Mattie White is a recent BA (Hons) Hair and Make-up for Fashion alumna who has gone on to work with magazines such as CR fashion, Hunger and is also working as a 1st Assistant. Here she tells us what it was like studying make-up and how she finds it working in the fashion industry.
Why did you choose BA (Hons) Hair and Make-up for Fashion?
I applied on a whim to LCF as I was unsure if a degree in make-up was the right choice for me. However, I knew I wanted to go to university and get a degree and make-up was something I enjoyed so felt like it was the right choice when I was oﬀered a place to study at LCF.
What were you doing before you came to LCF?
I came to LCF straight after ﬁnishing my A-levels in Art, Media Studies and English literature.
I think for me, it was good to go straight into uni instead of taking a year out, I was really keen to start and learn something completely new.
What was the best bit about the course?
The tutors on the course were deﬁnitely my biggest inspiration and gave us honest and constructive advice on not only make-up application, but the industry and how it all works which looking back, was probably the most helpful part of the course.
How do you think the course helped prepare you to work in the industry?
We had a term of industry ‘preparation’ where we were required to make business cards, create a website and composite card, but to be honest the way prospective clients view your work is so diﬀerent to even ﬁve years ago. I think now, it’s important to consider your appearance on social media platforms and how you can interact and build contacts through that medium.
Did LCF provide useful industry links and have you gained any work as an outcome?
My course leader at the time deﬁnitely tried her best to connect us to industry and put us forward for work outside of studying. We also had a group industry project which was deﬁnitely good preparation for what was to come. As far as ‘work experience’ it’s a bit diﬃcult with make-up. We worked with stylists and photographers on diﬀerent courses, but within the university and I still work with some of them now, since graduating.
You’ve worked for well-known publications such as Hunger magazine, Schön and LCF’s Pigeons & Peacocks. What is it about editorial work that interests you?
I think editorial work allows you to have more creative freedom and it allows you to work with a variety of diﬀerent people who all have their own ideas. For me, I enjoy the collaborative process of creating an image/ story from everyone's input and seeing your ideas come together.
You worked at LFW and PFW 16/17 - how was that? And how does it diﬀer from creating looks for editorial or brand?
I personally love shows, there’s always an exciting atmosphere and a little pressure, which is how I like to work. I started assisting full time soon after graduating and it’s going really well. I work on editorials and shows. It’s very diﬀerent from doing your own work as you are required to execute someone else's brief. It’s still a collaborative process between the designer, make-up artists and hair, but as an assistant you almost come in from the outside and it’s your job on a show or a job to re-create a look. I’ve deﬁnitely learnt a lot from assisting and I think it’s a great way to develop your own style.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
My aesthetic is constantly developing at the moment, I’m still learning a lot about what I like and I think that’s a natural progression to take, when you ﬁrst start out. I do like to think of make-up as a mask when you transform someone into a diﬀerent character, that’s quite powerful and I’ve demonstrated this in my previous work with tattoo transfers on the face.
What is the best and worst thing about the job?
The best thing about working in fashion and in make-up speciﬁcally, is that for me, it doesn’t feel like a job. The industry itself is also fairly small so you see familiar faces, you get to make your ideas into something physical and work with friends and like-minded people who all want to make something beautiful and interesting. The worst thing is that you work as a freelancer, which has its own complications. I think to be successful you have to be willing to sacriﬁce a lot when you ﬁrst start out. Money is sporadic but it’s just a matter of staying on top of things and being organised.
How has the hair and make-up industry changed over the last decade and in what direction do you see it heading?
I always knew fashion wasn’t an easy industry to break into, but in recent years it has become extremely oversaturated. I think with the increase of social media platforms that allow a constant ﬂood of imagery to be viewed, has really changed how people react to fashion and editorial work. When you create a make-up look, you aim to create some kind of narrative but if that’s only going to be viewed by some people for a split second then your work almost loses value. I see the industry constantly evolving, as it has done for years. I’m sure there will be occasions in the future where models are also the hair and make-up team or vice versa. This is already happening with artists such as Isamaya Ffrench.