Solange Knowles has undergone a style evolution in the past few years, adopting more colorful tones, eye catching patterns, and unexpected designs. Though the young Knowles has quite an eye for fashion herself, she’s also benefited from the help of uber styling duo Ogo and Chichi Offodile of Poodle Pusher.
I caught up with one half of the style squad, Ogo Offodile, to talk about how the Poodle Pushers got their start, tips for achieving unforgettable looks, and advice on breaking into the styling biz.
Ogo says, “Chichi and I are sisters hailing from Nigeria; we come from an extremely large family and vibrant multicultural background [to which] we owe a large portion of our creative influences and strength. Naturally, we both have always had a flare for style and a strong interest in creative expression, so deciding to dabble into fashion styling and creative consulting came as a no-brainer.”
“… The difficulty for us unfortunately wasn’t in deciding to start styling, but on how to juggle our “real life” as we call it and following a passion to create. We both have an educational background and master’s degrees in Information Technology and work as full-time employees in the IT corporate world – Chichi as a Technology Consultant and myself as a Network Engineer/Systems Administrator.”
“… Although grateful for our positions and for having a great source of income, we still felt a gap creatively and really decided to take it upon ourselves to fill that gap. With no formal training in fashion, our approaches with styling were to self-study and do a tremendous amount of research; get as much on the job experience possible and really start from the ground up. Our initial experiences as fashion stylists began slowly with setting up test photo-shoots on our days off, building our portfolio, and networking. Eventually, persistently working 7 days a week started paying off! We formed a routine, gained momentum, and test shoots turned into styling magazine editorials and ad campaigns, working with fashion houses, and building a strong network.”
So how did they link up with Ms. Solange? Ogo explains, “Our first time working with Solange was on the set of a photo-shoot back in 2010. The styling treatment for the editorial was “African influenced” and we were really excited to deliver a different viewpoint on what African fashion is understood to be.”
She continues, “… We went for looks with African or non-African designers that were adventurous, rich in color and pattern, forward thinking, romantic, and still maintained the aesthetics of the shoot. Solange truly was the perfect muse for the project and a joy to be around on set. She understood where she saw her image going and was able to let us creatively depict that using the concept of the shoot as a canvas.
“I would say it was a perfect mix which led to the relationship extending past the set and to us styling her for [New York Fashion Week] in September 2010. Ever since, we have been on call as a go to stylist for her to bring a reflective yet unconventional perspective.”
Solange is known for her adventurous ensembles, so I had to ask Ogo about their creative process. She says, “When styling clients we believe it should be seamless and a true reflection of their essence; our presence shouldn’t be as apparent. We also approach our styling work from a global perspective and are always on the hunt internationally for designers that speak to us creatively. ”
“…For us styling isn’t just about using the big name brands that constantly deliver beautiful pieces. We also incorporate talented new generation designers from all over the world whose talents are uncanny. At the end of the day, it’s about creating art with clean lines, colors, patterns, textures and a uniqueness we can be proud of. When working with Solange we use this same creative process and she is indeed the perfect client to embrace that. We love that she is versatile, has her own creative ideas and taste, can stand on her own but at the same time allows us to take her to our creative space. It’s a very comfortable process and seeing the end results is always a proud moment.”
So what makes someone stylish? Ogo replies, “[It's] less about being on trend with fashion but more about someone that is confident and a risk taker; marches to their own style beat, and has the ability to own any look. With that you can really convince any skeptic, set trends and get people on board your style roller-coaster.
“…A few things every stylista should have in their closet are great accessories and shoes, timeless pieces you will always love, and definitely more separates. You’re more willing to experiment with separates than looks that already come in tact, it also allows for more layering and gives depth to a look.
So any tips for the aspiring stylist? She says, “[A lot of up-and-comers want] to style for the wrong reasons, i.e. fame, perks, or the quick “good life”. Nothing about styling is that glamorous. You truly have to have a knack for it, love what you’re doing, and understand that it’s LOADS of long hours, hard work, and most importantly maintain professionalism. “
“…If this is something you feel passionate about, definitely pursue it and find out more about the relationship you develop with styling. Understand that the fashion industry can be very cut throat at times, so you need to develop thick skin and always keep your goal in close sight.”
In closing, she says, “You can do anything you put your mind to. If you can dream it, you can live it. Hard work always pays off. With passion, time and space should feel seamless.”
Wise words that couldn’t have come at a better time.
What do you think?
Learn more about Poodle Pusher at www.poodlepusher.com. See more of Ogo’s personal style at www.strokesonhercanvas.blogspot.com.