Behind some of your favorite outfits and style inspirations is a person who is in charge of putting all the pieces together. Being a stylist is an interesting job because there is a level of difficulty it takes to take someone else liking, make it your own and bring it to life. From styling music entertainers such as Teyana Taylor and Ariana Grande to A-list movie actresses such as Ann Hathaway, Jyotisha Bridges has stamped her name in the fashion styling industry and continues to influence through her amazing looks as well as her keen eye and sense of style.
I caught up with Jyotisha to discuss her fashion inspirations, why she decided to get into the fashion industry, her previous role working in PR and how she transitioned in styling, her first role as a lead stylist and what’s to come for 2019. Check out the full interview below.
1 – What inspired you to get into the fashion industry?
My grandmother for starters inspired my love of fashion! She used to wear mink coats that dragged the floor and different fly wigs and jewelry. She was a real classy regal lady. She was my first real introduction to fashion. The lack of positive representation of black women in media is really what motivated me to get into the industry. My goal still today is to uplift the way women especially women of color are portrayed as a whole and I know fashion can be used as a tool to do so.
2 – How did you know that fashion was something you had a passion for? In other words, at one point in your life did you realize this is what you wanted to do?
I remember my parents told me to choose a career I was passionate about and the money would come. I always loved fashion so I researched different careers in the fashion industry and I came across Fashion PR. I went to FIT in NYC majoring in Advertising and Marketing. My first job out of college was as a PR assistant at a fashion company named Yoox. Needless to say, it wasn’t really my thing. Sitting behind a desk all day and collecting press clippings wasn’t my idea of a good time. However, I did learn I wanted to be a stylist while working at Yoox. See every part of the journey is important. We would have these press events about every 3 months. Where we would showcase what new collections we had and we’d invite stylist and bloggers to come see. I would hear the stylist describe their busy lives and how they were dressing this celebrity for that red carpet. How they were flying off this exotic location to shoot a huge campaign. And that was it I was hooked, I wanted to be a stylist! So I hit up my friend who was assisting a stylist and asked him if I could intern a few days a week. He agreed and I started learning the world of styling from there. I moved to LA a few years later and landed my first assistant freelance gig working under Zerina Akers Beyonce’s stylists and I never looked back.
3 – What was it about styling that made you want to actually do it as a profession?
I love it! It’s a crazy industry filled with very neurotic colorful people! A lot of manual labor goes into each project along with a lot of brain power. It’s not a job you go home and forget about. It’s a 24hr kind of thing you may find fashion inspiration while brushing your teeth and scrolling through vogue runway. It’s also a very unforgiving industry. Not one that’s easy to break into, you have to earn your stripes. I’m still very new in my career and have a long road ahead of me but I love fashion styling. I love the fast pace there’s never a dull moment. Essentially you have your finger on the pulse of the culture and what you do with it key! Now that’s power.
4 – I’m aware that you lived in New York for some time but then relocated out to Los Angeles. Did you feel that moving out west would give you more opportunities to grow as a stylist?
Definitely! All the celebrities live here in LA. Since I work as a celebrity fashion stylist it made more sense for me to live here.
5 – Is there a particular styling job that stands out to you that helped expand your name a bit more or even contributed to getting you more jobs?
My first lead stylist job! I collaborated with EJ King (Teyana Taylor and Chris Brown’s Stylist) styling Teyana Taylor for Eric Bellinger’s music video “Goat”. It was my first time having so much creative control. They gave me a budget and I made it work. I think that job prepared me to take on bigger jobs. I went from that job to be a being a stylist assistant to one of the world’s top stylist Law Roach. Working with Law really taught me what it really takes to be a real stylist and the difference between being good and great. And that the difference is in the details!
6 – You’ve lent a hand in more than a few styling jobs with some very big names celebrities. Which styling job would you say was the best experience for you? Which one would you say was the worst or one that didn’t necessarily play out the way you thought it would?
Haha, one thing about this industry is you never kiss and tell! Besides that, I have signed way too many NDA’s to count. You never want to get a reputation of someone that runs their mouth and is untrustworthy. But I will tell of one of my favorite experiences. This summer got to go on an international press tour for Marvel’s Ant Man & the Wasp with Law Roach’s client Evangeline Lilly. I traveled to London, Rome, Taiwan, Amalfi, Paris, and Tokyo all in first class and with the finest hotel accommodations. That alone raised the bar for me on the lifestyle I want to create for myself! Besides getting to visit amazing countries I got to do something I love with an amazing group of people. Needless to say, it’s an experience I’ll never forget and one I’m really grateful for.
7 – Take us through a typical styling process for you from the first step to the last step. From knowing who you’re going to style to that person actually wearing the garment.
You get a treatment for the project or if it’s for a red carpet the client and their publicist tells you what their feeling and what kind of vibe they wanna go after. Then you start market reaching out to different brands for the project you are working on. Wait for each brands feedback. If they have the look available and are they going to send it to you. Depending on the project you can have over 50 different brands sending or just a few. All the garments you requested are shipped to you and you usually go to showrooms and pull looks as well. You do a fitting with a tailor and the client. The tailor fits the garment to the client and you go on from there. Typically that process is for a press run or red carpet For music videos, editorials and commercials you fit on set usually and you have less time to prep. For music videos, you do more custom pieces. Working one on one with designers to make a one of a kind look. Your budget and relationships detect a lot of the style direction. Can you afford to do custom? Do you or your client have a relationship with the designer will they do it for free? Can you afford to shop for some of the jobs? Is your client big enough to were brands want to lend? Does it make sense to do market? Do I have a shipping budget? Is he/she sample size can she even fit into the samples? So many factors to consider before you start any project. This all typically happens in 3-5 days. Needless to say, you can be working 3-4 jobs in one week it’s an intense lifestyle!
8 – Who are some of your fashion styling inspirations?
Bianca Jagger and Tracee Ellis Ross are my biggest style inspirations. I love their confidence and the colorful and risk-taking approach to fashion. My favorite stylist inspirations are Law Roach, Jessica Paster, Kate Young, and Patricia Fields.
9 – What advice do you have for the aspiring fashion stylist?
Get ready to work hard and to be broke for some time! A lot of people get into this game thinking it’s super glamorous and fun all the time. That could not be further from the truth! It’s a lot of hard work and in the beginning, you won’t make a lot of money at first. But over time you will still have to work hard and you can make serious money.
10 – Is there a piece of advice that was given to you in regards to your craft that you cherish?
To actually listen when people talk! Not to always think of an answer so fast so you can really listen and take in what is being said. To actively listen take your time and answer the question. Take time to think and that way you will work smarter and not harder. I’m a very impulsive person by nature and I like to move fast so that’s a lesson I’m still working on today.
11 – What else can we expect from Jyotisha Bridges in 2019?
After assisting for the last 2 years I now want my own clients! I know I want to focus on music clients. I want a young up and coming rapper or singer! This year is my year! You will see me soon with my own client’s slaying!