Meet Natalie Vest-Jones, a Fashion Styling and Creative Direction graduate from Solent University.

Natalie’s range of skills, from styling to makeup artistry, served her well through her degree and final year project.

Diversity in the fashion industry was a real passion for Natalie, and it was something she intended to bring with her throughout her career.

Lets see where she is now, two years on from her first interview with us!


Looking back, what was the most valuable thing you learnt at university that has benefitted your career so far?

A couple things: I think all the technical skills within photography and studio set up has been super valuable for me. I also think throughout my course I developed my taste level, and learned how to edit things down, and create purposeful and strong imagery that tells a story. Being able to apply the technical skills I learned to the visions I have for the projects I want to create has really given me freedom to produce whatever I can imagine!

Tell us all about your new project , how did it begin?

During my final year of university, the Final Major Project I created was a coffee table book called “Sanctuary”. This book was about achieving escapism through imagery, and I used a fairytale genre to express this “escapism” in my imagery. However, I noticed the classic imagery found in the Fairytale genre is not very inclusive, and I thought to myself “How is someone like me actually supposed to feel like I’m being taken away on this journey, when I can’t see myself represented” So in my coffee table book, I decided to create an unconventional version of fairytale an aesthetic, which included more POC models, fem protagonists, and sexually liberated styling. That’s what I felt was missing. Especially when researching the definitions of surrealism and romanticism- there’s supposed to be freedom of thought, and complete limitless imagination, and even with that, POC couldn’t be included in these fairytales? Dragons, Mermaids, and Unicorns can exist, but not POC protagonists? I wanted to change that. By the time I finished the book and handed it in, I was even more driven to make this change in the fashion industry, that’s where Sanxtuary Magazine was born.

How have you evolved as a young creative since finishing university?

I think I’ve just applied the things I’ve learned in university to real life situations, I’ve always been the type of person to go for what I want, but now I have the skills and knowledge to do that!

What are the messages and themes behind The Sanxtuary that you want people to take away? Does your work still explore diversity?

Diversity, inclusion and creating a safe and dedicated space for BIPOC and queer creatives has always been the number one focus of Sanxtuary Magazine. I felt the need to create The Sanxtuary magazine because I was getting really frustrated with the exclusion and creative theft I was seeing in the fashion industry. I wanted to make a publication that highlighted bipoc & queer creatives, as they often have their work stolen, and aren’t represented in media, behind the scenes, or in senior positions within the industry. Sanxtuary magazine is a combination of my passions- creating visual fashion & beauty stories, and creating more representation for marginalised communities.

Since finishing university have your views of the fashion industry changed? What are you passionate about fixing or having a positive impact on?

I’ve always been passionate about creating inclusive spaces- I was blessed to grow up in a very multicultural environment in Washington DC, I wasn’t really surrounded by much ignorance, so when I met that later in life, I was baffled by how people could still be so ignorant, racist, or misogynistic in this day and age- this would infuriate me. Combining my lived experiences as a POC with my strong-minded personality, I knew I had to do something in my power to contribute to a more inclusive world. For me, that meant I could take my talents and skills, and contribute that within fashion & beauty. Since graduating, I’ve unfortunately learned that the fashion industry can be very filled with nepotism, classism, and racism- so this motivated me more to try and combat these issues with my magazine. I love fashion and beauty, therefore I do love the fashion & beauty industry, but I should be allowed to feel welcomed in it, and so should others, so I hope others can find The Sanxtuary, and join this community within the industry.

What is your plan for the future of The Sanxtuary?

Right now I’m focusing on the launch of Issue One of Sanxtuary Magazine, but in the future I hope to grow the community even bigger, and get the word out to more creatives that this space exists! Sanxtuary Magazine is an annual magazine, so I hope we can get even more submissions next year because we want to be able to give these creatives a platform! I think issue two will be amazing as well! I also hope to plan more events in the future, to create more networking opportunities!

Finally, let us all know about your upcoming launch party!

Sanxtuary Magazine is having a launch party on November 30th In London, to celebrate Issue One! Its going to be so much fun, and such a good chance to network and meet other BIPOC & queer creatives! Everyone is welcome to come whether you’re BIPOC, queer, or an ally! There will be BIPOC & queer owned pop-ups where you can get tooth gemming, handmade jewellery, prints, accessories and of course Issue One of Sanxtuary Magazine!! It’ll be great rooftop vibes, an amazing DJ and a free glass of prosecco + a full bar to order from! Tickets can be found in the link on our socials We can’t wait to see you there!