Fashion Citizen attends the DC BET Style Lounge at @DTLR & talks with Celebrity Stylist, Olori Swank (@oloriswank)
This past Monday I attended the DC BET Style Lounge sponsored by DTLR and it was a pretty dope scene. DJ Quicksilva was the host of this event and celebrity stylist, Olori Swank was the featured guest. I got to sit down with Olori for a few minutes to discuss celebrity styling, new artists and transcending the urban market. She was candid, informative and a beautiful soul all around. Thank you to my publicist and brand manager, Joshua Hargrove, Kysha Merritt who works with her and Candice Nicole of Candice Nicole PR, who arranged everything. Without further ado, check out the chat I had with Olori...
Fashion Citizen : I read that you style Keyshia Cole, with someone like that who came out as a young, sexy artist and then went through a transition as a mother and wife, how does that play into the styling decisions that you make for her?
Olori Swank : Working with Keyshia period, it's a little different and new to me. Most of my clients when I started working with them, they weren't as main stream as she was. She's been in the game for 10 years, strong. Now it's about introducing her to newer, high end designer like Thakoon, Jason Wu and Proenza Schouler. She tends to be concerned about covering up as a mother but I work to remind her that there are moms like Gwen Stefani who slay ! It's like any relationship, the stylist and client, you have to get to know that person before you can get away with putting them in something that's a bit daring. Right now, we're in our building phase.
FC : With the urban market, we're branded a certain way, what are some challenges that you face styling urban artists and how do you try to break them out of the norm?
OS : To be totally honest, my style is super emotional. One week I can feel super hood and have eight golds at the bottom of my mouth, jordan's on and baggy pants. Another day I feel super prissy, I've got on an Alice & Olivia pleated skirt with Charlotte Olympia pumps. That's what I try to bring out in my clients, you don't have to totally stray away from the urban designers. I love using emerging designers, urban or not. We can do high end and low end, bourgie and ratchet. I don't believe in restrictions with my own style, so I don't impose them on my clients. I think that's what clothes are all about, creating a personality and that's what I use them to do.
FC : What advice would you give to a new artist coming out looking to brand themselves through styling?
OS : Every new artist needs to be comfortable, I don't mean like your shoes have to be super comfortable but you must be able to own your look. Me, for example, when I first turned my hair blue, I was good with wearing blue and then after a while I wasn't comfortable wearing blue anymore. I didn't feel like I could sell myself in blue garments. Artists should find those pieces that make them feel like they're at a 10 and build on that. I usually always have on some kind of gold statement necklace. You don't have to try to hard, just build on what makes you comfortable. Use blogs, instagrams, and the like for inspiration and make those things work for you. Being confident and comfortable is what will take you far.
Below are a few pics from the event. Some of the familiar faces you'll see are Candice of Candice Nicole PR, Anwaa Kong, Deborah of Mdwurva, Alexis of Madison Davenport PR, Kelson of Urban Informer, Inkbully, Harley Morgan or ROE Agency, Desmond of Ethnicity Designs, Ashley of IAmSuperGorge and quite a few other stylish folks.