Born and raised in North London, Vanessa Davinia is a creative director and stylist with a bit of a stylish flair. She got her start by assisting others in fashion before eventually stepping into the limelight herself. Seeing the reactions on her clients and how confident they were in clothing, Vanessa knew at that point that styling was a purpose of hers. “That’s when I knew styling is what I wanted to proceed on to,” she tells us.
With nearly a decade of experience in styling, Vanessa has continuously innovated through her work, using new and unique designs on her muses. “It is very important for my work to be both motivational and inspirational as I work with a lot of young people,” she shares. The stylist is credited for working with editorials such as Noctis Magazine and Girls I Rate as well as artists like Prettyboy D-O and Alicai Harley amongst many others. She is leaving an imprint behind for young stylists and designers alike to draw inspiration from.
In our latest installment for Styled By Me, we spoke with Vanessa Davinia about diversity efforts in the fashion industry, personal style, and highlights in her career! Check it out below.
How did you get started working as a fashion stylist?
I got started working as a fashion stylist by shadowing known and established stylists in the fashion industry. I graduated as a Fashion design student then gradually decided to explore other aspects of the industry where I could display my creative side.
Starting off in the fashion industry was quite smooth for me, I made sure to put myself out there. I attended events, interned, and networked with people in the industry that I knew could help me excel. I remember getting my first call sheet I had to be on set at 9 AM and I was assisting until after 10 PM, it was my first real shoot and I was excited because I knew I was going to see my name in a magazine. I loved every minute of it and after hearing the responses of how the client looked, knowing I had helped put the looks together it made me feel great.
Where do you draw your fashion inspiration these days?
I draw my fashion inspiration from magazines, everyday life, and music. Inspiration is literally everywhere and I’m such a deep thinker i can create from objects and visions from the simplest of things. Sometimes you have to not look for the obvious in your work and just simply let your mind wonder.
You’ve worked with everyone from Alicai Harley and Tia Carys to Prettyboy D-O, who’s been your favorite muse thus far and why?
Yes, it was great working with all three of them as they are amazing artists. I’d have to say Prettyboy D-O. He is a great inspiration to the industry and his culture. His vibe and energy was just soo pure and of course, he makes great music! He isn’t afraid to think out of the box when it comes to his look, his hair, and his jewelry; he’s such a lovely guy.
What are your thoughts on the fashion industry’s diversity efforts? What do you think needs to be in order for everyone to be equally represented regardless of race, color, or size?
My thoughts on the industry’s diversity efforts are probably what the majority of young black creatives think. We need more black people to be put at the top along with their talents. A lot of black creatives are underpaid and underrated just because of the color of their skin. It’s time to stop the stereotypical look for designers, head stylists, models, business owners, and so on when it comes to race, gender, size, and age. We are all human.
Recently, you’ve done work incorporating brands such as Kappa and Karl Kani, what’s the biggest difference working with male models versus female models?
Working with brands such as Karl Kani and Kappa has been fascinating it’s great to see trends coming back to life and how they can be styled differently. This is great when it comes to using male and female models as I don’t like to separate clothing for genders. We’re in a day and age where I can style a female model from head to toe in male clothing and vice versa. I love working with both men and women.
Tell me a bit about your own personal style—has it changed over the years?
My own personal style is straight tomboyish! I draw my inspiration from the 90s and 00s. Aaliyah and Left eye from the earlier days and more recently now I’d say Artists such as Teyana Taylor and Ciara. I’ve always been quite stylish from young. Fun fact, I got voted most vainest in secondary school for my Year 11 leavers journal. I wouldn’t call it vain, I was just very confident. From red hair to colored stockings, my name tagged on my hoodies I’ve just always been creative. I don’t believe my style has really changed but catch me in a hoodie and sweats over a dress and heels 90% of the time.
How important is it for your work to be a conversational piece, allowing people to converse and draw inspiration from it?
It is very important for my work to be both motivational and inspirational as I work with a lot of young people. I love having interns assist and shadow me on shoots and at Fashion Weeks so they can learn and eventually start branching out on their own. I have a strong team of creatives around me who I love to mentor and teach.
If you enjoyed our chat with Vanessa Davinia, check out our interview with Rylton Thomas!