Interview: Paris Mitchell
We aim to surround ourselves with inspiring women, not only to celebrate and give visibility to their voice and work, but because we believe elevation comes from working together. Stylist Paris Mitchell is someone we’ve collaborated with for many seasons now on our campaign shoots, and she brings her unique aesthetic and empowering touch to our work. Not just a stylist, she’s also a designer in her own right and has a long background in fashion; we sat down to discuss style, drive, inspiration and finding balance.
How did you first get into styling and working in the fashion industry?
Well I guess it all started with my mum Jude, she had a vintage store on Ponsonby Road in the 90s. As I was growing up her wardrobe was an endless inspiration for me, she would let me wear anything and that’s where my love of vintage started. I studied Fashion Design at AUT and interned as much as possible at places like Mala Brajkovic and Showroom 22 to name a couple. After that I moved to New York in 2014 and was the assistant to US Vogue design director Raul Martinez. Working for editors such as Camilla Nickerson and Grace Coddington was so inspiring, and it gave me a newfound appreciation for styling. I started freelancing on the side for publications such as Oyster and iD Australia. I returned home in 2015 and that’s when The Mercantile and Paris Georgia began.
When styling a shoot, what is your starting point?
It’s all about finding the right girl and the right photographer, then I get a sense of what’s out there in terms of the garments and start sourcing - the story develops from there
You collaborate with a lot of women, why is it so important to have visibility and empowerment for female voices and work, particularly in the fashion industry?
Right now is such an empowering time for women. We are feeling more inspired than ever to create beautiful clothes for women around the world that will make them look as powerful as they feel.
Who (or what) are style inspirations for you?
It’s a mix between Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Frida Kahlo.
What do you believe clothes have the ability to say about a person?
I think everyone is different and unique, ultimately it’s not about what your wear but how you wear it.
You’ve created your own successful label Paris Georgia (together with Georgia Cherrie). What led you to launch this?
Georgia and I have been friends since high school. We both moved back to New Zealand around the same time, so it was meant to be. We felt there was a gap in the market; at that point in time there were no online vintage stores and social media was just starting out, so we decided to create The Mercantile and our own label Paris Georgia.
What have been the learning curves?
Owning your own business is a constant learning curve, but at the end of the day you have to trust your instincts and work hard to drive your brand everyday. I believe that what you give is what you get, so we surround ourselves with an amazing team in order to grow our business at the right pace for our brand.
With so much on your plate, how do you maintain balance in your life?
Having balance and taking care of yourself is so important, I take a barre class three times a week at Barre Figure on Richmond Road, I see my gorgeous healer called Deb Smith once every three months and if I’m feeling stressed I treat myself to a massage or facial – I am very indulgent like that!
What do you believe is the key to your success?
I am so flattered to hear you think I’m successful! Having an amazing business partner and a supportive family and environment is crucial. Georgia and I have an amazing team and know everyone of our manufacturer's names; we’re like a little family. But ultimately it all boils down to the product and we hope that other women love what we create.
What is your favourite shot from the new Mi Piaci campaign?
I love this landscape shot in the Lower Grey Gallery! The girls look so strong yet elegant. You get a real feel for the Auckland Art Gallery – it was such an amazing location, I’ve always wanted to shoot there.
What is your favourite piece from the new Mi Piaci collection?
I love the Soho glitter boot, I feel like they could style up any outfit beautifully. I also adore the Lola sneaker, I can see myself living in those! So wearable and comfortable.