If you are wondering what it takes to break into the fashion world as a stylist, especially here in Chicago, Check out our latest interview with celebrity stylist, founder of Aline Style Services and author of Standout Style: The Shopping & Style Guide for Real Women, Tamika Maria Price. Emerging into Chicago’s fashion scene in 2008, Tamika has proved that long periods of time in the industry is not always a determining factor for progress. After only being a stylist for eight months, Tamika did her first national styling segment on the Rachael Ray Show.
Was styling something you always wanted to do.
Yes. In my book, I said I used to ritualistically study the J.C. Penney Catalog. It’s so funny, because the J.C. Penney catalog does not even exist anymore. I was always studying fashion layout of different magazines.
Based on your experience, do you think the fashion industry is hard to get into.
I think it’s easy to get into it, but people just have to believe in themselves. I get a lot of, I’m an aspiring fashion stylist, or I’m an aspiring photographer. I think everyone is aspiring at some point. People just need to jump into it, and immediately look for someone to mentor them in the industry. The main thing is, it’s all about relationships. If you started it and already have those relationships, it can be very easy for you. But when you don’t know any[one], then it’s going to be hard.
Did you collaborate with other stylists.
Not that I can think of. I don’t normally collaborate. I’ll get assistant stylists for different projects.
How do you define success.
Happiness. That’s all I want. I do not care if I make a million dollars, or 350 dollars. I feel like as long as you are happy, you are successful.
You recently released your self published style guide, how was the experience writing a book?
I started off with my blog posts, it just expanded from that. It took me between eight months and year roughly. And then it’s really at that point hiring an editor, building your team for your book. It was a fun experience. It’s so funny how I look back and it’s done already. Now, I’m like on to the next, how am I going to promote this book.
As a beginner in the industry, how did you financially support yourself.
Honestly, I got laid off from my nine to five, which is what made me take the plunge into just full-time. Definitely, I’m not going to lie and say money was just flowing in, because you have to go through that first year or two. You’re in the negative, because you are investing in your business. So, thank goodness, I have a good support system [and] a good husband. Without that, I would’ve had to get a nine to five. There is nothing wrong with that, but I so value the ability to work on my business full time.
How did you transition from styling everyday people to celebrities.
My first nationally recognized styling gig was on the Rachael Ray show, and then I did styling for T-Pain on the Black Eyed Peas Tour. [I also] did a fashion shoot with Naturi Naughton, and local television personalities.
How did you get the Rachel Ray gig.
They called my phone. I almost fell out my bed. I asked them how they found out about me, and they said they [had done] research on Chicago stylists, and wanted to know if I was available for makeovers. I had only been styling for eight months. Again, that’s where the website comes very much in handy. There are at least 15 to 20 stylists in Chicago with websites out. You have to have some kind of cutting edge to make you different.
How do you define style.
You can’t have style without confidence. You cannot style with out good fit. It really doesn’t have a whole lot to do with fashion either. Fashion is a business, so style is really about your personality and just being confident.
Interviewed by Jonnita Condra