Stacie Janelle Fishman wears a rainbow vest in a behind-the-scenes image from a ’90s Delia’s shoot. The vest was remade as a jacket as a part of the Delia’s x Dolls Kill collection.
You’ve probably heard by now that Delia’s is back. The beloved brand of teenage girls of the ’90s and early aughts inked a deal with Dolls Kill to create new collections under the Delia’s x Dolls Kill label. To some, it’s a strange partnership, but to many more, it’s a welcome return for a brand that meant something beyond fashion. For teenage outcasts, wannabe It girls, and aspiring cool kids across America, those original Delia’s catalogs and stores were a safe haven of female energy, a place to celebrate your weirdness in an aesthetic language that wasn’t about conforming but rather about expanding horizons. At Delia’s, you could be a little bit skater girl one day, a little bit cheer queen the next—no problem.
No one knows this better than Stacie Janelle Fishman, a model who appeared in Delia’s catalogs in the ’90s. Born in New Jersey, Fishman was scouted by a modeling agent at age 13 at the Jersey Shore and quickly found herself signed to Ford Models. Her first gig was a Sassy magazine shoot—“Ford took a Polaroid of me and sent me on a casting for Sassy, and I booked the job off of that Polaroid,” she remembers. “Then they were like, ‘We want to keep you.’ ” In short order she became a regular on the pages of Seventeen and other teen glossies. It was only a matter of time until Delia’s came calling.
“The first Delia’s catalog was in 1994, and I came out in the first issue of ’95,” Fishman says looking over a table laid out with hundreds of modeling photos that her mother has meticulously preserved over the years. Here she is skateboarding, there, posing coyly in a Vivienne Westwood advert; she’s also pictured with a neon halo alongside images of Jeremy Scott and Hedi Slimane. It’s not just the photos she’s kept—she admits to still having some Delia’s jewelry in her jewelry box to this day.
What makes those Delia’s days special to the model was that her debut in its nationwide mailers coincided with a shift in her own life. Up until 1995, most of her modeling jobs required the peppy, smiley spirit favored by teen magazines—a tough image to navigate while still a teenager in suburban New Jersey. “I was kind of always the outcast girl, and now I was getting a lot of attention, especially from boys who never even wanted to know my name. I had a really hard time going in to high school,” she explains. “I really started becoming this skater girl, wearing big baggy clothes and not wanting to show my figure, hanging out with skater boys.” That didn’t always go over well with her modeling agents, who preferred a clean look. “My problem was that I was being this skater girl at home and then being a model during the day. It wasn’t accepted like it is now. Every single girl skates, and Supreme just won a CFDA award,” Fishman says with a laugh. “Back then, my agents were always like, ‘Don’t you dare wear Supreme. It’s not good to be associated with those dirty skater boys.’ ”
At Delia’s, Fishman could be herself, skateboard and all. “That was the coolest thing. I walked into the studio with Kevin Hatt, the photographer, and I saw him and his wife, Simone. They were just the coolest couple,” she remembers, adding that the rest of the creative team, stylist Galadriel Masterson and hair and makeup artist Tracy Murphy, were all starting off their careers together. “It was cool because it was a place where I could actually creatively express how I felt as a teenager and as a model. It was a really good time in that way because I had creative freedom,” she continues. “In a lot of teen magazines, you had to be all cute and smiley and everything’s perfect. This was stick out your tongue and run around and skateboard and do whatever you want and have fun.”
The union of model and brand couldn’t have been more perfect, and Fishman became the poster girl for all things Delia’s. “I was always wearing pants and jeans and big T-shirts; I never wore dresses,” she says. She also credits the brand with having a symbiotic relationship with her personal style: It was at Delia’s that she discovered bottle cap belts and began to collect the brand’s clever jewelry, and it was through Fishman that a more authentic, skater girl aesthetic became part of the Delia’s collections.
Last weekend, Fishman flew out to Los Angeles to celebrate the Delia’s collection with Dolls Kill, and she was the unofficial star of the party. “To this day, people come up and recognize me as the girl from Delia’s,” she says. At her job at 6397 and The News, Fishman is often recognized by buyers who come in to see collections, though these are far from the first times she’s been spotted. “I was in Paris, maybe 17 or 18 years old with my mom and dad. This girl, who had to have been the only other American girl in Paris at the time, was like, ‘Oh my god, you’re the girl from Delia’s,’ ” she remembers. “Last year on Halloween, somebody recognized me in costume. Buyers, even last season, girls come up to me all the time.”
Of course, Fishman is far from just the Delia’s girl. In her later teens and 20s, she modeled for Alexander McQueen (appearing in his iconic New York show), Balenciaga, and Givenchy, and she starred in the first-ever Marc Jacobs campaign before taking a break to raise her son. Fishman still models, but Delia’s will forever hold a special place in her heart. “I don’t think I would have gotten through that time of my life without having that release. It made me think there were really cool people out there.”