Small Town Stars – Aisling Kielthy.

Hey everyone, I’m chuffed that my first interview of Small Town Stars got such a positive reaction. I really appreciate the feedback from you all. This weeks post is for all you fashion lovers out there. Remember the name Aisling Kielthy. I reckon we’ll be hearing a lot more of her in the future.

I came across Aisling on Instagram (surprise surprise) well over a year ago and at the time I didn’t know who she was or where she was from but when I saw her, the song by RnB star Eve came to mind, ‘Who’s that girl? la la la la la la la…

I could see that some of my friends followed her already and I was eager to find out more about her. This girl oozes style and grace and her aesthetically pleasing instagram feed keeps me coming back for more. Her style (to me) is a mix of 90’s simplicity infused with desert influence and Aisling gets it right ALL.THE.TIME.

Aisling is from New Ross (YAY!) but now resides in Dubai where she is busy working in fashion styling and production. Her family still live in our lovely town and she frequently travels home to visit them. Over the past year I’ve got to know Aisling and her work continues to inspire and impress me and I’m thrilled that she’s agreed to take part in my Small Town Stars series.

You see, I had a dream once and it was to become a fashion stylist just like Aisling and another girl crush of mine ; Courtney Smith, but as of yet I haven’t fulfilled that dream, so I thought why not throw some questions at Aisling and maybe some young person reading this with the same dreams I had once, will be inspired to keep following that dream and succeed.

Here’s what Aisling had to say…

When did your love of fashion, interiors and art begin?

I think interest in the arts are something that you have inherently or you don’t. I was born into a family that were naturally gifted in that respect –  my father has always designed and worked for himself, photography was a family hobby, not to mention the house I grew up in was always tastefully decorated with one-of-a-kind vintage pieces and antiques. The environment you grow up and the people who surround you can have a major impact on what ultimately shapes you. 

Who or what inspires you and why?

Inspiration can come in many different shapes and forms. Travel is a main source of inspiration for me, as it is for most. Finding yourself in a random corner of the earth and seeing how starkly different people live is always an incredible thing to observe. The colours, flavours, gestures – it sparks something new each and every time. I just came back from Zanzibar recently and all I see in my mind when I think of there, is bursts of saturated colours and massive friendly smiles.

Aside from travel, I am lucky enough to work in an industry where I meet the best of the best from all walks of life. From directors, to directors of photography, to makeup artists, to technical crew – every single time I go to work I’m inspired by something or someone. I don’t think there’s many people who can say that about their work and I absolutely love what I do.

How would you describe your personal style?

My style changes depending on where I’m going or what I’m doing but I always try to keep some element that feels like ‘me’. It’s something I always think about lately when I get dressed and look in the mirror – I ask myself, “is this me?” – and if it’s not I won’t feel my best self. I truly believe clothing has the power to transform how you feel. I genuinely find it difficult to find those “me” outfits but I think everyone should think about it and make a conscious decision to be true to themselves. If It fails for me I always feel good when I wear something that’s a bit edgier – ripped black mom jeans, white t-shirt, white runners and gold jewelry. Not the most feminine but I definitely feel like me!

Do you follow trends?

I think we all follow trends to a certain extent. It’s difficult to avoid when it’s shoved in your face on social media! I try not to buy into too many trends unless I really like them myself. I wouldn’t buy into something just because society has deemed it “cool”. 

What’s your favourite fashion trend?

Although the shell jewelry trend has been in for awhile, I’m still a fan. As a beach-bum at heart, give me all the shells – this trend can stick around! I’m also loving small block heels – By Far is an Australian designer that kills this kitten heel trend. Also, white & beige linen any day! Not exactly a trend,but I am a big fan of Wandler bags at the moment, just waiting to get my hands on one!

What’s your favourite season for fashion and why?

Spring or Autumn for sure – Unfortunately we don’t really get those seasons in the Middle East but I love when you can wear jeans with a light blouse, or a short dress and boots. Here it’s hot hot hot for pretty much the whole year so you kind of just wear what’s comfortable. I always feel I can dress better when I go to Europe. And I don’t need to worry about dressing modestly when I go to a shopping mall!

What are your go to pieces in your wardrobe that you can’t live without ?

I recently bought a pair of Frame jeans that were on sale and honestly they are the best pair of denims I’ve ever worn. If you feel like investing in a pair that holds their shape and are extremely flattering – Frame is the answer. White runners of any kind – flatforms, Adidas, whatever – I wear them with everything. My peach Manu Atelier bag, my mum’s vintage green woven basket bag and my gold plated ring I bought in Bali. 

What are your thoughts on Irish style and especially Rossonians style?

This is a tougher one for me to answer. Of course there are lots of well dressed people and incredible Irish designers but I don’t think Irish people have their own iconic style. When I think of the French for example I think minimalism, effortless, chic. When I think of Australians I think feminine, beachy, florals. I think Ireland is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to style, same goes when I think of New Ross. 

How did you get into the fashion industry?

I was working in a full time job here in Dubai – it was my first ever full time corporate role and I lasted one year and knew it wasn’t for me, so I started building a fashion styling portfolio. I put myself out there, built up contacts and one thing led to another. Then I got represented by a few different Dubai based agencies who are a great help. They’ve got some major clients so they’ll always try to put me forward for work. Here it works in a way where you can be exclusive with an agency or freelance – I decided to freelance and work with all agencies as it gives me more opportunity to work on production jobs too, rather than just styling.

Describe your day to day work life?

This is an absolutely impossible question! Each and every day is completely different. I work with new people every time I go to work, new locations, new studios, new briefs. If I’m on a styling job it usually involves prep days. Whether this is fashion styling or prop styling for a TV commercial, I’m normally in the mall for 12 hours trying to scour and find items that fit the clients brief. It can sometimes be an impossible task to find things that need to be specific shades of color and certain fabrics but you just have to do your absolute best. When I work on production jobs, this is mostly office based during the pre-production phase. This can involve long long hours of castings, coordination, location recces, logistics etc etc. Shoot days on the other hand (when all the prep or pre-production is done) are INTENSE. It’s non-stop, hectic and there’s often a 5 AM call time! Sometimes if I’m lucky I’ll manage to sleep for 2 hours a night during filming. I always tell people that you really have to love this industry to do it, and I think everyone who works in it is super passionate about it – it can get tough! I’ve seen many tears along the way.

Can you see yourself coming back to Ireland to work and live?

All photos courtesy of Aisling Kielthy Instagram.

Honestly not right now. I absolutely love Ireland and I’m very proud to be Irish but I never saw myself living there. I’ve wanted to live abroad for as long as I can remember, and the minute I finished my degree, I left at 22. I’m a lover of the sun so that’s important for me, ideally I want to have the ocean nearby too. From a career perspective, what I do is quite niche and the industry in Ireland is small. Of course it’s not impossible but I think Sydney or LA might be on the cards for me after Dubai. Anyway, never say never – things change here so fast so I have no idea where I’ll end up – that’s the exciting part! New Ross will always be home though, I’m sitting here eating Kerrygold cheddar and Ballymaloe relish as we speak. You can take the girl out of Ireland and all that…

AISLING KIELTHY
PRODUCTION | CREATIVE DIRECTION | STYLING

PHONE: +971 55 5381144

Indeed you can take the girl out of Ireland but Aisling has proudly paved a way for small town fashionistas with a drive to experience everything this world has to offer. She’s a go getter is Aisling.
ps When Aisling is back home she’s planning a shopping trip in New Ross with a special mention of Lulu’s, Town & Country Mercantile and Amy Janes. I might just follow up with a special edit of her top picks for the season ahead!
Watch this space.
Aileen x

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