OPÉ The Stylist is perhaps one of the most passionate people I’ve met in the past year. I was introduced to her one night at photographer Jamie Nelson’s studio. There was over a hundred thousand dollars worth of clothing on the rack with a slew of shoes to match each outfit that OPÉ had pulled from over 50 places all for the sake of a test shoot (however, most tests by Jamie Nelson do go on to reside in major magazines).
Oyster Mag shot by Jaimie Nelson
On top of doing high fashion shoots, OPÉ also works as creative director for fashion photo shoots, and as an image consultant and personal shopper, living between DC and NYC. She took the time out of her schedule to share her take on styling.
Q: Tell us a bit about your history. How did you get your start?
A: I have styled off and on for a while but when I got laid off of a full time job, I decided to go back into styling.
Q: The first time I met you at Jamie’s, I couldn’t believe you pulled from 50 places for a TEST! Did you know that the story would get picked up? Where was it printed?
A: I can’t remember where that was. I always make sure I have enough clothes. The final picks are always up to the editor of the magazine, so it helps to have many options for them to peruse. It could have been a Z!NK Magazine shoot that I met you on.
Q: When and what was your first editorial spread, which publication was it?
A: My very first spread was in BLINK Magazine out of Mexico.
Zink shot by Jamie Nelson
Q: Who have been your favorite make-up artists, hair stylists, and photographers you’ve worked with so far?
A: I love working with Jamie Nelson, Lottie is a great makeup artist, and Linh Nguyen is a fabulous with hair. However, I like most of the people I have worked with for different reasons, and I appreciate their various aesthetics.
Q: We’ve talked a bit about some designers who are a bit overlooked – who do you feel has been a bit overlooked, and why?
A: I think that there are designers who don’t have a great voice until something happens, like what happened when Jason Wu’s dress got picked for Michelle Obama. I would chose unsung heroes as my phrase of choice. We have many of those in the fashion design industry. But every dog has it’s day, is the saying.
Russian Elle shot by Jamie Nelson
Q: Fashion woman’s apparel is an industry dominated by males, What are your thoughts on this, and do you see it changing anytime soon this decade with power house PR Guru Kelly Cutrone in action, as well as a rise in females gaining financial independence?
A: I am trying to focus on where I fit in more than the cons of the business that I happen to be in. I would hope that there were are females on the rise, and I believe I will stand soon as a token of that change I seek. However, I don’t think it’s a male or female thing, as it may be about who has the best financial backing and a great PR company.
Q: There can be a lot of attitude in this industry. What is the biggest social fashion faux pas you’ve seen yet, and how do you deal with people’s sometimes overbearing personalities?
A: I have seen people take other people’s work and pass it as their own. That is the lowest of the low thing. But people don’t realize that when they do this that it’s like shooting yourself in the foot. As far as egos go, I stay away from drama – I do my job and leave it there. I stay focused and humble. That’s my motto, and my way of getting along for the sake of fashion.
Q: What do you predict will be in the making style-wise this decade, as technology takes over at the speed of light?
A: I can’t say right now, but I hope it’s about pure sophistication and a return to elegance. I saw some hints of that…
Zink shot by Jamie Nelson
Q: Do you hope to see more plus-sized model spreads available to us?
A: I don’t know how that might progress, but I was excited to see the recent V #63 editorials. I think more because it’s something fresh… I think my natural thought floats to what will the designers do about that? I can’t ever say what I am going to do without the samples in my hands. It’s all about what is available from the designer to style.
Q: Any advice to the next generation of aspiring fashionistas who yearn to style? How does one break into the industry best?
A: You have to know what you want and go after it. Fashion styling is not easy to break into unless you have an unlimited amount of financial backing, and a lot of style. Make a plan, stick to it, and always network. I have had a lot of advice to give up in the beginning because I didn’t have a backer, but my faith and friends got me a long way and helped me hang in there.