It seems anyone with a modicum of style and a vintage shopping habit is calling themselves a stylist these days. But quietly, there is a new crop of stylists whose talent and drive distinguishes them from the fray.
From styling today’s most recognizable celebrities to penning major editorials for top magazines, these stylists are making an impact on fashion and living their dreams behind-the-scenes. Get to know five brilliant stylists worth paying attention to:
1. Becca Alexis
Over the course of her ten year styling career, she’s worked with Trey Songz, Marlon Wayans, Ne-Yo, Estelle, Heidi Klum and Janet Jackson. Celebrity stylist Becca Alexis is continuously sought after for her keen vision, versatility, extensive resources and relationships. And for her extensive education in her craft. Becca received her degree in Apparel Management/Merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.
To aspiring fashion hopefuls she says: “My advice is to go to fashion school and learn the business. Knowledge is power; it is the one thing no one can take from you. Once you land a client you want to prove you are credible.”
Alexis is currently headlining Hello Beautiful’s 5 Minutes to Fab series where fashion hopefuls write to Becca for fashion help and she gives them makeovers in just five minutes. She also styled Trey Songz for the Rocawear Spring 2011 ad campaign where she “bridged the gap between the modern GC man, the trendy hipster and the swagged out street element.” Alongside partner Hachy Mendez, she founded the company, Pulchritude and Concepts, which focuses on styling and designing for TV, film, commercials and celebrities.
The tastemaker, who actually designs her own pieces, has a simple style philosophy: “A person should look like as if they have bought their clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and forgot all about it.”
2. Charles Wade
Celebrity fashion and wardrobe stylist, Charles hails from “the home of go-go and mumbo sauce” (that’s Washington, D.C., folks) but his travels find him all over the map. After graduating from New York University, he worked under Memsor Kamarake at Vibe Magazine and then as Fashion Director for HoneyMag.com.
Now an independent stylist, he has worked with Rihanna, Zoe Saldana, Nicki Minaj, Solange Knowles, Ameriie and Angela and Vanessa Simmons to name a few. His future plans are even grander. He is transitioning into costume and fashion design and preparing to open a boutique and release a coffee table book by the end of next year.
As for his signature styling look: “My aesthetic is clean, sexy, and smart. Nothing more, nothing less. My criteria is ‘Will this look stand the test of time and trends?’ and ‘Will my client look like the smart girl that you crush on?’ It’s rather simple.”
Though Carmegie always harbored a love for fashion, she originally started out in a more corporate field. But when she landed an internship with June Ambrose, everything changed. After working her way up to an assistant position with Ambrose, Carmegie left to create her own company, the boutique styling firm, IYLi ILi, which stands for ‘If You Like It, I Love It.’
She has worked with Tika Sumpter, Adrienne Bailon and Artful Dodger for their Spring/Summer 2011 Lookbook. “A fun accomplishment was having Tika featured in Oscar de la Renta in Women’s Wear Daily,” she said.
Carmegie has also styled her share of music videos, most recently working on Janelle Monae’s “Tight Rope Remix” video with Lupe Fiasco and B.O.B. “What I want to do is make sure that I develop my client’s own personal image and ultimately that’s what I want each client to find—their own personal style. I take them along that road based on their personality, lifestyle, projects, and what they’re passionate about to help them create that image.”
4. Ugo Mozie
A globetrotter, fashion designer, image consultant and artist, Ugo Mozie is one-of-a-kind. You’ve seen his work on everyone from Aubrey O’Day to Diddy Dirty Money’s Dawn Richard and Kalenna Flux to Teyana Taylor and in publications like Elle, The New York Times, Paper, Nylon, and Vibe Magazine.
The Nigerian-born stylist often gets inspiration from his home country when creating looks for his celeb clientele: “Every time I go to Nigeria, I always come back with so much inspiration. It’s like stepping into a different world. They value art, friendship, and family,” he says.
Speaking of friendship, Mozie tapped best friend, Quinn Aston, to add another title to his repertoire: designer. The duo started their own successful fashion line called ‘Aston Mozie’: “Everything [Quinn and I] wear, we wear because we are trying to create communication with other people. We go out to different events and people want to know who we are, what we are wearing, and who made the clothing. It becomes a topic of conversation.” Ever the envelope-pusher, Mozie adds: “I love androgyny. Many of the pieces in our collection look like women’s clothing, but a man can definitely wear them.”
Whether styling or designing, Ugo’s love for fashion is undeniable: “I love fashion. It is what I do everyday. It is what I breathe and love, but at the end of the day, it’s not really about the clothes. It’s not really about the labels. It’s just about me loving the art of fashion.”
5. Joy Adaeze
Joy Adaeze is as well-known for her work as a stylist as she is for her own eye-catching look. The fashion stylist and image consultant was snapped in Street Style for Vogue Black, Ebony Magazine and JonesMag.com during Fall 2011 Fashion Week.
As for her professional experience, she has worked with NBC, ESSENCE Magazine Editor-in-Chief Constance White, Women’s Wear Daily, Runway Passport and Fashizback Magazine. Her blog and YouTube Channel are increasingly popular for her expert take on vintage pieces and unique DIY fashion tips. The style maven plans to write a book on style and to design a ready-to-wear women’s collection in the near future.
On working in the style industry, she says: “Fashion is my addiction and it makes me happy! I think when you truly enjoy your career, it shows in the quality of the work you produce.”