Jessica de Ruiter grew up in Toronto, but she’s got the structured-yet-laidback California style down perfectly- a style that, according to her, involves “a little imperfection” and, might we add, platinum blonde hair. The LA-based stylist has played on both sides of the fashion editorial field; before she became a freelance stylist, she worked at W, Vogue, and Teen Vogue. While most of us college students are simply trying not to wear the same sweatshirt two days in a row, Ms. de Ruiter was exploring her style range in her high school/college years- she rocked both the ‘90s grunge look and the denim-clad blonde bombshell look of the famous GUESS? campaign. She has styled everything from V Magazine to Nylon to Harper’s Bazaar and everyone from Beck to Charlotte Gainsbourg to Robert Pattinson (we’re not exaggerating: her work is a pop culture panorama of models, musicians, and Hollywood it girls and boys.) Ms. de Ruiter spends most of her time behind the scenes, but seems comfortable in front of the camera, having been featured by Garance Dore and the Sartorialist. In fact, we’re starting to sense a trend that her skills come in pairs…
How does a fashion editor or stylist fit into the process of creating a fashion spread?
Being the fashion editor or stylist on a shoot means that I am responsible for the styling direction of the story. This primarily involves selecting the clothing and accessories. I pull the pieces from the various showrooms or stores and then dress the model or celebrity on the day of the shoot. It also involves collaborating with the photographer on coming up with inspiration ideas and reference images to help feed the creative process.
What did you study in college? Did you always know you wanted to work in fashion?
I actually studied business at McGill. I knew I wanted to work in fashion but I thought it would be a good idea to have a Bachelors of Commerce. At the time there weren’t any fashion school options except for design. I wish now I had taken more art history classes.
How would you describe your personal style?
Classic, simple, a little imperfection. Beyond the urgency of fashion.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that every day and every job is always different. It keeps things exciting not knowing what is around the corner. And I love collaborating with and being surrounded by inspiring and creative people.
Favorite article of clothing you own?
I am really into this tan colored Stella McCartney blazer I just bought for spring. It’s a fresh alternative to the black jacket we have all worn to death in the past few years.
Who is your fashion icon?
My mother has very inspiring style and when I was young, she always managed to look incredibly chic by being creative with few resources. And Lauren Hutton is an icon for me as well. Both are examples of natural, sexy, strong women who really look stunning in a men’s shirt…and both were models too, which helps!
What did you wear when you were in high school/college?
Ha! I love this question. I was in high school in the 90s, so there were a few different inspirations going on. We went through a total hippie phase… Birkenstocks, long tiered skirts, ikat prints, floral dresses, big wooly sweaters, vintage levis. Next was grunge…plaid shirts, lumber jackets, doc martens, old tshirts and more vintage Levis. And then later on, the Guess campaigns shot by Dewey Nicks with models Valeria Mazza and Ingrid Seynhaeve became a big influence on the way we dressed.
Be authentic. Stay true to yourself and don’t follow trends if you aren’t into them.
Could you offer a few tips for anyone looking to break into the fashion industry?
Interning is key to getting into the fashion industry, whether it be at a publication, a PR company, for a designer, or for a freelance stylist. And you can start while you are still in school.
-Iris You ’13
A profile of Ms. de Ruiter in her home on Refinery29
Check out her latest work below and more at her site www.jessicaderuiter.com :