Interview: Stylist + Head of Fashion at Matches, Natasha Wray

Images supplied by Natasha

I loved clothes from a young age. Dressing up, studying what my favourite pop stars wore, dressing my younger sister up and creating photo shoots. That was long before I realised that it could become a career path. 

At school I loved art, photography and drama class. All of which makes sense now. My role as a stylist is to create a narrative around a shoot, and place characters within it. Choosing their clothes is just one element of the bigger picture.

Despite my early interest in clothes, I didn’t take an obvious route into fashion. I never made it to university and started working full time from 19; I worked in a clothes shop, in a gym and then managed to get some work experience at magazines, followed by a job as a receptionist and PA to the editor of a men’s magazine. It was the 90s and ‘lad’s mags’ were booming. I hated the magazine, but it got me to the right spaces. So, when a job came up at a women’s fashion magazine I applied. I had to style a shoot for my application, which I did with no experience other than studying magazines for years. Getting that job was the turning point. The magazine closed a year later, a Fashion Assistant job came up at ELLE—my favourite magazine—and I leapt at it.

ELLE taught me everything I needed to know. When I left four years later, I became a freelance stylist and spent ten years shooting for various magazines, including ELLE, and working with brands and the occasional pop star. I was asked to cover a maternity leave role at NET-A-PORTER soon after the pandemic; I had a 1 year old son and it was a great change to go in-house. I loved it. It led me to the current role, Head of Fashion at Matches.

Currently, I lead the fashion department within Brand and Content. We concept and style all of the editorial content on-site, and work with brands on partnership shoots. I love the role and I still get excited about creating, as well as the added role of managing a team. 

The industry has changed so much in the last twenty years. In the mid 90s, when I started out, magazines ruled and budgets were high. Since then, the internet has exploded and social media now influences many decisions within fashion and retail. Regardless, I will always love print and opening the pages of a magazine.