Connie Aluoch is one of the key players in one the fastest growing industries in Kenya, style and beauty. She defines a fashion stylist as someone responsible for creating a ‘look’ for a model or person and deciding what a person wears. If you read True Love Magazine, then the styling for the covers are done by Connie Aluoch.
Connie recalls how almost ten years ago, few people understood the importance of styling. Today, Connie runs her own company, Connie Aluoch Styling Management that was established in September 2010 which is a global styling agency that handles styling for magazines and production companies. Additionally, she runs image training for organizations and individual personalized shopping services. Connie works with a team of young talented dynamic fashion interns, assistants and social media experts. Notably, she is also an award winner of the Established Fashion Stylist in 2014 at the Kenya Fashion Awards and has styled for artists for Tusker Project Fame, Kenya Televisions News Anchors (KTN), True Love Magazine as well as being the first Kenyan stylist to have been appointed as Fashion Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, School of Arts and Design.
All levels of success begin somewhere so let’s take a step back and delve into Connie’s journey. Connie began her first styling job in September 2004 as Contributing Editor and Stylist for Cosmopolitan Kenya Magazine, which was only in the market for one year and a half. She was influenced from a young age by parents whom she describes as a “very stylish couple.” Connie Aluoch took her fashion education seriously studying in Evelyn College of Design in Nairobi in 1996, the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1998, obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design and Masters in Fashion Styling in Instituto Maragoni in Milan, Italy. “I have always wanted to study and work in the fashion industry,” she tells us.
Connie returned to Kenya in 2004 and went full speed ahead with her passion, despite the industry hurdles of the time. She first went to South Africa to SA Fashion Week to network and established important contacts, which led to her first job with Cosmopolitan Kenya. One of her greatest challenges and fear was how she was going to get projects that would sustain her business. “All my styling jobs give me an opportunity to learn, create and reinvent myself as a stylist as all projects, models, personalities I work with are diverse,” explains Connie. Furthermore, Connie acknowledges that her styling jobs with Magazines and Agencies helped her brand grow, become respected and recognized in the country.
“Research is key in putting different looks together as a component of styling.”
Fashion stylists are growing in Kenya from Annabel Onyango to Sunny Dolat, Connie observes that we have a variety of stylists in the country and the “greatest thing about the local fashion industry is that there is enough work for everyone.” Being a fashion stylist, Connie’s personal style if classic and practical with her signature styling for models of clients is always simple, classic and consistent. She loves different aspects of creative styling from Grace Coddington, Patricia Field, Dimeji Alara and Ugo Mozie.
She states that the most important aspect about being a stylist is “understanding that research is key in putting different looks together as a component of styling.” In the process of styling, Connie meets with the models or clients to conduct an analysis to better understand what their taste and style is so as to source for clothes that suit their personalities. “Being able to transform people’s looks and seeing the look of happiness on their face” is what she describes as the best part of being a fashion stylist.
Connie is incredibly fuelled by local fashion designers. “I love to support local designers and I do this through showcasing their work through various platforms from the newspapers and magazines that I consult for,” she tells us. Connie further shares that the local fashion industry is fast developing and she is certain that in the years to come, Kenya will have the same international standards as our counterparts in the fashion capitals. She is equally excited that the fashion industry in Kenya is growing and that jobs in the industry are slowly becoming recognized and respected. “If supported,” she states, “the fashion industry can eventually contribute to the growth of the Kenyan economy.” Support from government and financial institutions are what Connie believes would assist in growing the fashion industry in Kenya. Having said that, Connie notes that “Kenyans are starting to embrace ‘buy Kenya, build Kenya’ so its about creating awareness and supporting local designers.”
“The fact that the Almighty has brought me this far and my passion for the work I love to do,” motivates and drives her. Connie elucidates that styling is not as easy and glamorous as it looks affirming that it involves passion, hard work, consistency and good public relations skills. The best approach in building your brand and growing is to work hard, be consistent, respect people and staying humble, Connie explains. For aspiring fashion stylists, Connie advises to find different projects that you can work on simultaneously to generate a sustainable income and understand ones cash flow in their business.
From Connie’s life story, one can see that education, staying focused on your dream, learning and gaining experience are key to building your skills and styling business. Her accolades are a clear example of just that. Connie adds that “styling is hard work, long hours and requires the love, determination and consistency in order to succeed.”
Connie Aluoch has clearly established herself in the industry having started this journey almost 19 years ago from Evelyn College of Design. Whilst supporting local fashion designers and building her business on a passion, she is an example of sticking to your guns and pushing ahead to reach where your dreams take you in spite of any hurdles or challenges including an industry ill-prepared for what she had to offer.
Find out more about Connie Aluoch from her Facebook Page.
*Images courtesy and copyrighted to ©ConnieAluoch