“I always want to give back to someone who needs the chance and the opportunity to do what they love in the arts.” – Celebrity Fashion Stylists Anthony Henderson
It is no secret that I believe Philadelphia is a fashion hot-spot here in the US. Not only is Philly home to some of the country’s most stylish and creative dressers, it is also the hometown of a number of the fashion industries key players – models, designers, stylists, boutique owners, etc. Today’s Conversation is with Celebrity Fashion Stylist Anthony Henderson who is also the Executive Director of 17 . . . Days of Fashion.
Anthony took some time to sit down with me and share his thoughts on the fashion industry, personal style, what every woman needs in her wardrobe and why 17 . . . Days of Fashion should matter to us all.
Your Chic is Showing: What does fashion mean to you?
Celebrity Fashion Stylist Anthony Henderson: Fashion is a way to communicate who you are, how you feel, and how you want to look without saying anything.
YCS: When and where did you start your career?
AH: I got started umpteen years ago . . . I thought I wanted to become an actor and I got started . . . with that and found out that it wasn’t paying well and it wasn’t paying fast enough [YCS: we’ve all been there, haven’t we?!]. I got a knock at the door to work on a local TV show in Philadelphia and right from there I caught the bug with the lights, camera and action. It just really happened overnight. One of the first . . . movies that I did was called “Train Ride” with Esther Rolle, MC Lyte and Wood Harris from “The Wire.” . . So, right out the gate when it came to styling I started working with celebrities. . . I was only the assistant but before the production was over I became the head wardrobe supervisor/stylist.
YCS: If there is someone looking to get into the business or start their career, what advice would you give them?
AH: If you want to get into wardrobe styling, my favorite quote is “Don’t quit your day job!” You should definitely teach styling as a hobby until it starts to pay well; and, even though, you should always have something that you can fall back on. Get the hands-on experience – do the local fashion shows, work with people that are in your . . . neighborhood, family and friends. . . Start from there and figure out exactly what areas you want to work in – do you want to be a fashion stylist, do you want to be a wardrobe supervisor, do you want to be a costumer, do you want to be an assistant? All those variations play a part in making someone look good and making sure a movie or TV production gets off the ground.
YCS: Do people need to have technical skills to be a stylist (i.e. experience sewing, designing, etc.)?
AH: I think education is very important; I would definitely not rule it out. Ironically, I have no formal education in fashion, but I have tons of years of hands-on experience. I think you should have the hands-on experience and book knowledge as well. [One] helps the other. . . One thing that is really important is the hands-on experience.
YCS: How do you describe your personal style?
AH: My personal style is comfortable eclectic chic. I always like to be comfortable, even though I make some of my clients look good by not making them so comfortable [YCS: Don’t we women know all about that?!]. . . I’m a chamelon, I can dress up or way down. I love to mix high-end and low-end price points. I could have on anything from a pair of gently used jeans to, at the same time, a pair of [more expensive] sneakers with a $2 skully cap. . . I love luxury accessories as far as jewelry, handbags and footwear. I’m very versatile when it comes to price points.
YCS: What are this season’s must-haves?
AH: My must haves . . . a wonderful handbag; a wonderful accessory in your hand. Whether it be a luxury bag or . . . pocketbook. I just think accessories are such a [large component of] your look. I think a must-have . . . is to be well-groomed. Another must-have is . . . good footwear. . . I’m really big into luxury wraps from Burberry or Louis Vuitton, so that’s something I always have in my closet. If you go into the [fall season] with something luxurious, you’ll look wonderful.
YCS: Who are your fashion and style favorites and icons?
AH: I have to think about that . . . [a few minutes later] I’m such a finicky person, it changes so much! One of my style icons, because she’s legendary and she’s from Philly, is miss Patti LaBelle. She’s always had her pulse and timing on fashion for the decade that she’s in. [a few days later – we guess this was a tough one!] Naomi Campbell is my style icon. She’s the only one, that to me, made going to jail look so fashionable! [We here at Your Chic is Showing couldn’t agree more!]
YCS: What is the best advice, from a style standpoint, that you can give men or women?
AH: One is the common rule, “before you walk out the door take one thing off.” The second [is] to always try new and innovative styling looks. Three would be to always try to stand out.
YCS: What inspired you to start 17 . . . Days of Fashion (http://www.17daysoffashion.com)?
AH: There was a group of people in Philadelphia to saw a need to give back to the community and charity through fashion. We have so many fashion houses, events and shows but none were geared to community, charity and worthy causes. . . We found a way to have fashion events . . . to highlight these [organizations] and bring awareness to these [organizations] through 17 . . . Days of Fashion.
YCS: What do you want people to get from 17 . . . Days of Fashion?
AH: We want them to find out about a particular charity or cause that is [close] to the producers heart . . . Our ultimate goal is for people to have fun with their family and community . . . and to help others.
YCS: How/why did you pick the Career Wardrobe for 17 . . . Days of Fashion’s charity of choice?
AH: The Career Wardrobe has always been dear to my heart. I’ve been [working] with them for over 10 years. . . I felt it not robbery to incorporate it into 17 . . . Days of Fashion. . . For the last two years, we have [donated] money to the Career Wardrobe. We bring awareness and raise money for the Career Wardrobe. I want each year to get bigger and bigger where we are donating more money and bringing more awareness to the career wardrobe.
YCS: How can my readers get involved?
AH: We’re looking for anybody who has a heart for the community. Anybody who has . . . a little bit of fashion sense and who loves fashion to come out and support the events, and/or put on an event. We’re looking for producers, sponsors, advertisers, media partners, attendees. All of the above!
YCS: Is there anything else that you want people to know about 17 . . . Days of Fashion or you personally?
AH: My personal quote is “style is every day, fashion is for a lifetime.” One day I look forward to working with Lady Oprah Winfrey – I always throw that in there because if you speak it, it will happen!
In the conversation with celebrity fashion stylist Anthony Henderson, the one thing that truly came across is his passion for the Philadelphia community and 17 . . . Days of Fashion. Whether he was describing “One Night Only” which is an event that happens in March to raise money to support 17 . . . Days of Fashion or talking about his “Evening of Pearl” fundraiser for the Career Wardrobe, it is clear to see that Anthony has a heart and mind for the people and community of Philadelphia. Instead of telling you all about his passion, I want to give you a first-hand look. Take a moment to check out this interview Anthony from “Celebrities in the Basement” to learn more about his fashion journey and 17 . . . Days of Fashion.
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