Contrast Publishing Welcomes New Fashion Contributor and Stylist Oliver Brown
Contrast Publishing is proud to welcome published stylist, producer and creative director, Oliver Brown, as our Fashion Contributor. Learn more about Oliver below including his interview with Contrast.
Clean lines, mixing patterns, and flipping through racks of clothes is all in a day’s work for Oliver Brown. The published stylist has made his way from a small town dreamer to a big time entrepreneur. He has had his choice of fashions grace the pages of Billboard, Rolling Stone, and Contrast Magazine. A creative at the core, he does quite an impressive job creating magnificent outfits that many admire. Pick your jaw up off the floor and allow your eyes to stare in awe at the blending of colors and signature hemlines.
Brown comes from the small-scale town of Lansing, Michigan, although he is often mistaken for a Detroit resident. From a young age, he knew this was the perfect career path for him. Oliver would carry a binder filled with sketches of clothing when he eventually fell in love with the photography and editorials of the ads he saw. In high school, the young stylist took up studies in Fashion Design and Theory. He continued to study the garment industry, applying his knowledge and customer service skills to styling retail clients.
Oliver spent about 5 years catering to others in a customer service position when he decided to begin what he really wanted to do – styling. After years of building his brand and traveling to places such as NYC to work, the pandemic hit. However, he did not allow the pandemic to negatively impact him as instead, he reached out to elite artists and with the help of one, he began his ascent to the top. Now, as an established specialist in fashion, he is able to simply put on a pair of headphones and let the ideas flow.
He is a versatile creator, choosing garments bursting in color or a simple black and white piece depending on his client. As for his own moniker, he has chosen an all-black outfit, as he stands out classic behind the pearl white background.
Brown isn’t just a stylist, he is also a major supporter of all his clients, regularly posting their updates in a display of pride. He has had the pleasure of styling talented stars including Dawn Richard, Gabrielle Ryan, model Jarry Lee. Each publication has been happy to play host to his knack for impeccable wardrobe options.
Though he has had his eye on many influential entertainers, he is really hoping to style Erykah Badu, Alicia Keys, Gabrielle Union, Deochii, and Zoë Kravitz one day. Leaning towards his faith, Oliver Brown has found his motivation in placing his destiny in God’s hands. He looks to him for guidance and trusts that he will find the right path for him. Moving forward, Oliver is looking forward to evolving into a childhood dream of not only a fashion writer but also a designer. Staying true to himself, Brown sees nothing but a bright future as he refuses to give up on himself. Follow the stylist on Instagram at @olvrbrwn.
Read the full interview below!
Tell me about yourself! What’s the story behind Oliver Brown? So many chapters make up the story behind who I am today. I was raised in a small town called Lansing, the capital of Michigan. When I tell people that I’m from Michigan, they typically assume I’m from Detroit, but I kindly educate them, letting them know it’s so much more to Michigan than “The D.”
I studied Fashion Design and Theory in high school and college while also working in various customer service environments that led me to styling clients in a retail setting. After five years of working in customer service and eventually deciding to leave my fashion program, I wanted to go another route and do things a little untraditionally.
Deciding to go freelance, I worked for two years as a stylist in my hometown. I was refining my skills and taking the time to understand the business and art of styling. Creating shoots in my dining room and traveling back and forth to NYC to collaborate with artists. It was a lot of learning and practice during that time. When the pandemic hit, I made a giant leap and wanted to reach out to artists I’ve admired. Something just told me it was time. I eventually worked with a special artist that gave me a chance and trusted my vision as a stylist and creative. One thing led to another, and with that, we built a bond that propelled a lot of my work today.
How did you first discover your love for fashion? I didn’t grow up as the trendy and stylish kid with the new kicks and latest stuff. However, I loved art and expressed it in so many forms. From drawing, painting, music, photography, theater, dance… I grew up discovering myself in so many areas. When I was young, I used to carry this binder around with clothes and accessories I would sketch up. I guess that was my introduction to fashion. I eventually fell in love with photography and editorials and, of course, Tyra Banks, America’s Next Top Model (literally my favorite show growing up.) I also studied fashion in college while still attending high school. All of those things were a part of my found discovery of respecting and loving the fashion industry.
Looking back, tell me how you’ve grown as a creative since your first client. Like most stylists starting, I started my journey pulling clothes from local thrift stores and the closets of my personal friends and family. Since my first client, I’ve been blessed to pull extraordinary designers that I’ve always dreamed of working with within some capacity. I’ve worked hard to get to where people trust me and my vision.
You’re a published stylist, having worked with Billboard, TMRW, and Rolling Stone, and you’ve even produced some covers for us in the past! What advice do you have for creatives just now getting into it? My advice would be to learn as much as you can about styling. Watch all of the videos, read the books, take some classes, practice, practice, practice. Some people assist and intern. I didn’t have that opportunity. Everything has been trial and error in my journey. So jump in and test it out; find your path.
How do you get into a creative headspace when producing editorials for artists and models? Of course, I have my procedures and steps, but for me, it’s setting up my space to inspire me. I’m moved by music, so I’m often in my headphones while browsing through hundreds of archival photos for inspiration. Then sometimes it’s just relaxing watching movies. I go with the flow depending on the project.
Who are some of your dream clients to work with? Shoot your shot! It’s so many people that I respect and admire for many reasons. Erykah Badu, Doechii, Alicia Keys, Gabrielle Union, Zoë Kravitz. Those are a few that are on my radar. I appreciate all of them so much and would be honored to work with them.
What is your philosophy in life? Sometimes I have to ride things out and trust that God will lead me where I need to be, especially when it comes to guiding me through my purpose in life.
What’s next for you? I’m excited about venturing into my career as a fashion writer and designer this year. Those are two areas of fashion I dabbled in growing up and have been something I wanted to pursue again when the time was right.
The definition of Contrast is to be strikingly different. What makes you strikingly different? I never doubted myself or allowed anyone to belittle my ideas because it was too complex. I’ve always been the kid from the small town with big dreams, and now those dreams have come to fruition, with more to come.