07 April, 2018 Old Michaelians

Style in spades — Jack Austin (OM 2010)

Jack Austin (OM 2010) has progressed rapidly after graduating from St Michael’s. As his website states, he offers his clients ‘full-service wardrobe styling from editorial to red carpet looks, serving determined fashionistas to the up-and-coming young Hollywood.’ He discusses his rapidly expanding career in the fashion industry, his new home in LA, and how his time at St Michael’s fuelled his ambitions.

Jack has always been drawn to the contours of fashion. ‘What attracts me to the fashion industry is the way you’re able to express yourself through fashion,’ he says. ‘Whether it’s your mood or your state of mind, your style is like an art form and your body is the canvas. Fashion is like a personality – every day you’re able to wake up and decide how it determines your body language.’

Style in spades — Jack Austin (OM 2010)

Although the transition to a new country would have daunted many, Jack fully embraced the move. ‘I was able to surround myself with great friends and family, and knew I wanted to live here,’ he says. ‘Moving wasn’t the challenge – it was driving on the other side of the road. Moving to the US was a lot more work that I thought, but getting early acceptance to one of the top fashion schools in the states was really beneficial.’

The unique environment of the city suits Jack down to the ground. ‘What I love about LA, is that it’s summer all year long,’ he observes. ‘I also like the fact that it’s the land of possibility – you know you can be whoever you want to be, and people embrace it. I don’t like having to travel 45 minutes to go to a decent beach, so I really miss the Australian waters.’

As Jack’s location has shifted, his work has developed with it. ‘My style has changed with my personality,’ he says. ‘It was quite “preppy” when I first got to LA, with lots of blazers and suspenders. That changed over the years – these days, my go-to piece is a motorbike jacket. I like wearing pieces that give me confidence.’

Although being in fashion requires a finger on the pulse, Jack hasn’t been daunted by the challenge.

Keeping up with fashion trends isn’t difficult thing for me, as fashion is what I live for, I get my ideas from watching TV shows and reading every fashion magazine. Instagram’s also really helped, because you can search anything at the drop of a hat.Jack Austin (OM 2010)
While some people have a distorted idea about what fashion stylists do, Jack is quick to dispel illusions. ‘Being a fashion stylist is not all about putting pretty clothes together,’ he clarifies. ‘First, you talk with the photographer and see what you want to do. I usually create mood boards so I can make sure the look of the shoot is “true”. That’s the easy part. Afterwards, I have to go through my contacts and think: “Which designers will lend me clothes? Who will help the look come to life?”’The fashion industry is dramatic by nature, and Jack’s experienced his fair share. ‘Some of the most memorable moments were right at the beginning when I realised this is what I want to do for the rest of my life,’ he says. ‘I remember styling for LA’s first marriage equality magazine and seeing people reading it in coffee shops. I’ve also worked with celebrities I grew up with, like Ashley Tisdale. I’ve often had to pinch myself because I couldn’t believe this was my life!’Every career has its foundation, and Jack’s time at St Michael’s was solid preparation for the future. ‘Being part of such a diverse school was a great experience for me,’ he reflects. ‘I was exposed to many great people with varying fashion styles, which helped make my love of fashion stronger.’Jack decided on a focus early. ‘In high school, I decided that my true calling was to be a part of the fashion industry and decided that I wanted to move to LA for the next stage of life,’ he recalls. ‘At St Michael’s, I learned to believe in what I wanted to do and ignore the people that didn’t understand my dreams.’Jack’s comprehensive education reflects his unique interests. ‘I attended LA’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), obtaining an Associate of Arts degree in Merchandise Product Development. And thanks to my dad, who wanted the best education for me, I recently returned to FIDM to obtain my Bachelor of Science in Business Management.’

He’s not about to relent on the pace, either. ‘You could say my life is intense at the moment,’ he confirms. ‘I’m styling for magazines … then I have to make it for my 3:00 Accounting class.’

Early success hasn’t dampened Jack’s enthusiasm. ‘I’d love to style celebrities all over the world, and discuss the latest trends on talk shows,’ he says. ‘I’d even love to have my own fashion line one day.’

For someone of Jack’s level of ambition, that day is sure to arrive soon.