Meet the stylist: Sarah Lilly

Susie’s Introduction:

Many of you are already booked in with stylist, Sarah Lilly, so I thought it would be a good idea to get her to hop on the blog and tell you more about herself! You all know I am emotionally slutty and you know everything about me (ha ha), so I wanted to give Sarah the opportunity to tell you how she came to work as a stylist with me and a bit into her background.

I always said that I would never consider asking anyone to style alongside me, let alone a friend. Too messy I thought! Sarah and I met when we had bumps at the NHS antenatal class in Edenbridge, 5 years ago.

Me and hubby chatted to Sarah and her hubby and then chatted lots to them at the hospital excursion we all did (when none of us knew the shit storm that would readily await us as new mothers, ha ha).

The following week, Sarah and Chris weren’t there. She had her baby early, according to the midwife. Panic in my eyes, I felt like I had somehow already lost a friend! In true Susie Hasler, stalker style, I tracked her down until she had no option but to be my friend!

Sarah was loyal to me in the darkest time of my life when I had post natal depression. As a new friend who didn’t know me well, she could have walked away. But she didn’t, and my regular meet ups with her would keep me sane, and I would always see her standing waving at me in her bright yellow raincoat, full of sunshine. We would share our funny stories about our bad nights of sleep, eat cake, drink coffee and have a few hours of normality.

She is one of life’s gems. A diamond in a yellow raincoat and heels xxxx

So here she is, in her own words. Lovely Sarah Lilly:

I’ve always loved fashion since I can remember, at 3 I had already developed a very, what my mum would call fussy, but I would call “endearing” sense of style!

By about 6 I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer – luckily at this point the Fashion Wheel entered my life and I was able to create lots of exciting looks for my future collections!

Skipping quickly forward through the years of shell suits, Laura Ashley dresses and mustard culottes (my future husband, and childhood sweetheart, teased me mercilessly for these, I now know that it was a 10 year old attempting to flirt!) I studied textiles at A level and went on to do a degree in the subject, specialising in hand embroidery and embellishment.

After leaving uni I set up as a freelance hand embroiderer, working for an agency who had offices throughout the world who would sell the collections on my behalf.

I adored this time, literally sewing, beading and sequinning from first thing in the morning until late at night, I went everywhere with my sketch book of design, a hoop and a needle and thread (I just MAY have been the reason knitting on the tube became cool?!,).

When I sold pieces to New Look and Ted Baker I genuinely thought I’d made it (imagine laughing emoji here). The reality was quite different, as a freelance designer I had no rights to the design once it was sold (£150-£200 depending on who bought it).

Anyway, long story short, eventually I decided I needed something that might pay enough to start eating fruit and veg again, so changed direction a little.

I got a job working for Clark’s shoes in the head office as an assistant merchandiser, this essentially is the person who ensures stock is where it needs to be to get the best sales.

It was drier then I was used to, but an amazing insight into a global brands inner workings, and there were lots of opportunities to move around within the company.

I started working with the sports range team, working approx 1.5-2 years in advance of the future collections. This was unbelievably exciting, looking at the trends that would be coming in over the following years, the fabrics and silhouettes, and developing products that would work for our consumer, whilst chipping away to change the perception that Clark’s was a place to shop for kids or old ladies shoes!

After about 6 months in sports I moved on to handbags – like actual dream come true stuff! As a small team there was opportunity to get involved with not only the design, but colours and bag names – not to mention the new bag to wear test each month, it was a really, really brilliant time!

Working at Clark’s definitely diversified the way I looked at fashion and trends, I started to be braver in my own clothing and style choices, I loved incorporating the up-and-coming trends into my outfits and i guess just having a bit more fun with my outfits.

It also helped me massively with my confidence, I have always been a bit on the shy side, at Clark’s I had to present ranges to rooms with 150 people from around the world – a great kill or cure for anyone who’s at all self conscious…!

I moved on from Clark’s with a new found love of sports luxe, a disproportionate number of shoes, oh and a enormous baby belly that would connect me to one of my closest friends, utter babe and the most inspiringly stylish person there ever was…. Any guesses?

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