One of Northern Virginia’s most demanded stylists, Rylton Thomas is stepping into the limelight once more for his attention to detail and ability to make celebrities and musicians alike stand out. Since getting his start in the industry, Rylton has styled some of the biggest stars in today’s industry, such as Aliya Janell, Nivea, Tokyo Jetz, Dreezy, and more. Chances are, anything you’ve seen his clients wear, they’re probably one of the first. And that’s because Thomas tirelessly hunts for unconventional finds that mesh well with their personalities.
“I love the versatility of [styling]. One day I could be styling for a music video, but the next day could be a photoshoot in a totally different inspiration or concept,” he shares. When it’s time to up the ante, Rylton Thomas never fails to impress when it comes to bringing out the best of women across entertainment when it comes to style.
For our latest Styled By Me installation, Rylton Thomas introduces how he got into fashion, discusses working with the likes of Kali and Aliya Janell, and much more! Read below.
Tell me a bit about your introduction to fashion and what led to you becoming a stylist?
After assisting for a while, I took it upon myself to do research. I didn’t even major in fashion, I’m in business administration with a concentration of marketing. So I had to go outside on my free time to study fabric, color, and the ins and outs. I took one class in high school, but it didn’t necessarily teach me about fashion, just how to market it. Working with other stylists and designers, I just stepped out on my own.
I didn’t really feel like it was my time, but a lot of people around me thought I should, so I was a bit nervous. My first opportunity was a big one; it was for WE tv’s Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta. I had to style for one of the filmings and it was my first time solo with the celebrity so the nervousness was there. But from there, my confidence started building up and got me to where I am today.
You recently got to style Kali for her “Mmm Mmm” video, tell me a bit about that experience and what it was like working with her?
That video is our third or fourth time working with each other so we were a bit more comfortable. I hit her up when the snippet came out and said “listen, I have a vision for it so let me know when you’re ready.” I was in LA when she called me, and she said “hey, we’re shooting the video on Friday.” I wasn’t set to come back to Atlanta until Sunday so I actually wasn’t on set for it, but I had an assistant do the runarounds for me. So I have photos of me styling her on FaceTime and it was just a dope experience.
I styled her, but if you look in the video, I also styled five of the main girls. It was a total of six people so it was a major experience and it honestly taught me a lot. I’ve done digital styling before from the client’s closet, but for a music video, that was my first time. The job is a very hands-on role but sometimes you have to let go and trust.
Elsewhere, you’ve worked with Aliya Janell amongst many others—what separates you from other stylists in your opinion?
I feel like my overall experience, that’s why my name is The Ryl Experience. No shade to other stylists, but I go the extra mile. For me, I make sure that your image to the overall appearance to the public is perfect. I lotion their legs and physically put the pieces on and some people aren’t used to that, but it makes the person feel like they’re paying for a stylist or getting a luxury service. I love to make other people feel good and it makes me happy.
With that being said, what do you love the most about your line of work?
I love the versatility of it. One day I could be styling for a music video, but the next day could be a photo shoot in a totally different inspiration or concept. I’m into everything so with that, I like to bounce around. I could style somebody in a dress this day or style another person in pants the next. It just fulfills me to have that and switch things up frequently.
On the opposite spectrum, is there anything that is draining or a lot of weight on you when it comes to being a stylist?
Honestly, being last minute can be a big hassle. I work well under pressure, but no one loves being under pressure. I like to take my time and bring the vision to life, but a lot of the time I’ll get calls 24 hours, 48 hours before. So sometimes when you get them it can be frustrating because of how much I like to operate at my full, but I still make it work and it comes out amazing.
There are tons of talented artists and creatives across entertainment and style is seemingly one of the most important factors when it comes to brand image. Who is your dream muse?
Of course! Nicki Minaj is like my top person, artist, fashion icon, she’s that girl to me. Second, right after her is Teyana Taylor because they’re both fearless and open-minded to whatever. So they’ll accept a lot of ideas. As far as males, I really want to work with Steve Harvey. It’s really weird, but I look at him and he’s very into the game as far as style and very open-minded as well. I feel like I would have a lot of fun styling or working with him.
As far as the future goes, what type of impact do you want to leave on fashion or what do you want to be remembered for?
I really want to be remembered for my pureness and uniqueness. I feel like being pure is something that the industry, and society a as whole, doesn’t take pride in. A lot of times, people want to finesse their way to the top or manipulate a situation. Although, not everyone has to get to the top that way. You can put the work in and still get to the same spot as someone who got famous overnight. A lot of the stuff comes with the success so being pure would be my number one takeaway. I personally understand everyone is unique so I make sure that I’m understanding, non-judgemental, and that’s another thing I want people to takeaway.
If you enjoyed our interview with Rylton Thomas, check out our interview with Jermaine Robinson!