24 HOURS WITH
Creative Director / Stylist
A Series by Frank Rodriguez
24 Hours with Roisino
On the second episode of our series documenting a day in the life of a creative individual.
Frank Rodriguez continues our new series by spending a day with Roisino, a talented Creative Director and stylist. Through a Q&A and film photography documenting her day, we gain insight on Roisin's background and her amazing mindset which has gotten her to where she is now.
Frank: What are we doing today?
Roisin: Today I am styling a lookbook for EJDER and *Undisclosed*
Frank: Where are you from?
Roisin: I’m from Belfast, Northern Ireland
Frank: Why did you come to London?
Roisin: I came to London because of my career because I knew what was available to me in Ireland, was never going to be my ideal role in the future. I was never going to become a director of music videos being in Ireland because there aren't many music videos to direct in Ireland. I knew I didn’t fit in there and I’ve always been different to the norm. I feel unless you travel, you get one perspective on life and that perspective is quite linear. There is such a standard way of living your life in Ireland and people tend to adhere to that.
Frank: Are you currently studying?
Roisin: No I finished over a year ago, I feel so old. I studied at the University for Creative Arts where I did Fashion promotion and Imaging.
Frank: Was it worth it?
Roisin: I never wanted to go to university but I only went because it was the only way of facilitating me coming to London.
Frank: Oh that’s how you moved?
Roisin: Yeah that’s how I actually moved or else I wouldn’t have had the ability to move otherwise due to financial reasons. I did really well in my degree but university was never part of my aspirations, it just fit into the plan and made the plan more streamlined because I knew it would be an easy way for me to have a part time job and work for free. When you’re starting in this industry you have to work for free and I could not have done that if I just moved here. I would have had to have a job and I wouldn’t have the time to actually do it however going to university provided me with the time. My university even gave me a few months off where you are able to get an internship as part of the course. I was able to gain a lot of experience through this and I was also getting paid jobs whilst at university.
Frank: Who did you work for/with?
Roisin: My experience started at XXY magazine as an Editorial Assistant. It’s funny because I did my first ever shoot at this exact location. I then started a PR internship at Rich PR London. After sometime I moved on to be a Fashion Editor at a magazine called ASBO magazine - it’s an international publication. I assisted a music video stylist called Neesha Sharma; that was the majority of my work in 3rd year. I was assisting styling videos for names like Krept and Konan, Kenny All Star and other UK based artists. I was basically working 7 days a week, I tried to cram in as much as possible.
Frank: How would you define yourself?
Roisin: I would say I am a director. I used styling as a way for me to get into the industry and continue to gain experience, and also make money whilst I built my portfolio as a director. I believe you have to get to a certain level as a director before you can remove all the other stuff, in terms of my personal creativity for the fact that I can paint, draw, create concepts, script; it’s always been direction. It’s always been the ideas, the conceptualisation, the referencing because I am not really a music or fashion buff even though I love music and fashion but my references tend to come from sociocultural eras or art documentaries and films.
Frank: When a brand approaches you, what do you normally ask for?
Roisin: “Do you have a budget?”. Second of all, it depends if I’m styling or directing. If I’m directing, it’s like “Do you have a concept or do you need me to develop a concept for you?”. I prefer to develop it for them and work with their references. If it’s styling it would be “How many looks?”.
Frank: Is there anyone in the industry you look up to?
Roisin: Yeah, Nadia Lee Cohen I definitely look up to her.
Frank: What are the main issues that you show in your work?
Roisin: It’s quite hard for me but I have recently started delving back into some concepts to do with mental health because I have diagnosed OCD so that is something that is important to me. I think people use it as a throwaway phrase like “Oh I have about this OCD and that”.
Frank: What’s the biggest project you’ve worked on so far?
Roisin: I think the biggest in terms of personal achievement was the editorial I did the other day because everything was down to me.
Frank: Who was it for?
Roisin: It was for Just Magazine, I also did a video for it as well. In terms of music videos, probably one I did for Swerve, he’s a new artist. I created an entire set and it’s the first time I have created something by hand from scratch. In terms of how society would view it, I did Jorja Smith and Burna Boy’s ‘Be Honest’; I was assisting on that.
Frank: What was the brand?
Frank: Who is your assistant that is working with you today and why do you think it’s important to have an assistant?
Roisin: So Micah is my assistant; we have actually done a couple of shoots together. I don’t normally have an assistant but Micah hit me up and was like “I would really just like to work for you” and he didn’t just hit me up once he kept reminding me. That, to me, is so key because that is exactly how I was and how I got into this industry. He is young and reminds me of the same desire and passion that I had when I was his age and I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I have trust in him to leave him and he will get the job done, when I recognise someone with that drive. I think it’s important for me to give someone like that a chance. I have actually asked one assistant to leave set once because they were screwing with my job.
I was basically working 7 days a week, I tried to cram in as much as possible.
Frank: What tips do you have for people that want to gain experience in this industry?
Roisin: It’s about working really hard and figuring out what you like and don’t like and go for that. Authenticity, passion and drive are the things that are key. There’s no set way to get into this industry or no no designated path. I just think it’s all about working hard.
Frank: How did you get this work?
Roisin: For me it started off just by doing internships.
Frank: How did you get the internships?
Roisin: I researched places and applied to places I thought suited what I liked
Frank: If someone is doing an internship should they be getting paid?
Roisin: Absolutely but you may not be.
Frank: I have done things that have not paid me but they’ve given me some kind of experience that I value as high as money. Do you think people should think like that?
Roisin: Yeah definitely. I know people who have been in this industry for a very long time and they will still do things for free, just recently I was assisting someone and they did something for The Face that wasn’t paid but it’s the Face so it’s worth it. The only time I will need a particularly high budget is when it’s very commercial for example e-commerce, it’s not going to push my career. I am very privileged to be at that point where I am young and I can pick and choose. That came from working hard for 4 years, it doesn’t just happen and it won’t just happen unless you happen to be well connected to a lot of people who are already in the industry.
Frank: So fashion is very important to you?
Roisin: I think it’s not fashion but it’s expression, that’s what's important to me. I think expression is the thing that’s important. It’s like when I see an old lady on the street and she’s super stylish, I am like yeah! She is living her truth.
Frank: What is next for Roisin O’Hare?
Roisin: I am doing a video treatment at the minute for two musicians that I’m really excited about. That’s hopefully going to be a music video before the end of the year.
It’s about working really hard and figuring out what you like and don’t like and go for that.
Roisin: Donalee and Bawo. They’re sick, it’s kind of indie, it’s really exciting because I’m getting to do actual stories with their video rather than it just being a standard. I am also working on a concept focusing on mental health. It’s basically going to be a series of portraits and a small video that go along with it. I’ve been planning to do podcasts - it’s going to be an open diary. I am starting to move away from styling and more into establishing myself as an artist.
Frank: To summarise this whole thing, what quote do you personally live by?
Roisin: I have said this before. I don’t believe in “I can’t” unless it’s “I can’t right now”. When anyone says they can’t do something I don’t believe that. I believe that maybe you don’t have the means or the capabilities to do it right now but if it’s something you’re truly passionate about then “I can’t” doesn’t come into it. It’s just “I can’t do that at this particular moment” and that’s not an excuse and that will never be an excuse to me.
I have said this before. I don’t believe in “I can’t” unless it’s “I can’t right now”