Stefan Cole: I wanted to show the beauty of a black woman recounted through the skin
Stylist & Creative Director @fashionwidower Muse @lisayaro Outfit & Hat @theivyshowroom Photographer @michael.diangelo Art Director @OSOTM.LLC Agency @kstarrmgmt MUA: @iamc.harperbeauty Hair stylist @_hairbysean Shoes @pleasershoes Jewerly @tcb_atl Nails @fashionwidower
When did your passion for fashion start and what were the main milestones that turned you into the artist you currently are?
I have always been obsessed with fashion from a very young age, not from a “what should I wear” perspective, but more so from an artistic and creative perspective. I just always appreciated it. I loved putting looks together. As a result, the styling followed as a natural progression: I like creating outfits and, for those that know me, I have no issue speaking confidently of my decision making, so family and friends started listening and soliciting advice.
My Mum also was an incredible dresser and I was fascinated by her beautifully tailored custom buffed dresses, Italian leather shoes, and hats. To this day, I still love women’s fashion especially when it involves a custom-made dress.
Seeing Alexander Mcqueen's collection when I was younger tickled my interest in fashion and this brought about my obsession with everything to do with the industry.
Tell us more about yourself.
My name is Stefan Cole am a Wardrobe Stylist, Content Creator, Creative Director, and Personal Shopper. Born in West Africa, he originally starting in costume design for TV, magazine editorial shoots, music videos, and album covers. He now uses his passion for style to help make a real difference in people’s lives and believes that confidence and strong self-esteem are the by-products of looking great. By always endeavoring to understand the personal needs of each and every client, Stefan aims to give everyone a solid feeling of authenticity and originality.
With a Bachelor's degree in English and International Relations, he moved to America after working in places like; Paris, London, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa, where he was engaged by modeling/ad agencies, celebrities, and photographers for Editorial, TV, Film, Photo Shoot, Music Videos, Advertising and National Campaigns for Fashion and Makeup Brands. His works have been featured in the most recognizable brands and continue to grow.
In recent years and since settling in New York, I have worked with brands like Fashion Bomb Daily, Grammy Nominated Writer Lisa Yaro, Miss Nigeria, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York 2014, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg 2013, BET Cypher Nigeria, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Africa Fashion Week Paris 2017, The Ivy Showroom, MTV Base Africa, Couture Fashion Week - Andras Aquino 2014, Monalisa Magazine, Creativ Magazine, Previdar Magazine, Fashion360 Magazine, Exquisite Magazine, Zaron Cosmetics, Sleek Cosmetics, African Music Artists - Tuface, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, and The Basketball Wives of LA.
Tell us a bit more about your project "Monalisa by Fashion widower". Is there any particular message you would like to get across to the viewers?
Making This project was something I was very excited about. I wanted to show the beauty of a black woman recounted through the skin, but then infuse different elements like playing with lights, colors to pass my message. It’s easy to look at, has a deeper meaning behind the beauty, and is executed in a classical painterly style.
How would you describe yourself to people that don't know you?
Hmmm……. I would never describe myself to anyone. I rather they spend time with me and know me.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever gotten and do you follow it?
A close friend Chanel once told me, ”Always Surround Yourself With Folks That Your Hustle And Grind Matches theirs”. And yes I did follow that idea! When you building a house you have to make sure the foundation is right, once there is a crack it’s over. In the fashion industry you have to be a beast to survive…..no smiling games, so many snakes….. always keep your eyes open especially when collaborating with amateurs or working with clients who got drama!
What is the most difficult part of being a stylist for you?
What I hate most about my job is being called a stylist. People think STYLING is only for celebrities, and that's just not true — regular people have to get dressed, too. The majority of people I work with are your regular Janes trying to better their little part of the world — that's important and meaningful, and you don't need to be photographed 24/7 to warrant working with a stylist. Also, I think stylists get a bad rap from TV shows — I don't ever use the word "fabulous," and I don't care what the trends are.
Secondly, traveling can be rewarding and fun but at the same time, it’s difficult to maintain your health and adapt to the different time zones quickly between jobs. Also, gathering clothes in different places can be hard work.
you are a celebrity stylist, describe how a typical day in your life looks like.
One of the things I love most about my job is that every single day is completely different! One day I might be in Paris for a photo shoot, the next we have back-to-back fittings with clients in New York, LA, or South Africa . Other days I might be shooting a music video or hosting an event for a brand. I get to meet and work with new, incredibly talented people every day and for that, I am truly grateful.
If you could say one thing to someone younger who looks up to you, what would you say?
The best advice a Stylist once gave me: "If you think you are the best you will start becoming worse because art is a constant development. He also told me to Shoot, Style, research, and collaborate with creatives as much I possibly can. The more you style, the more experienced you become. If you don’t have a job or assignment – create one! I am always experimenting with looks when styling – trying to refine my techniques and find new ways of expressing myself creatively. It keeps your mind fresh. Collect pictures and look for techniques you like and dislike. It helped me to improve and find my own style.
What's the most important thing you want potential clients to know about you?
I Am very professional, with vast knowledge and experience when it comes to fashion styling.
What inspires you?
As a stylist, I get asked quite a lot about who and what inspires my style. My inspiration can change from day to day, depending on my mood, who my client is, what I’m working on and what I’m doing. It’s true I don’t have one specific look and style that I adhere to every day. Sometimes I wish I did; it would make choosing what to wear or style so much easier. I get ideas and inspiration from all sorts of people and places that influence what I wear or how I put an outfit together. Some inspiration can be from celebrities, singers, and actresses. I prefer to emulate the style of people I see on the streets, those around me, or even my friends. Also, Bloggers have become my favorite source for style inspiration. Following blogs allows me to capture a variety of great and unique styles using pieces from a multitude of retailers. I discovered blogs when I did a Google search to learn how to reduce my clothing and still create lots of looks with fewer pieces. One blog led to another and another and I was hooked on this community. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with looking to others to inspire your style. Let’s face it, there are really only a few people in this world who seem to start and set trends as we know them. Traditionally that has been fashion designers but now it’s more and more in the hands of the celebrity (think Kate Moss, Kim Kardashian, JLO, Lady Gaga, Rihanna ) who set the trends as fast as Zara can replicate them. Access to visual inspiration is getting easier and easier. Once having to wait for your monthly magazine to arrive, I can now access images every single second via Instagram. And it is through this channel that I have to confess, is where I take much of my daily style inspiration. I have a few Instagram users that I love (OK, that I stalk) lol. What I get from Instagram are ideas for how I can style the things that are What I get from Instagram are ideas for how I can style the things that are already in my wardrobe or for my clients . I look at the images and think ‘I can put that look together and then I recreate it.
How do you stay patient with difficult clients?
Communication is very important when dealing with clients. I listen actively to my client's problems or complaints, and resist the urge to interrupt or solve the problem right away. I make sure am empathetic and understanding, and my body language communicates this. In that way, my client feels relaxed and has no drama. In my wardrobe or for my clients . I look at the images and think ‘I can put that look together and then I recreate it.
If you couldn't be an artist, what would be your other career choice?
Lol. A fashion stylist and creative director.
What projects are you working on next, and what are your goals for the future?
Hmmm if I tell you it won’t be a surprise lol. But I got so many projects am working on! God has been good and the universe has been aligned right in my favor.
Where can we see more of your works and get connected with you?
My Instagram @fashionwidower and website fashionwidower.com