Stylist Hannah Grunden has a thing for pastels, sparkles and fluffy faux furs, but before you imagine her work as some sort of confectionary fantasy, she infuses her looks with leather, studs and skin so that things are decidedly more edgy than cute. Her anime-meets-the-90s aesthetic is frequently featured in editorials and music videos where her eye-catching ensembles underscore a playful, fun vibe. In addition to her on-set work, Grunden also likes to put pen to paper creating chic yet subversive illustrations.
We spoke to the London creative about her favorite shoots this past year, how Asian pop culture inspires her, and why she thinks now’s the best time to be a female entrepreneur.
How did you get your start as a fashion stylist?
Hannah Grunden: I started out interning for stylist Anna Trevelyan but at that time I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. I also had internships in fashion PR and design, but it wasn’t until I applied for an MA in fashion business and had an interview during which I was told my portfolio was more suited for styling that I actually considered it. They offered me a place on the styling course at LCF and I accepted it. It was then that I realized how much I loved styling! From the creative direction to casting to production I really loved doing all of it. After graduating I decided to start freelancing.
You style for a variety of projects — editorials, brands and videos — how do you approach each shoot?
It depends on the project and the client. With editorials, there is more room to show your creative vision so I always try to do something exciting and new. With videos and brand work, you usually have to work towards someone else’s concept, so it’s more about understanding their vision and working to their brief. It’s important to not compromise my style too much though, so I only tend to take on work that I believe in.
What were some of your favorite looks you styled this year?
Definitely Diana Veras for Aether Magazine it was great to work with a model/public figure who really believed in our concept and vision and was down with our vibe. The worst thing you can encounter is a model who hates your ideas. Diana was so into it!
I also had a great time working on Kero Kero Bonito’s “Forever Summer Holiday” video. They are a great band and their videos are always so much fun. They let me dress them in some crazy stuff for it and they rocked it.
What trends are you excited about for 2018?
I feel like I’m waiting for a new and exciting trend. I feel like I’ve explored all the current ones. Maybe I’ll need to start some this year!
What are you hoping to not see anymore?
I’m hoping to see less white girls getting lip injections and butt enlargements. In general the typical instagram fitness/beauty blogger/model look is so cringe and unnatural. I hate it!
I love your illustrations, they’re chic yet unconventional. What are your subjects and how would you describe your aesthetic?
Thank you! I draw inspiration from fashion imagery and fashion shows. My aim is for my illustrations to be chic but with an edge — I don’t want them to be too pretty or too weird, just to get that balance of cute and quirky. For example, I’m very inspired by Sailor Moon but also love the works of Francis Bacon. The cute/weird juxtaposition is my favourite!
I read that you like K-pop and Pokemon. How does Asian pop culture inspire you?
Yes! I’m half Korean and lived in Tokyo for a year when I was a child, so I’m quite inspired by it. I get really obsessed with characters and cartoons, but am also really into gaming and anything where different worlds exist. I love My Little Pony, Gudetama, Pokemon, and right now I’m really addicted to the Animal Crossing app and The Witcher 3.
You said that now’s an interesting time for women entrepreneurs. Can you tell me more about that?
I think we are still fighting the patriarchy, and sexism is still alive, so anything women can accomplish in those kind of environments (especially trans, gay, and women of colour) is a big deal.