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Showing posts with label Breaking into Fashion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Breaking into Fashion. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Breaking Into Fashion: Lloyd Boston

Adriana here!
If you watch Lloyd Boston on TV often, then you know one of his favorite exclamations is "I love my job!" Why? Well, when Oprah herself has you on speed-dial, and you're the best-selling author of three style bibles, spokesperson for one of the world's leading apparel companies, Jones New York, and arguably the most popular style commenter on television, it's not all that hard to understand!With over 150 appearances on NBC's Today show and numerous guest spots on Oprah, E!, The View, and CNN, as well as focused broadcast work for over 16 seasons on New York's "Full Frontal Fashion," Lloyd is one of THE authorities on contemporary style!I interviewed Lloyd to ask, among other things, how he turned an internship at 19 with Tommy Hilfiger into a highly successful, multifaceted career as a coveted style guru. "When stepping into this business, you should be prepared to compete with the best. Many young professionals think that entering fashion means creating a persona that is unlike who they are. I always follow the old adage that ‘it is nice to be important, but more important to be nice.’" Take it from a superstar!For those of you hesitant about breaking into fashion right now, Lloyd astutely points out, "There is so much style available that this might be the best time for design in general—from clothes to home furnishings, and beyond." Also remember that stylists succeed not just by creating chic looks, but if they can teach their clients how to do so, too! Lloyd's rules to self-style by include:1. "Buy the size that fits, not the size you hope to be."
2. "Wearing white all year round is chic if the fabric is seasonally appropriate!"
3. "If you can’t see it, you won’t wear it. Organizing and editing your closet is the first step to looking chic."
Aspiring style gurus take note!For guys looking to step up their style game, Lloyd suggests taking cues from Andre 3000, Terrence Howard, and Diddy, who, "has stood the test of time, from tuxes to timbs!" He also counts Tommy Hilfiger, J. Crew, Viktor & Rolf, Paul Smith, and Domenico Vacca among his favorite designers. And what does this ultimate style dynamo hold near and dear from his own personal closet?"Definitely my Stubbs and Wootton velvet ‘Buddha’ slippers, my black Gucci suit, my J.Crew chinos, and my laceless leather Jack Purcells. And anything from Kiehl's." And Lloyd, can you please let a Fashion Bombshell know how you feel about all of these crazy statement bags on the red carpet? "As a clutch, chic. Any bigger, so last week."
If that's not the best "amen" I've received from the choir (y'all know it's kind of a pet peeve)...
Thank you, Mr. Boston!
Be sure to catch Lloyd's new show, "Closet Cases," which debuts on the Fine Living Network in April!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Breaking Into Fashion: Kathryn Finney AKA The Budget Fashionista

Right now the name of the game is Recession Chic and no one knows more about getting the most fashionable bang for your buck than the The Budget Fashionista herself...Kathryn Finney!
With appearances everywhere, including the TODAY Show, E! News, CNN, InStyle, The New York Times, Essence, and People, Kathryn is a national force and one of the first fashion bloggers to break ground on the Internet.

I recently interviewed Kathryn to ask her about how she got her start and also get some tips on how to stay stylish in these lean times! She says, "I started The Budget Fashionista in the summer of 2003 from a love of fashion but a lack of cash. There were very few women-centered blogs--yet alone fashion blogs--at that time and no one was making money. It was a fun hobby and great way to keep up with friends."What began as a personal passion blossomed into a new media empire, as The Budget Fashionista became the #1 independent fashion blog on the Internet with over 2 million hits per month, and spawned TV appearances, spokesperson gigs with T.J. Maxx (among many others), and even a book, How to Be a Budget Fashionista--The Ultimate Guide to Looking Fabulous For Less.On her keys to success, Kathryn advises, "Be yourself. Not Oprah. Not Puffy. Not me. Like Russell Simmons says, 'Do You.' It is much easier and sustainable than to try to be something you're not. I would also say think about how much you want "it," whatever "it" is to you. Are you willing to go broke? Work for free? It's not an easy path, but if you focus on your goals and understand that everything has a path, then you can succeed." On weathering the weak economy stylishly, Kathryn offers some real talk for compulsive shoppers. "Look at the value of the item before you buy it and do what I call the Cost Per Wear (CPW), which is the price of the item divided by the number of times you think you're going to wear it. The CPW forces you to focus on the value of the garment to your closet NOT just the price." Smart!And what does this diva on a dime treasure most from her personal closet? "I love vintage coats, so I have this pink velvet coat with tiny silver stars that I got from a great vintage store called Polka Dots and Moonbeams in L.A. I love my black Cocoon jacket from the Norma Kamali line at Wal-Mart, and I live in my Assets (the cheaper hosiery line from Spanx) that I buy at Target!"
Was I the only one not up on Assets?? Kathryn knows her game for real. Thank you, Miss Finney!
*See more at The Budget Fashionista's site!
*Also, because we love you so much, The Fashion Bomb and Kathryn are giving away a copy of How To Be a Budget Fashionista to the first reader who can e-mail us the name of the iconic model posing with Kathryn and Carson Kressley in one of the above pictures. E-mail with your guesses--first correct answer wins!
*Photos courtesy of Simply Good Media.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Breaking into Fashion: Celebrity Makeup Artist Jackie Gomez

If you've coveted Beyoncé's, Zoe Saldana's, or Kelly Rowland's makeup lately, chances are Jackie Gomez's talented brush created that fabu look!Jackie, whose clients have also included Jennifer Lopez, Ciara, and R&B ingenue Natasha, took a sec from her hectic schedule (she was prepping for none other than Bee when we connected) to share makeup tips and how she rose in the biz.Jackie began at 19 by assisting as many established makeup artists as she could, and credits her "drive and ambition" as motivation to start booking her own jobs. "As a Latina, I know the importance of loving one's exotic features and use that, along with makeup, to make women feel and look amazing."Jackie recommends that you "practice makeup all the time--the more you do it the better it becomes." She also stresses the importance of apprenticing, keeping an eye towards striking out on your own, and being confident enough to develop your own style!
She also brought it with a few makeup pointers! Here are her Top 5 Makeup Tips:
1. Eyes should be flirtatious and gorgeous, so have fun! Lashes look best when they're darker than eyebrows, and several coats of mascara will give you a false lash effect.2. Keep eyebrows in their place: your eyes need a frame to appear balanced. Tip: use a stencil for a perfect brow.
3. Blush is very important! It sculpts the face and gives it life. Go for a bronzer with a peachy blush for a sexy glow.4. Foundations are meant to even out your skin, and they should be a little more yellow than pink for a flawless tone.
5. To prevent eyeliner from running, go over it with a cotton swab dipped in dark eyeshadow.
Did I mention that she's also a favorite of the guys? John Legend, Marc Anthony, the Clipse, and Hurricane Chris are fans!
And you know I had to get the 411 on her favorite makeup things:1. Tarte Park Avenue Princess Bronzer, $28 2. Korres "Guava" Lip Butter, $9 3. Makeup Forever High Definition Foundation, $40 4. Christian Dior Diorshow Mascara, $24 5. NARS "Crazed" Blush, $25 6. M.A.C Lashes #35, $12
Check out more on Jackie at her site,!
Much thanks to Nikki P. ;-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Breaking into Fashion: Beverly Smith

Hey Fashion Bombers!
Adriana here with a Breaking into Fashion post on writer, celebrity style consultant, television personality, and founder of the Dinner with Bevy enterprise...

...Beverly Smith!
As one of Fashion's presiding Renaissance women, there are few areas of style, media, and culture Beverly Smith hasn't touched:

Starting as a receptionist at an advertising agency, Beverly climbed the ranks with her razor sharp chic barometer, holding posts as Fashion Advertising Director and Fashion Editor at Large of Vibe Magazine, Senior Fashion Director of Rolling Stone, Contributing Editor of Latina Magazine, freelance writer for Paper Mag and Interview, and TV personality on BET, E, Oxygen, and VH1.
I sat down recently with Bevy (as we call her) at Melba's in Harlem to get the 411 on her experiences in fashion, advice for breaking in to the field, and some of her Favorite Things!

On Breaking into the industry, Bevy says, "Study the art, craft, and business of fashion and you will go much farther than someone who just looks the part. Knowledge gives you the freedom to explore many facets of the business! We don't need any more fly young people carrying Goyard, wearing Lanvin but can't tell you who Madame Grès, Charles James, or Patrick Kelly are."

Bevy, whose favorite fashion memories include her first Vivienne Westwood Parisian show and Tom Ford's after party for the Met Costume Ball (in the Gucci era), contends that the key to maintaining confidence in the cutthroat world of couture is to, "Find something beyond fashion to believe in: look to family, friends, spirituality. Don't be afraid to be unique; in fact, celebrate what makes you different! "

Bevy's golden rule for success? "Be confident in who you are and what you bring to any situation. Also, know your worth: having worked in fashion for 20 years, I've built up quite a wealth of knowledge and contacts, which makes me unafraid to enter any domain."

Of course I had to ask this fashion maven about a few of her favorite things! She says, "I love my Gucci bandage dress from Tom Ford's third season, and my Dior "Frankenstein" platforms that I was photographed in by the New York Times. My two best assets are my cheeks and lips, so I love blush by Nars (Orgasm and Taj Mahal). Lips must be bright and shiny so a combo of a bright M.A.C. lipstick and a Wet 'n Wild gloss in gold does the trick!"
Try a Bevy essence with the following:
Herve Leger Zip Front Reversible Bandage Dress, $1,390. Nars Blush in Orgasm, $25. Dior Couture Suede Cutout Sandals, $925. Wet 'n' Wild MegaSlicks Lip Gloss, $2. M·A·C Lipstick, $14.
The divine Miss Smith has spoken!
Learn more about Bevy at!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Breaking into Fashion: Ursula Stephen

It's been quite a while since we've had a Breaking into Fashion post, so today I wanted to give you guys the scoop on Ursula Stephen...
...hairstylist to the stars.
While she's well known for taming the manes of Michelle Williams and Keyshia Cole, she's probably most recognized for gifting the ever fashionable Rihanna her oft imitated pixie cut:
...whose edge always adds to Rihanna's fashionable fits!
Thankfully, Ursula put down her styling tools to tell you hopefuls how to break into her business:
She says, "I caught my "big break" by working in the salon. I had really great clientele, a couple of which worked at labels, a couple who knew people in the industry. So it was basically word of mouth."
Starting at a humble Brooklyn boutique, Ursula rose through the ranks thanks to her unquestionable talent and positive attitude. She says, 'I always kept my eyes on the prize, thought outside the box, and stayed upbeat no matter how far away my dreams seemed..."
Currently in France, Ursula travels the world, packing all her hot combs and adapters in her carry ons. She says, "I'll never forget having dinner with Roberto Cavalli. Rihanna was invited to his show in Milan, and afterwards he invited the whole team to his restaurant for a private dinner. I was actually having casual conversation with him, and found out we share the same sign!!"
For women of color, she has this pointed advice, "Always go that extra mile, because as sad it may sound, we as people of color have not really overcome as much as we think we have. It's gotten easier but its not easy."
In sum, she says to, "Be sure about your love for hair; and ultimately do what makes you happy."
Sound advice for any profession!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Breaking into Blogging: Tia Williams

Happy July!
It's another Breaking into Fashion Post! It's been a while, so I thought I'd bring it back with a bangin profile of blogging superstar...
...Tia Williams!
Haven't heard of her? Where have you been?? Tia is the author behind the uber fabulous black beauty blog "Shake your Beauty" (
Launched in May 2005, Shake Your Beauty attracts 500,000 to 1 million beauty mavens a month looking to be blessed by Tia's recommendations for everything from blush to bronzer.
With that many devotees, you know she stays super busy! Still, she took a moment out of her fabulous life to give you aspiring bloggers the scoop on how to break into online journaling.
A former beauty editor for titles like Elle, Glamour, YM, Lucky and Teen People, Tia decided to leave magazines to focus on her writing career. She says, "When I left the industry three years ago, I wasn’t willing to give up my obsession with beauty, so I decided to start my own beauty blog! For years I was the only black beauty editor at mainstream magazines, and I’d developed a voice that spoke to women of color. I started “Shake Your Beauty” to continue that voice, and provide a forum for brown women of all ethnicities to learn about the hottest products and tips—for us."
If you want to get started, she says, "These days, anyone can become a blogger. You can write about anything under the sun." Just log onto or, pick a name, and start writing! But, with women's lifestyle publishers like counting 339 bloggers, how do you set yourself apart? Tia says, "First, pick a topic you know a lot about—a major hobby, a career, a lifelong interest—and develop your blog around that theme. "

"Second, develop your voice. What can you bring to the topic that no one else can? And finally, work on the design. I suggest reaching out to local colleges, universities, or art schools in your area to find design talent (usually, they’re so eager for experience the work will be gratis!). But first, do your homework—print out blogs whose design you really love, and use this as inspiration for your own site."
You're type, typing away, but noone's reading. What to do?? Tia says: get personal. "The more anecdotal you make your posts, the better. Readers love to find out more about the person behind the blog." Not into becoming an internet celebrity? She says, "You can also build readership through Google listings. Give your posts straightforward, simple titles (this way, Google has an easier time finding your post through all the others). For example, if you’re blogging about Rihanna’s new hair color, the title “Jet-Black is Beautiful” won’t get a high listing because it’s not specific enough. If you call it “Rihanna’s New Dye Job,” you’ll not only attract readers Google-ing hair color, but also the scores and scores of readers looking for items on Rihanna."
Now the all important question: Can you make money?? Tia says, " can, but it’s not easy. But there are ways to do it, like charging for advertising. You can also join networks that will help you pull in advertising. I would never suggest starting a blog to make money!" Agreed!
In sum, she says, "I really think it’s making yourself stand apart from the crowd. If you have some special angle to bring to a topic, this will make your readers come back every day. Voice is so important, too. Are you funny? Snarky? Earnest? Figure out your tone and work it! "
Work it!
For your beauty fix, visit Shake your Beauty at
Tell 'em I sent ya!
PS I know a thing or two (or three) about blogging, so may I add:
*Buy your Domain Name!!! Some who-ha offered to sell me '"...for $15,000!!! Yeah Right!!! And you know it's not because he likes Fashion or Bombs. Cybersquatters are real. Buy your domain name at GoDaddy when you start just to be safe...if you start to attract a readership, please believe there is someone out there who will try to take advantage.
*Blog consistently. You don't have to do it everyday, but try to stick to a schedule so people visiting will know when to expect something new.
*Listen to comments/criticism. The Fashion Bomb has changed a lot since it started (check my archives). What you see today is the result of lots of trial and lots of error.
*Show Love to Fellow Bloggers. There's a lot of room out there in cyberspace. Give as much as you can, it'll come back to ya.
Good Luck!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Breaking into Fashion: Wouri Vice

So for yet another Breaking into Fashion post, I decided to chit chat with Wouri Vice...
...stylist to chanteuse Alicia Keys.
A friend of Ms. Keys since high school, Vice used his spectacular and undeniable flair for fashion to take Alicia from her days of braids and fedoras to the sleek sophistication we see today:
Even as he was preparing outfits for Alicia Keys' next video, he took a moment to talk to The Fashion Bomb on  how he got his start.
Wouri always had a fashionable eye. "In high school I was the kid with one green sock and one blue sock because I was wearing blue and green." He went to college for fashion journalism, but after too many boring lectures on Plato and the philosophy of style, he decided to follow his true passion. "I started making clothes for student groups. When I came home during the summer, I worked as an intern at Giorgio Armani." He followed his Armani internship with several more with prominent stylists. He came to style for Alicia after reconnecting post high school. He says, "I used to tell Alicia that I would be a huge stylist and she would be a big singer. I told her I would be her stylist, and we laughed. But now you see how things came around..."
A typical week for Wouri involves everything from thinking up concepts to going on market appointments. For a video, he says, "I'm given a treatment and a concept, then call Alicia to see what she wants." After figuring out the colors, fabrics, and silhouettes Ms. Keys favors, Wouri gets to work. He says, "I do research. I see what’s out there in fashion land that suits what is being requested. I set up market appointments, see what’s available, send out requests, then conclude it all with fittings for her."
If you haven't noticed, Alicia's style has done almost a 180 in recent years. What's changed? "The evolution you see is my growth a stylist, pushing envelopes and being able to do new things. You’re also seeing her evolution as an artist, someone who is willing to let her hair down. She says, “Maybe I’ll wear a mini dress or tight jeans today." It’s gotten down to her saying, 'If I like it, I like it, I don’t care what critics have to say.' As time went on, she became more simplistic. Took off the hat and the beads, and the gloves, and just stayed simple, beautiful Alicia."
For those aspiring for a similar position, Wouri says, "Don’t give up on yourself. Stay in prayer. Follow your dreams. People are gonna try to knock you down. There’s always someone in the background, so be confident in what you can do." Apt words.

Fashion, News, and What Nots
*Yes We Can!!!
Barack Obama is the first African-American to claim a major party ticket. As I said...Yes we Can!!!! And pssst...Michelle: I love your dress. [NYTimes]
*Don't have time to read your monthly mags? The website Frisky cuts through all the clutter to tell you the most interesting items. [Frisky]
*It's that time of year again...
...that's right, the Diane Von Furstenberg sample sale!!! It's *mayjah*. I dipped in yesterday and cleaned up. You can too! The sale is on until Saturday. Click the flyer for hours and location info.
*Thanks Bonnita!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Breaking into Fashion: Piper Carter

So today I decided to give you yet another 'Breaking into Fashion' post featuring photographer...
Piper Carter!
You might know her from her appearance on VH1's 'The Shot", but Piper has been in the industry for years, shooting editorials for British Elle, the New York Times, Trace, Spin and King Magazine.
She kindly took some time out of her hectic schedule to talk to the Fashion Bomb about how she got her start, and how you aspiring photographers can get your shot in the field.
Originally a dance major at Howard University, Piper always had a penchant for creativity. "I’ve been a dancer since I was five, but I felt it wasn't something I really wanted to do. I had interests in photography and fashion design, and on a whim switched my major to photography." Once she started taking classes, she realized that not only did she like snapping images, but she had a talent for it.
After graduation the Michigan native moved to New York and took up an assistantship with celebrated photographer Steven Klein. Impressed with her pluck, he hired her on as his 5th assistant. She says, "I had to do a lot of grunt work, including picking up dog poo and getting his mail. But I was also able to become a part of his team. After 3 years of being with him, I became his second assistant and was virtually his lighting designer and production manager."
Though she learned a ton from her assistantship, she decided that she still needed to learn more, and went on to pursue another degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology. "After September 11th, the whole industry changed. I wanted to immerse myself in digital images." She followed FIT with an internship at Vogue, which led her to the VH1 show. Now you can find her backstage at Fashion Week, or shooting spreads for Essence and Six Degrees Magazine.
About breaking into the industry she says, "There are no hard and fast rules. Your career is what you make of it. Fashion is an industry that’s sort’ve like the wild wild west. You can get an agent or you could be on your own. You've just gotta be really diligent and persistent with contacting entities with which you want to work."
Not sure where to start? Piper touts the virtues of a French/English publication called 'Le Book.' She says, "It’s for clients to source out talent that they want to use. In there you can find contact information for photographers, production companies, photo studios, art directors, magazines, and art buyers. Contact them and offer to intern for them. You may not have an agent, so learn how to package yourself. It’s not about contacting people and saying how great you are, but getting in touch and saying , 'this is what I’ve done and this is what I can offer you.’" Just starting out? Play up your experience as best you can. "You've got to get yourself out there. Meet as many people as possible. Be your own mouthpiece."
Do you need a degree in photography to get through the door? "I learned more as an assistant than I did at school, " she confesses, "I went to school because I wanted to learn certain base skills. But you don't necessarily need to go to school to be a photographer." If you go the 'non-school' route, she recommends keeping your skills sharp by shooting something everyday. "Shoot a flower, a tree, a child, anything, just shoot and keep yourself fresh. Look at the images after you’ve shot and show those pictures to people. Not because you need their opinion, but see how your images affect what other people think. " Also, take advantage of local and smaller publications. "The fact that you’re working and working with the client, that alone can help you learn how to communicate with people and how to give people what they want."
As a woman of color, she says, "I could go on and on and on about the horrors I’ve experienced." But, "You have to have confidence. Do your thing and know that your work speaks beyond what color you are. Talent and a good personality go a long way."
Sound advice!
Piper's currently working on a compilation of aspirational images of women of color, set to launch in September. Keep track of her on her website,, or on her Blog, Studio Arena.

Fashion, News, and What Nots
*The Uptown Emerging Designers' Market last Sunday (organized by friends Michelle and Enyinne) has a write up in today's New York Times!!!
Eric Wilson says, "Ms. Gittens, in a belted vintage gray dress, and Ms. Owunwanne, wearing jeans she had altered with an orange tie at the back, organized the market to draw attention to what is happening in Harlem, as well as to spotlight designers from Brooklyn and New Jersey." As V. Beckham would say: Mayjah!! Read the rest here. [NYTimes]
*Christian Dior has unleashed a hot new celly:
"...The Diorphone which is targeted solely at women will be available in a regular version which will retail for 3,500 euros (about US$5,100) and a “deluxe model studded with 640 diamonds, which comes with an alligator sheath, runs up to 18,000 euros, or about US$27,000.″ Once again, these designers are smoking crack. [WWD]
*A bunch of bloggers (including myself) modeled Diane Von Furstenberg's Spring collection for Look at pix here. [Coutorture]
*Fashion Bomb Friend Andre J is featured in this week's Time Out Magazine...
“...When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I say is ‘Thank you for waking me up this morning.’ Then I look in the mirror and say, ‘You are beautiful!’ The third thing I say is, ‘I am going to have a fantastic day!’ ” Read the rest here. [Time Out]