How Stylist Live focused on experiences over visitor numbers

Shortlist Media's flagship event is in its fourth year.

This year's Stylist Live took over more space at Olympia London to focus on experiences.

The event, which aims to bring Stylist magazine to life, is now in its fourth year and welcomed approximately 22,000 people – an additional 1,000 compared with last year, despite the considerable increase in space.

There were free makeovers, fashion shows, talks, bars, street food and pop-up stores. Shortlist Media struck deals with a number of brands, including the Shiseido Group, Remington, Palmer's and Gordon's.

Shortlist Media’s event director, Mariam Ahmed, explained that the company wanted to keep visitor numbers similar to last year but create more experiences for them. She said: "We’ve focused a lot more on the value of the experience and we’ve done a lot more immersive experiences. People are looking for escapism – we’ve seen that in a lot of event executions, it’s very playful."

In particular, the VIP area was expanded this year, with Shiseido Group brands Laura Mercier, Buxom, Nars, Bare Minerals and Shiseido offering free makeovers. For the Nars section, after getting their make-up done, guests could create a gif while strutting down a catwalk. Ahmed said that the VIP area aimed to give visitors a "backstage" feel.

Stylist Live increased the size of all of the stages by about a third – something that Ahmed attributed to their popularity at the 2017 event. "We wanted a quality experience for everyone and it was important more people could engage with our content," she said. "We didn’t add any more content than last year; [we] just made our spaces larger. It’s a juggling act running three stages and a catwalk simultaneously, so we didn’t want to change the formula in 2018."

In September, Shortlist Media launched the first Stylist Live in Manchester, and Ella Dolphin, the chief executive, claimed that this is only the beginning. She explained: "We are atomising and moving it into different cities, taking elements of Stylist Live out and running that as a separate piece. We have a careers event that we’re launching. The catwalk – we take that out and run it as a separate fashion proposition."

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