The JessicaSimien.com “She’s A Boss” series is all about women in leadership positions. Women are not celebrated enough for their amazing and one-of-a-kind accomplishments. We’re using our platform to shine light on some very talented and intelligent ladies working toward (and realizing) their dreams. Not only will you have an opportunity to learn about them, you will also get to learn from them as they share their business advice and pointers on how to maintain balance.
We had an opportunity to catch up with 26-year-old fashion stylist and wardrobe consultant, Ashante Nicole. The Brooklyn, New York resident is a two time bachelors degree recipient of the Fashion Institute of Technology and currently works on a number of projects in the fashion industry. During our chat she shares her inspirations, business blunders and overall advice for those who plan to enter into a fashion career.
Read it below.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion?
Ashante Nicole: My mother inspired my career in fashion. Maybe not overtly, but indirectly. She always dressed me and my 3 younger siblings perfectly. Everything always matched, which got on my nerves as a kid, but it definitely contributed to my love of styling.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What was the first obstacle you had to overcome as an entrepreneur?
AN: The one thing you have to accept is that it may be a struggle. I went into the world of PR for a while, and whilst I still have freelance clients, working in an agency environment wasn’t for me. I didn’t have a passion for it, but it was secure. Once I decided to pursue styling again, I had to accept that it’s going to be a struggle for a while, I may have to work a night job to make ends meet, but it’s worth it since my heart is 100% in it.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: As a stylist what qualities do you think are important to have?
AN: It’s important to know the trends for every season before they actually happen, especially if you want to do editorial. Editorials for magazines can be shot anywhere from three to six months in advance, so you have to know what is next. It is also important to have as many showroom and designer contacts as possible. Shopping budgets usually only come with big A-Lister names, so pulling from showrooms is going to be your saving grace.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Do you think those necessary qualities are the same for men?
AN: Wardrobe styling has no gender. I personally prefer menswear styling, and I know male stylists who only work with women. Styling is all about creativity and being innovative, something that all who pursue this career are going to need to tap in to.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: As a young woman, what are some surprising things you’ve had to deal with as a stylist because of your gender?
AN: I think that all women sometimes run into the issue of people wanting to take advantage of them, specifically as and when you aren’t agency represented. I can’t tell you how many times early on I have had issues with being paid accordingly, or not being credited for my work. Sometimes people think that young/pretty girls don’t have the intelligence to know when someone is trying to get over on them, but it’s something I have learned to overcome throughout the years.
People also think that styling doesn’t require effort. There have been countless times when responses to my work has been along the lines of “well I dress myself every morning, and I don’t get paid for it.” They don’t realize the planning, research, and relationships needed to work a job. Two pictures can be 20 hours of work that no one ever hears about.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What advice do you have for aspiring stylists?
AN: I see a lot of people, especially in New York, who want to break into the field because they think it looks cool, or they watched another stylist on TV and thought ‘I can do that.’ There’s more to it than that. If you want to be a stylist, know your trends, current and future, along with your fashion history. I was fortunate enough to have a six-year education in all things fashion, so if you are truly passionate about styling, know the industry and not just what you like to put on.
Photos: Anthony Blue