I always enjoy styling my family and friends for events and photo shoots. It’s a testament to my skill, and speaks volumes of my craft when the people that knew me as an industrial engineer want to hire me as a fashion stylist. So, when I received the call about a photo shoot last August from Sterling, my good friend/fraternity brother, I was more than ready to make this brother FLY-ER!
Sterling works for the government, or as we say in D.C., “gubment,” and is a fitness model/bodybuilder on the side. He wanted some updates to his portfolio, so he flew to Miami Labor Day weekend for a small vacation and lifestyle photo shoot. During the offseason, Sterling is at his leanest maintained by a very strict workout and diet regimen.
After a long day of shopping and fittings, I thought we would indulge in some fattening grub, however I was sadly mistaken. Sterling whipped out this Ziploc bag of yams and an UNSEASONED, UN-FRIED chicken breast, then proceeded to have “dinner.” *deep, bacon-filled sigh* While my mind respected his regimen, my stomach politely walked to Five Guys and scarfed down a real meal.
The shoot was photographed by Creative Hostel co-inhabitant, Cendino Teme. I picked locations throughout South Beach and Miami to reflect Sterling’s personality and diverse looks. We had a great time working together, and I know it will not be our last. This shoot demonstrated the difference in lifting weights vs. lifting strips of bacon. I may have picked up some tips on physical fitness, but Sterling learned a thing or two about fashion.” Enjoy!
P.S.: The cigar was only for effect; no judgment.
It is always a pleasure working with emerging recording artists. Not only are they purpose-driven and humble, but hungry. Often, that hunger and passion resonates throughout their sound and personality. The same can be said and much, much more about Nigerian/Sierra Leonean/Lebanese singer-songwriter, Di’Ja.
Last August, Di’Ja, born Hadiza Blell, reached out to me about styling and creative directing her next photo shoot. After listening to her hit single, Rock Steady, and reading her bio, I was excited to get to work with my first Nigerian-born starlet. *waves green & white flag* Di’Ja’s cultural background radiates through her unique sound as her music effortlessly merges pop, R&B and a hint of reggae. Like most Nigerians, Di’Ja is also degreed UP! She earned dual bachelor’s degrees with majors in psychology and biology, before pursuing what she knew to be her destiny: entertainment.
Her energy is infectious. If you ever have the opportunity to meet Di’Ja, you’ll know what I mean; people gravitate toward her as if they already know she’s a superstar. Once Di’Ja and I had our initial consultation, I knew I had to bring my ‘A’ game. The looks had to match her diversity in sound and culture without losing her as an artist. Di’Ja’s unique personality simply had to emanate through every look. I immediately enlisted the help of some amazing designers to bring my vision to life:
Dominique Auxilly: Look (1 &3), coral dress, and look (7), pewter dress.
Parfait Designs by Esosa: Look (4), unity skirt.
Delilah Johnson: Look (5), babydoll dress.
Artistic Aya: Look (5), paper earrings & bracelet and printed purse.
After pulling from designers, I went shopping to complete each look, and found great pieces from Betsey Johnson, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Steve Madden and ALDO. The mix of custom designs and off-the-rack pieces were the perfect fusion for the shoot.
As a fashion stylist, it is not only important to listen with your ears, but also with your eyes. Clients speak to you in many different forms and it’s your job to pick up on the minute details. Where possible, I infuse elements of my clients’ personal style. It provides them a fresh perspective on how to wear pieces in their current wardrobe. Using some of Di’Ja’s jewelry and shoes for this shoot ultimately helped her own each look.
The story below is what happens when an amazing team works with an even more amazing artist.
- Like Di’Ja’s Facebook Fan Page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/DiJa/184440925984
- Listen to her music on MySpace - http://www.myspace.com/musicdija
- Follow Di’Ja on Twitter - @aphroDIJA
- Download Di’Ja’s new single, Private Room on iTunes – http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/private-show-single/id435835147
Where were you when news broke that the King of Pop, Michael Jackson died? I was in Harlem, NY, home of the Black Renaissance, just one block from the legendary Apollo Theatre. True to form, Rev. Al Sharpton was one of the first figureheads on scene and quickly consoled a growing crowd of devastated fans. Stereos from every corner played MJ tunes while nostalgia filled the air as people cried, laughed and danced in the streets. It was a true life and legacy celebration of the greatest entertainer of all time. *pulls sequined glove out of pocket* Of course, I had to join in and city boy slide one time for ya’ boy *in my best South Florida accent* as Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough played in my head. #iLoveFAMU
I was also in the middle of my first lifestyle shoot with VH1 & CNN correspondent, not to mention huge Michael Jackson fan, Janell Snowden. She has to be one of the coolest and most supportive people I’ve ever met. One look into the shoot, Janell’s phone started to blow up with calls from CNN to be on a panel within the hour. In my mind, I’m thinking, “Party done”. *Jamaican accent* “This shoot is about be rescheduled.” However, in a world/city of people that jumped in reaction to MJ’s death, Janell insisted we stay the course, demonstrating our mutual passion for fashion. *bbm surprised face* Not many people in Janell’s position would have passed up that opportunity. It spoke volumes about her character as a journalist and person. It’s a pleasure to work in this industry with people that share your passion; the end product is always better. Check out Janell’s fashion story with a special MJ tribute in the last look.
***Photographer, Elton Anderson