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As all the Met Gala excitement dies down, I thought it high time to highlight those stylists of color who work hard behind-the-scenes to help our favorite stars shine.
From curating the looks of R&B divas to tailoring tuxes for basketball players, the following 9 style architects cultivate creative ensembles and truly set trends.
In no particular order:
1. Ty Hunter
Though some mainstream organizations reduced his role to Beyonce’s ‘train’ manager, anyone in-the-know knows that Ty Hunter is much more than that. The Austin, Texas native has been styling Beyonce since the days of Destiny’s Child and has also lent a hand to engineering ensembles for Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland, and Solange.
With 15 years in the industry, Hunter has plucked pieces for everything from concerts to music videos to personal appearances.
Want to see more? Beyonce dedicated a whole section of her BeyHive blog to street style snaps and inspiration seen through Ty’s eyes. Check his blog here, or follow his fashionable exploits, inspirational quotes, and throwback pix on Instagram @TyTryOne.
2. June Ambrose
June’s electric personality and infectious style has made her one of the better known stylists on this list. The Bronx native got her start interning at record labels, and later styled nascent groups and artists like Hi-Five, The Backstreet Boys, and R. Kelly. She truly hit her stride when she was tapped to work on several epic and fashionably inventive hip-hop videos, including Missy Elliot’s The Rain, Jay-Z’s Big Pimpin, and Diddy’s Mo Money, Mo Problems.
Always on the cusp of evolving trends, June starred in her own VH1 show, Styled by June, and launched a shoe line with HSN.
Ever occupied, the Rockmom can be seen one day shuttling her kids to camp, the next placing rap mogul Jay-Z in a series of well tailored Tom Ford tuxes.
If you don’t follow June on social media, you’re missing out! Enter the Juniverse via her website, TheJuniverse.com, and on Twitter and Instagram @JuneAmbrose.
3. Jason Bolden
Though his client list is long (he’s styled Amber Riley, Taraji P. Henson, and Gabrielle Union, among others), 30-year-old Jason Bolden is best known for his work with Lala Anthony. Under his direction, we’ve seen the reality starlet stunt in everything from Balmain bodycons to Balenciaga knits to Kenzo separates and Stella McCartney fringed frocks.
Lala and Jason’s style outlooks are so in sync, they collaborated on a clothing line together called 5th and Mercer. Their debut jumpsuit sold swiftly, and he told Loop21.com that we can expect 21 more items from the collection in the upcoming months.
The graduate of Northwestern University explained his services to Loop21.com: “People pay for my point of view. Some people gravitate to a particular point of view. I have a very eclectic, well-traveled point of view. That’s the only way I can really put it into words. They trust [that point of view] because it’s guaranteed to make them happy.” Follow him on Twitter @Jason_Bolden.
4. Olori Swank
If you watch Fashion Bomb TV, or just paid careful attention to Keyshia Cole’s red carpet exploits, you’d know all about Olori Swank.
The Atlanta native is known for her blue hair, and also her hand in outfitting the R&B diva in cult brands like Mary Katrantzou, Alexander Wang, and Versace.
In addition to Keyshia, Olori has styled Tyrese, Teyana Taylor, and Lance Gross, and editorials featuring Karrueche Tran and Angela Simmons.
She advises aspiring stylists, ” Always do you research. Know who you’re working with and know what trends have come and gone to predict what’s coming next.” She adds, ” Don’t give up. If it were easy everyone would do it.” See more of her day-to-day by following her @OloriSwank.
5. Rachel Johnson
Want to know who athletes call to streamline their looks? Look no further than Rachel Johnson.
The Englewood, New Jersey native has worked with Serena Williams, Lebron James, Amare Stoudemire, Victor Cruz, and more, and even takes her services a step further by styling their wives and girlfriends.
With 13 years in the industry, she offers this pointed advice, “Live stylishly in your skin. Never let size impede your style.” Amen. Learn more about her company, Thomas Faison, at ThomasFaison.com.
6. Eric Archibald
Jennifer Hudson’s style has done a 180, thanks, no doubt to her stylist Eric Archibald. Roberto Cavalli frocks, Atelier Versace gowns, colorblocked performance looks…Jennifer has worn it all and worn it well, thanks largely to Archibald’s chic oversight.
His styling prowess has been seen on many industry bold faced names, including Amerie, Mariah Carey, Usher, R.Kelly, Faith and Britney Spears.
Since entering the industry in 1994, Archibald says on his website that he, “has drawn on his inspirations to create his signature aesthetic that conveys a classically chic and sexy look with an edge.” Follow him @EricArchibald.
7. Jason Rembert
Queens, New York native Jason Rembert has styled Usher, Keri Hilson, Nicki Minaj, Emeli Sandé, Iggy Azalea, and Wale in his short career, but is most likely known for his work with RocNation artist Rita Ora.
He entered industry via an internship at Elle Magazine, but got his feet wet with celebrities on BET’s Rip the Runway, where he began working with Def Jam group Electrik Red. An internship with stylist Wouri Vice truly opened his eyes to the world of star styling, and he’s been hooked ever since.
His advice to up and comers? “Stay humble. Intern, intern, intern. Learn any and everything you can. Value your relationships. Your reputation is key.” Follow him on Instagram @JasonRembert.
8. Ugo Mozie
Holding down the West Coast is Ugo Mozie, best known for outfitting Chris Brown in dapper duds.
The Nigerian trendsetter continues to push the boundaries of men’s fashion, whether putting Mr. Brown in long Givenchy shirts or Angelo Galasso leopard printed blazers.
Aside from Brown, Mozie’s chic finesse has been seen on Kelis, Diddy, Melanie Fiona, Dawn Richard, and Omarion and in the pages of Nylon, Paper, Tatler, Harpers Bazaar, Vibe, and WAD.
His adventurous approach to style has resulted in a clothing line, Aston Mozie, which he creative directs alongside friend Quinn Aston.
Read more about him at UgoMozie.com or follow him on Twitter @UgoMozie.
9. Diandre Tristan
In the biz since 2008, Tristan crafts punchy looks for Robin’s Good Morning America hosting duties, and makes sure Tamar keeps it cute on her myriad media stops.
As he says on his website, “Good fashion inspires confidence, and confidence is everything.” Agreed. Read more about him at DiandreTristan.com.
This list is far from complete. Just a few names you should know in the biz.
Did we forget anyone?
Images via Instagram