Same Chic Different Day recently chatted with Birmingham fashion stylist Ryan Christopher, 27. Mr. Christopher, a Miles College grad, works under the direction of celebrity stylist Shun Melson and has styled the Real Houseweives of Atlanta and Basketball Wives‘ star Jennifer Williams. He also recently styled LisaRaye McCoy during the 2011 State Farm Magic City Classic and was the official I Am The Classic celebrity stylist.
When did you first become interested in fashion? I’d have to say in high school. I was such a Banana Republic person back then. That’s when I bought my first Louis Vuitton wallet. And that’s when I thought I wanted to do something in fashion, but I didn’t know exactly what. And I was always helping my friends find things.
His major influences: When it comes to my personal style, I don’t look to a lot of influences. I dress according to how I feel. I’ve admired and been inspired by many people, but I’m not an imitator. From admiration you get inspiration to do your thing. If I feel urban, I do urban; if I feel something else, I do something else.
The item he can’t live without? My sunglasses; those are like my children, literally. I left a pair in Atlanta [once] and when I realized it I had a panic attack. They knew to Fed Ex them to me overnight.
It starts at home: My mother taught me how to be well put together. She was very well kept and very well put together, and that’s key to styling. You don’t want a client to look sloppy. And I have a great aunt that I think I got a fashion gene from. She was over my grandmother’s house wearing a full mink and some high heels and she’s like 80; I was like ‘I see where I get it from.’
Tips for aspiring stylists: The best thing I can say is intern as much as you can, research, and sharpen your eye. And find a stylist you can assist [and from whom you can] learn the business. When you’re interning, you have to look at it as [an opportunity] to learn everything you can from the person. Learn how to listen with your eyes and not your ears.
Cheap chic: When you’re looking at your budget and want to expand, there are several things you can do. [Browse in] the Z Outlet; they sell very fashion-forward earrings, etc. The trick is, it’s cheap, so you have to know what to pick up and what to leave in the store. There’s nothing wrong with budget shopping at stores like Forever 21 and Know Style. Shoe Show and Shoe Time imitate every designer you can think of; shop those places for that same look without the designer price. But you have to know what you can make work. If you don’t have the budget, go into your own closet and try to revamp what you’ve had, something you wore years ago. Get new shoes and make it look fresh. I do it all the time.
In our conversation at Fashiontini Mr. Christopher stated that people in Birmingham play it safe when it comes to style. His advice on how to take one’s style up a notch (or several): Step out of the box. Play with color throughout the season. One thing I like to see [is people]wearing boots in the spring. Who says you can only wear boots in the winter? Do an edgier shoe or an edgier color. Little things like that can push a look over the edge. Try unexpected colors together: two colors you never thought would look right together. Try to make it more interesting and more fun – not so serious. [It’s as though people say to themselves] ‘OMG everything has to match to a tee’ – NO. Try that crazy looking bootie, or that bootie with a skirt.
Casket sharp: I don’t plan on dying anytime soon, but I would like to be buried in a basic Dolce and Gabbana suit with shades. Just a basic nice tailored fit: very clean, very crisp, very simple.
And what would you not be caught dead wearing? Oh, God. What would I not be caught dead wearing? A fat knotted tie! I don’t know if that’s a trend in the South, but you’ll never see me wear that. God, it’s hideous. I hate those with a passion.
Well, there you have it. For more on Mr. Christopher, check out this recent profile on urbanham.com or his personal blog. For booking or public relations information, please contact Ms. Toni Rousell at (205) 523-4PUB or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy of Ryan Christopher