Mia Widlake

How did you go about becoming a stylist?
A friend that knew I’d studied fashion design asked me to design a matadors costume for a TV commercial. I was fascinated by the process and loved working with people so dedicated to their craft (they are mostly crazy too which I loved, never a dull moment) Later I worked my way up through the wardrobe department, assisting some great people, traveling and learning everything I know about film and TV. I moved overseas and worked there for six years and upon returning knew I wanted to do something that allowed me the freedom to be a participating mom, which is why I turned my attention to stills.

Tell us about no19?
No.19 is my first home, the name of my blog and a vehicle that I use as an outlet for my creative frustrations. Everything that I make falls under its umbrella. It has become more than I initially anticipated and I love that it’s evolving into something other people can appreciate.

How would you describe your style?
Random or considered, depending on how I feel when I wake up.

What is your favourite trend at the moment?
I love the return of an appreciation of the handcrafted,  the bespoke, the artisan that takes great care in making something beautiful whether its bread or shoes. Its wonderful too that people are starting to take up knitting and sewing and embroidery again, personalizing their clothing and homes and wanting to set themselves apart from a sea of sameness.

What is on your wish list?
For the second winter in a row I’ve past up an Albertus Swanepoel leopard fedora from J Crew. I covet a cream and charcoal Beni Ourain carpet from the Atlas Mountains. On the very long term wish list is a remote beach shack. Too much to ask?

Do you collect anything?
Where do I start, I might have to add a few pages to this interview. I rescue old chairs, maps and vintage educational charts, hotel silver, vintage scarves and jackets, old carved wooden items like dumbbells, ceramic crocks and old mustard jars. I could go on and on…

Who is your most favourite photographer to work with?
I adore Clive Stewart, Des Ellis, Steve Tanchel and the very sweet Ross Garrett.

Which local artists/designers do you rate?
I have a weakness for portraits and Jaco Benade’s oils are incredible. I think Andrea Kleinloog is amazing. (her lights are on my wish list too)

Where are your favourite places in JHB?
I would have to say my home.

Where is your best place to eat in JHB?
A northern Chinese restaurant simply called North (in Cyrildene), for the BEST Chinese food ever!!!!

Where is your ultimate travel destination/s
I have to visit Manhattan once a year for a fix but I would love to visit Turkey and Morocco.

What is the best decision you ever made?
To try to not take anything too personally.

Do you have any new projects on the horizon?
I’m in the process of printing a limited edition of framable art that’s not going to blow your budget. Later this year I want to start a quarterly showcase/popup of local artists and artisans mixed in with found furniture. A curated collection of unusual things that I think people will want for their homes.



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