Celebrity fashion stylist Olori Swank is a serial entrepreneur with a fearless style taking the fashion world by a storm. The vivacious Swank is known for her electric blue hair and high-profile work styling some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
The University of Georgia honors graduate morphed her career path after a meeting with the VP of Jive Records, who offered her a chance to style one of his artists. Impressing beyond expectations, she eventually began styling numerous celebrities including T.I., Keyshia Cole, Childish Gambino, Tyrese, Teyana Taylor, Lance Gross and more. Swank has appeared on CNN, OWN, Black Enterprise and BET for her fashion and style advice.
Recently, Olori released her first book on fashion and lifestyle advice titled 101: The Blueprint for a Swank Life, which offers tips on style, dating, finance, entrepreneurship and more. With her determination and talents, she remains ahead of her work pushing the limits of “what’s fashionable to what’s imaginable.”
What inspired you to begin your profession and when did you start?
I’ve always loved fashion. Even in college I would show up to 8am classes dressed to kill in 5” stilettos. I’ve even gotten kicked out of a chemistry lab or two for not having the proper shoes on (you couldn’t wear heels in the lab). Fashion was second nature to me, I just didn’t know at the time that I could make a career out of it. My main focus was becoming a neurosurgeon. When I graduated from undergrad, I was given the chance opportunity to style a budding artist on Jive Records. I didn’t even know what a stylist was at the time but I quickly learned the ropes, and quickly learned that I loved it. I’ve been styling ever since.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far and why?
To be honest, I don’t count any one event as the highlight of my career. I’ve been blessed to accomplish a lot; but I do not focus on those triumphs. I’m constantly looking to the future and focusing on getting better every day. Not picking any one moment as the highlight of my career keeps me hungry and grinding.
How has your life changed since you began your journey and what are you expecting next?
My life is more free. Being an entrepreneur saved me from the standard 9-5 career path many of my peers chose to pursue. I can pick up on any given Tuesday and fly half way across the world without having to request time off; when I think of a new creative idea I want to try in any of my companies, I don’t have to get approval – I just do it. My career path allows me the opportunity to constantly grow. I have a lot of big plans for the future but I’d much rather show everyone than make upcoming announcements.
What characteristics do you believe are important to be successful and why?
The number one characteristic I’d say any entrepreneur needs to have is discipline. There will be times where you want to quit, or when you don’t feel like working; but you have to have the discipline to do what you don’t want to do now, to be able do what you want to do in the future.
What advice can you offer to those pursuing a career in the industry?
Study your craft. Too often people who are talented don’t put in the work necessary to get better. They rely on their talents alone. If you want to excel in your field, take the time out to enroll in classes, attend seminars, and seek advice from those excelling in your field.
What message are you trying to send the world through your art?
I want the world to know that it’s okay be an individual. We don’t all have to look the same or do the same things in order to be considered cool.