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Joey Bevan: You Are What You Wear

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Sophie Elkan
“The best outfit you own is your birthday suit, so take care of it ”
JoeyBevanYAWYW PRESS SHOT BBC 1

Joey Bevan is an established fashion stylist and designer whose CV includes Saturday night behemoth, The X Factor and Britain’s Next Top Model Live. His celebrity client list is peppered with household names like Little Mix, Lady Gaga and Jessie J. In 2013 he was responsible for creating bespoke garments for the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace, and is now set to invade our living rooms on new makeover show, You Are What You Wear. Hosted by man-of-the-moment (and any moment, as far as I’m concerned) Rylan Clark-Neal, the show is set in a purpose-built store and promises insight, emotion, jaw-dropping do-overs and an abundance of personality from the five stylists who will taking on the challenge of making over the ‘customer’ contestants.

We chatted to Joey about fashion, styling, lockdown living and the importance of self-acceptance.

How did you get into styling?

It was actually by accident, I studied fashion and costume design at college and about 12 years ago I designed a collection which a stylist wanted to borrow for a magazine shoot. The day she was meant to pick up my collection I got a call from the photographer telling me she was sick and would I come and style the shoot, with a fee of course! I was like EASY, as it was my collection, and then that’s how it started. I got a credit in the magazine as a stylist and people just kept contacting me, it was a fluke – but an amazing fluke! 

What was it like working with the team on the show – were there any disagreements regarding which way to go with any of the looks? 

We all get on great. We are all so different, but together became a stronger unit. I’d love to be able to give you some drama hun, like we had a punch-up over belts but it was just good old fashioned get along gang! Of course, our tastes our different, so sometimes one of us would pipe up, but you’ll just have to wait and see!

What about the contestants?

The contestants I styled were awesome and very trusting. Of course they questioned my taste

sometimes, but you wait till you see their reactions – some emotional and some very funny! 

And what is your go-to item for an instant wardrobe update?

A classic white trainer – they go with everything! From jeans and a t-shirt to a dress to a full suit, they work. Update them each season with the must-have style, when they get old or dirty – give them a clean and you’re good to go.

I have to ask about the Coronation Festival. What an incredible achievement! What did it involve?

I designed and made all 35 outfits. The task was to work with the Royal Warrant Holders and recycle their products and materials to create one-off fashions. This is by far one of my favourite jobs I’ve ever done. I got to have the Queen watch my fashion show – then I got to meet the Queen! 

At present a lot of us have some extra time on our hands for a project, how can we best reorder our wardrobes?

The trick is looking at what is the most wearable and work around that. With fast fashion taking over everything, it’s becoming so easy to just buy more and more clothes. Keep it capsule – think about things that can be worn again and again with different combinations already within your wardrobe. I swap my clothes seasonally – so in autumn/winter my spring/summer clothes go into tubs, and vice versa. If an item can’t be worn with five different items in your wardrobe, send it to the charity shop! 

What are your top five essentials suitable for life under lockdown?

Sunglasses – a must for those lazy days lounging in the garden. We can’t get away on holiday and tinted glasses are in, so whilst we go through this, put on some rose-tinted glasses and listen to some John Lennon! 

Loungewear – whether you like to keep it chic or dress for comfort, this is a must! For me personally, I like a stylish lounge set – I shocked myself in the mirror recently when I saw I was wearing Star Wars pyjamas bottoms, Jurassic Park sweatshirt and Simpsons socks! 

A good skin care regime – Most of us have either grown-out hair or botched haircuts we inflicted on ourselves at the moment, so at least one thing we can be proud of is good skin. Being inside so much isn’t great on our skin, and the best outfit you own is your birthday suit, so take care of it. 

Make an effort at least three times a week – I know we are in lockdown, but as a member of the LGBTQ+ community (a community of style) I want to keep up the glamour!  

Active wear for active things – Active wear is not lounge wear, have some good clothes to keep up that daily exercise. I’m not saying we’re going to come out of here looking like Magic Mike, but keep up a routine to keep your body and mind healthy. (He says whilst eating a large slice of banana bread.)

No. 1 tip for looking professional on a video conference?

Think top half! Most companies are ok with being relaxed and smart/casual, but you can’t go wrong with a crisp white shirt and a v-neck jumper. All sexes, ages and sizes can wear this – keep it fresh by adding something fun, maybe a bow tie or a necklace. But keep to classic colours. 

Finally, it has to be said: you are something of a polymath. I know you also blog about food and are an activist for issues surrounding body-positivity, mental health and the LGBTQ+ community. Does this impact on your styling work? 

I think being a person from the LGBTQ+ community who has suffered with mental health issues, I have a responsibility to use fashion as a message. I work with many drag queens, LGBTQ+ celebs, models and creatives – I love to combine my other interests in my work. Fashion is art and can make a political statement. The food comes in handy for food styling projects but normally the best Joey food is when I bring treats for all the team! 

Fashion Stylist Joey Bevan, due to appear on BBC One’s You Are What You Wear in June

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