Our Second Life podcast (released on Mondays) is growing! On Wednesdays, we'll be releasing a limited series in partnership with Cartier called Life Lessons, in which Who What Wear co-founder and Chief Content Officer Hillary Kerr will chat with women who’ve had incredible careers within a single field or industry. Subscribe to Second Lifeon iTunes, and stay tuned. First up, Hillary is talking to in-demand celebrity stylist and designer Karla Welch, who regularly works with A-list clients to turn out wildly memorable looks.
If you spend as much time time style-stalking celebrities as we do, you get to know the work of mega-stylists like Karla Welchquite intimately. I mean, her impressive clientele consists of some of the biggest names in entertainment, so even if you live under a literal rock, you've probably gotten a glimpse of one of her Major Looks on A-listers like Justin Bieber (in green at Coachella), Tracee Ellis Ross (remember this Met Gala creation?), or Sarah Paulson (🔥🔥🔥 in Prada at the U.K. Glass premiere).
So we weren't entirely surprised to hear that she grew up living and breathing fashion… She spent her formative years working at her father's menswear store in her native Canada, dreaming of someday being a fashion designer. She took a little detour into the culinary world after getting her B.A. ("I think it was because I watched Tequila Sunrise with Michelle Pfeiffer," she shares), but after moving to L.A. in the early 2000s with her husband (photographer Matthew Welch), she hit the ground running, discovering her knack for styling looks while working on advertising shoots.
"I just started doing every one of Matthew's jobs, and amazingly, we did the first iPod campaigns," she recalls. (Anyone else automatically get The Vines' "Ride" stuck in their head just thinking about that era?) Work in advertising led her to start booking gigs as as personal stylist for actresses like Alexis Bledel, who she met on a shoot for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. "I'm going to do every job they send my way," she remembers thinking, a philosophy that has served her well throughout her career.
As for what's next for the woman who's been lauded as one of the industry's most powerful stylists by outlets like The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times? In addition to her duties styling Elisabeth Moss, Olivia Wilde, and Amber Heard, among other clients, she's continuing her streak of excellent collaborations with brands like Hanes (you all know that white T-shirt we editors keep raving about?), Levi's, Stripes, and Meta. (See—and shop—below.)