It’s a been a pretty big year for Yasmin Sewell, who helped relaunch the new Style.com in the UK this September. But even before that, the site’s fashion director, and Who What Wear’s Street Style Star of the Year, has been as much a fashion week staple as the clothes, the designers, or the after-parties are. It’s due to not only her creative and cutting-edge outfits, but also her chameleon-like ability to thrive professionally in multiple corners of the fashion world.
To give your an abbreviated bit of her impressive résumé, the Australia-born, London-based Sewell first launched a celebrity-loved boutique in the late ’90s, and then went on to work for Browns in London; later on she consulted for major brands. Oh, and she’s also behind Être Cécile. Exhausted yet? Not Sewell. Her style is like a sartorial pick-me-up every time we spot her, be it in the most billowy ruffles, the freshest of prints, or a sublime pantsuit. She’s a champion of emerging brands, is game to mix high and low, and, simply put, her love of fashion is palpable.
Ahead, she lets us in on her style tricks, her closet, and her predictions for the future of the industry.
On Yasmin Sewell: Ca4la hat; Prada sandals; Clare V. bag.
WHO WHAT WEAR: You’re quite the daring style chameleon. How do you keep your style organized?
YASMIN SEWELL: Unless I have a big event or a really important meeting, I’m not usually planning what I’m wearing ahead of time. When I’m getting dressed at the start of a new day, I like to go with what I’m feeling in the moment instead of being guided by something predetermined.
WWW: If we were to peek into your closet, what would we see? How is it organized?
YS: I can’t say I have an especially strict order to my wardrobe—it’s two rails “double-decker” style, and admittedly it’s pretty crammed! You know, you work in fashion and without really realizing it you accumulate more and more. Suddenly your wardrobe is bursting at the seams. Recently I’ve resolved to have a big clear-out, so I’m really looking forward to a bit of room to breathe.
Style du Monde, Getty, Getty
On Yasmin Sewell: Left: Chloé dress. Center: Hillier Bartley coat. Right: Gucci suit; Chloé bag.
WWW: Your chameleon vibes don’t just apply to your street style outfits, but also how you've worked in many facets of the industry. How do you decide what career move is right for you?
YS: Everything has always been a bit organic for me—I’m very driven, but not the sort of person with a five-year plan. I believe in things coming about in a certain way for a good reason, so I’ve always been comfortable with there being a level of flux in my life. I always enjoy my work most when I’m working with other people.
WWW: Tell us about your current role at Style.com. How was it affected the way you see your own personal style?
YS: Before moving to Style.com, it had been a long time since I’d worked in a big office. I had my own consultancy for years before this role, working with a really small team, so there was really no particular dress code. I think that automatically when you’re in a bigger office surrounded by a bigger team, there’s something quite nice about feeling as though you’re dressing for a certain purpose—you’re on task, and what you wear becomes a bit of a uniform for that.
Getty, Style du Monde, Getty
On Yasmin Sewell: Left: Joseph coat; Beaufille vest; M.i.h jeans. Upper right: Erdem dress. Lower right: Céline sunglasses; Petar Petrov coat.
WWW: You’ve often mixed high and low in one ensemble. What are some of the low brands that you’re currently stocking up on?
YS: It’s winter right now, and something I always buy without fail when the cold weather hits is Uniqlo’s Heat Tech range—it’s the best solution for keeping warm without being bundled up like you’re headed for the ski slopes.
WWW: Similarly, we’ve seen you in established as well as emerging designers. Which emerging designers do you find most exciting at the moment?
YS: Emerging designers that have really caught my interest recently would include Attico, Beaufille, Magda Butrym, Petar Petrov, and Vejas.
WWW: Tell us about the current styling trick that you’re obsessed with.
YS: Over the years, I’ve come to really appreciate when things are properly fitted to me, so these days I’ll always have something altered if I’m not 100% happy with the fit off the rack. It makes a world of difference when things are tailored to your shape, and also makes the piece a little bit more your own.
On Yasmin Sewell: Charlotte Chesnais earrings; Rejina Pyo dress; Malone Souliers shoes; Proenza Schouler bag.
WWW: When it comes to fashion month, what kind of preparation do you take? In addition to being photographed, what kind of role do you play within the event?
YS: Let’s face it—a month of consecutive fashion weeks requires a lot of clothes. A whole lot! I try to be clever about it where I can and find a few ways of re-wearing pieces; I’ve got no issue with that. The entire thing just takes a lot of organization … and some skill in the suitcase packing department. For me, fashion month is a crucial time, as it’s my opportunity to absorb what’s happening in the minds of designers, how that’s going to influence where fashion is headed, and then I have to think about how we can take our customers on that journey and offer them something new and inspiring.
WWW: What’s your favorite look that you’ve worn from this past fashion month?
YS: I loved wearing this outfit during NYFW in September. The weather was still hot, and this dress by Rejina Pyo was a dream to wear—really lightweight and effortless but at the same time it felt very feminine and elegant. My earrings are by one of my favorite new jewelry designers, Charlotte Chesnais—they’re these amazing metal petals in silver and gold. The Malone Souliers mules are super special: black velvet with hundreds of little beads embellishing them. They have this incredible artisanal feel to them. The bag is Proenza Schouler’s new Hava bag, which I’ve continued to use frequently since!
WWW: Where do you get your style advice from?
YS: I think more than style advice I look to inspiration and to have my mind opened to new things. … A good time for this is during fashion month, attending shows of designers who are known to push boundaries and challenge what we’re used to. J.W.Anderson is a great one for shaping your thoughts and ideas in this way and moving you to try something new.
WWW: As someone who’s on the pulse of what’s happening in fashion, make one prediction for what we can expect in the industry come 2017.
YS: There has been a real influence from Eastern Europe becoming more and more significant over the past year, and I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it yet. I’m expecting to see the new wave of talent from this region to continue to rise and influence the industry aesthetically.
Check out the rest of the lineup of Who What Wear’s 2016 Street Style Award winners.