Crafting Visual Narratives through Fashion with Gianna Santos

Gianna Santos is a NY-based creative with a passion for fashion, design, and visual storytelling. With a BA in Communications and a minor in Sociology from Fordham University, her work demonstrates artful representations of a nuanced understanding of gender, cultural, and societal trends.

Santos’s superpower is the ability to understand the essence of her client’s product and align it with the genuine desires of her audience. Her portfolio boasts collaborations with prestigious brands such as Violet Grey, Bergdorf Goodman x Kith, and Miaou.

We connected with Santos as part of our Artist Spotlight series to learn more about her creative background, process, and insights. You can check out more of her work on Creatively and @hellocreatively on Instagram.

Meet art director, stylist, and producer Gianna Santos.

What is the first creative project you remember? 

Creating a mix CD for a friend at 15. I used to love to research bands, find all their slept-on songs, pick the ones that made me feel something, and create a story with them.

What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on? 

Bergdorf x Kith. This project was especially fulfilling because I felt full trust in my creative vision and pride after seeing the concept come to fruition. Linking pop culture & nostalgia with an editorial evokes emotion and creates a moment that is memorable for a brand. 

What are the primary challenges you’ve faced during your creative journey, and how did you overcome them? 

Having to paint a picture with another person’s paintbrush.  It is ok for your ideas to evolve with the way a CEO or talent sees themselves represented-as long as you carry that vision out to the best of your ability.

How does your strategy change when art directing for social media vs. other channels?  

For editorial, I’m into clean and simple—no messiness. Social media is a different landscape that allows for more humanity and humor. People are gravitating towards the real and relatable over the perfect and unattainable. 

How do you cultivate strong relationships with clients? 

Being able to maintain your taste level and a strong brand image for the client is the most important. It’s your taste with a different lens on it—you have to be able to detach from yourself to some degree.

Are there any special processes or personal rituals that help aid your work? 

Self care has led me to a lot of ideas. Walking for hours. Showers. Coffee in the first hour.

What is your most surprising or unassuming source of inspiration?  

Old HBO stand-ups and Sandler films. I believe comedy is an integral part of establishing a human bond with a consumer, especially in social media. Keeping up with funny and referring to old funny is very important to me. I love how stand up provides a space for commentary that unites people through shared experience. I also love to spend hours on Reddit and Yelp—I think in general being able to learn from others experiences helps to inform my decisions personally and creatively.

What advice would you have for people just getting started in art direction?

Half of your job is confidence and the other half is having a vision. 

What is your dream creative project or collaboration? 

A wellness facility that encompasses body & mind. Stress affects our nervous systems and so much of that is related to self care or lack of it. Life only gets harder and I strongly believe in valuing our bodies in order to also value our minds. 

What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of your career? 

Be more delusional. I used to shoot down most of my ideas before they could even come to fruition because they felt out of reach. You never know what you could accomplish and should always think outside the box.

Follow @GiannaSantos on Creatively.

Creatively is more than a platform—we’re a creative collective.

Questions or feedback? Email us at