WOMEN OF NOTE:
Emma Kalfus | Stylist
To discover Emma’s work is to stumble upon the resplendence of an endless summer. Escapism at best, it is her effortless and pared-back aesthetic that makes her styling work so distinguishable in the industry. Weaving her way through the world of fashion print for the past 9 years, she is one of the founders of digital platform SIDE-NOTE, a publication and creative studio that connects the narratives of contemporary culture and fashion. Innately inspired by travel, Emma might have foraged her escapist aesthetic from foreign lands, yet her work still carries a strong Australian sensibility, fitting to her life spent living seaside in North Bondi, Australia.
Dressed in our Deiji Studios 03 set in Mustard, Emma invites us in to her beach-side home.
Location: North Bondi
Where is home for you?
Home is in North Bondi where I live with my husband and 1 year old daughter.
You are a fashion stylist and co-founder of digital magazine SIDE-NOTE. How long have you been working in the fashion industry?
I started as an intern at InStyle Magazine around 9 years ago. I met a lot of stylists there and began assisting on the side before taking on a full time role as fashion assistant a year later.
Much of your formative experience was earned working in print magazines. What is the most important lesson you learned that still informs your work to this day?
I learned so much in that first part of my career as a fashion assistant. Our Creative Director had been in the game forever and taught us how important it was to be meticulous and cross examine everything. At the time it frustrated our team endlessly - but in hindsight and in this fast-paced digital world where quality is often sacrificed for quantity, I’m grateful that I learnt a lot of her tricks that I can pass down.
There is an escapist quality to your work, so much so that it is often sought after by your clients. What best inspires this aesthetic in your work?
I definitely think my personal life inspires a lot of my work. I have a pared-back sense of style that you could say is quite ‘Australian’. I style looks that people can easily wear and live in day to day, and being based near the beach in Sydney, that often ends up feeling quite coastal, so for a lot of people that evokes a sense of relatability and nostalgia. I suppose the escapism element is inspired predominantly by my travels in summer, and the time I spend trawling through destinations and locations online.
SIDE-NOTE is a union of multi-disciplinary creatives, in your collaborative work have you been exposed to any new mediums that you are keen to try out?
So many. I love that we have brought back camcorders and I want to start having a play with mine and creating some home videos. I did steer clear of TikTok but it’s quite incredible to see some of the skills some of these young kids have.
Outside of work, how do you spend your time?
I spend far too much time at my husband’s cafe at North Bondi, Shuk. Other than that, you will usually find me at the beach or on weekends away with friends.
How has lockdown life been for you and how has it affected your creativity?
I was just coming out of maternity leave when we went into lockdown, so I had mixed emotions. Reflecting on it now, I feel very lucky to have had that extended time with Liv and being in Sydney I feel so lucky for that time to have been so short-lived.
Creatively I felt a bit roadblocked at the beginning, but as the spring months have arrived, the ideas are flowing and I’m excited about the projects we have going on.
If your life was a song, what would it be?
The Bare Necessities - Phil Harris and Bruce Reitherman
For someone whose work is intrinsically connected to travel and exploration, how do you continue to stay inspired while overseas travel is out?
I have a folder of ‘places to go’, and it’s definitely grown tenfold this year... I’ve become a lot more accustomed to looking for new places within Australia though, and have big plans for our summer at home.
What are you reading at the moment?
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
How do you unwind?
It used to be through books, but having a child threw that out the window and sadly I’m reading much much less, so I now listen to podcasts every night before bed. Usually it’s just The New York Times ‘The Daily’ with Michael Barbara (I fall asleep to the sound of his voice...)
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received and would like to impart with us?
If you put it out there to the universe, the universe will bring it to you...
Finish this sentence: A good nights sleep is...
One where my daughter doesn’t wake!
Interviewed by Rose Erdelyi for Deiji Studio’s Field Notes