Fashion is my genuine passion and primary source of creativity. Looking through runway archives is like wandering around an art museum. One of my favorite pastimes is viewing street style from around the world on social media, to use as inspiration for my personal style. For as long as I can remember, my dream career was to work in the creative field of styling. While I was in college, I worked as a celebrity wardrobe stylist, which I talk about here. A lot has changed this past year, which has led me to rethink what I want to do. Lately, I’ve been learning more towards wanting to style and design costumes for music videos and entertainment.
Throughout college, a lot of my friends were film majors, so I did costume design for their student films. It was a rewarding experience where I got to use my knowledge, creativity, and love of fashion to make their visions come to life. Styling a music video is similar and something I’ve wanted to do for years. Recently, I had the opportunity to style a video for Cherokee, an incredible, up-and-coming artist from the valley. It was for her motivational, girlboss-inspired song “The Comeback”. Looking back from the start of this project to watching the video premiere, I’ve had the most fun since I started my career in fashion. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like working on a music video, I’m giving you a backstage pass on how I prepared for it, the itinerary, and what’s coming next!
“‘The Comeback’ mirrors the everyday woes we all experience romantically. I open up about heartbreak and creatively using it to elevate your existence. The song and video depict these events through an ear-gasmic mix of Funk, Soul, Rock, and Hip-Hop/Rap. The video is retro inspired, and it’s directed by myself and produced by Kellie Scott.”—Cherokee
When Cherokee came to me with her vision, I was more than excited to get to work. She told me she visualized the styling of the video to be vintage, glam, 70s-inspired, and classy yet sexy. She wanted the clothing to represent the message of elevating to your highest self even after going through something as soul-crushing as a heartbreak. “The Comeback” is about being powerful, spiritual, and a strong person no matter what you’re going through in life.
Once I understood the concept, the next step was creating a mood board filled with images of inspiration which helped to guide the process. Cherokee put together her own board and sent it to me so I could see everything from the overall styles to tiny details that she had envisioned. I then used it as a guide to create my own which was based off of her vision. After that I curated a list of what I would need to pull or buy.
Shopping for the shoot
After I got the measurements of Cherokee and the extras, it was time to bring her idea to life. I started the process by visiting various boutiques and showrooms in Los Angeles and Orange County. In order to capture an authentic 1970s vibe, I procured one-of-a-kind vintage pieces and jewelry from thrift shops like Buffalo Exchange and Tattered. I ended up purchasing more than what I thought I would need so that I would have a lot of options to choose from. Next, I got to work with my mother customizing a pair of jeans to match a ripped fringe corset that Cherokee pulled from her own closet. We cut the bottoms to make fringed pieces, distressed the pants, and ripped up the seams.
Cherokee also pulled some unique pieces from the costume rental studio, The Ruby Fashion Library in The Valley. We ended up using a pair of Saint Laurent rhinestone booties and glam jewelry for her and sparkly blazers for the men in the band scene. This worked out perfectly because I had been searching for similar blazers and couldn’t find them anywhere.
I got everyone together for the fitting so I could make sure that everything looked cohesive and fit properly. While the dancers tried on their costumes, I noted any alterations that needed to be made. Some pieces had to be returned and I still had to pick up what was needed for finishing touches. I kept all the receipts so by the end of the project I could create an invoice to show what I spent on her costume budget.
The shoot took place in Van Nuys at Tiger Lab Studios which was rented from 6 PM to 6 AM. With Covid-19, everyone had to be tested beforehand. Masks had to be worn at all times (aside from when the performers were performing) to ensure proper safety precautions.
Before I left, I put the costumes into garment bags so nothing would get damaged during transport. Then, I packed the jewelry, accessories, and shoes and organized them by scene and by dancer. I also brought a clothing rack so when I got to the studio I could hang everything up, steam it and make sure it was organized by scene. When you’re working on a set or a shoot, you have to expect the unexpected and be prepared. Sometimes clothing will rip or won’t fit, and adjustments will need to be made quickly. I brought with me my styling kit where I keep safety pins, sewing scissors, measuring tape, a seam ripper, a Tide stain removing pen, and a needle and thread. I keep them inside my strawberry fanny pack so that I have them on me at all times during the shoot.
We began the night by shooting the customized denim look first and then we moved onto the band scene where all the men were outfitted in sparkly blazers. The vibe was glam rock with a vintage disco feel and it came together exactly how it was envisioned. Next was Cherokee’s solo dance where she wore a gold sequin matching set and Native American headdress to go with her Cherokee the Chief alter ego. We were able to get every scene done before our studio session ended. One of my favorite parts was the dancing scene and how gorgeous everyone looked wearing fur coats. The custom-made version that Cherokee was wearing will soon be for sale on her clothing website. As the night ended, I felt satisfied that the vibe we had been going for played out perfectly and I began counting down until the video premiere.
After over two months of anticipation, the music video for “The Comeback” was just released and I couldn’t be happier with the finished project. It was an amazing experience working with such a powerful female and a talented crew. I can’t describe the feeling of knowing that I helped bring Cherokee’s vision to the screen.
When the entertainment industry shut down in 2020 because of Covid-19, I was feeling discouraged and unmotivated. I had just graduated with a career in fashion and I couldn’t do the work I wanted to do. When I signed on to style “The Comeback,” it was just what I needed and helped me rediscover my passion. Now that things are slowly getting back to normal, I’m excited to take on more styling jobs.
As for Cherokee and I, we plan on collaborating in the future. Her and I both love vintage and we both have similar styles, so together we’ll continue to create art through music and fashion. If you want to follow Cherokee on her journey, be sure to bookmark Cherokee Official. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the vintage-inspired clothing website that Cherokee and I will be launching very soon! The Wild Cherry will carry upcycled clothing, custom-made garments, Cherokee tees, and jewelry all tailored for powerful and badass females.