• Bodine Johnson

Why You NEED a Stylist

In present day, my phone was stuck to the window with the most beautiful natural light shining through. Kejuana had her ankara print mask on her face, a strawberry coral colored blazer, and a pair of distressed blue boyfriend jeans on. Her rippling brown locks with stylishly messy-esque tendrils falling down one side of her mohawk. It was an entire vibe and I was here for it.


I'd first wanted to work with her when I saw (what I thought was her first collection)




Then I saw the Monarchy Collection and then she dropped the Lost Tribe Collection.



Thematically she existed on the same wavelength. Kejuana had previously styled my friend Chase Fernander for our I Yi Remix with TonAsh. That look I had styled myself. And everywhere I saw Kejuana, she looked like her brand; edgy, regal and very ornate. I loved it.




Kejuana had been a finalist of the Caribbean fashion series, Mission Catwalk and had really created not only a brand but an entire vibe.




Sitting across from her on the last Sunday before the island was put on quarantine and curfew, I knew I had chosen the right stylist. She had STYLE. And soon into our consultation I knew she understood my vision. I had sent her a SCREENSHOT of my brand vision board for one project. It was all she needed. She had a copy of "Sugar in a Plum" for reference and it was very clear that she had studied it.


While seated across from each other, I admitted to her that I didn't have a sense of style anymore. I wore clothes because I didn't want to look bad. Occassionally, it was a pair of jean shorts and a cute top, or a pair of hot shorts and a jacket and knee high boots.


Personally, I felt that I was a mess. I knew I was a mess when, during a meeting with some women in business, I asked, "what do you associate me with?" and the ladies responded, "Juicy Fruit", "ring play" and another shouted "Rocka my Cherry" and I asked what visuals came into their heads and no one could pinpoint an actual look. The ladies said things like, "happiness", "freedom" and "nostalgia". Everything they said was right. Those were indeed attributable to me, but as an artist, people need to have a visual attached to you.


I want people to KNOW before I say a word that it's me. The second people see the Beyoncé pose, they know its her. Michael Jackson could stand on stage with nothing more than stage lights and the crowd would go crazy. I want the image to speak for me, but the devil is in the details.


So while we sat in the coffee shop, she pulled down look and look and look. She asked me just how far I wanted her to go with the looks and I told her to do what she wanted. I was confident that she understood.


We discussed iconography. I told her my brand colors and their significance. She included them. What was most clear is that she understood and saw the vision and what we were able to do as a result was nothing short of amazing.

Styling, as an artist is about more than just looking good. What you wear is the bridge between your artform and your audience. It is what separates singers from artists. The intention of that former statement is not to demean singers. I just know that artists have dimension and intrigue attached to them. There is something about them that makes people stop scrolling on social media and take note.


I also didn't want to put all of the responsibility for styling on myself. I have to write, perform, produce and keep my sites popping. There is no way I want to slip into the abyss of laziness that is "trying not to look bad". That's when you haven't had the time to shop for a show or don't have pieces in your closet so you just put on something presentable. What you get is no real stage presence. No thank you.


What Kejuana was able to do was clarify the images in my head with what she was able to pull. My characters walked barefoot through the mists of my mind and clearly into the real world, summoned by Kejuana, The Coconut Goddess and Titta hand in hand, to be photographed in 2 days by Farreno Ferguson.


That, my friend, is why you need a stylist.


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