Brooklyn based fashion stylist and creator of fashion trivia game, Are You Smarter Than A Fashion Stylist?™. Check out some highlights from our convo, it's sure to leave you feeling inspired af.
TFE: Tell us a little about your background as a fashion stylist.
Shadé: I started styling in high school. I was part of a fashion after school program that ignited my flame. I went to Kingsborough College and graduated with my Associates degree in Fashion Merchandising. I wanted to further my fashion education at F.I.T or L.I.M but I realized the fashion industry was built on who you know and less of what you know. So I continued my education with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management at St. Francis College. Ultimately there is no school that can teach you how to do you. It's either you got it or you don’t.I landed my first retail job at GUESS INC. Before freelancing as a wardrobe stylist I was a makeup artist and then I began styling celebrity children. It was a smooth transition as I started assisting notable stylists and getting referrals. I’ve always surrounded myself with like minded individuals and put myself in a position to allow my work to speak for itself. It wasn’t one set path but a combination of all of my experiences that led me to where I am today.
TFE: I love the concept of your trivia game 'Are You Smarter Than A Fashion Stylist?™. It’s super creative! Tell us about the game and what the process was like bringing that idea to life.
Shadé: Thank you so much. I’m still amazed to see how it transformed from a concept to raw sketches and an excel sheet into a finished product. Are You Smarter Than A Fashion Stylist is a fashion centered trivia card game that tests your fashion knowledge. The game was created for stylists, designers, glam squads, fashionistas, publicists and fashion industry elite who enjoy having fun. AYSTAFS was a quarantine mastermind of mine that I held on to. I did the research and it all came together. The process like any other came with some roadblocks but it was exciting. It was my baby and I knew I had to see it through. I really wanted to create a card game that reflected my interests as well as that of my industry counterparts. The visuals on the front of the cards are a reflection of my portfolio. Each outfit is from a styled look on a past client or a look from my personal wardrobe. The game is personal, which makes it even more special!
💭 see y’all, you owe it to yourself to see those ideas through
TFE: What does your creative process look like when you book a new gig?
Shadé: It starts with researching the client. I google or search social media to get an idea of who they are. It's extremely collaborative. Once I have the initial conversation with my client or someone from their team about the end goal of the project, that's where my tunnel vision taps in. I kind of zone out to visualize what designers may best suit this client, project or production and then it goes from there. Mood boards are always helpful. However, as a creative your ultimate goal is to have full creative control so you can express your creativity on a level that still executes the goal.
TFE: What do you think is the biggest challenge of being a fashion stylist? How are you overcoming this?
Shadé: I believe the biggest challenge especially for aspiring and upcoming stylists are contacts and having access to resources. One of the most common questions that I’m asked is “how do you get access to clothes”?. Clothing is what paint is to a canvas. No paint-no art! Notable brands don’t often lend to stylists who don’t have A-list celebrity clientele. It's hard to provide 10 looks if you don’t have those connections or range of designers you can pull from. When you’re given the same access to designers as notable stylists it’s easier to expand your creativity and visual aesthetic. You’re given room to grow as a stylist. I’ve overcome this by interning and assisting other celebrity stylists who in return share contacts or give you access to their contact list. You develop connections via email by corresponding and having your name on email threads , so when it’s your turn to pull they are familiar with who you are , who you’re connected to and your potential quality of work.
TFE: What’s a project you’ve worked on that you are super proud of?
Shadé: I’m going to go with the Future ft Meek Mill and Doe Boy 100 shooters music video. I styled the video models. It was so much fun, I learned a lot and it took my craft to another level.
TFE: How would you describe your personal style?
Shadé: It's extremely versatile. I live for a little edge so you can almost guarantee I’ll have something on that involves leather, distressed denim or oversized pieces. The older I get the more comfortable I want to be, I catch myself wearing black most times but I can literally go from crazy to sexy to cool.
What is a trend you are really enjoying at the moment?
Shadé: I’m really enjoying lingerie as casual layers. Mesh, lace, silk.....It's provocative. It gets the people going!
TFE: Who are some wardrobe stylists that you admire?
Shadé: I like the aesthetics of Kollin Carter, Law Roach, Jason Bolden, Maeve Reilly, Jason Rembert, Monica Rose, Misa Hylton, Elly Karamoh to name a few.
TFE: What is a piece of advice you've received during your styling career which has helped you along your journey?
Shadé: One thing Law Roach told me as I was preparing returns for him one day was “Styling is a luxury” meaning it’s not a need. So if people want a stylist they have to pay for it. It's not something that people need, it's something they want. Charge accordingly!