Over the weekend I had the pleasure of interviewing wardrobe consultant Stephanie Ramlogan. I discovered a shy, yet bubbly and self-aware young woman with an ardour for fashion. Ramlogan recalled that her fondness for fashion started developing around the age of six or seven with the advent of cable in her home. Fashion File on E! was her favourite show to watch back then, so every Saturday morning she would settle in front of the television and watch supermodels saunter up and down the runway, sporting designs by Oscar de la Renta, Jean Paul Gaultier and Gianni Versace to name a few fashion designers – De la Renta, Gaultier and Versace being among some of the greatest influences on Ramlogan. "I used to try to draw the skirts blowing behind the models as they walked – never saw fabric move like that in Trinidad," said Ramlogan as she explained that she used to draw the designs while watching the show (although they were not that good then, according to Ramlogan). She has, however, grown less interested in fashion design itself and more interested in wardrobe consultancy.
"Fashion makes women feel bad…It does create some kind of segregation because what about people who can't afford certain things or wear certain things?" she lamented. "I have grown up around women all my life. My parents separated when I was about six. I understand the self-esteem issues. I have had self-esteem issues myself." The frivolity of fashion designing, to Ramlogan anyway, is what caused her to move into the area of fashion styling. She confessed that as much as she loves fashion, she had wor-ried that a career in the fashion industry would mean a not-so-substantive contribution to society. But with an emphasis on wardrobe consultancy, Ramlogan is able to combine her passion for fashion with the greater good of building the self-esteem of women.
"Fashion is something packaged in a universal sense whereas style is more individual; so if you were to reach out to someone and help them embrace their individual qualities, then you can add fashion," Ramlogan continued. In other words, the goal of the fashion stylist is to help the individual uncover her own personal style, embrace it and work with it. She gave the example of the "drop-waist" dress of the 1920s. "The 'drop-waist' dress of the 1920s was the silhouette for spring this year, but that does not suit all body types. Some women may benefit from just wearing accessories inspired by the period. They can accent their look by pulling elements, like jewelry and make-up, from the 1920s, but not copying the entire look." The idea is to develop the individual's personal style, a look that is consistent with their person and physique.
Ramlogan, who has done INTACTT workshops, has used the "drop-waist" example in some of her lectures which include Dressing for Success in the Office and Style for Success. In July 2012, she participated in a power session at the Marriott Hotel entitled See the Extraordinary in You. The session catered to 100 women and was geared towards empowering women to love themselves and teaching them the importance of first loving themselves. It was in keeping with the common expression, "If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else."
While Ramlogan does not hold a degree in fashion design (she does, however, have one in Spanish with honours and a minor in international relations from UWI, St Augustine), she has completed two years of coursework in fashion design at the Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design at the John S Donaldson Technical Institute in Port of Spain. Her classes include textile identification, apparel construction, introduction to draping and pattern drafting and art history and fashion history. She also completed a course in principles of personal fashion styling at the London College of Fashion in August of this year while in England. Polly Hollman, life member and past president of the Federation of Image Consultants, was her trainer.
Ramlogan has interned as fashion assistant to New York fashion designer, stylist and creative director, Babatu Sparrow, who has worked on Sean John among many other artistes. She has worked with him on fashion stories for 6 Carlos magazine and before that, she had served as assistant to the editor-in-chief of Trinidad Lookbook magazine.
Her lists of accomplishments go on.
Author's note: To book a consultation, Stephanie can be reached at 786-5858, or by e-mail: email@example.com. Appointment times are as follows: Monday to Friday, 10.00 a.m. - 7.00 p.m. and Saturday 10.00 a.m. - 7.00 p.m.
Author's e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org