Janelle Carothers is the stylist behind some of the most fashionable and influential characters in film today. Over the years she’s created looks for the likes of Cassie, Terrence J, Meagan Good, Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut, Mara Brock Akil and Ne-Yo, to name a few.

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Known for being able to capture the essence of a character or person, Janelle is quickly becoming one of the most sought after and highly requested stylists in Hollywood. HERSource caught up with Janelle to see what fashion means to her, and where we can expect to see her work next.

How do you go about envisioning looks for clients, especially when you’re trying to capture the characters in a movie?


Creating characters in a movie is a very collaborative process. Its thoroughly reading the script, patiently waiting for any pending casting, and then a lot of dialog between myself and the director. Creating a character is bigger than just the words on paper. It’s the backstory, it’s foreshadowing, it’s getting into that character’s head, it’s getting into the head of the director, why did they cast this particular person, what do they probably want to see. Lots and lots of pieces to move around and fit together.

What inspires your day-to-day fashion?

Comfort! My days are long. So my day-to-day fashion consist of layers to pop on and off as I go in and out of meetings, in and out of malls.

What are some of your must have fashion staples or brands?

My fashion staples are a leather jacket, white T, great fitting jeans, boyfriend blazer, long scarf, big shades and a shirt dress. I can get a million looks out of those seven items. My personal go to brands are Celine, Madewell, Rick Owens, Adidas, Acne, Alexander Wang and of course I love piling on my SLATE accessories.

What inspired your love for style?

My love for style probably came from my love of people watching. I have always been pretty obsessed with people’s individual styles, not really fashion. I love people who put their twist on things and make it theirs. It doesn’t matter if I would have worn it or done it like that. Just a pure appreciation of folks who aren’t scared to just be themselves.

Any plans to create your own line of merchandise?

No plans to create my own line as of now, but I just finished a collaboration with a jewelry line called SLATE. I was already in love with the line for its minimalistic strong but dainty pieces – so when presented the opportunity to come together to create a few pieces for the line, it was a no brainer. The collection will be dropping next month. Ha! Feels like I am promoting my mix tape!

What’s your advice for those wanting to break into celebrity styling?

My advice would be to first decide which direction you want to go in, because celebrity styling is totally different then costume designing. Once you’ve figured that out you should seek mentors and people in your desired occupation to show you the ropes. Suck them dry for information but more importantly pour into them. Be valuable. Be teachable. Once you do that and make yourself invaluable to a stylist or costume designer, the universe starts lining up its own path for you.  Don’t compare your race to anyone else’s. Just get in there and commit to doing good work and every single thing else will unfold how it’s supposed to unfold.

What project or endeavor is next for you?

Up next is the film Rebel with director John Singleton, costume designed by yours truly. We are in pre-production as we speak, so I can’t say much about this yet but what I can say is: there is a hole in TV/film right now, some imagery of Black women that we aren’t seeing that we definitely should be seeing. Well, the time is now and with legendary creative genius John Singleton behind it, some movie Black girl magic is happening and I’m just honored and humbled I was chosen to be part of this vision.

About The Author

Samantha Callender is a multimedia journalist whose work ranges from entertainment journalism to pieces highlighting social issues in multicultural communities. Samantha strives to find intersects between entertainment and social matters, believing that pop culture has the power to not only entertain the masses, but to educate them as well. Her goal when storytelling is to write pieces that serve as a catalyst to prompt dialogue and activism. Her work has been featured in VIBE, JET, Cosmopolitan, and many other publications.

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