Name: Katya Moorman
Job Titles: Creative Director of styledefinednyc.com / Partner in the studio StyleDefined NYC
College/Major: BA in Liberal Arts with an emphasis on dance and literature at SUNY Purchase / MFA in 2D Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art
Websites: www.styledefinednyc.com and www.styledefinedstudio.com
Twitter Handle: @katya_nyc
Her Campus: What does your current job entail?
Katya Moorman: Well, I sort of have two jobs at the moment. The first is as the creator of StyleDefinedNYC.com. I started this four years ago as a street style blog focused on downtown New York City. Since then it has expanded to include nightlife, interviews and — my favorite part — profiles with emerging designers in New York City.
I’ve [also] recently launched StyleDefined NYC – the Studio with my partner Karen Dunn. Through this we do photography work as well as style animations and video.
HC: Is there such a thing as a typical day?
KM: No, and that’s something I love about my work! Some days I might be behind the computer editing photos, another day I’m contacting recent design graduates about being featured on the site, or out at a fashion event shooting street style.
HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
KM: In a way, starting the site was my entry-level job in this field. I have a graphic design and video background and worked as a graphic designer for several years, but starting the blog was entirely new and simply something I wanted to do. I had no idea how it would transform my life, but I love it. Although, in general, all of my jobs I’ve found through referrals or introductions: Never through responding to ads.
HC: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
KM: Well, maybe not changed my life, but someone I’m inspired by is Tom Ford. I once read in an interview that after he stopped designing what he missed wasn’t the designing so much as being “an arbiter of taste” through the Gucci ads and how they told stories. This has stayed with me. When I decide to feature someone or a certain look in a photo I always approach it as being an arbiter of taste, which — I think — has made my work stronger.
HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
KM: I keep the well-known quote from Aristotle in the back of my head: “Excellence is not an act, it’s a habit.” It reminds me that the day-to-day is what brings progress, not one specific event. I also like “Fail. Fail again. Fail better.” I can’t remember who said that, but it reminds me to take risks, not take myself too seriously, and hopefully learn from my mistakes.
HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
KM: I’ve made the same mistake twice and hopefully have finally learned from it. Once when I was a designer applying for a promotion and also when I was applying to graduate school. In both instances I had to submit samples of my work. I am confident and always thought the quality of my work would speak for itself. In both instances I didn’t take enough time and care in the presentation of the material. I printed out images of an online design too small and wrote down the link assuming that they would go look online (they did not). In both cases I was rejected and was told afterwards that a large part was the presentation of my work, not the work itself. You would think I would have learned after this happened once, but it took me two times to finally get the message!
HC: What is the best part of your job?
KM: The variety of what I get to do and the opportunity to create an aesthetic through photography and animations.
HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
KM: I hire interns every fashion season to attend shows during New York Fashion Week. Energy, intelligence, and a positive attitude are all important. But what I’ve found the most important is that they really get that they’re representing StyleDefined NYC and are excited about it. I understand that many have their own aspirations in the fashion world, but once I had a girl with me who was much more interested in telling everyone about her jewelry designs instead of promoting StyleDefined NYC. She was gone after a day!
HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
KM: There’s the typical advice: work hard, make good contacts, etc. But if you’re really interested in doing anything in the fashion world my advice would be don’t be catty. It’s so easy to get snarky with your peers; real leaders and those who rise above are almost always nice. Being judgmental might be fun sometimes, but ultimately it breeds insecurity. You’ll always seem more confident if you don’t engage.