We catch up with model Katy Syme, who wore the Design Collective at the headline-making London Fashion Week
Katy Syme won the Evans Plus Size Model Search in 2012, while finishing her Psychology degree at the University of Liverpool. Since then, Katy has pursued her career in London and now New York. Her favourite things to do include learning, big hugs and dancing like a crazy person.
When did you start modelling?
“I was in my final year at uni, and my friend nagged me long and hard to enter a competition searching for four plus-sized models. I got through each stage and ended up as one of the faces of the Evans SS12 campaign as part of the prize. Since then, I haven’t looked back!
What was your first modelling job?
After that, I worked with Evans again; it was my first ‘proper’ modelling job. We were shooting in Trafalgar Square, so it was in at the deep end. I remember finishing a whirlwind day and feeling on top of the world. Nothing’s changed in that sense.
What does it mean to be the face of Evans?
“I love working with this team. There’s a sense of camaraderie, a really positive energy and we have a lot of fun. What’s great about Evans is that the brand is a big deal in England, so Mum gets to see my work! She gets really excited.”
What excites you about the brand?
I love that Evans has a real sense of class, elegance, and empowerment. I like that it doesn’t shy away from trends, but designs both stylish and fashionable pieces for its customers. That’s definitely the direction the plus-size industry should head in. I don’t believe that having a fuller figure should leave you wanting in the style department.
Why was the Design Collective by Evans catwalk show important?
I’m all about inclusivity in fashion. Little girls shouldn’t grow up feeling awkward or not pretty because they’re taller or curvier than their friends. I think we can play a big part in that. That Design Collective was included in LFW means we’re a step closer to immersing plus size fashion with mainstream trends – fantastic!
Who are your role models and why do they inspire you?
There are so many inspiring women who are throwing sass all over the place right now – and I love it! Patricia Arquette, and her wonderful speech on gender equality at the Oscars was such an amazing example of a gorgeous, talented lady, with charm, wit and charisma. I aspire to be not just a pretty face, but a funny, positive, inspiring person; Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep (goddess!) are on the list too. My parents are also amazing role models; they inspire me to work hard, be true to myself and keep working for what I want. I owe them a lot. I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by some amazing friends, too, who show me every day that the way to live is to build each other up, not bring each other down.
What were your favourite pieces from the collection?
At the show, everyone was fan-girling over the Jamie Wei Huang’s beautiful, white pleat dress – such a gorgeous design. I loved the whole sports luxe vibe going on, I’m really into that: crop tops, layering with sports bras, and all the sheer fabrics mean you can flatter your figure without being totally uncovered.
So you know your body shape?
Yes, I learned at a young age that I’m an Hourglass. But as I’ve got a bit older, I’ve become more of an athletic build.
What’s your tip for dressing your shape?
Avoid the low-rise jean. They cut you off in the idle of your curve and it will not look good. Keep it cute and chic in anything high waisted and you’ll be making the most of your figure. Invest in a jacket that fits really well.
What’s your fashion staple?
Booties! I wear them all the time, year round. Living in New York you have to be ready for anything, and they’re so versatile – it’s a style that can easily switch from day to night.
What’s your personal style?
I live in New York most of the time and people always tell me I look very English. I’m pretty casual (I wear skinny jeans and trainers most days), but I think there’s an inherent individuality that comes with being British. We’re experimenters and not afraid to give something a go; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
What item is guaranteed to make you feel wonderful?
Not wanting to sound like a big, dull dud, I was gifted a beautiful, black pea coat from a client a year ago and it makes me feel fabulous. I love jackets; they make an outfit. The things I love to wear are always the things that fit me the best. My number-one tip is: if it doesn’t fit, don’t buy it.
What’s your most treasured item of fashion?
Anything vintage is treasured. And then there are investment pieces: I bought a pair of Chanel sunglasses last year and I guard them with my life. I sometimes use fashion to mark special points in my life.
What are your fashion tips for SS15?
Colour! Or maybe it’s because there has been such miserable weather for so long that I’m so ready to have some fun with what I wear. Orange and mustard are having their time this season, so I’ll be embracing them for sure. The sporty look is sticking around for another season; I’m really into a slouchy dress or tailored trousers with trainers for spring.
What does style mean to you?
Style is an attitude. Fashion is what you buy and style is how you wear it. I think you can make anything look cool, if you truly believe it’s fabulous.
When did you realise you were happy with yourself?
I remember the day I woke up and realised life was going to be an uphill battle if I didn’t learn to love myself a little more. I’d just moved to London on my own and I was lonely. I thought “If I’m going to spend this much time on my own, I probably need to get to like myself”. Since then, it’s been a daily thing. I appreciate all the things my brain and body can do, and I try to celebrate myself – where appropriate!
I was recently in London and I picked up some red patent pointy boots; my friend says I look like Mick Jagger in them! Fashion is the easiest, most accessible form of self-expression, so take every chance you get! For castings, I polish things up a bit; tame my wild, curly hair and stick to simple jeans and a well-fitting T-shirt.