Spring Prints with Stylist Koya Nyangi
Our series Talk Shop is a career and style profile featuring personalities from various industries. They are shot on location in Cherry Creek sometimes wearing clothing from stores in the area. Esther Lee Leach interviews Stylist Koya Nyangi at Cherry Creek Fashion HQ. Koya wears clothing from her closet which is filled with vintage finds and African designers.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ESTHER LEE LEACH
Esther Lee Leach: Tell us a bit about yourself, your background.
Koya Nyangi: I am lover of style and all things bold and I live by the motto #beboldbebravebedifferent. While these words motivate my daily achievements, they also empower me to eliminate any kind of fear in my dressing which I am always trying to encourage people to do. I love a good sense of unique style on people. It makes me feel good, raises my frequencies and it prompted me to create a blog called @letmeshowyoudifferent.
I am fashion story teller, editorial stylist at 303 magazine and a personal stylist. I also have an accessories line influenced by my amazing African heritage called @DUTOBER. Everything that we sell from DUTOBER is made by artisans and tailors utilizing materials that are ethically sourced and sustainable.
ELL: How did you become a Stylist?
KN: I think I was a stylist way before I even knew such a thing existed. I loved putting looks together for no particular reason, it was how I got my creativity out. I enjoyed my friends coming over and styling them, for some weird reason my closet had a lot of clothes in different sizes and I wore all of them. When I was in Kenya, I styled for a music video and I got my first ever personal styling gig. Styling gives me a high, but I never took it seriously until I started my blog. I guess I just decided to go for it, plus there is something to be said about settling in a new country. Starting over, everything in life is timing and I decided to pursue it full speed ahead!
ELL: How would you describe your style?
KN: My style has evolved over the years, as we constantly change, and our wardrobes should change with us. The one thing I know is that I am bolder and more daring. I am a very experimental person when it comes to dressing and I really don’t follow any rules. I have an eccentric style that is deeply rooted in my African heritage and love for vintage pieces.
ELL: Where do you find your style inspiration?
KN: There is a quote by Iris Apfel that says, “listen to your inner muse and take a chance.” I lean on my creativity and my imagination a lot to create style. Another primary source is African history, Erykah Badu, old movies and definitely fashion icon, Iris Apfel.
ELL: Who are your favorite designers?
KN: I love African designers. There is immense talent on my continent and I am inspired by their designs. I cannot wait for the time when, just as you own a Channel or a Gucci in your closet, that you will have a favorite something from an African Designer. Anyango Mpinga from Kenya, Rich Mnisi from South Africa and Osei- Duro from Ghana are just a few of my African favorites.
ELL: What are your three favorite places to shop for clothing in Denver?
KN: Lady Jones, Midnight Rambler and any vintage store in the city.
ELL: Do you think Denver has a style language like New York or Paris? What is it?
KN: I think we are developing it. Denver fashion sense right now is cool, casual and chic.
ELL: What are your five favorite pieces from your closet?
KN: My Dutober multi-print Canva top sneakers. Those babies are what summer dreams are made of, everyone should own a pair. My vintage black beaded cropped jacket I found at Regal Vintage, my vintage dress coat; black and white tweed with fur collar and cuffs from a vintage store in Reno, my African print suit sets; we are going to go with all of them as I can’t decide. My bold neckpieces- all from Dutober.
ELL: Do you have any items in your closet that you regret buying? Why?
KN: I was thinking a lot about this, but I don’t have anything I regret buying. Everything I introduce to my closet sometimes doesn’t make sense but there is always a reason as to why am having an inkling to get it. Sometimes I will buy an item and it takes me longer to eventually wear it because the outfit is not complete. I find myself owning a top or a bottom that I love but when I try put it together it doesn’t work, but three years later I try it on and everything comes together-- from the shoe to the accessories! Style is patient, everything has its time, you just have to have all the ingredients.
An experimental Fashion Film directed by Esther Lee Leach starring Koya Nyangi