Olivia Rodrigues, Vintage Meets Modern Minimalism

Meet Olivia, a stylist from Providence, Rhode Island, with family origin’s from Cabo Verde and Cote d’Ivoire.

So tell us, what is your favorite all time designer?
I have mixed feelings every time I’m asked this question because it’s so hard to choose just one! I am in awe of Lisa Folawiyo, William Okpo, Aurora James of Brother Vellies, Tongoro Studio, Loza Maléombho… They all rock. And of course there are notorious, high-profile luxury designers who will always have my heart (i.e. Stella McCartney, Elie Saab).   But I am also into emerging designers. For instance Lisa Says Gah is a fashion hub for designers who are mindful about ethical production and use high-quality materials. I so appreciate their mission and I totally see myself wearing every item featured in their online shop; their designs match my vibe and my personal style very well.

Describe your style in 3 words?
Vintage meets modern minimalism

How do you stay up to date on the current trends? Any favorites?

I am subscribed to e-newsletters from Who What Wear, Fashion Bomb Daily, Racked, Refinery29. Every month I get my InStyle magazine subscription, which can be a really nice break from always reading from my phone, or computer. Mostly, I like to follow bloggers on Instagram because they often get first dibs on new collections, and I also learn about brands through their work. Nothing But The Wax and Moonlook are other great resources for fashion and trends across Africa.

Photo: Brittanny Taylor Photography

What are some must have items in your closet?
Keep in mind that it’s winter where I am right now and temperatures are below 40 degrees (sadly, LOL), so my list tends to change slightly depending on the seasons. Regardless one can never go wrong with any one of these items: a pair of suede ankle boots, a pair of well fitted jeans, a cozy knit cardigan sweater, the perfect little black dress, a pair of bold pumps/sandals, a badass biker leather jacket, and a classic minimalist watch.

Work of a stylist can look different from one person to another. Could you tell us your work?
As a personal stylist, I work with women professionals who are in transition to help them explore their fashion individuality in order to feel powerfully radiant in the clothes they wear.

I believe that regardless of the changes we all make at any given time, owning our personal style while fully committing to who we are and where we are going, can produce a trifecta of emotional, mental and physical boosters to get us to that next big thing in life. Great style is that influential! And I enjoy working with dreamers, doers, risk-takers, caretakers, and corporate ladder-climbers … everyone willing to embrace and celebrate a fresh perspective on personal style, and confidence!

As a style consultant, I collaborate with businesses, brands, and boutiques to bring their creative visions to life. I work closely with their teams to ensure that there is vibrant alignment, and perfect cohesiveness.

Having worked previously on look books, and editorial spreads, I understand the impact of a great styling execution and how it can elevate a story (visually told through photography); and make a long-lasting and meaningful impression on an audience.

Where do you go or what do you do when you need inspiration for your work?
For me, inspiration can come when I’m at the gym, when I get outdoors, or when I am playing with my 3 year-old.  When I found myself forcing creativity, or trying too hard to make something happen, stepping away from all devices to move my body does help with reconnecting with the soul and my purpose. I may be getting a little too serious for this question, but the deeper my spiritual practice is the more connected I am to creativity. Which then opens the doors for inspiration.

Start today. Whether it’s sending an introduction email to someone who has been in the industry for a while, and could provide some guidance.

Could you tell us about your favorite client or project to date?
Over the summer I launched a FB live series called “Style Stops with OR” where I interview designers and shop owners, and showcase their studios/shops, their aesthetic and style – and pretty much talk about the hottest item(s) to have at the moment. From the very first video, people from various places, including Hawaii, were tuned in and engaging. That had never happened before! It is such an exciting project because of the connections being made to new audiences. It is such a privilege to be able to feature unique stories, boutiques, and thoughtfully made designs.

In terms of client work, one of my favorite things to do is participating in a client’s branding/re-branding phase. There is excitement; positive emotions are running high. They have nailed down their color palettes for their website and visual identity with the graphic designer … essentially, everything is in motion. Often all of that preliminary work leads clients to ask themselves an even greater, deeper question: “How does my personal style represent my business brand and new direction?” Which makes total sense, right?! Because authenticity, alignment, and cohesiveness matters across all the every single part of this phase.

What’s even more fun is clients generally have a pretty good idea of what they are leaving behind, and are fully ready to refine the role of best brand ambassador for their business. I mean … that is who they are at the end of the day. It is a transformative phase and I get to play a teeny tiny role in making sure that the vision materializes as a whole.

What is the hardest thing about the industry?
I feel that every industry has its own sets of perks and challenges, and obviously most industries are saturated. When you are trying to build credibility, and make noise and distinguish your work from others especially in the service area, things can get down right frustrating at times. It comes down to owning and claiming your authenticity as a freelancer, and being okay to share your story, unique perspectives, and your craft regardless of validation from others.

What advice would you give to that person who is scared to take the leap and pursue their passion?
Start today. Whether it’s sending an introduction email to someone who has been in the industry for a while, and could provide some guidance. And/or styling your family and friends, and investing in a great photographer to capture it and start building your portfolio.

Start positioning yourself and be serious about it. You won’t have everything figured out at first, but taking small steps will get you there! Also, there are great online programs out there that will coach you to become an expert in personal style and in business, if you truly want to get a sound foundation.

Photo: Brittanny Taylor Photography

What are your long term goals?
I can’t reveal too too much but I can hint to the fact that I’ve been longing to return home (my first home will always be Abidjan), and reconnect for both personal and work reasons. I want to immerse myself completely, and do some self-exploration, and mostly I want to fully align my essence and creativity with the culture, places, and people who made me who I am today. In terms of where I want to take my business, you’ll have to stay tuned to see what unfolds…Surprises are much more interesting. (LOL)

Lastly, if we want to follow you and your work where can we find you?
It’s OliviaRStylist on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and OliviaRStyles on Snapchat. Feel free to visit my website olivia-rodrigues.com

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