Interview: Carlton Jones, Fashion Stylist
Carlton Jones is a world-renowned celebrity stylist. Since the 90’s he’s helped shape the look of some of the world’s biggest celebrities, including Jay Z, Lenny Kravitz, and Michelle Obama. He’s a well-known television fashion commentator and editor and has worked with Vogue, GQ, and Rolling Stone—to name just a few—on fashion features and shoots.
Jones is launching his own collection for men and women, and we thought we’d ask the fashion guru about his EDC, get some men’s style tips, and learn just what exactly it takes to be a stylist to the stars.
You're a celebrity stylist who has worked with some of the biggest names in the world. How did you work your way up in a competitive industry to become the leader you are today?
"The first pivotal moment was being at part of the style direction that began to transform the rap image of Queen Latifah into the songstress she's evolved into. For her Black Reign album packaging, I put her in Todd Oldham and dresses, which caught the industry eye. That launched my career in the music industry, which allowed me to play a part in the imaging of so many A-list actors and artists such as Alicia Keys, Halle Berry, and Vanessa Williams.
Combining this with a TV presence on countless daytime shows and my position as fashion editor and director—all before Rachel Zoe made ‘stylist’ a household term."
For our readers who may not know exactly what your job entails, can you tell us a bit about what it means to be a stylist - what you do, and the qualities that make a great stylist?
"There many types of stylists, and many roles we play; however, the key role for me as a fashion stylist is to interpret a client’s vision. Qualities of a great stylist include vision, organization, and obviously fashion sensibility."
Is there one (or more) tool you own that you couldn't do your job without?
"A computer and passion."
You've just launched a 2015 clothing collection - talk about how that came about, where your inspiration comes from, and who you envision wearing your collection.
"In addition to my extensive work as a fashion ambassador to the Caribbean, curating trunk shows had me searching for designers making garments that captivated my sensibility of style in warm weather destinations. The more I consulted using my knowledge of resort, the more I became intrigued to try a few designs of my own.
Originally I envisioned stylish metropolitan women on holiday wearing my clothing, but as the collection is expanding, so is my vision, as well as my clientele."
Tell us about your everyday carry - is there a favorite item you carry you can tell us about in more detail?
"My EDC starts with my iPhone 6, which I'm still getting use to. The phone is a must! Then there’s my Louis Vuitton wallet, which is very special, because it was a gift when I really needed it. My Gucci sunglasses are key because they can work inside or outside—and at risk of sounding shady, I love wearing earbuds, even if I'm not listening to anything. Don’t ask! Rounding out my EDC are a vitamin carry case and the accessories I never take off: my gold hathara ring by Dekonti and a gold chain by Helen Ficcalora."
For guys trying to pick up a few style tips, tell us one common mistake you see in everyday style and how we can improve.
"I think it's important for guys to remember is that not every trend is for everyone.
Know your body, so you can figure out proportion that makes sense for you. This is what helps to develop your style. Also remember minor alterations can go a long way."