By Katrice L. Mines
Olori Swank has a blue-tinged Mohawk. That, alone, makes her interesting at first glance. But, consider it for what it is – just the first layer. Swank, fashion stylist and the owner of Swank Consulting Firm LLC, says it happened by accident … like her becoming a stylist. And like her happenstance career, she not only made it work, she made it her new normal. Easy to do when the bottom line of any “normal” for you is excellence.
Swank planned a career in medicine, studying psychology and biology and graduating with honors from The University of Georgia. She was on her way to medical school nearly four years ago with the intent of becoming a neurosurgeon when she met Mickey “MeMpHiTz” Wright Jr. of Jive Records during a year break. “He was the vice president of A&R at the time and had just signed a new act to Jive Records. He asked me to style her and that’s where it all started. The funny thing about it is I had no idea what a stylist was at the time. He simply told me he liked my personal style and that I should dress her [the way] I dress myself.” And, well, the rest is history.
Since, Swank has dressed Tyrese, Dawn Richard — formerly of Danity Kane, Robert Lavelle “R.L.” Huggar of Next and a bevy of professional athletes. Her dream client: Jesus.
Indeed, “interesting” is a recurrent theme with her.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with so many top celebrities to-date and I’m sure I will continue to work with more notable people. I’d really love to style someone that nobody else can ever say they styled, and for me that’s Jesus.”
High expectations and a keen sense of what is happening around her fuel her tendency to be naturally driven. Being entrepreneurial at heart is what makes where she is — instead of where she thought she’d be — conceivable. Mentors? No. But, for Swank every interaction is a moment of enrichment. “I find influence in everyone that I meet. I’m really big on learning from the mistakes of others and I try to gain something from every single person — whether they’re in a fortunate or less fortunate position.”
So, what is it that attracts her growing roster of clients? She says it’s her studied approach to outfitting them, and a super power-like ability to read people.
“I do a ton of research and it enables me to pay particular attention to detail. I think a lot of stylists rely on their eye and they don’t research what’s trending or forecast trends,” she explains. “I have strong faith that God leads me exactly where he wants me to be. I figured I’d be a neurosurgeon by now; but God had different plans. I’m a fashion stylist and I love it. I live for this opportunity.”
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