We love seeing black women living a life of purpose. And that’s exactly what Rachel Sojo of Chicago, IL is doing. See how Rachel balances being an attorney and a fashion strategist and how she manifested styling the cover of Munaluchi Bride Magazine.
“ I will say, I did look up all the past covers of Munaluchi and asked myself, “How do I want to distinguish myself?”
What is a style consultant?
Rachel: I use the term “Fashion Strategist.” As a strategist, I help my clients to create the message behind what image they want to display. Whether my client is a bride or I’m on a production set, I use my skill sets to strategize the wardrobe for the message. The look is the message. Amen. LOL
Tell us about your journey. How did know you wanted to be a stylist and what steps did you take to make it happen?
Rachel: Ha! Girl, it’s been a journey lol! I’m an attorney by trade. Becoming an attorney was never my true heart’s desire. After I passed the bar, I began working in a toxic work environment and developed high blood pressure. I decided then it was time to change my life. I did a lot of research. I interned with Harlem’s Fashion Row under Brandice Daniel and the rest is history.
How are you currently blending your professions (Attorney and Fashion Strategist)?
Rachel: Every day I blend them with my strategic approach. It is because I am an attorney, that it allows me to develop strategy for my clients. Going to law school gave me a unique skill set that allows me to think differently than majority of people. I tap into that every day.
Being a Stylist, do you believe it’s mandatory to always show up as your most fashion-forward self or do you give yourself breaks to rock a comfy pair of tights and a graphic t-shirt?
Rachel: When I’m at home (don’t judge me LOL), I am a t-shirt and basketball shorts girl. At one time in my life as a preacher’s kid, I felt like I had to look the part 24/7. Baby, life has taught me that you come as your most authentic self. Now, when I’m handling business, then I do what I do in fashion.
What’s your go to or signature style when shopping for your clients?
I love pieces that speak for themselves and pieces that most shy away from wearing. I carry that spirit when shopping and pulling items for my clients.
Tell us about your personal style.
My most dominant style personality is dramatic. I love a good show honey!! LOL! I’m attracted to pieces that are rich in color, architectural, daring, and just plain ole poppin!
We loved the looks you curated for Karen and Amani of Love at First Sight New Orleans for Munaluchi Bride. What inspired the looks?
Honestly, it was a goal of mine to style the cover of Munaluchi. So I’d been preparing myself for when I got the call. LOL. Once they told me the vision, I already knew which designers I wanted to contact. Thank God they all rocked with me and the vision flowed effortlessly. I will say, I did look up all the past covers of Munaluchi and asked myself, “How do I want to distinguish myself?” I’m grateful I accomplished my goal.
How did the pandemic change your business and what challenges did you have to overcome?
The pandemic has improved my business. I added a new business partner at the beginning of the pandemic and the business has been flourishing. My biggest challenge right now is slowing down, but I’m working on that right now.
Everyone looks at the life of Stylist as a glamorous one, care to share some of the BTS moments many people don’t get to see?
Ha! I don’t think most people understand the pressure on you when you HAVE to deliver!! Like, your client is going on Good Morning America, if she does not POP, it’s over. So when you have that pressure, you have to work especially hard to have things delivered. Working with your assistant, the tailor, the client’s schedule, traveling with tons of stuff, etc. The client doesn’t want to hear, “my bad.” You must deliver. Execution takes discipline.
Do you think an education in fashion is necessary for those looking to get into the styling?
Absolutely. You have to know what you are talking about when working with your clients. Education comes in many forms. You can intern under someone, you can take courses at F.I.T as I did, or you may be naturally gifted. No matter where you fall, never stop learning.
Where do you see your business in five years?
Building a fashion empire.