A freelance fashion stylist and co-host of the ‘Cramp Your Style’ podcast, Adam Walsh fell into his chosen career path after a conversation with his mother pointed him in the right direction. Fast forward a few years and he’s styled everyone from Joanne McNally to ‘Normal People’ star India Mullen. Here he shares a day in the life.
Did you always want to be a stylist?
I always knew I was never going to lead a typical academic career. Initially, I actually wanted to be a journalist… that was always the main goal, but my career guidance teacher turned me off the idea and my mum just said to me one day that she always thought I’d go into fashion. After that, I did loads of research and eventually found the course that I would go on to study.
In college, I studied… I did a PLC in Sallynoggin College of Further Education in fashion buying, styling and visual merchandising.
My most formative work experience was… my most formative work experience came a year into my career when I bit off far more than I could chew in terms of workload. It took a major toll on my mental health and I realised then I needed to learn how to balance things and, most importantly, how to say no to things.
My first real job was… my first real job was actually in retail, I worked in a Centra. For a period of time, I was working full-time there, while also styling full-time and going to college.
The most invaluable thing I learned early on in my career was… to be social. I was a very quiet child even up until college but this job means you need to meet a lot of people so I eventually was forced to grow out of that shyness. That and to be nice to everyone you meet!
A common misconception about what I do is… that my job is easy/glamorous/frivolous. There is so much that goes into this job from the responsibility of minding stock, to keeping clients happy, producing campaigns and liaising with magazines. That’s without even mentioning the shoulder and back pain that comes from carrying everything and spending endless nights packing and unpacking bags. The list is genuinely endless and very, very unglamorous
My main responsibility in work is to… work alongside other talented creatives to create beautiful editorial and advertising imagery for brands and magazines.
Do you have a career mentor or someone you look up to/seek advice from?
Absolutely! I have a lot of really talented friends in the industry who have been amazing to me and given me the time of day as far as advice comes. The two that have been the biggest help would have to be fellow stylist Anne O’Shea and then my wonderful agent Rebecca Morgan @ Morgan the Agency.
The biggest risk I have taken in my career so far is… taking the leap and jumping at the opportunity to make this my full-time job. I’m very lucky in that I live at home close to Dublin, which has definitely made things a bit easier – I don’t think it would have been possible for me to make this transition if that weren’t the case.
I wake at… this tends to differ from job to job, but it can range from 4:30am to 9am.
The first thing I do every morning is… check and respond to emails. Then I allow myself an allocated ten minutes to go down the TikTok wormhole!
My morning routine is… on days I’m on set, I’m usually up and ready to jump into a taxi/bus/dart very early. On those days, I pack the night before to try to save some time in the morning, but you’ll probably still find me running around like a headless chicken shoving shoes into whenever they’ll fit!
I can’t go to work without… my trusted steamer, my masking tape and my box of safety pins.
I travel to work by… public transport or in a taxi.
On an average workday I… each day really differs in my line of work. I could be out pulling clothes for shoots or returning things for a client. I could be on set. The list goes on.
I start my working day at… this also differs depending on the tasks at hand, but usually, I will be in town for about 9 or 10am.
The first thing I do at work is… if I am on set, the first thing I’ll do is hang all of the clothing on the rails. After that, I like to categorise the looks by priority and then I steam everything.
I usually spend the first portion of the day… figuring out where I need to be and when. I have to be in store for appointments at certain times when I am pulling so figuring out my route for the day is how is one of the first things I do.
I break for lunch at… as I’m on the go six out of seven days of the week, lunch can be anywhere at any given time – most often, it’s when I’ve run out of energy so I just end up reaching for whatever is closest to me. If I even give myself a break that is…
The most useful business tool I use every day is… definitely my Google Calendar. I couldn’t be without it.
I save time by… unfortunately, there is no room to cut corners in this job. Every part of the process can take a lot of time.
I rarely get through my working day without… because I’m by myself a lot of the time, I always am on the phone to my friends while I’m pottering around town.
After a long work week, I destress by… my job can sometimes be very socially/energetically draining so if I don’t have anything on the next day I love to come home and just have a hot shower and chill out and not say a word to anybody and just be with my own thoughts for a few moments.
The accomplishment I’m most proud of is… in March 2022, I was approached by a British social media star to dress them for the BAFTAs. I had only maybe two or three days to get everything together and reschedule my whole week around flying to London for it. I couldn’t get many options for him and had to bank on him liking one of the two options I could fit in my carry-on. Thankfully, he loved the first thing we tried on and he wore it on the red carpet.
If you want to get into my line of work, my advice is to… you have to really, really want to do this job. It’s not easy and can be really thankless. But if you really love it, you’ll be able to push through the hardest parts. Also, assist other stylists! The only way to know what the job is like is to physically do it, there’s no college course that can prepare you for it.
I’ve just finished working on… I have just finished my first year of working fully freelance. I got to work with so many amazing Irish brands, designers and magazines on some beautiful shoots last year, and I am incredibly grateful to have done so. At the minute I’m putting some plans in place for the year ahead to maybe move more work into the media realm – I’ve always loved to write, so maybe something journalistic and television is always something I’ve wanted to dip my toe into too.