Expatriates: Meet An Aspiring Fashion Stylist Lotta Luolamo in Los Angeles

Lotta Luolamo is a freelance fashion stylist in the city of angels – Los Angeles – from Finland. We were delighted when she agreed to complete a full in-depth interview with us. Read on to discover, amongst other things, which fashion designers Lotta is inspired by, what she’s hoping to achieve over the next 12 months and what she does to relax. www.lottaluolamo.com

What are you currently working on?

At the moment I’m having my first week off in forever. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on shoots with Chris Brown (yes, the one with Rihanna), including his album packaging shoot. I’ve also worked my new client, up and coming artist J Randy and last week I also did a photo shoot with Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat.

How have the last 12 months been for you?

The last 12 months have proved to me that hard work really pays of. I graduated from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in December 2012 and got hired immediately to work as a assisting stylist for Mozie Campbell Inc. I’ve also done freelancing, both as a stylist and a set designer. Basically I’ve been on sets of TV-shows, commercials, photo shoots and music videos trying to gain as much experience and inspiration as I can.

What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is obviously a part of our appearance and our appearance is a part of who we are – a way of expressing ourselves. Fashion brings out personality, it’s a statement. The main thing is to feel comfortable in what you are wearing from clothes to accessories. I believe if you are comfortable with what you are wearing your personality and self esteem will get a boost.

Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?

Alexander Wang has been my inspiration since the beginning of his career. He’s daring and simple at the same time which to me is a appealing combo. At this moment I’m also obsessed with Dries Van Noten and his colors and prints. My fashion icon is Rihanna, just because she has this crazy ability to change from romantic and flowy feminine looks to these urban and even masculine looks and still always look like her self and represent what she is. She always looks like she is comfortable in what she is wearing.

What was the first thing you ever designed? How does one think about becoming a stylist in Finland..

I never really designed anything. Unless you want to hear all about my school projects from designing a bag to designing a window display. Other than school I have no own designs.
To be honest I wouldn’t want to work as a stylist in Finland. I mean I would love to work there every now and then on interesting projects for sure, but living in Finland and trying to support yourself by styling might be a challenge since it is such a small country. LA is probably the best place to be for an aspiring stylist.

Where do you get your inspiration? Who and what inspires you?

I get my inspiration from every where, literally. It can be someone or something on the street, nature or a magazine I read. Of course these days it’s incredibly easy to find inspiration online with all the blogs and online publications. But the unexpected inspirations come everyday where ever I go – and will be captured on my iphone. It can be a quote, an outfit, a picture or a song.. Anything can inspire me and spark an idea.

How would you define your personal style
 vs. how would you define the style your work exemplifies?

I dress according to how I feel or what the atmosphere is like. I can go from sweatpants to a dress in 10 seconds. Whatever goes with the mood I have or the surroundings I’m in, from floral jumpers to boyish baggy jeans and snapback hats. My work actually is pretty much the same.. whatever the client needs and wants I’ll get, and what ever the atmosphere of the shoot is I’ll create. It’s all about feeling out the people and the surroundings.

Where are you based?

I’m now based in LA but will hopefully travel where ever my work takes me. I’m not tied to staying in LA even though my home is here right now.

What’s it like being where you’re from?

The contrast between Finland, where I’m from, and LA is huge. Everything from the weather to how people interact is quite different in Finland. It’s cold most of the year and the people may not be as outgoing as in LA but I have a huge respect towards my homeland and the toughness and integrity it taught me.

How would you define your current city’s (LA) fashion?

LAs fashion is kind of hard to define, or try to summarize since LA has everything. That’s what I love about LA. There’s everything from Hollywood glamour and red carpets to street wear and urban clothing, from the Sunset strip rocker style to the Downtown artsy hipster scene. You can be who ever you want to LA and dress everyday according to exactly how you feel – no restrictions.

What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

Highlight of my career by far was definitely getting hired by Ugo Mozie and Daver Campbell, the amazing team Mozie Campbell Inc. They’ve been great mentors and a true inspiration to me. Also getting my first own client, J Randy a couple of months ago was an achievement I’ll cherish and continue working hard on.

What are you hoping to achieve over the next 12 months?

I’m now working to get my O1 visa to be able to work both Europe and here in the States. After that I just want to concentrate on working as much as I can and continue living a dream I’ve already achieved.

What do you do to relax?

Hike at Griffith park! Or drive down to Malibu and breath the fresh air – simple things.

Where would your favorite holiday (vacation) be and why?

I love the Caribbean islands. I’ve been to Curacao and Barbados already so I’d probably go to a new one..

What songs are you listening to at the moment?

Cody Chesnutt – ‘Til I met Thee
Daft Punk – Give Life Back To Music
Police – Walking on the moon

Do you have interesting hobbies?

I do have hobbies but they’re not that interesting. My hobbies are my relaxation so hiking, like mentioned before, going to the beach for a run or surf (I’m horrible at it). I would say music too but it’s more of a daily routine than a hobby. I love to learn about new artists and genres.

Any advice for other aspiring European stylists?

Network! That’s all I can say. It’s so important to know the right people and make yourself available for as many projects as you can! Don’t sit around waiting for IT to happen.

Lotta Luolamo’s Website: www.lottaluolamo.com
Twitter: l_otta
Instagram: l_otta

Kaisa’s note: given how Finland is, this is really not the most typical profession for anyone. I am really impressed what Lotta has accomplished and hope she can get her visa sorted out. I also agree with her what is great about Finland..integrity is something you expect other people to have. It is given. It is also dangerous in the sense that many Finns – including myself – may get unlucky trusting people way too easily. We tend to have a lot of trust especially in other women..the two biggest disappointment in my life have been women who turned out too be totally fraudulent. I would never have guessed that – ever! In LA Lotta has probably started learning not to believe that people are what or who they say they are..or do what they say they do.