Algorithms of Style: An Interview with Stylist and Author Lynne Coleman

Culture — 08.11.18

Words by Desislava Todorova

We meet with Edinburgh-based fashion stylist Lynn Coleman to discuss her recently released fashion book, The Fashion Annual – The Algorithm Edition, and the overall message to her audience. Through our conversation, we dig deeper into her fierce aptitude for telling stories through fashion as well as creative aspirations.

Desislava Todorova: What first drew you to fashion?
Lynne Coleman: It was always something I gravitated towards as a child but it didn’t turn into a career until a detour in my radio career meant I was made redundant at 24 without any idea of what I was going to do. My first book, A Girl’s Guide to Vintage, was created out of that period which led to a newspaper column and writing about fashion. Styling was a bi-product of that because I needed to illustrate what I was talking about, so it all came together really organically. I just loved telling stories with clothing.

How did you get the idea for the book and could you explain the concept behind the symbols?
The idea for the book came out of being on maternity leave with my second son. I was sitting back watching the madness of this year unfold like it was some movie I was spectating. Stories would filter in and out of my timelines that would really resonate with me so I wanted to create images that encapsulated these topics using art, fashion, and photography as the pen and paper.

What made you choose the main themes?
The main theme is Algorithms. The impact they have on us as individuals and as global citizens is truly staggering and terrifying. What was meant to be a social tool used to connect people has somehow been hijacked into political tools or the route to some serious mental health issues. I honestly think we will look back on this period in history and view social media the way we now regard the tobacco industry – that it is dangerous and should carry a health warning.

What’s next for you? Any future collaborations or other publications?
Honesty, I have no idea. For the first time in my life, I am at the mercy of the little people I have brought into the world. They are the ones calling the shots and ultimately are my boss! Juggling motherhood and a creative career is rewarding but it’s intense. So, for now, I’d be happy to knock out some more babies and a fashion annual every year – oh and maybe get an uninterrupted nights sleep…

Lynne Coleman’s The Fashion Annual – The Algorithm Edition, published by Luath Press, available from Harvey Nichols, £20.