Volkgaze: Allysha Nila and Her Perspective About Fashion

Shares her experience for working in these particular creative fields.
Volkgaze Allysha Nila
Photo by Allysha Nila

Allysha Nila is a stylist, writer, and contributing editor with all faith for her work. She has a unique character when it comes to her styling and steals a lot of attention because of her unusual arrangements. No surprise there, because she has a principle ‘to experiment on how beauty can be achieved with the peculiar’. She has also written plentiful observations from all aspects of fashion, analysed through cultural, social, even political and economic lenses.

She started styling almost 6 years ago, right before graduating from LASALLE College of the Arts Singapore. Though, she’s only been styling full time since 2020, after she spent 3 years working in an entirely different field — in an office at that. She is now self-employed and works on interdisciplinary projects, juggling multiple roles including creative and art director, choreographer, and writer for publications and exhibitions. Her previous clients have included Mondial, Nike, Atmos, Oppo, Litti, Hi Jack Sandals, Luxcrime. She has styled Angel Pieters, Eva Celia, Sophia Latjuba, Tara Basro, and also Afgan, among many others. Aren’t you impressed?

To find out more about Allysha Nila, check out our chit-chat here:

Hi kak Allysha, could you explain to us who Allysha Nila is?

I’m a stylist and writer, but I prefer to be called a stylist.

You are a specialist in fashion styling. How do you define fashion?

Fashion is basically human behavior reflected through clothing that’s a result of cultures moving through time.

How did you start your career in writing?

For me it’s hard to consider that I even have a career in writing, but I do think it’s my original means of creating. When you start out it’s very hard to get resources together — and I didn’t really know anyone. Not to mention I was very shy, but I was really passionate. So I thought the easier way to create a portfolio and to really show I was interested in fashion was to synthesize my thoughts, my (then limited) knowledge. Talk is literally cheap in that sense… At the time when I started, I thought getting together with people, clothes require the right connection and funding to create a body of work you can show people. Even though now I’ve learned to be more resourceful and less dependent, I’m glad I started that way.

Source : allyshanila.com

Can you tell your story of being a stylist who worked in a company and a big brand until you became self-employed?

I have never been employed by a big brand or a big company, but I did work for L’Officiel Singapore. The team was really small — so that’s a lot of work, but you learn everything from A to Z and not to mention enjoy some privileges of working with an international title. There’s a lot of access and opportunities to meet and interview all sorts of people.

You juggle multiple roles, being a stylist, a writer and also a contributing editor at Vulture Magazine. How do you balance multiple jobs at the same time?

It’s not easy but I’m learning to manage time and delegate. I’m thankful that I have resources now and have a flexible team that I can trust to make decisions. Plus you have to realise many people have to work several jobs these days because our living conditions are precarious, you need multiple sources of income.

When you work in this industry, you have a lot of different modes: for commercial it’s fulfilling briefs and in most cases you don’t test out your ideas there, because a lot of money is at stake. Then it becomes clockwork — and while it sharpens your mind logistically, constantly doing things just to get things done can dull your ability to experiment. So I always take any opportunity to be creative in order to better my work, and also build a good workflow.

You also work a lot with well-known publications, kalau boleh tau secara mendalam apa aja sih kak yang di kerjain?

Well, it’s different and depends on the magazine. My role as a contributing editor at Vulture is not limited to just writing things myself. My fellow editors work on a macro scale, and create ideas, and commission other people — most of whom I feel is better to achieve the vision we have. In that sense we have a more architectural role.Some magazines, like Harper’s Bazaar, I frequently write for, and usually I do thinkpieces that usually tie in with the month’s issue theme. Let’s say it’s for music, then I make connections between industries, in a way that’s the most relevant of the time and resonates with me strongly.

How is a day in your life as a stylist/writer/contributing editor?

Usually, I wake up and get ready for the day, I think about what I have to do and make a list, and then do some work. I live on Google Docs and make decks. I usually am in touch with my team of assistants, but what I do the most is conceptualising and communicating with agencies, photographers and clients. It’s a pretty intensive process. When it comes to shoots, I’m busy trying to put things together — sometimes I source items myself, sometimes it’s mostly my team. In the studio I’d say I work more like an art director, because I always want to make sure the overall vision is being realised and achieved.

Thankfully I live a very simple, reclusive life, and I consider my work essential to my expression. It’s a privilege to have my own time, a flexible working structure, and being able to work from home most of the time — especially during the pandemic.

What is your approach/creative process like when it comes to styling and writing?

It’s a symbiosis with your life: what is going through your mind, what emotions are you feeling, what sort of connections are you having, what you surround yourself with. I think most of the ideas I work with arise from having conversations with the photographer, especially when we are friends, we talk about the most random of things. I think when you’re always curious, you keep your eyes open and therefore are more receptive to new things.

Personally, I like to start with things that you find in nature, which may sound funny because people assume I’m such a city girl but I really love the science behind everything that happens. I think my best shoots begin from there and we try to see how far we can go. I’m a self-professed nerd, and I do everything I need to be able to dissect and study images — I’m lucky I read Sontag and Berger when I was at school. Being creative is a neverending learning process.

Source : allyshanila.com

How has Allysha Nila as a stylist evolved throughout the years?

I have a better workflow from having more experience, and now I know just how hard I need to work to where I want to go. I think the biggest difference is being able to allocate my energy working. I would debate the most trivial of things with a lot of passion, and fight. It’s not great because it causes tension and misunderstanding, but in the long run it’s advantageous that I have some form of integrity in me. I think over time, people can respect me standing my ground because at the end of the day I have everyone’s best interest. I’m still trying to get it right.

Where do you find references for your work? Role model on fashion or could be song/film?

Everywhere and everything. Seriously. I think people shouldn’t run out of ideas or limit where they cite. What makes your creativity dull I think is really the exhaustion of working all the time, which I can understand why when you’re trying to survive. I think I rely on my memory a lot, like what I liked as a child, the places and environments I was familiar with.

Fashion-wise, I think my mother influenced a lot of my style choices because she has a lot of idiosyncrasies. So growing up I was lucky to have picked up on everything she experimented with. She really introduced me to John Galliano and I love Dior during his era — and then I saw Martin Margiela and what he was doing at Hermès and his own label. I think with fashion I was always really intimidated by the persona, so I really resonated with his anonymity celebrated.

What do you like to do during your work breaks?

I like to take a walk, I watch a crazy lot of Youtube videos and British TV game shows, and mostly I hang out with my best friends — they drive around town aimlessly. I love it. Like I said, I keep my private life very close and small so I can manage. My friend got me into archery so we do it almost every Sunday, and I’m continuing pottery every other week. Last time I went on a holiday was two months ago, and I spent a lot of time just being at the beach, going up mountains, visiting temples, and doing nothing! Feels really good sometimes to just do nothing. We need to!

What is the best part of working as Allysha Nila?

Just having new experiences almost everyday. I’m not the kind of person who talks much but I do observe people and appreciate what I see in most cases. I’m fascinated by just how different people really are and we all can come together to do something and I feel lucky to even be a part of something. You learn about life and start to see more for yourself.

What are your upcoming projects?

I think I have a lot going on but it’s nothing I can talk about right now — I can’t reveal what my collaborators and clients have in store and I don’t wanna jinx anything I haven’t confirmed!

To wrap it up, any last words for the people who might wanna follow your footsteps?

Just keep an open mind, do your research, talk to people, be genuinely interested, and be helpful when you can. Remember that you’ll always learn. And I’d also say mind your own business and have your priorities straight!

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