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Alumni Profile

Madeleine Bowden

Madeleine Bowden

BA Fashion Journalism 2012

Madeleine Bowden, who comes from Cramlington, Northumberland, began her career as an stylist assisting Fashion Editors at world-renowned publications such as ELLE, The Telegraph and InStyle.

Later transitioning into the world of commercial and celebrity styling, she established herself by working in television and as assistant stylist to Nicole Scherzinger. Her work going from strength to strength, she went on to style singer Jessie J’s Arena Tour, which led to Madeleine becoming Jessie’s personal stylist for red carpet appearances, television, music videos, press events and tours.

Now, the freelance creative regularly styles a whole host of celebrities, as well as fashion editorials and advertising campaigns for commercial giants such as John Frieda, Newlook, L’Oreal, and The Outnet, to name just a few.

While studying, the stylist teamed up with every creative person she could find and produced pictures in which she styled herself, and often even made her own outfits from anything she could find. Every opportunity that was available within the North East, Madeleine took advantage of. She also started her own fashion blog where she showcased her own work, including her writing and styling.

“There were times when I would walk into stores like John Lewis and talk myself into getting loaned loads of clothes,” she told fashion students. “If I couldn’t borrow clothes from stores and businesses, I made my own out of anything I could find. There’s one picture of me somewhere covered in bin bags.”

Talking about her experience at the University of Sunderland, she said: "The University of Sunderland was great – they have amazing facilities and a lot of creative courses and resources on campus at your disposal. They also have established connections with world-renowned publications and a host of successful alumni, so are happy to put students in touch with industry insiders, as well as holding talks and seminars where you have the chance to meet influential members of the fashion industry."

Prior to venturing into the career of a stylist, Maddie took on multiple internships in London at publications such as ELLE, InStyle and The Telegraph. Landing her first gig at ELLE took a lot of confidence, as Maddie recalls her experience meeting the editor at Newcastle Fashion Week: “I went up to her and asked if I could interview her. My hands were shaking, and I felt like I was asking some stupid questions. She told me that ELLE were running an internship scheme and said that I should sign up for it.

“I was given a time and date to start my internship. I was told to organise a freebie cupboard, and after three days of working on it my editor took loads off the shelf saying, ‘This is going to be given away, this is going to my house’. But after that, they kept me on for longer than the internship initially was, and I was there a year.”

Madeleine transitioned into celebrity styling when working as Nicole Scherzinger’s assistant stylist on The X Factor.  However, it wasn’t until she joined Jessie J on her arena tour that she went from an assistant stylist to a stylist in her own right. This led to her becoming Jessie’s personal stylist for every event you could think of, including her time on The Voice, music videos, tours and red-carpet events.

Madeleine didn't feelt the need to study in London. She explained: "I honestly don’t think you need to study in London to have a successful career in fashion. If you have the drive and work ethic, there’s absolutely no reason why studying anywhere else should hinder your chances. Living, staying or working in London after studying is advantageous though, because there are a lot of opportunities there. But depending on your particular chosen path, there’s no reason why you can’t gain those skills then come back to the North East to continue your career."

With a strong portfolio of work, Madeleine then started to expand her styling work by working on campaigns and adverts for well-known commercial companies, such as John Freida, Arcadia, L’Oréal and New Look.

So, what advice would the 33-year-old give other fashion students hoping to follow a similar career?

“My ethos has always been to say yes to everything when you are starting out,” said Madeleine.

“If that means working for free or going right in at entry level, that’s fine, just do whatever it takes.

“You also have to be prepared to make it happen. After graduating, I knew I would have to move to London, I knew I would have to sleep on my sister’s sofa, I knew I would have to push hard to get where I wanted to go.

“Resilience is also important. Working in this industry is a bit like auditioning for a role. You get put forwards for jobs, sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t.

“I really enjoyed my time at the University, the academics were brilliant, and the facilities were exactly what I was looking for.”

Follow Madeleine on Instagram here to check out her work.

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