Julian Lark marches to the beat of his own drum. The stylist and editor-in-chief of Kontrol Magazine successfully built a career off of instinct and possessing the confidence that knowing oneself can provide. Check his Instagram and you’ll find a portfolio of celebrity clients fearlessly wearing his bold selections. As a designer, Lark has made it his mission to remain at the forefront of the burgeoning Atlanta fashion scene, creating a brand that enables even the most confident client to be transformed into their best selves. With his new makeup line REVEL by JL, and his passion for fashion and creativity, Lark continues to travel the road to freedom by way of entrepreneurship — and he shows no signs of slowing down.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when styling a client?
I like to research the client, you know figure out who they are. After that I know who I am, a fashion stylist, and I can combine the two. That way I can try to take the client to the next level versus what they are use to doing.
Who was one of your most memorable clients?
One of my most memorable clients to this day, I would have to say is Malinda Williams. She is not afraid to take risks but she knows what she likes and she knows what works for her. She knows her body really well, so we have a great time when we work together. And she is not scared of pushing boundaries and making people say, “Ohhhh … That’s Malinda!”
For those interested in going into styling, what would you say is the key to being successful in the fashion industry?
Having a great sense of who you are before you go into the industry. Because this industry will try to tell you who you should be versus who you are.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
I think you stay at the leading edge of your craft by consistently working, consistently putting yourself out there, consistently networking, and reading fashion publications and going to fashion shows. I stay trying to go to Fashion Week. I stay looking at magazines, not only from the U.S., but from Japan, Australia, Paris, France. You know, I like to make sure that I’m up to date on everything.
I’ve always known that I never wanted to work for anybody. I’ve always wanted to do my own thing. So I just basically follow my own heart, I do what I want to do, and I don’t always do what “the pack” is doing or what the world is doing. I like to make my own moves.
How did you go about selecting the team that you work with for different projects?
I select my team by people that really want this. People that are hungry and are willing to grind for it. One of my assistants actually works overnight and doesn’t get off until 3 o’clock in the morning and he will get off at 3 o’clock in the morning and will turn around and go to a client with me at 8 o’clock in the morning. So they want it just as much as I do. If they don’t want it just as much as I do, with the complaints, or they don’t grind like I do, then they cant be apart of my team.
You recently started a makeup line, REVEL by JL. What led you to branching out into the beauty industry?
I don’t really feel like I branched into the beauty industry. I feel like beauty and fashion are all in one in a sense. Like it’s my business to make a woman look and feel beautiful, so with REVEL I just kind of added to that. I wanted to do something that was different from Kontrol Magazine to set myself apart from the magazine and do something that really focused on me, and fashion and beauty, and what I wanted to do. Since my job is to make a woman look beautiful through fashion that’s what I wanted to do with the make-up line as well. And it gives me the opportunity to say “This is Julian Lark, the wardrobe stylist, and now the cosmetic line owner” and not only will I make you look good from clothing, but I make you look good from beauty products from head-to-toe. I’m giving women a full package now.
What role do music and culture play in your self-identity?
Music plays a big part in who I am. I still collect actual CDs. I really don’t buy music on iTunes, except for the Beyoncé CD, I did buy that! But I actually physically go into the store and buy music. I have probably a thousand CDs at this point and I really listen to the heart of the music and what people are trying to say. I take that and use that for inspiration into REVEL, I use that as inspiration into the magazine, and into my fashion. Kontrol actually came from the Janet Jackson’s song “Control”; the lyrics. I was driving down the street one day and was listening to the song on the radio and I was like “This is me, this is what I want to do with my life right now, this is the empowerment that I have behind it!” So I was like “well let me put this behind everything that I do” to a degree.
What is on your vision board for 2014?
Well one, to meet Kimora Lee Simmons, she is my ultimate fashion idol! Two, to launch a Fashion Week here in Atlanta that can compete with other Fashion Weeks in other major cities. And to also make REVEL as household name, as well as Kontrol.
Any other hidden talents that we should know about?
Well, of course you know I’m a designer at heart, I may have a boutique coming soon, clothes are my passion! I just found out that I actually like speaking on the radio. I’m co-hosting the Lillie Mae show right now on Thursdays and I’m enjoying that. So that’s something that is hidden, I didn’t even know about, but I actually do like it.