion “to a global audience in real time.” We sat down with James to get the scoop on his illustrious career (so far!), his biggest fashion moments, and his favorite styling tips!
1. Hi James! Firstly, can you introduce yourself to our readers and talk about how you first got started in the fashion industry?
I got my start doing visual merchandising for Macy’s and assisting make-up on music videos. When I moved to New York, I managed to work with the best in the biz.
2. You started your style career as the fashion director for Bergdorf Goodman. What was this experience like and what did you take away from it?
When I became Fashion Director for Bergdorf Goodman my career was launched! It put me front row for all the fashion weeks including Paris, Milan, London, and New York. I learned what true style was and how the industry worked from a retail and creative stand point. As Fashion Director for such a luxurious and legendary store you are called on to be a talking head and very visible part of the team.
3. From there, you went on to host Emmy-nominated series Full Frontal Fashion. What was your experience like working on Full Frontal Fashion?
Television was a natural transition for me as I was always drawn to that side of the business. When Full Frontal Fashion came knocking, I jumped on it! It was my chance to interview all the players in the industry from a very informed perspective. I wasn’t just someone with a microphone; I had real gravitas in the business and it allowed me a different perspective than most fashion reporters.
4. You have interviewed industry heavyweights such as Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Narciso Rodriguez, and Michael Kors, to name a few. Does a particular moment/quote with any of these designers stand out?
Interviewing Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour is the best. You must be on your game and come in with a question that they respect, and then you will get the best answers. But I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t sweating just a bit right before! I’ve been so fortunate to interview just about every designer in the biz, but my favorite is getting the up-and-comer just before they have their big break. Jason Wu, Alexander Wang and The Blonds come to mind! But you can’t beat a good John Galliano interview just for the sheer theater of it all!
5. What has been your biggest challenge since you began your career?
The biggest challenge of my career is just challenging myself to stay true and not become the jaded “fashion person” that’s seen it all. To look forward and to experience the “new” is what fashion is all about to me.
6. Do you have any advice for young fashion fans who want to get started in the industry?
My best advice to young people who want a career in fashion is to assist great people! Work with the best and take your time, your moment will come. Be patient and learn! Understand fashion history and compile a visual reference library so you can be versatile and fluid and speak to many facets of what the industry has to offer.
7. Can you walk our readers through a day in your life?
I wouldn’t want to bore your readers with my daily life. The truth about being a stylist is you are always schlepping clothes!
8. What projects are you currently working on? What’s next for you?
My newest project is First Comes Fashion—a website devoted to live streaming of Fashion Week shows and year round content—with my colleagues Robert Verdi, Judy Licht, and Christina Ha. In our debut during New York Fashion Week, we had over 200,000 requests for live streams out of the gate and it’s only going to get better!
9. Now for the fun stuff: Favorite designer/s? Favorite fashion week? Favorite store/s?
My favorite designers range from The Blonds to Rick Owens, Balenciaga, Micheal Kors and of course the late, great, gone too soon, Alexander McQueen! My favorite stores are Barneys New York, Paul Smith and Opening Ceremony!
10. Favorite styling tip?
Here’s a styling tip: never wear an anklet!