Girl We Love: Maggie Stangler
Posted by Katie Ostoich on May 24, 2012 at 1:17 PM
We recently sat down with one of the coolest girls we know, Maggie Stangler, who is currently the Visual Presentation Manager at Tory Burch. Yes, that Tory Burch! It’s like a fashionista’s dream! We chatted about how she got to where she is today, what she’s learned along the way and the always-important insider fashion tips! Read our interview and learn all about this girl we love!
1. You’re a mid-western girl at heart, just like us, having been raised outside Minneapolis. So we have to ask, were you scared when you decided to head out west for Southern California? That seems like a pretty big change.
I really don’t remember ever being scared. I was almost 22 years old when I moved from Minnesota to Southern CA and I didn’t think too much about it. Looking back on it now, I’m quite surprised that I didn’t have a lot of fear moving half way across the country! My mind was made up, I was determined to have a career in fashion, and I wasn’t going to let a little fear or anything else get in the way.
2. How/when did you know that fashion is what you wanted to do?
It wasn’t until my late teens that I really started to have a definite interest in fashion. I was much more of a tomboy growing up, I loved sports and being active. I wasn’t very girly at all. I do remember my dad telling me how I always had great taste, but I really wasn’t sure what it even meant at the time.
I started out as a Buyer, which is very numbers based. I loved working with product, though I quickly learned that staring at spreadsheets all day long was not exactly what I wanted. So I moved over to the sales side. After awhile I was approached to join the Visual Merchandising team and the rest is history, I guess. It sort of makes sense – in college I worked on window display concepts all the time and the work appeals to me because it’s such an open avenue!
3. Your resume is like a fashionista's fantasy having worked at St. John, James Perse, and now Tory Burch. Does it ever feel surreal to you working with some of the biggest labels out there?
That is very flattering to hear. I do feel extremely honored to have had the opportunities to work for such reputable labels. I can remember my first day walking through the halls the of St. John Knits corporate office and thinking I would wake up shortly, it seemed like a dream. I knew at that moment I would do whatever it took to succeed in this business. I never wanted that high to go away…
4. We see that your title is Visual Presentation Manager. What does that mean?
How much time to you have to listen to all of this? Kidding, but I will try to sum it up the best I can since it encompasses a lot and my position has been very different at each company.
When you walk into a store for the first time and feel like you want to purchase almost everything, but you are not sure why. This is what I do. I make the merchandise and the entire store the most desirable and esthetically pleasing experience for the customer. There is a science and reasoning for the placement of everything in a retail store and I have become in an expert in this field.
5. What's a typical day like?
Every day is really different! For example, last week we opened our 46th retail store, so I was there to review floor plans and oversee final construction. While the construction was finishing up, I was visualizing layouts and how the product would be styled in the space, and pitching in when I could. Certainly not always glamorous! Now this week, we’re gearing up for Memorial Day and a sale, so I have to make a bunch of random product look beautiful and send the inspiration and ideas I come up with to all the stores. No day is ever the same, I can literally go from a photo shoot one day to construction the next, which is probably exactly why I love it!
6. Do you feel pressure to look a certain way because you work in fashion?
YES! As much as I would love to say this isn’t the case, I would be lying if I said no. But I do feel confident in the way I look because I know my body and I know what looks good on me and I definitely feel one of my strengths is having a great eye for fashion. Anyone that has money can buy whatever she likes, but you can’t buy style. The most valuable thing I’ve learned about the pressure of looking good is that confidence is everything and even when you may not feel confident (because it happens to us all) just fake it, it will go a long way!
7. What's the biggest misconception of fashion industry?
I, probably like most people, had an idea of what the industry was like -- that it is so glamorous and you are invited to fabulous parties, hanging out at fashion shows and photo shoots. While some of this does happen, and I’ve been able to go to places and been given beautiful things I never would have been able to afford myself, most of my time is spent working long hours. Any movie that you’ve seen about fashion is not very accurate, in my opinion.
8. We’ve heard horror stories about the world of fashion, how do you stay grounded?
Haha, a lot of the horror stories are probably exaggerated! While it is a difficult industry at times, people are reasonable, which helps. I think a lot of staying grounded comes from my upbringing. I have been working since I was 16 years old and my parents instilled really solid values in me.
9. What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the fashion industry?
If you want to get into the industry because you think you have “good taste” or “great style,” I would look into it a little more and make sure you understand what it’s all about. There are so many layers and history to the art, and to not understand it can be an insult to people who put their heart and souls into the industry.
10. How would you define your style and what's your "go-to" look?
Hmmmm, this is always a tough question because I’m really all over the place. I tend to gravitate towards icons like Kate Moss, Chloë Sevigny, Carrie Bradshaw (not SJP). Casual chic, yet still unexpected. I’d like to take more risks than I do. Maybe I will start doing that!
11. While we wish we could splurge on designer goodies, we're girls on a budget, so if you had to name 3 top things every woman should invest in, what would they be?
Jeans that fit you like they were made JUST for you, a leather jacket and I hate to say a specific designer name, but since this is a splurge question, a pair of Christian Louboutin’s are required.
12. What is the biggest fashion “don't” you think women make?
We over think everything. Unless you are going to a red carpet event or gala, you should approach every day as casual chic…not like a Las Vegas nightclub.
13. What is your favorite quote or “little life lesson?”
Regarding fashion, I love this one from the one and only Ms. Coco Chanel: “Fashion fades, only style remains the same,” and, “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
Regarding life, by Friedrich Nietzsche, “What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.”
14. Who inspires you? Who are your role models?
I get inspired by artists like Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami; Photographers: Peter Lindbergh, Richard Avedon and Mario Testino; Designers: Christian LaCroix, Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Alexander Wang, Celine, Lanvin, and Martin Margiela.
15. What are your favorite hotspots? (ie: vacation spots, cities, restaurants, stores, whatever)
Cities – Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Chicago.
Shopping I die for… Top Shop, Zara, Intermix, Barney’s, Martin Margiela. Vintage Stores (Tokio Joe, Screaming Mimi and Stock Vintage in NYC) Vintage stores in LA (American Rag, Vintage at Heart, Wasteland, Consignmen)
Vacation Spots: Napa Valley, Palm Springs, London, Sao Paulo, Paris.
Thanks for sitting down with us Maggie! XOXO