Why did you decide to attend the fashion program at Ryerson?
I choose Ryerson because it is the best fashion school in Canada. Taking the program was the first big step in establishing my career in the fashion industry. I am also a Toronto native and have family friends who had attended the program as well.
Tell us a little bit more about what you do as a freelance stylist and art director, and the responsibilities your job entails.
I work with a handful of clients on projects that range from styling fashion editorials and films to consulting with brands and creating campaign lookbooks. My main passion is art directing. I love sitting down with a brand and getting to know their story in order to create the most compelling images. Art direction naturally ties in with styling. You envision how you want the clothes to be put together, with what backdrop and what scene and what kind of model. These roles have gone hand in hand for me.
How did your academic experience at Ryerson help you with getting to where you are today?
Ryerson taught me how to prepare for high-pressure moments. I learned how to stick to something, have integrity in what I do and present my work in the most meaningful and cohesive way. Another big takeaway was the friendships I made. I have always been able to reach out to people from Ryerson Fashion for help or advice.
What does a day in the life of Jenn Park Krulik look like?
It is always different, I love that about my job. I like to dabble in a lot of different things in fashion. When I am working on fashion editorials, first, I will create a mood board on hair and makeup, model direction and location. Then, I will reach out to my photographer friends or someone on Instagram I really want to work with. Together, we will pitch the concept to a magazine. That is how we get our editorials published. If I am preparing for a photo shoot that I am styling I will be reaching out to agencies and PR companies to get clothes. Then I am running around the city all day collecting garments and accessories to prep for a shoot. Other days I am in front of a computer, doing layouts or helping someone with their lookbook or website.
What do you find are the most enjoyable and challenging parts of your job?
The most enjoyable part of my job is coming up with a concept and having a strong message behind it. I recently worked on an editorial for ELLE Serbia. The concept was about female empowerment and was shot at the famous Oculus building in New York City. It was really rewarding to see my idea come together and executed with such great talented people.
The most challenging thing, for anyone who is a freelancer, is balancing the creative work with the work that pays. When times are slow it is important to be positive, keep creating work and putting it out there. You learn along the way that all the glamorous and high fashion editorial work is no pay at all. The branded content is what you get paid for. However, you need all the high profile portfolio pieces to get you those types of jobs so it is a fine balance.
Do you have an area of expertise or research you want to grow and learn about?
I am trying to come back home more and work on more projects in Canada. I feel like I have not even scratched the surface. There is so much content out there. There are so many more ideas I want to share through shoots. I am always looking for something to create or new ways to express myself. Whether that is film direction or experimental shoots I am always exploring what else is out there. Deep down I am an entrepreneur at heart.
What advice would you give a fashion student interested in working as a stylist or art director?
Coming from Canada the more multi-talented you are the better. I believe it is always better to be more knowledgeable because when you are contributing ideas you are aware of other people's perspectives. Also, be open to leaving Toronto. Go abroad and intern for a summer. You gain so much knowledge from working abroad and it will be so rewarding for your portfolio, even if you were just there to get coffee or steam clothes. It is integral to have that experience.