Written by | RayCornelius

You may not know his face but you definitely know his handy work.  You have seen it on the Real Housewives of Atlanta,  featured in Upscale  magazine and on The Soul Train Music Awards.  His name is Toye Adedipe and he is a celebrity wardrobe stylist.

A graduate of Florida A & M University, Toye initially started his career designing greeting cards and creating pieces of collage art work [Bill Cosby owns one of his originals].  However, there was something about wardrobe styling that seemed appealing to this 20-something Nigerian-American from San Jose, California.

So after a few successful styling gigs, Toye realized that he was on to something and traded in his paint brushes for stilettos, designer gowns and high-end demands from some of the biggest names in the music industry including Jennifer Hudson, Keri Hilson and Fantasia!

Fast-forward a couple of years and Toye is one of the most sought after wardrobe stylists in the industry.  Whether he’s in Atlanta styling for a Derek Blanks’ photo shoot or working in L.A. with Carol’s Daughter spokes model, Cassie, Toye is constantly on his grind.

We recently caught up with Toye who was fresh off of the set of a music video in Miami’s South Beach to talk about his career, Rihanna and why H20 is the hottest fashion accessory for the summer!

RC:  You have a very unique name, what does it mean?

TA:  Thank you.  It’s Nigerian for “He’s worthy of chieftaincy, the crown surrounds him and he went home to receive his name.”

RC:  At what point in your career did you know that wardrobe styling is what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?

TA:  I think it evolved with each challenge that I was given.  Doing my work, I felt more passionate about my craft and I decided that this is something I wanted to commit to doing. And with each milestone and each success, the passion just became stronger.  It fully developed into a commitment and dedication that I know I want to do for the rest of my life.

RC:  You work in LA and Atlanta, what do you see is the biggest style difference between “Hollywood” and the “Dirty South?”

TA: [laughs] I think the biggest difference is that one city has a huge African American cultural and musical influence, while the other city has more of a commercial influence.  Neither one is good nor bad.  It’s just that they have a different feel to them!

RC:  You’ve worked with a number of celebrities, including Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Keyshia Cole, Keri Hilson, Lance Gross, Laurieann Gibson and most recently Cassie; who would you like to work with next?

TA:   Rihanna! She’s like my ultimate Punky Brewster.  She has an edginess to her that isn’t so much focused on her being a bad girl but her being authentically who she is.  I know that I would slam dunk her because I like to express myself through clothes and I like the interpretation of how my clothes can be edgy and fun and a little dark at some times; but still chic, modern and sexy!  I definitely think those are Rihanna’s characteristics and who she is as a person.

RC:  As we move closer to the summer, what is a “must have” fashion item for both sexes?

TA:  I will say this. It’s not an accessory or a piece of clothing but it’s about your health.  I think that one of the things we forget is that we always look good when we feel good.  And doing things like drinking water, getting exercise, taking your vitamins, eating well and listening to what our bodies are telling us are the best accessories and clothing options that you can have.  It’s about looking good but feeling good which will evoke that confidence to shine through any article of clothing.

RC:  You recently started designing your own clothing. Let’s talk about the inspiration behind it?

TA:  Yes! Well a lot of it is based on the talent that I work with especially the entertainment community.  I like to have pieces that are customized and custom made.  So I will collaborate with different designers or different showrooms to produce one-of-a-kind items. And to that end, I just feel that it’s part of who I am as not only a stylist but an artist.  I went to school [FAMU] for fine art, so I tend to gravitate towards design principals whenever I am working with clothing.  So I want my clients to have that exclusivity.

RC:  What’s your advice for anyone seriously considering fashion styling as a career?

TA:   If you’re lucky you don’t make money when you first start out.  Simply because I think that when you get into this profession and you start making money right off the bat, you take it for granted.  You can easily dismiss this as something passé and fail to learn from the ground up what the infrastructure of wardrobe styling, while creating a brand and name for yourself is all about.  It should be something that you would do for free.  And ideally the money will come.

Check out some of  Toye’s work at www.toyeadedipe.com