Moving from another industry and establishing a name in the European fashion industry is notoriously difficult, but that’s what Robbie Canale did when he left the world of sports journalism and entered the styling world.
Since his major life change, Robbie has styled A-listers and some of the biggest campaigns on the planet, creating a niche in delivering effortless cool.
We caught up with Robbie to find out more.
Name: Robbie Canale
Location: London, UK
What’s your story?
I never envisaged a career in the world of fashion styling. As a child and teenager my dream was always to be a professional soccer player and once I realised I wasn’t going to make the grade (around the age of 16) I decided I wanted to be a sports journalist instead.
After three years studying for a journalism degree, and another three in years in London trying to crack the industry with little to no success I was at a major crossroads in my life and frankly, didn’t know what to do with myself. I spent time back at home with my wonderful parents who supported me both financially and emotionally, travelled a little bit and did untold jobs simply to pay my way, and be able to afford a night out with my friends.
My life really changed when I met my now wife – a young woman not long out of university whose passion for life I had seen in myself several years earlier, but had long since been eroded by continuous knock backs and dead ends. She reignited in me the belief I had possessed as a twenty-year old and without her I wouldn’t have done any of the amazing things I have had the pleasure of doing over the past few years.
My big break came when my wife – a fashion print designer – got the opportunity to work for Tommy Hilfiger in their Amsterdam studio. I didn’t initially have a job to go to so remained in the UK, but soon got offered a job working as an e-comm stylist. To be honest, I didn’t really know what this entailed but I have always had a love for clothes and fashion, and had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I found a real calling and love for the job, and quickly rose up the ranks to become the Head E-Comm Stylist for De Bijenkorf – an Amsterdam prestigious dept. store.
We spent three incredible years in Amsterdam, but decided to return to London.
Since then I have worked as a freelance stylist on ad campaigns for Adidas, Nike, the NFL and spent a year working with the designer Charlie Casely-Hayford, styling the popstar Sam Smith for his 2018 Tour and numerous TV appearances and live shows including Saturday Night Live and The Brit Awards.
Choose and title 5 photos from your phone that best sum up your current life.
What is the toughest adversity you’ve faced. and how did you overcome this?
I found moving back from Amsterdam incredibly difficult – leaving behind the first job I had ever actually loved and work colleagues who respected me and believed in me – to move to London where I was starting all over again having only just discovered my calling in life.
I spent months barely working, going to meetings, making contacts and trying to make my way as a stylist in a city full of people with the same hopes and ambitions and found it very frustrating and difficult to break into an industry that is incredibly competitive.
Like all things in life it was a combination of luck, self-belief, support from my wife and family, and most of all a determination to never give up that got me through a very tough first year back in the UK, and while there have been minor lows along the path, I’m lucky to be able to say the journey has been worth it.
What’s the goal for your next chapter?
Much of the same. To keep pushing myself, to work with new people – be it musicians, directors, photographers, producers, actors or models – and remember to enjoy the small things in life.
I’d love to style film stars for the red carpet and am looking at what doors I need to knock on to enter that world but right now, I have my health, an incredible wife and wonderful friends and family so I couldn’t be happier.