Monday, April 28, 2014

Diamond Discussions: Celebrity Stylist/Editor Becca Alexis

Hello Dolls, Happy Monday, I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I’m coming to you today with the second installation of my Diamond Discussions feature. I had the wonderful honor of interviewing Fashion/Beauty Director of HelloBeautiful.com, Becca Alexis. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Becca years ago when I was an intern for June Ambrose and on other projects afterwards.  I learned sooooo much from her during that time and I am super happy to see her career grow and prosper. She is an amazing stylist and has an incredible career in the industry. So if you want to know more about her day to day life or what it takes to break into the fashion industry and be successful, check out my interview below! Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments. 
Please give our audience an introduction to yourself and some milestones in your career.
I'm a fashion stylist with over 10 years of experience in the industry. I have covered all aspects of fashion from concept to consumer including designing garments, cutting, sewing, writing, photography, music videos and red carpet. I'm so grateful I've been able to work with so many wonderful and talented individuals such as Omar Epps, Janet Jackson, Trey Songz, Lucy Liu, Marlon Wayans, Katherine Heigl and many more. My styling partner and I Hachy Mendez have worked together since 2002. I am so grateful to be able to work with one of my best friends. It has enabled us to grow farther and achieve so much more in a short period of time.
How did you get started in the fashion industry?
My biggest break was interning for the costumers of Desperate Housewives back in 2004. I was in my first semester at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles when Hachy, told me about the internship opportunity. Technically I didn't qualify for the position as I was not in my last semester of school, but I was so persistent with my counselors I was able to get the position. Although my time there was short, I went on to work with those costume designers in other sets including CSI Miami and Six Feet Under. I am so grateful for them, they really took me under their wings and taught me a lot about being quick on my feet. After working with those designers for 6 months, I really wanted to hone in on my other skills in fashion. I did freelance technical designing for a sportswear collection, merchandise menswear at Macy's and then another big break was assisting a costume designer, Linda Stokes who had her own design studio.
While working at Linda's studio, I was afforded the opportunity to be a part of some incredible projects. For example I made head pieces for Gwen Stefani's Harajuki performers and costumes for Ciara and Missy Elliot's 1, 2 Step video. I honed my skills in costume design and tailoring while taking on these amazing projects. In the winter of 2006 I moved to NY to explore more options in fashion. I didn't know how to make a full time career out of doing what I was so passionate about and my student loans were kicking in. Hachy and I already had built a sizable resume working with Marlon Wayans, Nelly, assisting on Italian Vogue and German Vogue editorials and even doing sales for a luxury children's collection, but my anxiety was kicking in. I wanted more. Less than 24 hours of being in NY a friend of mine sent my resume to June Ambrose who was looking for a tailor. Her company Mode Squad had a league of uber cool stylists and tastemakers. It was a diverse click of chic New York fashion interpreters and they really inspired me. Seventeen months later, I received a call from Atlantic Records about a young artist named Trey Songz that needed image development. I rolled up my sleeves and put a 110% into that project to turned him into a swaggy sex symbol. Around the same time I began contributing to Harper's Bazaar International editions as a market editor and from that point on my career really took off.
What made you want to work in the fashion industry?
I honestly believe that the fashion industry calls in its own troops of style designators. The fashion industry requires diligent work ethics so loving fashion is not enough to pursue a fashion related career. You have to be good at it to survive. You have to be willing to work long hours for next to nothing in order to build a resume. When I was in undergad at the University of Florida I was already working as a journalist, writing about fashion and entertainment. I was also making costumes for local dance performers. That gave me the confidence I needed to get through the doors in Los Angeles and NYC.
How did you land the position of Fashion/Beauty Director of HelloBeautiful.com?
In 2010, Leigh Davenport, Editorial Director for hellobeautiful.com offered me a makeover show sponsored by CoverGirl. I was in the media a lot for the work I did with Trey Songz, Janet Jackson, contributing to Harper's Bazaar and I also had a personal style blog. From there my relationship grew with hellobeautiful and over the years I contributed more to the platform. Hellobeautiful is currently the #1 online resource for women of color. It is an innovative platform for the young modern women who wants to know current beauty and style trends.
Would you please walk us through a day in the life of a fashion/beauty director?
For many years I was bicoastal, traveling up to 16 times a year from NYC to LA and Miami. Recently, I decided to make Los Angeles a permanent move. My day starts at 6:30am pacific time. I meditate for half n hour and do a quick work out. I dive into my emails and social media to keep up with the east coast while sipping on a protein shake. I used to be a hardcore coffee aficionado, but recently kicked the habit for more coconut water and green tea. I am currently juggling a few projects, designing a collection for curvy woman, styling with Hachy on Marlon Wayans new show Funniest Wins on TBS, Omar Epps press run for the hit ABC show Resurrection, contributing to Harper's Bazaar and hellobeautiful.com. Everyday is a different day as I find inspiration everywhere and my clients schedule really dictate the course of my day.
What would you say is the most important aspect of your job?
Staying ahead of the curve. Remaining humble and with an attitude of gratitude.
What do you love most about your job?
Connecting with real women.
Because you have done so much in your career, I want to switch gears a bit to your work as a celebrity stylist.
What has been your proudest moment as a stylist?
My proudest moment as a stylist was being invited to sit front row during NYFW in 2010. I remember sneaking into a tent in 2004 during LA fashion week when LA really had a fashion week and Charlize Theron and Anna Wintour attended the Lloyd Klein show. I wore all black with a hip kit full of safety pins and other supplies. I distributed the pins to the stylists and dressers working the show and nobody questioned me. I thought about how I went from someone who sneaked into show just to hand over safety pins to being invited to sit front row and that made me emotional.
Would you recommend someone go to school for fashion or live in NYC to get started in the industry?
You know, the industry has changed so much since the days I got started in 2002. I was working as a stylist before Facebook was around. The Internet has made fashion more democratic where it is so much easier to have access. If you want to work in fashion you have to work. Don't think about the money, just grind. Style whatever you can get your hands on and document your work through a Tumblr or blog. Eventually people will notice your work and opportunities will come to you.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to work in the fashion industry? 
Stay humble!! There is a time and a place to have a big voice and make big moves. Sometimes you're the contractor and other times you're the subcontractor. Work is work. Nurture your relationships no matter who. That intern today can be a CEO tomorrow.
Overall
What trends are you loving this season?
SPR 2014 is an exciting time in fashion! I'm loving the laser cut shoe design trends as seen in Tabitha Simmons and Alexandre Birman. I love the bold sparkles and classic pieces like the pencil skirts in Burberry Prorsum that were dazzled out. I'm also obsessing over the thick gold chain Bulgari watches. They are so chic and street at the same time.
Now I know your more of fan of of timeless pieces rather than trendy, so what top 5 items would you recommend every stylish woman have in their wardrobe that will stand the test of time?
1. A status satchel
2. An embellished top
3. Slim tailored trousers
4. Timeless trench coat
5. A power 3.5 inch pump
Get those essentials here loves!




What advice would you give someone looking to discover/develop or redefine their own personal style?
Find a good tailor and make sure all your garments are second skin to your body. Almost every dry cleaning facility has a tailor. Don't become discourage if you go to store and don't see anything you like. Cut out pieces from your fashion magazine and create a visual style closet you would like to have. Take screen shots on your handheld device and create a collage of things you like. Take that with you when you go shopping or keep that file open when you're online. It streamlines the process and helps you to find exactly what you need. 
Be sure to check Becca out on Twitter, and her impressive portfolio HERE loves!! You can also catch her on the 5 mins to Fab segment HERE and on her YouTube channel where she provides advice on getting and staying in the industry: https://www.youtube.com/user/beccalexis
Thanks again Becca, you ROCK girlie and surely an inspiration for me!  
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6 comments

  1. Thank you so much for this! I discovered her blog some years back, and have been following her every since. Very inspiring.

    Joslyn

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    Replies
    1. Isn't she so inspiring, glad you enjoyed the piece love!

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  2. Wow. Never heard of her, but am in awe of her achievements!! Inspiring!

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  3. In an ideal world, media outlets would ignore the trivial banalities of celebrity meltdowns and focus primarily on the real world issues that concern us all. But they don’t.

    ReplyDelete

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