Set Life: MTV Networks Sr. Stylist Alana Kelen Talks TV Fashion + Personal Style


Alana Kelen is a brilliant woman, who has made a name for herself through her incredible work styling many different people as part of her work as the MTV Senior Stylist. She talked to us a little bit about her work, and also about how her own individual style has developed over the years.

Although Alana has been working in this industry for over fourteen years, she has managed to keep her eye sharp. After all, the last thing you want to do in such a creative role is lose your spark, and begin just copying other people. Alana works on wardrobe creations through a vast number of projects, from ad campaigns to talent shows, but she always brings a fresh perspective on something that could easily become boring and staid.

Like anyone who chooses outfits for people for a living, Alana has made it a priority to be able to separate her professional life with her personal life. She says that ‘everyday fashion can be anything that you want it to be’, whereas she has to be ‘more thoughtful for television: always thinking about what looks good on camera, what the talent is comfortable in, the message of the show and the audience’. Many people would find this constricting, but for Alana it is just another challenge that she loves facing.

Television fashion demands that trends are followed, but Alana always makes sure that she is in control of the clothes, and not the other way around! She believes that ‘fashion is a collaboration’, and that means not only with other stylists and trends that you may not put together, but also introducing elements of everyday clothing that, in a different environment, can be incredibly striking on screen.

Alana continues to dazzle viewers with the beauty of her creations, and we very much look forward to seeing her excel herself every month!

Here’s our one on one with Alana!


S601: What does a Senior Stylist do for MTV?


AK: My responsibilities actually change every day, which is the reason why I have stayed 14 years! Each day and project is different. Year round, I style The Top 20 Countdown on VH1. I work with the creative department to dress talent for show opens and ad campaigns and consult on a bit of the reality/pop culture show on VH1 and MTV along with award shows & concert specials. Spike TV, Logo and TV Land are also under the MTV Networks umbrella, and I cover some aspects of wardrobe for them as well. Across the board this keeps me busy day to day. It’s always different, new and exciting.


S601: Does TV fashion have a set of rules separate from everyday fashion?

AK: For me it does. Everyday fashion can be anything you want it to be; you can break rules and push boundaries! We have to be more thoughtful for television: always thinking about what looks good on camera, what the talent is comfortable in, the message of the show and the audience.


S601: What’s your personal style like?

AK: I love that sneakers are “in” this season because I am always running around and must be comfortable…would describe myself as minimal and classic with some punches of color and creative cuts. I adore Stella McCartney, Helmut Lang, Phillip Lim, Sandro & Maje.

S601: Who would most like to work with?

AK: I actually don’t have a dream client right now, outside of who I work with already. My favorite projects lately have been makeovers and weight loss features, dressing real people in outfits they feel amazing in. It’s incredibly rewarding!

S601: What do you do to stay on top of style trends, or do you feel like your job is to be creative and set trends for the industry?

AK: In television, things happen super quick and in the moment, so I have always been more of a trend follower, incorporating them where appropriate, never in excess, or one can end up on a worst dressed list! Outside of this, if working with a high profile celeb or a musician for a performance or appearance, I think you can push the envelope and introduce a new idea … Pharrell is such a good example of a trendsetter. I always attend fashion week, read some favorite blogs, websites and magazines and pay close attention to the amazing street style in New York and around the world for inspiration always. Fashion is a collaboration!

S601: Are there any projects you are currently working on?

AK: I just wrapped an amazing round of success stories from an exercise program, have the fall issue of Weight Watcher’s Magazine coming up in a couple weeks, the third season of Inside Man on CNN with Morgan Spurlock, a magazine cover with Jenny McCarthy, and a commercial for Spike TV. All before the end of May! Things happen so fast in television. So far June is quiet, but hopefully not for long!


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Categories: Editorial, Fashion, Lifestyle, Music


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