It's a NYLON World: Haley Stark

NYLON is a cultured, creative girl-identifying's monthly messiah. Icons, artists, designers, bloggers, and many more adorn the pages of the magazine that is read religiously worldwide. We all know what's inside the pages: names like Aubrey Plaza, Alexa Chung, and most recently, teenage dream Tavi Gevinson. Brilliant colors pop from the folios, and the design catches you in a cradle of immersing graphics and perfectly placed text. NYLON is practically our bible, and just like the bible, not many people truly know the person--or in this case people – behind the text.
   WRITTEN CITIZEN was lucky enough to be able to chat with Haley Stark, the magazine's art director. Haley is completely dreamy: original, radical style, kickass looks, and a sense of creative wit and intelligence that will get her far in life. Recently, for NYLON's October Issue, Gevinson graced the cover as one of the "It Girls", along with a whole host of other budding young ladies that we get googly eyes over. Well, you could say that Stark is our "It Girl", because right off the bat, it was clear that she has what it takes.

WRITTEN CITIZEN: Hey, Haley! How are you today?

HALEY STARK: Hi! I’m great! Currently taking a bit of a resting day as I’ve had a pretty crazy week.

WC: You’re the art director of one of the biggest fashion and culture magazines in the world, NYLON. How does that feel to you?

HS: That is incredibly flattering, thank you! It always feels crazy when I remember that people actually see and read the magazine. I started at NYLON as an intern several years ago, so I’ve been immersed in the culture and workflow for a long time. It’s easy to forget the outside world and view each issue as a really fun monthly project — it becomes a very personal experience. I do think about the reader a lot though — what will they want to see? What is something fun and new?

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WC: What are your favorite things about working as an art director?

HS: I love the collaboration it allows. I work with a lot of designers, illustrators, photographers, writers, etc. on a daily basis — anybody that has a part in the visuals aspects of the magazine. It’s a bit cheesy, but art direction is really like working on a gigantic puzzle — each page design or photo shoot or illustration is a small piece in it, and over the month I have to refine them and fit them together into something cohesive. It’s magical when I get to step back and see the finished product. And hopefully I didn’t mess anything up! (Laughs.)

WC: Are there any special perks?

HS: I love the people that I work with; everyone is incredibly talented and unique. So spending time and collaborating with them is a huge benefit.

WC: What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on so far?

HS: I try to push myself more and more every month, so each new issue is my new favorite project. This last issue, NYLON’s October 2014 “It Girl” issue, was a bunch of fun, and I experimented a lot with scanned glitter, stickers, handwriting. I’m trying to weave in a lot more of those little details.

WC: Who, in your life, has influenced you the most?

HS: My past bosses have essentially been my mentors. I’ve learned so much from each one of them, especially how to make designs more interesting and progressive, how to push yourself and your ideas, how to manage a workflow. I owe them a lot!

WC: What are your quintessential style pieces?

HS: I’m honestly a very lazy dresser. I buy mostly vintage pieces that are really special to me, but when it comes to getting dressed in the morning, I mostly just throw something on, and they’re almost always monochromatic looks. I usually wear all grey, and sometimes I think my whole life is grey-colored. My clothing, my hair, my cat...

WC: How would you describe your fashion and/or taste?

HS: I’m a huge fan of modern minimalism. There is nothing more beautiful to me than a good pair of simple trousers and a structural top. I focus a lot on fabrics — they have to be thick, soft, natural, and have interesting details. I love designers that think about every little thing: the stitching of the lining, button and zipper placement, little purposeful wears and tears.
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WC: Specific men crushes or women crushes?

HS: I have more of a relationship crush; I love Devendra Banhart and Ana Kras — they’re such a creative power-couple. I really love his music and I’m obsessed with her photography, lamps, and furniture.

WC: Describe your daily experience for us.

HS: I usually wake up early so that I can do some relaxing morning things: shower, read, listen to music. Once I get to work, things get a bit more hectic and I’m usually juggling a lot of projects, meetings, and deadlines. I try to see my friends after work or do something fun, that way I get a nice break before I go to sleep and do it all over again.

WC: What are your other pastimes, or anything you particularly like doing?

HS: I’ve gotten really into making tactical things — weavings, sculptures, furniture. Designing a magazine is mostly done through a computer screen, so it’s nice to work with my hands every once in a while.

WC: Any favorite films, music, books, basically anything you’d recommend investing time in to the readers?

HS: I just saw Birdman, and it's so good. As far as all-time favorite, I’m all about Brick for film and The Sound and the Fury for books. I read a ton of prose and poetry too, but most of the time I’m reading other magazines — I’m such a huge fan of The Gentlewoman, Bad Day, NYLON Japan, Dazed & Confused… I spend a lot of time at newsstands reading different titles.

WC: What/who are you currently listening to?

HS: Yelle’s new album Complètement fou, “NEW DORP.NEW YORK” by SBTRKT, FKA twigs, and a lot of Blood Orange. Anything that complements long work hours really well.

WC: Anything not mentioned above you’d like to share with the readers?

HS: I know it’s made a full Internet circuit, but back when I was first starting out as a designer, this quotation from Ira Glass really changed my outlook on things. I agree that it’s important to be patient with yourself, to have an idea of who you want to be (as an artist or anything really), but to enjoy the slow growth rather than rushing the process.

WC: What do you think is next for you, Haley?

HS: I love making magazines, so I see myself doing that for quite a while! I’d love to start my own thing one day, like some sort of fun zine situation. Anything to keep my hands moving.

More from NYLON possibly to follow...
Find Haley on Instagram

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