A trip to the cinema cemented Shaylyn Gilheaney’s ambition to pursue a career in fashion after falling in love with the iconic film ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’ “I even got a fringe after I saw it,” she said, mimicking the hairstyle actress Anne Hathaway sported during the film.
Shaylyn (21) has just begun her final chapter in DCU as she enters her last semester studying communications. She chose to study communications instead of delving into an institute of design because she felt as though ‘the fashion industry valued experience in the form of a qualification and found that the communications course provided by DCU would allow her to pursue other avenues if she ever decided to branch into an industry other than fashion.’
Her first styling career blossomed following a talk she attended that was hosted by DCU’s Style Society. The society had arranged for industry professionals to come in and speak to students who had an interest in entering their field of work. One of Ireland’s most well-known stylists Justine King was one of the guest speakers that evening, “I was really impressed by her,” said Shaylyn. Following the talk Shaylyn anxiously approached Justine and asked could she help out on her next shoot, to which Justine was happy to oblige. “It all kind of snowballed from there,” said Shaylyn as she recalled her first experience working with the stylist.
Her first experience as an assistant stylist was on the set of Xposé from which she gained valuable knowledge of how the styling process was conducted. Impressed by her work ethic, Justine recommended Shaylyn to one of her friend’s and stylist Clementine MacNeice, who was in search for an assistant to help her out on the set of ‘The Voice’, Ireland.
Entering her second year of college and after securing an assistant stylist role with Clementine, Shaylyn was elated. Her mentor had worked on the set of The Voice for five years and was a perfectionist in style, “Clementine is such a professional nothing would go wrong under her eye,” said Shaylyn.
Shaylyn thrived in the fast-paced working environment that she had become accustomed too while working on The Voice, “There was a lot of people to dress especially during the battles which were shot over three days and there were about fifty-five contestants, which meant fifty-five different outfits”, she said. “A huge part of having a smooth run was organization and having every outfit for every person ready to go for the fitting, dress rehearsal and then the live show…. but I loved every minute of it and everyone that I worked with,” she continued.
Clementine contacted Shaylyn shortly after the wrap up of The Voice and asked would she assist her in styling an advertisement for Bacardi. Up until this point, Shaylyn had worked without pay but this project offered a wage which was an extra bonus for the young stylist. “Bacardi was really unique because, the shoot I did initially with Justine King was very high fashion and then The Voice was everyday kind of clothes whereas, Bacardi was more commercial, fun and simple clothes which was really interesting to see that there is another strand of the styling world, she said.”Shaylyn’s attention to detail, willingness to work and sense of style left Clementine eager to have her help out regardless of the project.
Now in her final year and degree focused Shaylyn didn’t expect to receive a call from Clementine in early January asking her to assist on RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Being a big fan of the glamour and nature of Strictly Come Dancing, Shaylyn jumped at the opportunity to get her foot on set of the Irish version of the dance show.
“All of the contestants are just so nice, they are just so genuine and down to earth, it’s a really good atmosphere there,” she said. Head stylist Clementine has the task of dressing Dancing with the Stars presenters, Amanda, Nicky and Blaithnaid, and although a glamorous business Shaylyn puts in grueling hours, but finds it more than rewarding assisting Clementine dress the judges. “Come Monday evening I am wrecked but I wouldn’t change it for the world”, she said.
As college draws to a close, Shaylyn looks to her future career in styling, “I’d love to be a head stylist on my own project someday”, she said. She is open to other vacancies surrounding fashion but to date she’s enjoyed styling the most and we’ve no doubt you’ll be seeing her name attached to the outfit on the front page of Vogue in a few years to come.
Image Credit: instagram/shaylyngilheaney