Gia Seo is a visual artist from Alaska, based in New York City, a graduate from NYU’s Studio Art and Film program. Through the rise of a consumer market catered towards a very unforgiving niche, her work creates a social dialogue between the marriage of a luxury landscape and its debilitating effect.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I am a stylist at heart. Currently, I am the Editorial Content Director at Jeffrey New York, a luxury brand retailer owned by Nordstrom. I was born and raised in Alaska, and moved to New York six years ago to attend NYU as a film major. Although I studied more theory and concept based film, what really fueled my interest for fashion came from costume design in French New Wave films. While most students in my program were interning at various Film and Ad agencies, I was clamoring my way into Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, any fashion culture driven powerhouse that would take me.
How has living in New York City affected your work? The fashion industry in New York is one that can’t be experienced anywhere else in the world. The unending, fast-paced environment, the convoluted “it” seeking, autonomous industry. You have to be ready at all times, helmets on, in order to truly understand the direction designers and industries want to take you per season. New York is a hidden mecca of young, invigorating designers who all attribute and tune into how the industry is shifting, paradigm to paradigm. What has affected my work the most here are people telling me constantly what they dislike about the industry. My work thrives from criticism, and I learn from the mistakes I see happen in front of me. Although, I must admit, sometimes those “mistakes” are what make the industry so full of life.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? The wholesale district here in NYC is currently influencing all aspects of my styling work. One thing that startles me the most about the fashion industry in New York is how most people are so luxury/designer driven. And I can understand that to some level. But, great content doesn’t necessarily mean SS16 Miu Miu, head-to-toe. Great content means figuring out a way to have the few stand-out concepts overlay with the weird, rejected ones through continuous trial and error.
Favorite pizza topping? Pineapple and jalapeño.
How did your interest in your work begin? Attending film school and becoming fascinated with French New Wave films.
If you could go back in time and experience one day in history, which day would that be? The birth of Christian Dior.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? If the viewer is scoffing at my work, that’s good enough for me. I want a visceral reaction always. I don’t care if they hate it or love it as long as they feel some sort of way about it. If they can follow that up with a one sentence description as to why, that’s a plus.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? For me, I cannot take credit for all of my successes and endeavors without the support of my family. Wherever they are, will always be my favorite city.
What are you really excited about right now? I am excited to be 24, living in New York City! My parents didn’t get this opportunity when they were my age and they are always reminding me that no matter what, I should appreciate the time I live in.
What do you collect? Collect… would be the understatement of the century. I am a low-key hoarder. I have a very difficult time parting with anything. Recently, I have started a small, self-sustaining project where I am trying to archive via polaroids, every article of clothing, shoes, accessories I have accumulated, so when I do give away or sell something, I will always have the memorabilia to show to my children.
What was the last lie you told? When my roommate used my kitchen spatula to clean our cat litter, I told him we all make mistakes. But inside, I knew, who would make a mistake like that???
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? I recently styled a shoot with a few of my friends who are also breaking into the industry. The hairstylist, who I hold dear to my heart, asked me something that perhaps most people have heard before. He said, “I like what I’m seeing here, but have you ever figured out other ways to layer?” And although he was referring to one very specific thing, it made me take that question and apply it to EVERYTHING going forward. “Have I ever figured out other ways…” has become my new mantra, and all thanks to one person who knew I could curate a different vision from the one I was currently stuck in. If you read this, thank you!