An IT career seems an unlikely beginning for an interior stylist but it’s the story of Melbourne’s Aisha Chaudhry. Like many women, the career change was initiated by a maternity leave stint, when Aisha decided to leave the IT world behind and study a Certificate IV of Interior Design & Decoration at RMIT.
“I spent three years completing the course part time while raising kids,” says Aisha, who also used the time to assist family members with renovation advice, build two different homes for her family’s property portfolio and work in a design capacity on a series off-the-plan townhouses. Busy much?
But it’s one thing to complete a course and quite another to actually find work in the uber-competitive interior styling field. Which is where Aisha’s relationship with Julia Green of Greenhouse Interiors proved integral.
“Everywhere I looked employers wanted experience, and no one was interested in hiring a fresh graduate. So, I started attending different events to network and see if I could volunteer my time somewhere to gain experience.” She attended a couple of Julia’s styling masterclasses before asking if she could assist on a shoot.
“Julia was kind enough to offer me the opportunity but after assisting her on my first shoot, I was not sure if I was going to get another opportunity. I learnt a lot on the day and saw how much effort goes into creating one shot and seeing the final images just blew my mind.” Aisha was instantly hooked.
“The hardest part for me was to put myself out there and trust in my abilities,” says Aisha whose courage has since reaped reward after reward. Not only has she gone onto assist Julia myriad times, but she’s also had the honour of styling her own shoots too. “Aisha has become my most loyal and trusted style assist over the years and is now so accomplished I trust her with entire campaigns, and this is a first for me,” says mentor Julia.
Aisha’s Pakistani background was certainly an easy fit for the colourful Greenhouse Interiors aesthetic. She moved from Pakistan to Melbourne with her family in 1995. “Coming from a heritage that is full of colour, I am naturally attracted towards colour and pattern. I still go back to my home country and always come back inspired. In our traditional clothes we use a lot of colour and pattern which is the main influence for me.”
Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling: Aisha Chaudhry