As fashion director for Marie Claire, a Project Runway judge, and “Style Voice” of J.C. Penney, it would seem Nina Garcia has her hands full. However, her busy schedule hasn’t stopped her from taking on a new venture: hosting “Decoding Style,” a ten-episode makeover web series available on AOL On Network’s Style channel, Stylelist, HuffPost Style, and HuffPost Women. “It is a lot, but I absolutely love what I do,” Garcia told the Cut. “With the second screen becoming such an important part of our viewing and entertainment experience, I thought it was the right time to create a digital series. This project in particular allowed me to use my personal and professional background in editorial to help others transform their look and feel great.” In the first episode, she meets Kate Salko, who’s struggled her whole life with being heavy, but made it down to a single-digit size. “At this point, I feel better naked than I do with clothes on,” Salko says. “I have a back side, I have a front, and I am five foot tall.” Watch the video to see Garcia in action and keep reading for more from our exclusive interview with the multitasker.
You do regular television – what made you decide to try web videos?
Women today don’t always have the time to sit and watch a lengthy show for entertainment or advice, so I wanted to create a style experience that brings women the best advice with a choice of when, where, and how to watch. By making this series available online, I’m able to give viewers the ability to watch these videos anytime and anywhere.
Who is your audience for these webisodes?
I’m really looking to reach any woman who’s interested in refining and embracing her personal style. The advice in this series is meant to be accessible and applicable to today’s modern, busy woman, particularly if she’s in the midst of a lifestyle change. The entire series will be available beginning today. Viewers can tune in and watch every episode at once, or come back to enjoy them again one at a time at their leisure.
Do you find that a lot of women in your everyday life seek your advice on fashion and personal style?
Yes! I am always being stopped for style advice, and I love it! The way we dress says so much about ourselves and I love when I can help others take control of that. Everyone wants to give or send a message, but sometimes they don’t succeed. Whether they are people in the industry or strangers on the street, people just want a handful of tips that will allow them to make the best wardrobe decisions for themselves.
Is there any common sense fashion decision that women need to be reminded of?
I’ve said this so many times, but I keep coming back to this: Trends come and go. Own them and make them your own. If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t feel like you need to dress a certain way just to be trendy. Make the trend! … When you try to take on every trend that is in, your look can come off as inauthentic and busy. It is so important to always incorporate the essentials of who you are into every look and to be confident in whatever you wear.
Is there a current trend, in particular, that you particularly abhor?
I’ll admit it, the grunge trend doesn’t really speak to me. I get why other people like it, but it’s just not my style. Don’t get me wrong, I love layering, but I like it when it is done with a little more polish and sophistication.
What’s the closest thing to a one-stop, fix-all outfit solution that a woman can have in her closet?
A little black dress and great accessories. The perfect black dress is the be-all and end-all of all outfits. Many items of clothing have tried to surpass it but none have ever succeeded. A little safe? Sure. But safe beats the “What Was She Thinking?” any day of the week, and accessories can transform the look a thousand times.
Can you give me a short description of your typical day and how you manage to juggle all your different roles?
I always start early because I have two young boys at home, but when your working in such a fast-paced, ever-changing industry like fashion, no two days are ever the same. That is the thrill of it. I’m never quite sure what the day will bring, but when I’m not shooting Project Runway or flying to Europe for shows, you can usually find me in the Marie Claire offices or at meetings with designers, brand partners, or industry colleagues. In between, I am always on my iPad checking e-mails and posting on Instagram and Twitter. At night, there is always something fun to do — a restaurant opening, a gala, an industry dinner, etc., but I always manage to find time for my family. I have one hard and fast rule: When I am with my family, I’m completely present with them — no e-mails or phone calls with the office.
Would you ever try your hand at designing?
As they say, never say never. But I don’t foresee that happening any time soon. Right now I am focused on being a really great editor and style guru.