Stylist Missy Schnaps

In a town brimming with artists, there's a fashion hub that's been bubbling up—designers, store owners and stylists, including one of my favorites, Missy Schnaps. This mulit-talented Santa Cruz woman not only works as a hair stylist at L'Atelier, but she just might have the most enviable closet in town, and she is in hot demand as photo shoot stylist. I met her last year when I was helming a local fashion issue. I brought on Schnaps to style the looks for the issue and I was highly impressed by her skills to not only logistically put together an entire photo shoot and the clothing required, but her remarkable talent at choosing cutting-edge on-trend clothing. Recently, I caught up with this stylist to hear about the exciting projects she's working on. (Hint: Vogue magazine is involved.) Below are some questions for Schnaps and images from one of her styling projects.

How long have you been a hair stylist?

I've been doing hair since 2000 but really have been doing hair since I was a little girl. I would create hairstyles on my dolls, which mostly consisted of mohawks and braids. Also, my mom was one of my earliest clients—she would seize any opportunity for me to give her a "blow-out."

When did you first get into fashion styling? 

Clothing is something I've always had a love of and a knack for. For years I've been styling friends for vacations, parties, events and job interviews by having them come over to my house and we "shop" my closet.  A few years ago I was asked to do it professionally by the gals at Blank Verse jewelry for an article that was going to be written on them. From that experience, I worked with a few clients of mine from the salon and helped them revamp their wardrobes. That led to an amazing opportunity to style the Good Times fall fashion issue last year.

How long have you now been styling for and what types of clients do you work for? 

I mostly work with women looking to change up their look, or shop for special occassions. I love working with people who are open to another idea or opinion about what their style could be, or open to the ideas that I can bring to the shoot. Sometimes you have to get out of your own way and let other people do what they do best—for me, this is styling. I've been doing the personal makeovers and photo shoots for a couple of years now.

Who are some of your favorite fashion designers and accessories designers? 

So many! Diane Von Furstenberg has always been an inspiration—her signature wrap dress is pure fashion genius. And as a woman is incredibly talented, smart and beautiful. 

What's your favorite store in Santa Cruz? 

For splurgey moments, Cameron Marks and Jade are my go-tos. When I want more bang for my buck, Marshalls can't be beat.

What do you love (and hate) about Santa Cruz fashion? 

I love how people dress with themselves in mind. There's a lot of personal expression and creativity. I hate that people use comfort as a reason to dress sloppy. Looking good can be comfortable.

And in the fashion department, what do you think Santa Cruz could use a bigger dose of?

I think most people here could benefit from the occasional glance at a fashion magazine or blog. I have no doubt that what we see in the current fashion magazines/blogs most of us already own a version of it in our own closets. I love doing a go-thru of someone's closet and then hitting up the flea market or thrift or consignemt store and filling in the "holes" of what's missing. Not only is it money saving, it's also green.

What current styling projects are you working on right now?

I have two very exciting projects I'm working on. The first is a photo shoot for a friend's start-up business and website, awesome handmade in Califonia elastic hair ties. We recently shot in Oakland and the theme was super fun—a Great Gatsby era picnic with croquet and cucumber sandwiches. I did both hair and wardbrobe for the models. (Check out this video of The Tye.) And I've been asked to serve as both stylist and fashion consultant for Blank Verse's next shoot—a lookbook for Russian Vogue.

Contact Missy Schnaps at

Photo and hair color on Missy Schnaps by Ginger Vaughan. Styling photos by Keana Parker.