Increasingly, careers that were considered to be unconventional are becoming popular among millennials who do not want to be stuck in the 9-5 career rut. One of those careers is fashion styling - more and more celebrities are soliciting the services of fashion stylists so as to look the part during special occasions. After all, as a celebrity, building your brand is key. We caught up with fashion stylist, Cecilia Munyoro of Glam By Cess to talk about what it entails to be a successful stylist in Kenya. Here's how the interview went down:
Pulse Live: How did you start out? Was it passion or a clear cut career path you knew you wanted to follow?
Cess: Fashion has always been a passion of mine. My mother will confirm that we fought constantly over clothes I chose to wear, putting into consideration that I am a village girl. My dad still insists that I should have been born a "mzungu" cos of my choice of clothes *laughs*. But my family is used to me now...and my parents are no longer embarrassed by my dressing whenever I show up to a family function *laughs*. Maybe because now this foots my bills.
In my Campus days, I made extra cash by picking items that I liked from Gikomba Market and accessories from Downtown and I would sell them to my classmates and friends. Then I opened a boutique later then closed it down to focus on styling. The rest is history.
Pulse Live: Fantastic! And how did you build your database of top tier clients? Are all your clients celebrities and personalities or do you often get locals wanting to be styled for special occasions?
Cess: . I started building my company in Nov 2018 so I am basically like 1.5 yrs old in this industry. It all started with my very good friend Jeff Mote ( thank you for believing in me man) I was his stylist when he got his 1st TV job and this gave me a platform to showcase my art as a stylist. People noticed my work and new contacts kept streaming in. I style anyone who needs my services as long as they adhere to the rules and regulations. The journey has been Amazing. And this doesn't mean that it's been easy, no! But the pros outweigh the cons and I am very grateful for that.
Pulse Live: Where do you draw your inspiration on the latest trends from and who are some of your favorite style muses?
Cess: I am a HUGE fan of Hollywood and everything it offers. Majorly because we have a lot of black women kicking ass and looking fabulous while at it. Gabrielle Union, Lupita Nyong'o & Cardi B are my favorites style muses.
Pulse Live: Can one solely survive from being a fashion stylist in Nairobi? And what are some of the ways people looking to make money from this career can tap into the market?
Cess: Definitely yes! Being a fashion stylist pays all my bills but it took some time to get here. Passion is a resource; the only thing you need is to believe in yourself, trust the process & never ever give up!
Pulse Live: What are some of the pros and cons of your job?
Cess: I love meeting different people, having conversation and learning something new every single day. However, the job comes with a lot of pressure to meet deadlines and clients' expectations, not to mention rigidness - clients who don't want to get out of their comfort zones. But It's a job and the goal is to make my clients happy and that's all that matters.
Pulse Live: If someone is on a budget, what are some of the wardrobe must-haves one can work with without compromising on their style?
Cess: Invest in good undergarments (it all starts here) and have a few pairs of nice shoes...dressing up becomes easy.
Pulse Live: Nice! Your go-to all time fashion tips for our readers?
Cess: Understand your body and dress it accordingly. It's that simple really.
Pulse Live: When shopping for clothes for clients, do you have a system you use to get the best fit, color, and what not?
Cess: I don't have a system per say but I get to fully understand my clients needs first before sourcing for clothes (which I do all over, in and out of Nairobi). Their body type, complexions, personalities, events I am dressing them for etc.
Pulse Live: If you could take three trends away from the fashion world, what would those be?
Cess: Saggy or hammer pants for men. Oh wait, toe shoes too *laughs*. I find them hideous *laughs*. Velvet track suits and multicolored printed tights and stockings have never sat well with me.
Pulse Live: I totally agree with you on the hammer pants! Who are some of the notable names you have worked with previously?
Cess: I have had the opportunity of working with so many Kenyan celebrities & media personalities. I have also styled the Ugandan comedy queen Kansiime.
Pulse Live: Aha! Nice, fun question, if you could dress anyone for a day, dead or alive, whom would you pick?
Cess: Definitely Michelle Obama. Love her!
Pulse Live: Excellent choice. A word of advice to anyone looking to be a stylist?
Cess: Keep making those small steps everyday...someday, someone somewhere will notice your work and it will all make sense.
Pulse Live: What are your charges and where can our readers find you?
Cess: I charge 3500 per Look - Clothes, Shoes and accessories. I go by Glam by Cess on all Social Media platforms and I have an office located at View Park Towers, 20th Floor, Suite 13. One can also email me email@example.com