Trish Townsend’s signature style has made her the go-to stylist for the stars for more than 25 years. Recently, Trish has taken her many years of experience in the styling world and opened a boutique offering unique menswear and women’s accessories. Townsend Style is located in Brentwood on Town Center Way. Welcome, Trish!
Tell us about your journey from banking to celebrity stylist.
I was born with a need for fashion and was motivated into making excellent grades in high school by having a great pair of shoes dangled in front of me. In college, loaning my sorority sisters’ clothing or shopping with them, giving them perms (heck, it was the ’80s) and doing their makeup was such a thrill and a great way to spend quality time together. After college, getting a job in the banking industry as opposed to the fashion industry became one of the biggest blessings on my fashion journey. Having a healthy respect and understanding of money and how it works for you and your business is the gift that keeps on giving. Working in the music division of a bank was the first step into a relationship with the music industry and some of its players, and even fashion.
When I left the bank to embark on my fashion career at a lovely boutique in Nashville, I was approached by former music clients from the bank who wanted to know how I achieved MY look. Next thing you know, I am styling television shows and country singers, traveling to LA, NYC, Atlanta and Miami in order to get the perfect image for my many clients and trying my best to stay within a determined budget (banking skills kicking in). Back in the day, there was such a feeling of teamwork and encouragement with all involved and doing whatever it took to create the best looks and images for our artists. My transition from banking to being a stylist was incredibly natural. There was no industry standard, so I had to learn or create everything on my own, since it was so “ground floor” then. We were pioneering the celeb fashion terrain.
Tell us about the journey from celebrity stylist to owner of a men’s boutique.
I feel like the shop has added a sweeter taste to my styling. I love going to market and seeing what is coming six months from now to the malls and boutiques across America. It is much like going to fashion week in NYC and seeing the amazing and creative seasonal collections come to life on the catwalk. The best part is being able to take the skills I have spent 25 years honing and helping men and women come up with looks for their work and play. We even have girls’ night at the store and work on looks for husbands and boyfriends. Some men love to shop and some prefer and trust their significant other to handle it. No matter who is in charge of the shopping, I love to make it a fun experience.
Did you have a mentor early in your career?
Both of my grandmothers were very crafty ladies. My Nashville “Ganny” taught me how to sew (I am really good with a needle), and my Texas Grandma Jane taught me how to craft and be creatively resourceful, which comes in handy when styling music videos, commercials, etc. If something breaks or doesn’t work out like you thought it would, you can’t crumble. You have to rethink it and make something else even better happen. The show really must go on. We do not get many do-overs in styling. Preparation is key.
Can you share a memorable story from styling a celebrity client?
Being the football fan that I am, I will never forget the opportunity to style Carrie Underwood for the singing of the national anthem at Superbowl XLIV in Miami. After the anthem, I was escorted to my seat, which was three rows back on the 50-yard line … I was feet away from my football hero Peyton Manning. That was just insane!!! We did “Saturday Night Live” with him, but watching him in his element was unforgettable.
I also discovered I was a NASCAR fan when Blake Shelton asked me style him for a commercial/music video in Phoenix, AZ, at the racetrack. I had full access to some of the loudest, coolest racers, fans and cars ever! All of my senses were in overdrive. That one is like the best of my 11 years with Blake. He always makes it fun. I suppose that’s no surprise.
Which celebrity look are you most proud of and why?
I loved a look I did for Vince Gill for “the next big thing” music video in 2002. I put him in this turquoise-colored suit and amazing Italian shoes for the video, and the band had matching ties. It felt really pulled together and so bold for the time. He is always game to do fun and interesting looks. Vince loves fashion and understands it. Being creative is a part of who he is and what he does in all facets of the business. We have been working together for 20 years! He is one of the finest men I know.
What advice would you give someone who wants be a stylist?
Be careful what you wish for. This is no job for sissies or thin-skinned individuals.
What inspires your daily personal style?
My mood, the venue, the weather, others I will be around and how long I have to be in that particular style all play a role in what I choose for the day.
If you could vacation anywhere in the world where would you go?
I haven’t had a vacation in 17 years. I would be torn between Italy for the fashion or Africa for the animals.
What books are currently found on your nightstand or e-reader?
Are there any local events you are looking forward to attending in the next few months?
After spending more than 180 days a year on the road, I am happy to be home and figure out what it is like to plan to attend anything. So what IS coming up?
Name three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends.
My rescue border collie, Tiki Barbor. BEST FRIEND EVER! She saved my life. My Kindle, which saves my idle time. And wine and whiskey … just plain fun!
Thanks, Trish, for giving us insight into the busy world of a stylist! See more of Trish’s work over at her website, trishtownsend.com.
Today’s photos are by Heather Sisemore Photography
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