By Ada Yakobi
Photography by Kalynn Frisen
You may know David Clemmer because of his incredible styling and makeover skills, his work on Style by Jury or simply because of his enchanting personality. Clemmer is a CEO of one the most successful Canadian artist management companies, called Judy Inc, that has recently gone national with offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. He is also a well-known celebrity stylist and has worked with stars such as Celine Dion, Jude Law and Penelope Cruz. When Clemmer isn’t busy dressing celebrities for Red Carpet events, he contributes to various publications and tells readers how to improve their wardrobe and personal style.
FAJO Magazine chatted with Clemmer on a chilly fall evening about his latest aspirations and fashion do’s and don’ts.
ADA YAKOBI: How would you describe your own style?
DAVID CLEMMER: I really love a mix. I like to take a vintage piece or something that I find on sale and pair it up with a high-end design. I find that it makes the outfit more personal, and I like to keep that in mind as well when dressing other people. I am a big fan of mixing not only price points, but textures and colours, such as an old vintage shirt or belt, paired with a designer pair of boots. However, key pieces should be a little bit more expensive. For example, footwear must be stylish and comfortable, as it will make the outfit you’re wearing amazing. If the footwear looks cheap, it damages faster and ends up looking old and worn, taking away from what you are wearing.
What is the most interesting styling assignment you have worked on?
I would have to say it was one of the episodes of Style by Jury, where I had to give a makeover to a woman who was very used to dressing on the masculine side. She lived in a household filled with boys and, therefore, didn’t get a lot of feminine touches or outlets. She only wore baggy things.
I loved dressing her because she looked amazing in every single outfit that I put her in – it was mesmerizing not only for me, but even for the camera crew! We dressed her in tailored jackets and skirts, and high black boots, and she rocked each and every piece. She would come out of the fitting room each time, almost in tears, thinking that I was dressing her up like a porcelain doll, and couldn’t understand that this is what women wear on a regular day.
In the end, after receiving countless compliments from everyone around her (even strangers!), it slowly sunk in, and the tears were replaced with tears of joy!
What are you working on right now?
Judy Inc has recently expanded. We’re not just in Toronto and Vancouver anymore; we have outreached into Montreal as well. The company has gone national and that is great for clients – it offers them opportunities for different shoots and locations, such as Whistler or Old Montreal. We get to travel a lot for work and allow an artist to do campaigns across the country.
Getting that up-and-running is definitely a challenge, but a labour of love. A couple of shows are also in the works, but I can’t say much about that just yet. I’ve been fortunate enough to do some daytime shows and give some tips to people, as well as writing for a few publications and magazines.
I love to travel and head up all of our offices – having a portable computer is a great thing – my MAC is now my life!
You style a lot of things daily. How prominent would you say Canadian designers are in the market?
It’s tough to be a designer in general, but we have very talented designers in Canada. The quality of the items offered is really high in comparison to a lot of fashion available worldwide. When we’re out dressing and styling, we all encourage celebrities to try Canadian designers. Celebrities get garments that are sent in from all over the world, but they are always blown away when they get a piece by a Canadian designer, and we see more and more of these designs on the runways and Red Carpet events.
What is your typical day like?
My day starts pretty early with my two wonderful dogs, Marcel and Maggie. My darlings wake me up early, at around 6:30 a.m., and I have to walk them, even during fashion week.
I get my daily dose of coffee and check my e-mails – different time zones keep e-mails coming in even while I’m asleep!
I usually head into the office by 10 and do some PR in the morning, such as going to the showrooms to look at new collections and finding out who is coming out with what. And since the company has gone national, there’s an event almost every evening, in every city. I attend product launches, holiday parties, fashion shows, meet-and-greets and many others.
It’s a great time of the year, but I need to pace myself! Lots of vitamin C!
What are the latest news from Judy Inc?
We are now offering packages for shoots to our clients. We work with top photographers in beauty and fashion industries, and we package them in with a production person, who produces the shoot for the client. We cast models, provide locations, put together an amazing team of hair, make-up and fashion stylists.
Since we are now national, we can also do it for any budget. If the client is just starting out, like a young designer, we can do a look book and a small campaign, featuring the top six garments from their collection. It really is amazing to be at a point in my career to be able to offer that to clients.
We are very proud Canadians and we want to help other Canadians out there, so it is important that everyone has the same opportunities.
And we love media, and are looking forward to getting involved in more television opportunities. Combining Judy and TV is definitely a goal of mine.