In an interview with Fashionista, fashion stylist Ade Samuel talks of her meteoric rise in the industry, and how she's come to style the likes of Khalid and Michael B. Jordan.
"It started when I was young," said Samuel about her initial interests in fashion. "It really was innate from the culture that I come from, being Nigerian. My parents always went to different traditional events, parties and weddings. My grandma was a pattern maker and designer who would sew up so many different fabrics for my family members and the neighbors. I used to watch her and help her, so I always had a relation with fashion through my grandma and my mother's taste for different silhouettes of different designers that she would collect and bring home."
When asked how she got started in the industry, Samuel said, "I ended up going to school for it, because I knew that was something I wanted to do. I went to Buffalo State, got a degree there and then went to FIT. Through that time I was interning, and I interned for [then-IMG Ambassador] Fern Mallis. I dabbled in so many different spaces of fashion to decide where I wanted to land, and after her, I interned at Diane von Furstenberg and then at this small boutique PR company. I later realized I wanted to be a stylist, so I assisted some people. I assisted at Teen Vogue, and that's where I started the bulk of my career in editorial, diving into the market and understanding the different designers, brands and people that existed in the fashion industry. I realized I really like the creative aspect of having to piece together and create a story with clothes, and really understood what stylists did. So I started to assist certain stylists that would come and work with the magazine, like Edward [Enninful] and Heathermary Jackson, Alex White, Camilla Nickerson and all these amazing legends today. I got a job offer from someone who was working with Kate Young's team, to come to L.A. to work with the stylist who was doing Nicole Richie for the show 'Fashion Star.' It was my first time diving in to this space out of editorial. Interestingly enough, Nicole was like, 'You need to move to L.A. and be a celebrity stylist if that's what you want to do; you really should try and pursue that here.' You know New Yorkers — I'm like, 'No, I'm going to go to New York, no not L.A. [laughs].'" I came back [to New York], did a stint at CR Fashion Book under Shiona Turini's direction with Carine [Roitfeld] and realized I wanted to go fully into the styling thing. I ended up getting a call from Nicole Richie's best friend, [celebrity stylist] Nicole Harouche. At the time, she was doing Miley Cyrus and Christina Aguilera, and she was like, 'I heard you were a great stylist and I would love for you to come to L.A.' So I took the opportunity and came out here, and ended up diving right in for a couple of years before I was offered my first opportunity with a rapper, Big Sean, who was my first client. I was working with Yara Shahidi and Big Sean, and that was the start of my business."
"When I was new and starting out, building the business was a challenge — to really understand how to create structure and teams, being able to pay people and to create payrolls and equal opportunities so that you can bring them in... I think when people think about fashion, they just think about the getting dressed part," said Samuel regarding the most challenging aspects of her career. People often forget this is a real business. Growing out of being an assistant and going into being a business owner, one of the challenges was making sure that I created a business structure that would allow me to continue to advance and grow as a stylist.
Information originally sourced from Fashionista.