SL Meets: Bay Garnett

SL Meets: Bay Garnett

Even if you don’t know Bay Garnett by name, chances are you’ll have seen her work. A long-time contributing fashion editor for Vogue, she’s renowned in the industry for her savvy vintage-hunting skills, catching the eye of then-British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman in the early 90’s with her cult thrifting magazine, Cheap Date.

She has collaborations with pretty much every big name under her belt, frequently working with Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Nick Knight, Lily Cole, Lou Doillon, Jurgen Teller and more. A stalwart of fashion week, Bay is now working with NIVEA Black and White Invisible Deodorant, LFW’s official sponsor, ensuring every fabric remains its original best, even in the most stressful of show environments. We caught up with her at the official launch to chat all things fashion…

SL: How would you describe your style?

BG: I love the 70’s, and I love streetwear, but I love beautiful fabrics; I love Celine sweaters with a long skirt and trainers. There are a lot of things I don’t love. Actually, not that I don’t love, but things I’d never wear. For instance, I would never wear a Rosetta Getty deconstructed [piece] – I’m not into deconstruction, I’m not into fashion that’s intellectual. I love it on other people, but my style is a bit more 80’s; I love a bit of a punk spirit mixed with a bit of luxury.

SL: Has that evolved over time, or have you always had the same style?

BG: My style has stayed pretty consistent. Occasionally I look back and think, “I wouldn’t necessarily wear that now, but I can see why I went for it.”

My style is a bit more 80’s; I love a bit of a punk spirit mixed with a bit of luxury.

SL: Do you have any rules when you’re thrifting? Do you look for anything in particular or just go for what takes your fancy?

BG: I do think with thrifting it’s good to go in with a goal. But saying that, usually I just have a look and see what catches my eye. It’s awful – I just downloaded the MATCHESFASHION app. It is SO addictive. Instead of reading my book, or doing something with my life, I’ll be looking at the MATCHES thing. I’m that person.

SL: Do you feel like there are gaps in your wardrobe? Or do you think about it more eclectically and your collection as a whole?

BG: No, I never feel like that really, because there are no gaps! Normally, I’ll have my eye on something – it could even just be a black cashmere roll neck sweater – and I will get obsessed.

SL: If you see something like that from a high-end brand, do you then try to find that look elsewhere?

BG: No, that doesn’t work. I would never go to recreate that look – I’ll want that one thing, and if I can’t get it, I’ll move on.

SL: Would you think about it for a while and then come back to it?

BG: I’ll do my best to get a discount – whatever I can do. I was obsessed with this Givenchy chubby jacket, and on my birthday I got an email from Claire’s [Waight Keller, creative director of the brand] PA, saying, “What was the fake fur that you loved?” I was like one of those hands-over-mouth emojis. And with something like that I was so lucky because I just couldn’t have afforded it. On the whole, if I get that obsessed, I usually try to find a way.

SL: What about inspiration? Are there people you look to for great style?

BG: Debbie Harry I’ve always really loved. But on the whole, no. I drenched myself in style inspiration, whether it was Chloe Sevigny – I went out with her brother for a long time so I used to go thrifting with her – or this amazing book called Cheap Chic. I spent so long being completely immersed in style and who and what I thought was stylish, so now I feel almost pared down by it. I know what I love, but I don’t look at anyone now and go, “I want to dress like that”.

SL: Are there people who, even if you don’t want to dress like them, make you think, “Fuck, they’ve got really great style”?

BG: I think Sofia Coppola always looks great, I think Chloe Sevigny always looks great. I bumped into Alexa Chung in New York a couple of weeks ago and she looked amazing, she was wearing 70’s high jeans, a red sweater and red pumps and she looked great.

SL: Influencers and Instagram have also made fashion inspiration so accessible.

BG: In a way, I think it’s really good because it makes it all very democratic. In terms of people feeling stylish, confident and empowered, all that’s great. But it’s a shame in lots of ways – things are good when they’re a good idea, but if something’s been worn by lots of people, it stops being good. When I would style a fashion shoot before the internet, I’d have to do a lot of work researching, getting the story to be really strong, whether that meant looking at books or a movie. It was really exciting because you felt that it was yours.

SL: Your research must have been so much more varied – you couldn’t just search Pinterest.

BG: Exactly. I did a story with Sophie Dahl and Debbie Harry before the internet, and it was really fun – I got all these Debbie Harry books. When I used to go and see my editor, I would take ten reference books. It was just very… It was fun.

SL: I guess that’s so different now for stylists working today.

BG: I think it must be really hard for a stylist working now. If everyone’s images are up for grabs, and everyone is explicit about their point of view, it must be really hard to think, “I’ve got an original voice,” or, “I’ve got something to say”. Really – do you? In that way, when it comes to the thrifting thing, I think I was quite lucky because I was really passionate about it. I did these great campaigns for [the magazine] Cheap Date and Alex Shulman happened to see them. It worked to do something a little bit off the cuff.

SL: What career moment really stands out to you?

BG: It’s probably my first shoot for Vogue, which was with Kate Moss. I also did Cindy Crawford’s comeback. I’ve been really lucky. I did a story in Cuba and then in Syria with Stella Tennant before the war broke out, then in Hungary, I did an Eastern Block story.

I spent so long being completely immersed in style and who and what I thought was stylish, so now I feel almost pared down by it.

SL: Tell us about your London Fashion Week campaign with Nivea.

BG: Genuinely, if someone says to me what do you need before you go out, I think eyeliner, mascara and deodorant. I have a fear of having BO!

SL: Don’t we all.

BG: It’s the worst. So, I have the Nivea deodorant in my bag. Genuinely, that’s the way I roll.

SL: Is London the best fashion week?

BG: London’s contribution to style and fashion is like no other, but I don’t think it’s the best – it’s just London. It very much has its own cool, eclectic feel.

Get LFW ready thanks to the official sponsor, Nivea Black and White Invisible Deodorant.

Invisible Black & White Anti-Perspirant, £1.75 | Nivea
Invisible Black & White Anti-Perspirant, £1.75 | Nivea

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