Q&A with Wardrobe Stylist MICAH BISHOP

09Jan11

Micah on right on set. Photo by James Chiang.

This week I caught up with Artist Untied wardrobe stylist, Micah Bishop. I’ve been looking forward to interviewing Micah for months. Much sought after for her unique style, versatility and grace on set, each time we got started, she was out the door on another shoot. So I’m thrilled that that she had a bit of downtime over the holidays to answer my questions and provide us with some beautiful images.

In both her editorial and advertising work, there is a very strong personal style that is sophisticated and classic with a twist that can be described as a subtle urban or earthy edge. There seems to be a comfort and ease that comes through in her styling and the way she works with the models and personalities she dresses. Mostly, it’s a natural authenticity that is current and relevant.

With a background in fashion as a visual merchandiser and buyer, she transitioned to styling seven years ago.  In this time she has built an editorial and advertising client list that includes Esquire, Glamour, Redbook, Wired, Fortune, HP, Yahoo!, Marshall’s, Coca-Cola, Nike, and Nice Collective among others.

Photo by James Chiang

Photo by James Chiang

Photo by James Chiang

POP: How did you choose to work as a stylist?

That is a tough question…really. There are quiet a few childhood flash backs I get while working, so I know I’m doing something that is a natural extension of myself….so maybe it chose me. It took me a few years before I would actually consider myself a stylist. It felt like something I needed to earn. I worked incredibly hard and assisted other stylists I respected. The day Glamour magazine called and hired me was when I began to realize I was a stylist. Though, the practical answer to your question would be that I was having coffee with a friend one morning and she told me I should be a stylist. I thought to myself, that makes sense. So I called a photographer I knew, Stephanie Rausser, she liked the idea and we began to work together. From there began the adventure.

Photo by Stephanie Rausser

POP: Most interesting part of your job?

I have always had an interest in beautiful things and been intrigued with how to create my own beautiful things and styling became a great outlet. What I didn’t know in the beginning and what is probably most interesting now is that my job has been the one thing that has taught me the most about myself. Especially learning to trust my gut, in the world and at work. Combine trusting your gut with a desire to create beautiful things….interesting things happen.

Photo by James Chiang

POP: Where do you find inspiration?

In authenticity from the every day. It usually comes in moments from a good conversation, a piece of music, some color combination I see out of the corner of my eye, but more often than not I find it when I’m alone and it’s quiet.

Photo by Micah Bishop

POP: What makes a great shoot?

Great people collaborating well.

Micah on left on set

POP: Favorite types of jobs to work on?

The ones with clear direction and creative freedom. I like it all to tell you the truth….I like working on ad campaigns that wrap up my attention in tiny details to straight forward editorial shoots, but at the end of the day, I want to be working with good people with clear direction.

I recently worked on a shoot with photographer Craig Cameren Olson for Runner’s World magazine and we had a blast. He made a 45-minute hike up the side of Mt. Tamalpais while carrying all the clothing and photo gear fun. He knows what he’s doing and is respectful and professional and so clear in his own direction that it allows me the space to do my job well.

I feel fortunate to work on a wonderful mix of projects that keeps it interesting.

Tyler Florence for Wishbone

Photo by Peter Z. Jones for Bebe

Gabrielle Reece shot by John Russo for Pregnancy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy for Parents Magazine

POP: I’ve worked with you on several photo shoots and you seem to work with so much grace and a sense of calm that puts everyone at ease, including a 6-member cast of a TV show that included actresses with very particular requests! On one level, this is just being professional and a very necessary quality for a good stylist. Is this something you’ve worked at over the years? And what other qualities do you think are essential or just helpful?

I’m laughing because I am remembering! And thank you….that’s a very sweet thing to say.

I really just want people to be comfortably themselves. I also think it comes down to knowing what the goal is. On set, it’s all about getting that perfect photograph. Models, actors usually begin their day with me dressing them, I want them comfortable and feeling good before they head out in front of a camera. I want them to look their best—if you’re looking good, you’re usually feeling good and visa versa.

POP: Favorite projects?

I’ve really had a nice run of good projects over the year. I was up in Mendocino for NICE Collective, did an advertising campaign for HP, some personal projects that allow me to practice and play, to a recent cover of WIRED Magazine.

Though, my favorite of all time was a shoot where I got to meet and work with Mary Ellen Mark for People magazine. If you don’t know who she is…..go find her work. Amazing!

Nice Collective Shot by Todd Marshard

Nice Collective Shot by Spencer Hansen

Nice Collective shot by Todd Marshard

Elon Musk shot by Nigel Parry for Wired

Elon Musk shot by Nigel Parry for Wired

POP: What’s a dream project?

You know, I have been a fan of Levi’s since I got my first pair of 501 hand-me-downs from my brother when I was 7. I like the direction of their ad campaigns right now. Would love to work with those guys.

POP: Day in the life when you were 5?

Playing in the woods behind my parents house until I would hear my dad whistle and knew it was time to come back.

POP: 15?

Dreaming of being 16 with my driver’s license and all the places I would go.

POP: 25?

Traveling abroad, living out of a bag.

POP: Now?

Wow…everyday is so different from the next. I love striking that balance of working on a week-long shoot and then hitting the road and heading north to my favorite hideaway in the woods. I’m doing what I love and I’m growing roots in my work with my friends and family while keeping that sense of discovery alive that’s so necessary for any creative process.

Micah Bishop on set

POP: Like so many other stylists and photographers, your background is fine art. Do you still find time and inspiration to make art?

Yes, painting is the one thing I do just for me. I get lost in it. I paint what I love. I paint colors I love. I lose a sense of time when I’m painting. It allows me to reflect and remember details in my own life.

Painting by Micah Bishop

POP: Any other projects you’re working on?

In the last year I’ve been doing more and more personal styling which I really enjoy. The one-on-one connection is nice. I get to spend time with one person and get to know them and create looks based on their personalities and who they are.

I’ve also been working on a simple but sophisticated children’s and women’s line that I’m really excited about. Stay tuned.

POP: Any favorite clothing, jewelry, accessory designers right now?

Really loving Vanessa Bruno (check out the videos on her site) and Isabel Marant right now. Both Parisian designers who just have it, whatever it is, they have it! Ongoing favorite designer is Erica Tanov. At the moment, Melissa Joy Manning and Ashley Morgan have my eye with jewelry and these handbags from Pollux Handmade are quite lovely.

POP: Fashion Advice?

Confidence is the most attractive, sexiest thing going….wear it well.

Photo by James Chiang



One Response to “Q&A with Wardrobe Stylist MICAH BISHOP”

  1. 1 timothy archibald

    Who knew Micah painted? That was the best part of the interview…and great to see her inspired work. I’m so happy when I can give her a job she can sink her creative teeth into. So many times you have a job that restricts the stylist…wardrobe suggestions a client provides that act as a shopping list. Micah can fight those fights, but really her brain is her biggest asset, and I feel lucky when I can tap into it.


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