I admire a person who can create and transform the aesthetic appeal of a scene with some clever styling, so when I came across Tamara Cincik, the high profile stylist with a conscience, I couldn’t resist getting to know her. We met up at the Botanical Fine-dining restaurant Saf to talk about style, social change and her regular gardening escapes to her North London allotment.
“Am I really a rebel?” Tamara asks. Yes, is the short answer. We spent a couple of hours together chewing over all sorts of social issues and Tamara is clearly an independent thinker who likes to act on her beliefs (the true meaning of rebel). I discover she’s a vegan, an active supporter of Afghanaid, and has recently been appointed Faculty Style Expert at The School Of Life. Who knows what I’d uncover if I enjoyed more time with her. In the meanwhile, this is Tamara Cincik’s story.
Having graduated from UCL with a BA Honours degree in English Literature, Tamara fell in love and found herself on “one of those mad journeys” hanging out in Goa. Then she got a call from her mother. Back home in the UK, she had the opportunity to become a fashion stylist’s assistant.
Over the coming years, she found herself working for the leading fashion editors of the time… Debbi Mason, Anna Cockburn, Venetia Scott, Cathy Casterine, Monica Dolfini, David Bradshaw and Marcus Von Ackermann to name a few. “It was an exciting time to be in the industry, as the world looked to English magazines for style ideas. But the industry has changed a lot. There were only four or five stylists working back to back in those days. Nowadays, everyone wants to be a stylist or work in the media.”
Even so, and not wanting to bite the hand that feeds her (Tamara still gets regular mainstream styling commissions), this conscientious stylist is now looking to work with more ethical labels. Already she has styled shows for Noki, a notoriously left-field avant-gardist designer with a conscience as well as for Bora Aksu who is working with People Tree on an exclusive capsule collection.
Who are your favourite ethical labels? “Rani Jones excites me the most!”. This line of inquiry however leads us to a somewhat sad, albeit correct conclusion: There are not enough exciting ethical fashion brands in existence. According to Tamara “There’s a style gap. Unless we showcase a larger and more diverse range of styles, ethical fashion won’t take off.” Where is the fashion industry right now on this eco issue? Tamara is emphatic “It’s a timebomb ready to go off”. We find ourselves pondering on what this shift may look like and how to induce such a huge shift in the first place…
So why does all this matter so much to Tamara? “I’ve always had a strong connection with the earth. I suppose that’s why I enjoy my allotment so much. Last weekend I pulled up some turnips and picked some cabbage for my roast dinner. It doesn’t get much better than that!”.
As our conversation moves forward, I find one element troubling me. Are the current ethical design labels willing, or able, to take on talented people like Tamara to show off their work? With tiny or non-existent marketing budgets, I mostly feel the ethical niche of the fashion industry will not, or can not, do so. Yet unless eco labels show off their work with the skillful aesthetic and mood that a skilled stylist like Tamara can achieve, will ethical style ever catch the imagination of the fashionable masses?
Time will tell.
To find out more about Tamara, visitTamaraCincik.com to view her stylist portfolio, read her blog and much more.