We’re excited to bring you the next episode in our series of interviews with industry designers and insiders – this time with Brooklyn based kids’ stylist and mom of two, Jill Rothstein. Jill’s love for children’s fashion is clear – just check out her portfolio or Instagram – and her styling has a distinctively eclectic, whimsical, and bohemian feel to it. Most importantly, she believes her role is all about dressing children as children and allowing their adventurous spirits and joyful personalities to shine through. We chatted with Jill about her life as a stylist, go-to baby and toddler designer clothing brands and trends for AW14, and favorite parts about raising her kids in Brooklyn. To see more, be sure to check out Jill’s website. Enjoy!
1. How did you first get into the world of children’s fashion & styling?
I’ve always been obsessed with fashion. And in particular, in creating my own unique look. Since I can remember, I’ve felt empowered by creating looks that made me stand out. Fashion, for me, is an incredible, ever changing form of art. When I had my kids, Charlie, 6 and Wren, 3, I implemented the same passion into their clothes. People began asking about what they were wearing and where they can get their clothes. And I realized I loved what I was doing and that kids love fashion as much as we do. A good friend of mine, who is a makeup artist, encouraged me to set up an Instagram page with their looks. I’m lucky enough to be married to my husband, Josh who is an incredible photographer. So, I came up with a few concepts for styling some looks and we shot my kids. It was a true family affair. From that moment on, I was hooked. I began researching as many international children’s wear designers, magazines, and blogs and began booking jobs. This is my absolute dream job.
2. How would you define the style your work exemplifies?
Kids are constantly inspiring me. They are adventurous, unbelievably brave, and uninhibited. This is the basis for my style. I would describe it as whimsical, eclectic, and fun. I love to mix modern designer clothes with vintage pieces or accessories from my own wardrobe. I style kids to look like kids, with a cool, edgy, free-spirited look. I like to change up looks because there are endless ways to style clothes. Boho-chic, rocker-cool, geek-chic…very mix and match so that each look is totally unique.
3. What is the day in-the-life of a stylist like? Are there any projects you are currently working on?
For me, work never stops. I’m constantly researching everything from magazines, designers lines, blogs, and boutique windows for not only inspiration but opportunity. I am an over preparer. So if I’m working on a particular shoot, I study the concept so that I am able to translate it through the style. Often, I develop or help develop the concept and pitch it to a magazine or company that I think would be a good fit for the shoot. I then start sifting through designers for perfect pieces that will help tell the story. I contact designers directly to pull clothes and reach out to showrooms in New York. I also sift through my own archives of children’s clothes and accessories so that I have a good balance of current designers’ work and vintage pieces. Currently, I am working on a concept that I have pitched to Babiekins Magazine. I developed the concept and I’m lucky enough to be working with a genius photographer on this shoot, who just happens to be my husband. Stay tuned!
4. You have both a daughter and a son – do you approach dressing them similarly or is it entirely different? What are some of their favorite items from their closets?
I love dressing my kids! It’s another adventure every day. Another opportunity to experiment with new looks, mixing prints and patterns. Designers are creating lines that are more and more unisex and I love it. One day I may put Charlie in a pair of one of my favorite ESP No. 1 stone wash skinny jeans, a lose fitting Nico Nico tank top and an oversized Zara cardigan sweater and he looks cool and fresh. The next day, I can put Wren in the exact same outfit, and she has a laid back, tomboy edge. Since, sadly, I can’t shop for new clothes for them every day, I keep an open mind and never put them in the same outfit twice. I’ll make sure to try to mix bottoms with tops that I have never tried. I pair things together that I think can never work. Mixing patterns and playing with silhouettes can reveal a unique and totally fresh style. I approach dressing my son and daughter the same way. I love to find unique pieces that have interesting prints and either mix it with a bigger, bolder print or with a basic piece. I recently bought the new Bobo Choses faux fur coat from Estella for my daughter. I can’t get enough of it. It’s so editorial and there are so many ways to style it. I’m constantly inspired by bold exciting pieces that aren’t afraid to make a huge statement.
5. Do you have any children’s brands you consistently love & look forward to each season? Are there any new lines you’ve recently discovered?
Of course! There are so many, but here are a few…I’m Bobo Choses-obsessed. I love their non-condescending view on children’s fashion and their clear, unique vision for each season. La Miniatura is another line I get excited about each season. I love the rock-n-roll, punk inspired pieces and I especially love all of the plaid and printed pants. Boy + Girl has an awesome, fresh California line that plays with bold prints and that always inspires me. And the animal prints at Popupshop are so playful and cool. For a boho-chic look, I love Children of the Tribe. They make clothes that are free-spirited and inspired by nature.
6. You live in Brooklyn – what are your favorite & least favorite parts of raising a family in NYC? Does it affect the way you/your kids dress?
I grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey, but we were often in the city for shows or events. I always dreamed of living in NYC. We lived in Manhattan for about 15 years, and after we had our daughter, Brooklyn began calling our name. We moved here and it was the best thing we ever did. I love the huge concentration of professionally creative people here. There are no judgments on how I, or my kids, dress. That gives us a lot of freedom to experiment stylistically. We are also constantly inspired by fashion, colors, and music that are everywhere we turn as we walk through our neighborhood. Because we live in NY and have to deal with the never ending surprises and changes in the fickle weather, we always have to be prepared with layers of clothes. The silver lining of going from brutally hot weather to freezing cold wind is that we get to shop for every season of clothes!
7. Any hidden local brands/boutiques you can tell us about?
Yes! Soor Ploom is a local Brooklyn designer that has effortless pieces made with soft fabrics that make it easy to mix and match. I also love Brooklyn designer Atsuyo et Akiko. Their screen printed t-shirts and sweet accessories are so fun to style. New York-based Suoak designs a truly eclectic line of clothes mixing color, texture, and pattern. Le Petit Organic is a New York-based online retailer that offers super cool designers with an emphasis on sustainability. Finally, Lucky Wang in NYC is a go-to store for anything from newborn kimonos to rocker t-shirts for a growing big kid.
8. As we head into the colder months, are there any winter trends/must-haves you are particularly excited about?
There are always fun new trends each season! For winter, faux fur is everywhere. It’s in all colors, silhouettes and even patterns. A definite must have this season. Artificial feathers are another trend in coats. The texture is a huge fashion statement for winter. For a coat alternative, a cape or poncho is a fun look for a different silhouette and it’s easy to layer and style. Another trend I love is socks for girls. Knee highs, over the knees, slouchy, and ankle socks. Cute, and they help keep them warm when wearing a bohemian-inspired dress and Minnetonka booties or an oversized sweater and faux leather skirt. Lastly, I’m a huge believer in accessories. And in particular, hats! Trucker hats, floppy hats, fedoras, outbacks, and beanies. There are endless options, they keep our little ones warm, and most importantly, they keep them fly!
Thank you, Jill!