Let’s reminisce for a second. Remember our very first profile featuring Leila, the A-List Celebrity Stylist? Remember the anecdote Leila shared that shaped her career, the one about the boss that fired and then re-hired her? Well, turns out that this boss is now the Editorial Director of Tommy Hilfiger. I’ll let you read that again: she is the EDITORIAL DIRECTOR OF TOMMY HILFIGER. And get this, she was willing to be interviewed to share her side of the story, and also her incredible career path to landing one of the most coveted roles in fashion. Her advice (especially the last answer, which I love), is the kind you’ll print and tape to your bathroom mirror…you know, just like you do with all those Tommy ads ripped out from the magazines at the nail salon ;)
Kim Friday’s love of fashion is deeply rooted into her personal history. Growing up a few hours outside of New York City, Kim has loved clothes for as long as she can remember.
She worked at clothing boutiques throughout college and interned at Women’s Wear Daily during her senior year, which helped her land her first dream job as an assistant to Diane Von Furstenberg in New York.
After DVF, Kim decided to freelance, assisting stylists and editors and slowly securing her own clients.
A few years later she found herself back at Women’s Wear Daily in Los Angeles, this time as the West Coast Fashion Editor.
Kim was clocking in 80 hours a week, relying on a limited staff and interns to help carry the load. She gave her junior staff huge opportunities; calling for samples, producing photo shoots, attending model castings, writing, editing….everything.
Leila was one of her employees, and the “dreaded firing incident” (as Kim calls it) occurred when they were prepping for the Magic International trade show in Las Vegas.
On the Friday night before the show, Kim had been asked to put together a last minute shoot, scrambling to find one-of-a-kind pieces from several designers she had established relationships with. She promised the designers that she’d ship their clothing back to them first thing Saturday morning so they’d arrive in time for the Magic show on Monday.
The next night, Kim realized that she hadn’t heard from Leila. When she called her, Leila told her that she’d been too busy to ship the boxes and would do it Monday. Kim was pissed.
Leila was fired, her career continuing down a path separate from Kim’s. But years later, their worlds collided once again.
Kim was living in New York and remotely overseeing the Los Angeles fashion office of Women’s Wear Daily. The team was on the hunt for a new fashion editor, and a resume ended up on her desk emblazoned with a familiar name. Kim tossed the resume aside, remembering what happened just a few years earlier.
Completely distracted by the obvious elephant in the room, Kim asked Leila point blank why she should hire her again.
Kim says that it wasn’t entirely easy to move beyond what had happened, but over time she and Leila became great friends, and calls her one of the best hires she’s ever made.
Still at Women’s Wear Daily, Kim’s career continued its steady momentum. She found herself contributing to W Magazine styling celebrities, working on special issues and writing. She was completely and passionately absorbing everything that was thrown her way.