Fashion is what you purchased the other day from All Saints on Chicago’s famed Michigan Avenue. Style is what combined your gray Yosa sweater with the Pitch biker jacket, silver Restrain hot pants and the Manifest boot.
Rolling out had an opportunity to chat with personal stylist Aaron Christmon. Christmon is a fashion enthusiast who recently launched his fashion company, Smart Dress. This stylish, creative entrepreneur collaborated with Shannon Waldron of Urban Fetes to premiere his talent at the 2013 New Year’s Eve “Rock The Runway” fashion show. The extravagant affair was held at Akainyah Gallery located at 357 W Erie.
Here’s our introduction to Mr. Smart Dress, Aaron Christmon …
Where are you from ans where did you go to school?
I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago and attended Rich South High School in Richton Park, Ill.
I attended Columbia College Chicago, where I received a bachelor’s degree in art, entertainment and media management.
Please describe your responsibilities as a stylist?
Being a stylist, I wear many hats. However for me, personal shopping has to be the most stimulating aspect of what I do. My personal shopping projects are rewarding because I’m dressing people for their everyday lifestyle. I enjoy being able to make strong personal connections between the client and myself. My initial process starts off with a one-on-one consultation with the client to discuss their wants, needs and budget. Then I set out for the ideal items needed for them. After I’ve gathered all the necessary things, I meet with them for a fitting and to review what I’ve purchased. Once the final selections are made, the client keeps the merchandise that works and the other items are returned on my behalf.
What is your personal philosophy?
My personal philosophy has to be striving to help others. I enjoy being a blessing and imparting positivity into other people’s lives. I believe that what you put out comes back to you. Besides from that, it just feels good to do something positive.
What are your personal successes?
I would have to say that my greatest personal success is launching my company, Smart Dress. After being laid off from my job due to a poor economy, making the decision to launch my own business wasn’t an easy task at all. I faced discouragement and doubt in the beginning stages of my business. However, I knew that becoming a stylist was something I wanted to pursue. With a great support system of close friends and family, I recognized that I was making the right choice. Looking back, it was one of the greatest and most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made.
How do you use social media to promote Smart Dress?
Social Media has been a great, free marketing tool. Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Linkedin have helped me promote my brand in such a dynamic way. Starting off in 2010, I launched a Facebook page for Smart Dress. I reached out to my friends and asked them to check it out for input. I used this page as a means to discuss trends, celebrity style, and the Do’s & Don’ts of fashion. I encouraged them to comment and asked for feedback. By doing this, I was able to target my audience more effectively and make posts that I knew my readers would enjoy and find interesting. From there, I began to use other social networking sites. My Tumblr blog is my most viewed outlet. Since everyone doesn’t use Facebook and Twitter, I am still able to keep my readers abreast of all the latest happenings in the fashion industry.
What was your introduction to fashion?
My introduction into fashion began with my father. I can remember as early as eight years old, him teaching me how to tie a tie and us flipping through a GQ magazine together. It was then, when I realized that I had an interest in fashion. As a child growing up, getting ready for school was always an adventure. My parents never picked out my clothing, I would always fight them tooth and nail about what I wore. I felt like my clothing was how I expressed myself to the world.
What is your daily inspiration?
I am inspired by so many things. I love having a sense of diversity when it comes to style. I never want to put limits on myself or anything I do. My inspiration has come from things I’ve seen in pop-culture such as a films, music videos and magazines. I’ve also gotten inspiration from places I’ve traveled and even certain life experiences.
What fashion icon inspires you most?
I am mostly inspired by June Ambrose, Fashionista and Celebrity Stylist. This woman is the epitome of style and class and a huge inspiration to me. When it comes to June, I am mostly inspired by how she has branded herself as a stylist. Not only is she incredible when it comes to fashion, but also a savvy business woman.
What fashion message do you want to send to the world?
My fashion message would be that everyone should find their sense of style and what works for them. I believe anyone can be fashionable and stylish. It’s’ just finding what works for your lifestyle, body type, and budget. So many people try to emulate mainstream fashion trends or things they see other people wearing. I love when people find their own individual sense of style.
What was your inspiration for the NYE fashion show?
For my NYE fashion show, I wanted to showcase modish looks people wouldn’t necessarily think to pair together or wear. I love to be different but still show practicality. My looks were very creative yet, realistic enough that people would want to wear them.
If you could style any the cast of your fave reality show, which show would you chooseand why?
This is a tricky one. However, I would have to say “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” I don’t watch much reality television, but when I do, those women always keep me glued. Since it’s my favorite show to watch, it would be most fulfilling to style them. I have a couple ideas for a few of the ladies that I wouldn’t mind seeing them in. It would be great to see my work on a show that I love to watch.
Who’s a fashion icon, Beyonce or Rhianna? Why?
For me, I would have to say Rihanna. She’s such a risk-taker when it comes to fashion. Some people are thrown off by her sense of style, but I love it. She can be edgy and rugged one day and then transform to the epitome of elegance the next. This is so attractive to me and I love her for it. Not to mention there is never a dull fashion moment with her.
Male fashion icon: Kanye or Bruno Mars? Why?
Kanye West is a visionary. To start off, his story of triumph from the South Side of Chicago into mainstream pop culture is very inspiring to me. I am also intrigued by his style and approach to wardrobe choices. Kanye is known for being a trendsetter. Much like Rihanna, his style sometimes raises eyebrows, however I think that’s what makes him different.
Aaron Christmon “Graduating from Ordinary to Magnificent”
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