Tabitha Sanchez always wanted to become a fashion stylist, she just didn’t know what types of famous figures she would work with. The social media stylist now helps a new generation of stars, specifically TikTok creators, get dressed. Over the past few months, the 23-year-old has cultivated an impressive celebrity client list that includes some of the social media platform's biggest names. As the trajectory of her career veers into new territory, Sanchez has proven to be an innovative stylist for the 21st century.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Sanchez worked as an assistant in New York, bouncing from editorial photoshoots to celebrity styling gigs. When the health crisis put her work on hold, at first, she didn’t know what to do.
“I panicked,” Sanchez tells L’Officiel. “I was like, I’m never going to do my own styling work because it’s over… Forever.” In retrospect, she calls this reaction “dramatic”, but the pause gave Sanchez the time that she, like most, didn’t know they needed. Locked in her Brooklyn bedroom during quarantine, she did what many of us did: downloaded TikTok. After a few weeks of scrolling, Sanchez decided that the app was the direction she wanted to take.
Sanchez suggested to fellow industry members that they should reach out to these budding stars for styling opportunities. “Everyone should try and start styling these teenagers,” she told other assistants, as well as established stylists. “One of them is going to be the next Shawn Mendes... It's just a matter of getting in there before someone else does.” When no one took the bait, she decided to take her own advice and started cold emailing until she got a response.
From there, Sanchez moved to Los Angeles, and within one week of her arrival, she had booked work with TikTok heartthrob Chase Hudson, also known as @lilhuddy. After that, other TikTokers started reaching out, and Sanchez’s client list quickly grew.
The appeal of celebrity styling for Sanchez is the opportunity “[to build] a relationship and [grow] with one person,” as opposed to the rotating-door relationships created when working editorially. “I like the idea of having a client forever,” she says.
For Sanchez, creating content for social media is meaningful. She emphasises that often a “content shoot becomes almost like an editorial" for her and photographer @illumitati, a frequent collaborator. The most important thing to the stylist is the creative vision brought to the table. “I always want to work with everyone,” she says. “I still haven’t worked with Addison [Rae], whom I would love to style. But I don’t want to jinx anything.”
A lot of Sanchez’s work uses archival vintage clothing, which Sanchez tells us is her effort to do her part to try and shrink fashion's environmental impact, while still working in the industry. “I like vintage because it’s already there,” she says. “The fashion industry is one of the most wasteful on Earth. There’s enough clothes on the Earth as of right now [to last] lifetimes.”
The stylist finds most of her unique vintage pieces from the Lidow Archive, a source she calls thoroughly “underrated”, that was, until recently, located in the depths of a Brooklyn apartment. This past week, the archive relocated to LA, which is exciting for Sanchez on several layers — she is friends with Hailee Lidow, the archive’s curator, and can once again have the clothes within arms reach, rather than waiting for her pulls to arrive from New York.
Many of Sanchez’s clients are starting to branch out from TikTok, which she hopes to do as well. “TikTok styling is what got me to do my own work, but I want to do more,” Sanchez shares. Recently, she had the chance to work with Cameron Dallas in what she calls a “full circle moment”, as she remembers watching videos of the Internet star as a teenager.
Along with being on the pulse of up-and-coming stars, Sanchez is also tapped into what's next for fashion. A brand she currently has her eyes on? 0riens. According to Sanchez, this young brand has “popped off” in the past few months. “It’s so good,” Sanchez raves of the designs, which have been seen recently on the likes of Doja Cat, SZA and Rico Nasty.