photo : Kim Akrigg
interview : Jennifer Link
Tasha Farrington aka Pretty Deadly Stylz is the fashion editor for Auxiliary Magazine and a motivated fashion stylist. Self-taught, she doesn’t limit herself to any one style, but yearns to grow and create a blend of alternative, modern, and vintage to create her vision of fashion. Tasha contributes her unique perspective and insight in a number of different capacities including creative direction, set design, shoot production, and casting, to having once been in front and behind the camera and always being interested in clothing and art. Tasha works from pieces she owns, makes, or pulls from designers, mixing, layering, and assembling to create art though clothing.
What do you do at Auxiliary Magazine?
I do work building teams and pulling designers to create fashion editorials and stories for our readers. I’m a clothing/fashion stylist first and foremost, but I tend to play a creative director role because I like to make sure the whole concept comes together in a cohesive manner. I also do some behind the scenes stuff that can be boring to chat about, so I won’t bother. [winks]
How did you join the magazine?
I was looking to do more submission work personally, and I started looking up magazines, I’d heard about Auxiliary through Monster Muffin, and decided to give it a try. Jennifer liked my work, but at the time they were not accepting submissions. So I waited, but kept in touch. She offered me a chance to work in the Feb/Mar 2010 Issue. Originally only a contributor, I wanted to do more, so I kept in touch, pitching ideas, and asking what was needed next. The title I played was Associate Fashion Editor for Auxiliary, working with them for three years now, and loving every moment of it.
What overall vision do you aim to uphold when working as a fashion stylist and now as fashion editor for Auxiliary?
Firstly Meagan Hendrickson had this concept of keeping fashion accessible to the readers. I very much believe in that as well. I would like to continue in that tradition while putting my own little twists into the magazine. I like to tell some sort of story in my styling, something with a feeling to it. Create a mood. I think it would be great to bring in some bigger names and yet still highlight the up and comers in the scene. As stylists we aren’t much if not for our designer contacts, and I think it’s really important to showcase designers in ways that make them more inviting/interesting to our readers.
Could you describe your views on the fashion industry and how Auxiliary caters to niche, more independent fashion brands?
My views on the fashion industry, that’s a good one. For consumers they see the end results, they see the advertisements and are flooded with thousands of images of what’s new, hot, trendy. Auxiliary works hard to try and give everyone within the alternative aesthetics a voice. We’ve been able to showcase and highlight designers who, otherwise you may never heard of yet, the new, young designers working hard to get out there. But we also feature designer names you know and love, it’s something many other magazines keep trying to do, but not as well. There are some amazing magazines out there that are even more into the niche of the darker realms of the alternative culture. But Auxiliary gives a voice to all different “tribes” for lack of a better term. And still maintains a sense of self. We want everyone who’s into something different to be able to read the magazine, if you just like wearing black clothing, or full latex, your enjoy a little leather, or full on rainbow outfits. If you like white faces, or tribal, pierced, pinned, tattooed. Gears, steam, or dark shadows. We’ve pretty much covered the gauntlet of the less mainstream sensibilities. And trust me, we’ll be working hard to keep doing so.
What artists or icons, dead or alive, influence you the most and why?
Jim Henson. That may not make sense to many, but its more his sense of willing to play, learn, grow, have fun, to share stories, and create magic. He worked hard, and kept pushing the boundaries where it came to something new. His Dark Crystal and Labyrinth were very inspirational for me as a child. They moved me into other movies like Beetlejuice, Legend, Edward Scissorhands, and more. When you look back at the things you read, watched, listened to often as a child, I think you can find a lot in what creates you as an adult today.
Do you think the fashion drives the music or the music drives the fashion?
Both. But honestly it can be hard to say, you get these small groups of people doing something different, something new, and it sounds amazing, and it looks so cool. It sounds and looks amazing and it spreads, it get grows, it changes, it gets warped, and twisted. It gets copied and re-copied. It dies. What’s next? Fashion and music are too things that are constantly evolving, devolving, and continually criticized. I say dress how you want to, and listen to what makes you feel like you, and enjoy it.
To you, what is the difference between fashion and style?
Fashion is the here and now, and what’s in. While style is more personal, it showcases the personality and actual individual. You can still be fashionable within your own personal style. And still be stylish while being in fashion. But there is a difference between those that are stylish, and those that just buy every new trend that fashion deems to be “IT”.
How, if at all, has working as a fashion stylist influenced your own personal style?
I thought this one would be majorly hard, because for those that know me, you’d never guess I made people look “good” for a living. I am a jeans and T-shirt girl all the way, I dress up for certain occasions to be sure. But in reality, it’s all about easy clothing. That said, for me easy doesn’t mean big box stores, it’s about supporting local. I meet so many amazing people and designers doing my job, and I learn about quality, and comfort, fit, and materials. It’s all important when making up my own personal wardrobe. Not everything I have is made by my designer friends, but you see a lot of Monster Muffin, Sick On Sin, Futurstate, Plastic Wrap, Fashion Whore, Monster Aesthetics, V&V, Sci Feye Candy, and many many more.
If someone who has never visited Toronto asked your advice on where to go in the city, what are five must-go places would you tell them?
First and foremost Kensington, with its lovely selection of vintage shops, it’s also home to some amazing local designer shops. Playdead Cult has opened its doors there, as well as the new We Are Radar, which is sister shop to Plastik Wrap on Dundas West. You also have Fresh Baked Goods, Model Citizen, and Krome Roses, to mention a few favorites. Not to mention you also get the amazing food, drinks, and other amenities. There are some great spots on Queen East, Doll Factory by Damzels being a high point for alternative fashion lovers. Miras Vintage Boutique is a vintage heaven by the beaches. Marty Millionaire is a wonderful furniture store, it can be inspiring. Roncesvalles Village, you’re looking at more vintage and local clothing designers. The Fresh Collective, Frock, Mrs.Huizenga, and Stella Luna. Plus fun finds like She Said Boom, The Film Buff, Cherry Bomb Cafe, Coffee and All that Jazz, and more. In the Landsdowne/Bloor West neighborhood we find Fashion Whore Boutique and Elephant Shoes in this section of town. Plus a selection of vintage shops too! Starving Artists,… oh my god the food! It’s a great little place you need to check out when in town, a local favorite, it’s an absolute waffle lover’s dream. Oh and we can’t forget High Park! There’s no fashion stores, however there is a mini zoo in need of saving, lots of green space, and it’s a nice distraction. A great place for a picnic, or just a stroll.
…I collect graphic novels. And not the superhero kind, The Sandman, Fables, and messed up horror kind. Favorite shade is Black. Favorite color is Red. Favorite hair color is blue, turquoise, or purples. Favorite time, dusk. Favorite fruit, mango. Favorite Song, “Dig Up Her Bones” by the Misfits. Favorite designer, Monster Muffin, so much so they are tattooed on my person (with permission of course!).