Meet Charley of GWD
by Milan Editor Laura De Rochas
On our wind-up to New York Fashion Week, we’re looking ahead and backward: backward to the menswear shows of London, Milan and Paris, and forward, as we get ready for special reports from both New York and Milan ready to wear (aka women’s).
To that end, meet Charley, aka Charlene Williams, the gorgeous and talented photographer at GWD.
She is best known for capturing the stylish and fashionable images of the best dressed women and dapper men in Italy, such as: Gianni Fontana, Domenico Gianfrate, Luca Lanzoni, Alessandro Squarzi, Frank Gallucci, Lino Leluzzi, and Nick Wooster, to mention a few.
I had the pleasure to get to know Charley a bit more, and share the experience with our readers.
Q:Charley, can you tell our readers at Fashion Week Online a little about yourself. Where are you from, your background?
I was born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago, in a little village called Les-Coteaux, the third of eleven children. I became fascinated with Italy and modeling at the age of eight, after watching a film that inspired me. After graduating from school, I worked three jobs to earn the money to come to Milan and pursue my dreams of becoming a fashion model. Currently, I work side-by-side with my fiancé, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of GWD Fabrizio Oriani. I enjoy being a mother and I sing in a choir.
I was one of 11 children. I worked three jobs to earn the money to come to Milan and follow my dreams.
Q:When did you realize you wanted to become a photographer? And what’s most important to you as a photographer?
I’ve always liked photography, but only started two years ago because Fabrizio encouraged me. I became very good, and Fabrizio confirmed that I had a great eye for it. As an amateur photographer, it’s important for me to capture a moment, which is beautiful to my eye, and share it with others hoping to transmit the emotions.
It’s important for me to capture a moment share it with others.
Q:Which social media sites have been helpful to your success or new projects?
The GWD website, Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram have helped me increase my work visibility as a photographer.
Q:What does your typical day look like, when working with Fabrizio at GWD?
Let’s take a typical day at Pitti 87, for instance. We start with a classic Italian breakfast in a cozy café, where we define the strategy for the day (brands to visit, exclusive shootings and events to attend).
We start with a classic Italian breakfast in a cozy café.
We arrive early at La Fortezza to shoot the people entering the fair, and after a couple of hours we go inside to cover the event. We meet new and old friends, expand our public relations network and we definitely have a lot of fun. After such a long day we meet up with friends for a nice dinner in one of the many amazing restaurants in Florence, where we relax a bit before we head to the hotel to post-produce the pictures taken during the day.
After such a long day we meet up with friends for a nice dinner in one of the many amazing restaurants in Florence.
Q:You have a new campaign featured in GWD called “Hat’s the New Black”. What motivated you to get that started?
My love for hats ….
Q:You’ve photographed some of the world’s best-dressed men: Gianni Fontana, Domenico Gianfrate, Alessandro Squarzi, Frank Gallucci, Lino Leluzzi, Angel Ramos, and Nick Wooster, to mention a few. Tell us, what does it take to capture these men on camera?
It’s about the relationship we established and mutual respect that we nourish for each other.
You’ve photographed some of the world’s best-dressed men. What does it take to capture these men on camera?
Q:How would you define fashion?
For me it’s not about fashion … it’s about finding your own style. It’s about experimenting; it’s about what makes you feel good, and it’s also about confidence.
Q:You live in Milan; who is your favorite designer for men and women?
My all-time favorite is Giorgio Armani: the cuts, the textures, the colors … I love it!
Q:What advice do you have for the next up-and-coming photographers?
Follow your heart and shoot, shoot, shoot. There’s nothing better than practice.
Q:Where can people find out more about you and your work?