Sometimes, the greatest success can come from stepping outside of your comfort zone. Leaving what you know and experimenting with new things can lead to the extraordinary. This is what happened with wardrobe stylist and fashion director Kirsten Reader when she embarked on a journey to create Archibald Magazine’s spring 2015 cover.
Reader left her home in Toronto to shoot in Los Angeles. Not only was this her first time shooting in LA, it was her first time shooting in the United States. On top of this, Reader had to not just be in charge of fashion, she was also the fashion editor, creative director, wardrobe stylist and groomer.
“This was my second issue as Fashion Editor for the men’s fashion publication, Archibald,” said Reader. “I wanted to do something to really show what the publication could do and achieve given not only was it my second issue, it was also the second issue for the publication as a whole. I wanted to truly push myself and do a shoot in LA and also create content for the publication that showed being a new publication we could compete with the best men’s publications. This was a personal challenge to see what I could achieve.”
Reader decided to reach out to her former schoolmate Patrick J Adams to see if he would be interested in being featured in the shoot. Adams, a SAG-Award nominated actor well-known for playing the lead role of Mike Ross in the critically acclaimed television series Suits, jumped on board, along with the photographer Vanessa Heins.
“Vanessa was actually going to be there, and had been trying to get a shoot with Patrick so it was a project that was just meant to be,” said Reader.
The shoot was just Reader, Adams, and Heins, and took place in Los Angeles with a lot of it in Silver Lake and around the LA River.
“Once in LA we just location scouted and ended up shooting the whole concept fairly guerrilla style,” Reader described.
The threesome of Reader, Adams, and Heins worked extremely well together, and were able to create a successful feature for the magazine.
“It was great to work with Patrick as we hadn’t worked together since drama class back in high school,” said Reader. “To have Vanessa on board and her to have a relationship with Patrick already made the whole atmosphere of the shoot relaxed and enjoyable, really allowing us to have fun with the process and create some great images that showcased Patrick in a way that hadn’t been shown prior.”
Adams agrees, and attributes Reader’s talents as the reason the magazine sold over 50,000 copies in Toronto and received over 1.3 million views online.
“This extraordinary success would not have been possible without Kirsten’s prowess,” he said. “She successfully represented me as an actor and an artist.”
Adams describes the collaboration as “nearly flawless”.
“Kirsten always kept a laid back atmosphere for the shoot while directing the overall project and styling,” he continued. “She is widely recognized for her contribution in Canadian fashion, especially within Toronto, and is listed as one of the most recognized stylists in the world.”
Despite having to overcome some difficulties initially, Reader describes the shoot as a learning experience.
“There were numerous challenges for the shoot like not having an assistant,” she said. “I definitely learned by doing.”
Reader acknowledges that she was lucky to be able to reach the talents of Adams and Heins at the click of a button.
“I was lucky enough to go to high school with some incredibly talented people who have made an impression in LA,” described Reader. “Patrick was one of them and I took the chance and reached out. Vanessa has been a great friend and work colleague who I always feel privileged to work with. Her talent behind the lens is one that inspires me to be better on every project.”
All in all, the experience was a great one for Reader.
“The whole day was a so much fun and even though I was wearing many hats for the project we had fun just trying out the concepts we had loosely brainstormed,” said Reader.
She even got to discover some natural talent that was hidden before.
“My favorite part was probably the motorcycle shot. We actually shot it with my driving across the LA River Bridge keeping pace with Patrick on his motorcycle and Vanessa leaning out the window to shoot,” she said. “Apparently I make an excellent pace car driver as well.”