By Perry Lefko | Photography Paul Alexander
Meet Kim Appelt, a personal and celebrity wardrobe stylist who has developed quite a following in the fashion business.
The onetime model is in constant demand for dressing stars for red-carpet appearances and photo shoots. She also works with major international clothing brands such as BCBG, The Bay, Saks and Roots. And she is on the nominating committee for the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards.
At a moment’s notice she could be asked to fly from her B.C. residence to tend to a client and create an artistic look with clothing. She is also active producing videos on fashion tips for her website, www.stylebykimxo.com, and populating her Instagram and YouTube accounts. She writes for various publications and is often asked to by TV and radio outlets to offer her expertise on all fashion-related things.
Add in the fact she is a working mother of three children, well, it’s an active life, to be sure, but one she absolutely enjoys, in particular empowering women.
“When I started in the business, it was to lift up women and help them to feel good because it’s hard,” she says. “Women wear many hats. They have children, they go to work. Often the last thing they do is put time into themselves.”
Appelt’s switch to personal styling happened five years ago when she met designer Canadian Mark Fast while at a wedding in Mexico. Fast asked her to help him launch his brand in Canada. Appelt had taken time off from her modeling career to raise her children and didn’t want to work again until her kids had reached the age when they started kindergarten. The timing was perfect.
“I wanted to go back into fashion, but I hadn’t had a vision for that yet and then it just happened,” she says. “Call it (divine) grace. Often in your lifetime you will have a few defining moments if you are lucky. For me, that was a defining moment. It was a portal for me to say, ‘I’m going to do this. I’m going back into the industry.’”
She made connections at the brand launch and that led to working with other designers. She honed her skills training under celebrity stylists in Los Angeles and New York
“It’s just been a gift, and I’ve often been asked ‘how did you get into the industry?’” she says. “It’s hard. It’s not easy. If you’re someone who wants to be a stylist, where do you start? I had that defining moment and from that time on it never stopped.”
So what’s it like being a celebrity stylist?
“It’s hours and hours of prep, and emails and calls and relationship building with the designer,” she says. “If the designers don’t like you they will not give you their clothes. My relationships are vital. I really care about everyone I work with and I work very hard for them. I care a lot about those designers. You pick up all the clothes and schlep them to the photo shoot and you set them all up and you steam them and you work with the photographers and makeup artists.
“I’m creating looks. That’s the real-work of a stylist. The side of me that has the social media following that’s more glamorous. If having a fan base makes you a star then perhaps I am a star. If you look at my videos, I make them very simple and very honest; very authentic. My desire is to become as big as I possibly can and to reach as many people as I can. My end goal is I would like to speak to young teens and women in business. I’m dedicated to being a positive energy for everyone that follows me.”