The secret to staying in style

2018-04-10 08:41
Cathy Steed

Cathy Steed

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Style never goes out of fashion – a mantra that stylist, image consultant and fashion PR guru Cathy Steed has been living for over three decades.

Steed’s first step into the fashion industry was when she was scouted as a model at age 15 and introduced to Elite Model Management.

She spent almost a decade modelling before opening her own modelling agency, Steeds Model Management, at 24.

“All my steps in the fashion industry have led me to the next step,” she says.

After the better part of 10 years as a “model boss”, Steed took the next step of her career into marketing and magazines.

She was appointed as director of fashion at Glamour magazine, a post she held for another decade. 

“I guess my proper entry into the fashion industry was when I was appointed director of fashion at Glamour, [where I was] able to create and shoot and be in the very privileged position to hopefully inspire and uplift women of all ages,” she says.

One of the highlights of her media career would be flying to Vogue House to be interviewed for the position at Glamour.

“And then having the honour of being asked to come back and cover the fashion department 10 years later. Such a privilege!”

But this was not the last step in Steed’s journey through the fashion industry. She was approached to enter the marketing industry and leapt at the opportunity.

“I am a sole parent and sadly magazines don’t pay very well. I was headhunted as marketing manager for Green Cross shoes. My brief was to make Green Cross look sexy and to change the perception of the brand. I had to find a way of working with fashion brands I love and growing them in the marketplace and still be able to bring up my two extraordinary girls alone,” she says.

The move to marketing was not just a salary bump, with Steed finding she relished the challenge of transforming a brand’s image.

“[My favourite campaign would have to be Green Cross and] the challenge of taking a brand that was perceived to be an ‘orthopaedic’ and ‘ugly’ shoe brand and making it sexy by reshooting the campaign,” she says.

“I also love last year’s Burberry campaign, which they shot with models wearing absolutely no makeup. It’s authentic and real and doesn’t pretend to be anything else.”

Steed chooses to work on campaigns that inspire her passion.

“It’s a great honour to be entrusted with such great brands. Quality is always better than quantity and I never drop my standards. I could never look after a brand I don’t love. I am far too passionate about what I do.”

Steed will be sharing her passion for all things fashion at the Perfectly Posh High Tea Party taking place at the Kelvin Grove Club in Newlands on Thursday 19 April.

She will be sharing tips on fashion trends and how to dress well without being “a slave to fashion trends and having to spend a fortune to update your wardrobe”.

And after her years in the fashion industry, Steed has learnt that there are only a few secrets to staying on trend and in style.

“Have an open mind to everything. Never be afraid and never for a second think might you be getting old,” she says.

“The only two rules in fashion should be ‘dress your shape’ and ‘dress your age’.”

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