"The Man behind the Fashion" is who I call him. You may know him from his feature in the Oxygen Network show..."House of Glam", but he is the man behind the style of someof your favorite celebrities. I got the chance to catch up with Atiba and ask him a few questions about his career.
LLS: At what age did you realize your love for Fashion? Atiba: I think I realized I was into fashion at around 13. I was really into Guess and Swatch when they had a clothing line back in the late 80's. I lived across the street from Macys so I was always shopping. I would see things I liked, buy the one I like 2nd best wear it and then return and exchange it for the piece I liked most and keep it. Lol I was using my allowance, I had to be smart about my purchases. LLS: How long have you been styling? Atiba: I've been styling for about 14 years. I didn't realize how long it really was until I was speaking to some kids at a youth center in the Bronx and one of them asked if I ever met Biggie Smalls. After I answered he said "I was 1 years old when he died." I thought to myself "WOW I'm getting old."
LLS: What would you consider your big break in the industry?Atiba: My big break came when I started styling Puffy. We worked together off and on for over 10 years. Through him I met Mary J.Blige and began styling her too.
LLS: Who are some celebrities that you have worked with? Atiba: I've styled Prince, Kelis, Nas, T.I, Cassie, Missy Elliott,Ryan Leslie, Monica, Nick Cannon, Kelly Rowland and almost every artist that was on Bad Boy.
LLS: Which of your clients would you say you learned the most from? Atiba: Out of all my clients Puff was the one I learned most from. Especially when it came to negotiating rates. He always told me if you want 10 ask for 20 because they'll always try and talk you down. He was right!
LLS: What excites you about styling? Atiba: I get excited when I can take someone who had horrible or no style at all and make them look great.
LLS: What has been your biggest obstacle as a stylist? Atiba: I'd say my biggest obstacle has been not being able to promote myself. I've never been one to go up to people and tell them what I do. I usually get jobs through referrals or word of mouth.
LLS: What has been your greatest accomplishment? Atiba: That's a hard one, I feel I've had many but I'd probably say styling Prince's "Welcome To America" tour last year. I lost my virginity to Purple Rain. Lol Prince is a legend! And I was the first stylist he worked with in almost 10 years.
LLS: Seeing to it that you have been in the industry for a long time.. How do you compete with the newer stylist and keep work? Atiba: I try not to think about the new stylist, experience and relationships can't be bought and I think over the years I've gained a lot of both. Most new stylist work for half of what we charge so that's a tough thing to deal with. I also try to stay current with the new styles and not follow trends. But I like the new talented stylist that are out here. I appreciate good style just as much as the next person.
LLS: What are some other interest (besides fashion) that you have? Atiba: I'm interested in writing screen plays, I used to write music and english was the only subject I excelled in. I have tons of ideas in my head and I'm a big movie fan.
LLS: Where do you see yourself in 3 yrs? Atiba: In 3 years I'd either like to be the wardrobe stylist for a tv show or hosting my own tv. Of course it would involve fashion.
LLS: What advice would you give someone trying to break into the industry as a stylist? Atiba: I always tell aspiring stylist to intern for another stylist whose work they respect and admire. It's not just about putting clothes on people, there is an art to styling. But you have to observe it first.