From fashion magazine editor to celebrity stylist, this Katy grad (and teacher) is making a name for herself among top celebrities.
By Tonya Ellis | KATY MAGAZINE, September 2017
Growing up in Katy, Tiffany Gifford was the epitome of the girl next door. Voted “Most Talented” of her 1997 Katy High School class, she played softball and basketball and participated in drama and choir. After graduation, she earned a teaching degree at the University of Houston. “I kind of thought I’d be a school teacher, and be married at a young age, which is the way my parents did it,” she recalls. But somewhere along the way, her life path took a different and very interesting turn; into the Hollywood hills.
Today, Gifford is a fashion stylist and travels the world, dressing models and celebrities like Lee Ann Womack, Sheryl Crow, and Shania Twain. Her styles have been featured in People, Glamour, Marie Claire, and Condé Nast Traveler magazines. Currently, she lives in Nashville and counts country singer Miranda Lambert as a client. “I’ve gotten to be a part of the Super Bowl when Miranda sang there a few years ago in Indianapolis,” she describes. “I had the opportunity to go to the Grammys and to work on Shania Twain’s tour.”
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Although she finds herself dressing clients for the hottest runways and award shows, she didn’t consider herself a fashion guru growing up. “We shopped at Kmart,” she laughs. “I had a knack for identifying designers. I enjoyed fashion in magazines and that kind of thing.”
Traveling Fashion Editor
Gifford began her career in the fashion industry after breaking up with her boyfriend. Wanting a change, she applied to Parsons School of Design in New York. Once accepted, she began an exciting career, interning at Glamour magazine in the art and fashion departments then working for an editor at Marie Claire. “I juggled several jobs,” she explains. “Week after week it would change. It’s a constant hustle trying to get the next gig. You have to make it what you want it to be.”
Next came a position at Condé Nast Traveler magazine where she worked as a fashion editor at exciting locations like Bali, France, Spain, Vietnam, Australia, Nicaragua, Istanbul, Brazil, and Budapest.
Scenes from "The Devil Wears Prada"
Life in the fashion world could sometimes mimic scenes form the popular book and movie, The Devil Wears Prada. “I had to know what the trends were and what accessories would be in season,” says Gifford. “I went to New York Fashion Week every season, and I went to Paris Fashion Week a couple of times.” There were crazy times on shoots, she recalls. Once a piano player on a train her group took from Istanbul to Budapest had a heart attack. “We were all dressed in drag and we were playing poker,” she recounts. “The photographer was wearing my dress and tried to resuscitate him.”
After a few years at Condé Nast Traveler, Gifford considered leaving the fashion business. “I didn’t want to be in magazines forever,” she explains. “I was ready to make that move to do my own thing. I had made a plan to take a trip home to Houston and look at the possibility of opening a store there.”
First Celebrity Client
To break out as a freelancer, she persistently contacted celebrity managers and colleagues. A month before she finally threw in the towel and returned to Texas, country superstar Miranda Lambert’s manager answered an email she had sent. They gave the stylist a chance to prepare some outfits for the star that Lambert ended up loving, and she’s been Gifford’s client ever since.
Down to Earth People
Her portfolio now includes a laundry list of clients ranging from Sugar Land’s Katie Armiger to country musician Charlie Worsham. She says that the celebrities she’s helped have always been down-to-earth. “I don’t have any diva clients. Everybody is pretty normal. Just normal people who happen to be famous and get to do what they love for a living.”
Living Her Dream
Gifford feels blessed to be living her dream. “What really makes me happy is making other people feel great about themselves and creating an image that makes them feel like the best version of themselves,” she shares.
She returns to Katy about three times a year to visit and her family that still lives in the house she grew up in. The stylist advises young people to pursue their passion when choosing a career. “Try to find something you love to do, and make it a career. Then it doesn’t feel like work.”
DRESSED BY TIFFANY
Famous names who have been styled by Gifford
Mary Louise Parker
Lee Ann Womack
Little Big Town
All American Rejects
Maddie & Tae
Lennon & Maisy Stella
TONYA ELLIS won a raffle ticket to attend New York Fashion Week and looks forward to viewing upcoming fashions in the Big Apple later this year.
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