For the past 15 years, Italian model Sasha Aquil has graced catwalks and the pages of glossy fashion magazines around the world. She has worked with some of the hottest brands, designers and retailers including Ferrari, Korn Taylor, Vero Moda and Rossy Merry.
At the same time she has utilised her unrivalled sense of style to establish herself as a go-to international personal shopper and wardrobe consultant.
Sasha has just launched a new website— www.sashaaquil.com — for the first time offering her services to British women, and to mark the occasion we caught up with her to find out more about her life in the fashion industry and the secrets to looking stylish.
How did you come to work in the fashion industry?
It’s in large thanks to my family that I developed a personal connection to fashion early on. My grandmother, who raised three children by herself, had worked as a tailor before building up a successful clothing business with her daughters, including my mother. Grandma was an entrepreneur and it was an honour for me to maintain this family tradition.
What have been the highlights of your career to date?
It’s difficult to pick just one but I’d say the highlight that comes first to mind was my catwalk for Korn Taylor, a Milan-based Fashion designer, for Milan Fashion Week 2019. It’s an internationally-famed event and was very effective at opening new doors for me as a model and personal stylist.
The highlight of my acting career was getting to star in an award-winning short film, ‘The Choice Is Yours’, directed by Khalifa Al-Obaidly and screened at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar. My acting career was a coincidence. The opportunity arose to be part of the film and I thought, “Why not!”. Modelling and acting are alike in many ways. In both you have to express yourself and play different roles, though in modelling this is conveyed through clothing and accessories rather than dialogue.
What are the biggest challenges as a model, and how have you successfully overcome them?
Modelling is a tough business and the rivalry is intense, and uncomfortable. Every model is struggling to push herself into the spotlight while pushing away the competition. Generally speaking, there is no real friendship or camaraderie between models so the challenge is to not be put off by their rampant egos. I have learned to overcome this by being myself and not losing my self-confidence, whatever is thrown my way.
Another consideration is not to become solely dependent on the modelling industry. I’ve been fortunate in having a steady stream of new projects, but there’s always going to be a fallow period. That was one of the motivators for launching my international personal shopper and wardrobe consultant services. I see myself as an entrepreneur, just like Grandma, diversifying my business interests.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self about being a successful model, what would it be?
Always have a plan B; have a thick skin and don’t let yourself put you down. Within the fashion industry it’s vital to be confident, or at least to come across as confident.
The fashion industry has, in recent years, made strides towards great body diversity. What are your thoughts about how the industry has responded?
Body diversity is very important, because everyone is different and no-one is without problem areas. For too long the fashion industry simply ignored this reality but as a wardrobe consultant I must admit that things are much more positive now. You can find clothing for more curvaceous women easier than ever before, for instance.
Nevertheless, the fashion industry still has some way to go in order to stop fuelling body anxiety. Young girls, especially, still suffer greatly from the impossible quest for the so-called ‘perfect body’. It troubles me that girls are starving themselves, and becoming very poorly as a result, because they feel they pressured to match a social ‘ideal’. There’s no such thing as the perfect body. We are all different, and we can all be stylish if we make the right selections of clothing and accessories that suit our individual style. Ultimately, fashion should reflect the inside of every person, rather than the person trying to fit the clothing. Style has to be instinctive, casual and, above all else, fun. In childhood we are uncomplicated, unique and wonderful. We are, in other words, ourselves. As we get older, we mostly lose our naturalness and let ourselves be forced into something because we think that we have to adapt. We don’t have to do that to look and feel fabulous. There are many rules in fashion that want to be broken.
What three things can any woman do to instantly look more stylish?
1. Have cuffed jeans: Roll up your pants to show off your gorgeous shoes and to make your legs look longer.
2. Put a scarf/neckerchief around your neck. It will make you look more chic in a flash.
3. Scrunched-up sleeves are always an effective way to look more stylish and cool.
What are your favourite clothing and accessory combinations for spring?
I love spring. After the heavy clothing of winter it’s great to be able to wear dresses or suits again. My personal favourite outfit for the season is a combination of white pants with a black or white organza blouse with black ballerina shoes, a black crossbody bag, and statement earrings. And, of course, a lip gloss (I prefer red), as this enables me to look fresh, even if don’t put on make-up.
What are the biggest fashion mistakes women tend to make?
The biggest no-no is wearing a lot of different colours, prints and accessories at the same time, unless you want to step out looking like a human Christmas tree!
How do you help your clients find a new wardrobe that is perfect for them?
Style is as individual as every one of us. The first thing I do with a new client is to find out their own style preferences. I live in northern Italy and if they are local then I will go to visit them and get a tour of their wardrobe. For international clients, I will schedule in a video chat to find out what I need to know.
The next step is to figure out what looks good on the client, and what won’t. I will consider things such as body shape, height, age and so on. This involves the client trying on various clothing and accessories, and is a lot of fun as we all like dressing up. At the end of the process I can advise on what clothing and accessories to keep, and which to give away. I call it an “adventurous journey” and the outcome is a client who feels confident in her clothing and combinations, possibly for the first time in a long while.
What do you enjoy most about being an international personal shopper and wardrobe consultant?
I am definitely a ‘people person’ so the main enjoyment is simply being around different people. Everyone is unique and the challenge in my job is to make sure that individuality shines out. There is nothing like seeing the smiling face and beaming eyes of a client after we’ve worked together. They feel renewed and super-stylish and I feel fulfilled for helping them transform their look. It really is a blessing.
To book Sasha Aquil as a personal shopper or wardrobe consultant, visit www.sashaquil.com