Styling queen and fashion enthusiast Ruth Odhiambo takes Faith Kyoumukama through her styling journey
My fashion journey began…when I was young. Watching my aunt dress and get dolled up was my favourite moment in the world. She’d take me along on her shopping sprees and style me up.
When I joined high school though, that’s when I took things a notch higher. I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer, I’d sketch during my free time. After high school unfortunately, I didn’t go to a fashion school, but got into something totally different.
In my second year, I started styling as a hobby and later got into it professionally early last year when I interned for Couture Africa Magazine.
My most memorable fashion moment was…when I got the honour to style Victoria Kimani. She’s always been someone I’ve admired and wanted to style — that was a tick on my bucket list with a smiley face on the side.
I have also had the pleasure of styling personalities…Ajuma Nasenyana, Naomi Ng’ang’a, Faith Muturi, Tosh Gitonga, Ray C, Pierra Makena, Olive Gachara and Marek Fuchs, to name but a few.
A day in my life…starts behind a computer. Research is important — you need to be conversant with what’s happening in the fashion world as the industry changes everyday.
From the research, get creative and do a mood board of what you want to achieve from a shoot, the theme, which determines the location, designer, model and make-up looks. It helps you visualise the story you want to tell and even picture the reactions you want from your audience.
Once that’s done, go ahead and book a model, photographer, make-up artist and secure a location. When everything is planned, I go through the mood board with my team to make sure everyone knows what is expected from them and what the end product should be.
When that’s done, I source out looks from designers and stores, do fittings with the model before getting on set for the main shoot. A shoot usually takes the whole day, especially for editorial.
After a shoot, I work on credits for the particular shoot and an article explaining reasons behind that project. It’s all a gradual thing — if today I am doing a mood board, tomorrow I’ll either be scouring, meeting up with the team, fittings or on set. So my days vary, but that’s basically what my life is as a stylist in a nutshell.
The difference between a stylist and a normal fashion lover is… that a fashion stylist doesn’t just dress him/herself like a blogger or a fashion enthusiast.
A stylist dresses everyone, young and old, male and female; you have to get your facts right all the time when it comes to sizes and body shapes — you also need to be accommodating to other people’s sense of style.
When you fuse a client’s fashion sense with what I think works for them, the end product is a happy client. I have to understand and embrace fashion for all ages and gender, not forgetting to be in the know on what’s hot and what’s not. Styling is so much more than just putting a garment on a body.
If money wasn’t an object…I’d buy an entire shoe store and wear everything. My favourite designer is…Oliver Rousting, head designer at Balmain. I live for his creations.
I believe…everyone should wear something that brings out the best in them. Clothes have a way of determining and altering our moods. While at it, ensure you have a plain white T-shirt — it’s a necessity.
I would love to dress Tiwa Savage, Rihanna and Jidenna. My best fashion buy is…an 1829 acrylic handbag. My style icon is Sofía Vergara. My signature scent is…Obsession by Calvin Klein.