Stööki styled by... Cătălina Negara
- Hi! Please can you introduce yourself?
Hi everyone, my name is Catalina Negara, I'm a 27-year-old creative, born and raised in a small, beautiful country called Moldova. I had the most amazing years there; it was fun and crazy, but a good time wasn't enough for me to actually stay in Moldova and study; that's why I enrolled on a Fashion course in Bucharest. I loved it and hated it at the same time. It was a new experience being far away from home, but on the opposite, I was struggling with the idea that I was studying fashion in a country that doesn't have to do much with the fashion world. The day after I presented my first capsule collection at a fashion show, I flew to London for the very first time to visit my parents, which was about seven years ago. I was here visiting for a week. The first night, my dad took me to Tower Bridge, and I was amazed at how grand it was, the lights; the river; I fell in love. London felt so different to what I was used to seeing back home.
This city had sparked my interest in a heartbeat. So I decided that If I found a job in a week, I would stay here, and this is what I did. I have started working as an assistant florist for weddings across Central London. It was supposed to be a job that would get me up on my feet. Seven years later, I'm a senior florist designer in an amazing Japanese Flower Market in Selfridges. I gained a new passion for flowers since the day I started working, and I'm grateful for the people I got to meet along the way.
Apparently, it's not that easy to summarise a lifetime of events in only a few sentences; I guess this question was the most challenging one.
- How did you get into fashion styling?
When I moved to London, I tried to find a job in the Fashion industry, and it didn't go well for me, especially since my English was limited at that time.
So, I took styling as a hobby at the beginning. Whenever I had free time, I would organise photoshoots with my friends and colleagues, and it was really enjoyable. I guess one thing led to another, and I started styling for diverse magazines and commercials. Most of the time, it's collaborative work, so I'm not making any money from it. I just really enjoy doing it, especially when I create the main pieces of the outfits.
- Who are some of your main fashion inspirations?
I guess my fashion inspirations come from people, architecture, photography and anything that radiates beauty. I've never followed a specific style or trend, which makes it hard for me to choose a particular figure to follow for their fashion style. Virgil Abloh was the designer I was looking up to; his refreshing ideas about the culture always fascinated me. Anything can challenge my fashion inspiration: flowers, colours, structures and, most often, just random people on the street.
- Tell us about your favourite pieces you wore today when putting together your look?
Once I selected the Stööki pieces for the shoot, I knew I wanted to go for a casual look: jeans, a white t-shirt, and accessories that wouldn't take away the attention from the beauty of the jewellery. My favourite piece was the blue shirt; It had been lying in my dad's wardrobe for over ten years; I had fun playing a little bit with its shape and details. Also I thought the glasses were quite cool :) .
- How was it working with Chris the photographer?
Chris is a friend of mine with whom I've been collaborating for over two years now. He's currently studying fashion Photography. We've worked together since his first uni project, and I've seen him grow substantially. It's always fun to experiment with different styles with him, we're always on the same wavelength, which makes it very easy for us to work as a team. The photos were taken in literally 10 minutes; he definitely has a good eye for capturing the right moment.
- What do you enjoy most about being a stylist?
When I work on putting together an outfit for a photoshoot, it always starts with who's the model, what's their fashion style, and personality. I like taking them out of their comfort zone, something that they would never think of wearing. I enjoy seeing my models feel confident and empowered by the looks I put together. The most fulfilling moment is seeing the end results, and they're usually not what we're always expecting; sometimes they're much better.
- How would you describe your fashion style?
It always depends on the mood. I usually go for something creative and chic. I like wearing at least one piece that catches the attention, something unique. I don't follow a specific style; it changed many times depending on the influences I had on my own journey. I believe one's style is dictated by one's identity, and as human beings, we're always evolving and experimenting.
- What do you enjoy most about Art Direction?
Art direction has always been a career path I was thinking of taking. Working on my own projects made me realise I really enjoy creating a new world that can be captured by the camera, either photography or storytelling through video format. It's about the freedom to let the imagination and creativity tell a story.
- Which fashion icon would be a dream for you to style?
That's a weird one for me because every time I think of who I would dream of styling, they are not already established fashion icons; it's the people who inspired and nurtured my self-growth, those who influenced my story and personality, artists whose work moved me. I actually have a list of those people on my phone, and I keep adding someone from time to time. A few of them are: Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, Andrew Huberman, Tonny Robbins, Elon Musk, Lex Fridman, Tom Misch, Celeste, Marina Abramovic, and many others. For me, styling is about the connection I get to have with the people I work.
- What are your goals for 2023/24?
I'm currently a student in my third year of university, and my main focus is to graduate successfully. The main project I'm working on is fashion-related, to be more specific, I'll be looking into the psychology of physical appearance and how it impacts self-esteem and identity. It's a research-based project that would have a creative outcome in the form of photography and video storytelling at the end of the year. Besides that, I'm planning to travel and discover places I haven't visited yet.
- Describe your ideal day off?
The ideal day off is a Sunday; it's always a sunny Sunday. Waking up at 8am, staying in bed a little longer for some warm cuddles with the person I love. A refreshing shower, followed by a meditation session. Exercise for a bit or maybe yoga. I love cooking breakfast; an avocado toast with a glass of fresh orange juice would make it perfect, a nice bouquet of flowers on the table. Put on a nice comfortable outfit and go out for a walk. Meeting my friends and family to play table tennis in a park, wouldn't mind losing for once :).
Come back to my cosy home and cook a dinner for two, with a glass of Pinot Grigio and some jazz. Watch a movie and fall asleep with no regrets for the day.
- What song can’t you get out of your head?
Back on 74 - Jungle. Whenever I listen to Jungle's music, especially their songs from the album Volcano, I can't help but dance like one of their backup dancers.
- What’s your favourite art gallery to visit in London?
Tate Modern is the art Gallery that always inspires my creativity, challenging me to push my boundaries. Among the masterpieces on display, "Quipu Womb," by poet and artist Cecilia Vicuña, stands out as a true inspiration - a 'poem in space.'
- What do you like about Stööki jewellery and the Stööki Movement?
What stands out to me about Stööki is their commitment to the fusion of Art, Music, and Fashion through the elements of sound and vision. This approach not only blurs the lines between different forms of artistic expression but also creates a unique and immersive experience for their audience. Stööki's themed, hand-crafted jewellery collections are a testament to their dedication to craftsmanship and attention to detail.
During my visit to the studio, I had the opportunity to see Nadia working on some jewellery that their students created. I asked her about the process of producing the pieces and was amazed by the amount of effort and time that they put into their products.
I appreciate how Stööki continually evolves its collections, inviting us to experience the Stööki lifestyle through a series of art forms. I admire them for their commitment to pushing the boundaries of creativity.
- Do you have any advice for aspiring Stylists or Art Directors?
I believe the advice I can offer applies to any creative industry. Always explore what piques your interest and experiment with different forms of art. You never know what you may discover by delving into new art practices, and this is how you can develop your style and create a unique voice through your work. It is essential to be kind to people you collaborate with, as you never know who may offer you an exciting new project. A great book that I can recommend is "The Creative Act: A Way of Being" by Rick Rubin. It is an incredible piece of literature that can guide you in exploring life by practicing art.
- Where can we find more of your work?
If you're interested in checking out my work, the best place to find it is on Instagram (@ng.negara). Shoot me a message if you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to help out!
Hammered Beam - Horizontal Pendant - Legacy II Collection
Drip - Hammered Pendant Necklace - Legacy II Collection
Connection Necklace - Silver - Legacy II Collection
Smile Töday Medallion - Silver - Gööd Vibes