Film and Television Costume Designer, QueenSylvia Akuchie is a budding celebrity stylist, Costume Designer and Style Director. Sylvia, who discovered her flair for the creative arts at a tender age, has over the years transformed her passion for fashion into a stylishly rewarding career.
Nestled under her own fashion concierge and image consulting agency, EyekonStyles International Inc., Sylvia caters to an array of clients within the film, television and music industry.
With over 10 years of experience, her resume includes some of the world’s most recognizable talents including; Hollywood mogul Tyler Perry, hiphop star Lil Wayne, Grammy-award winning Marsha Ambrosius, and R&B chart-topper Mario, just to name a few.
The Atlanta based stylist, takes prides in treating her clients as blank canvases in order to create what she considers fashionable masterpieces. Her work has been notably featured in Essence, Ebony, and Men’s Health magazines; and on many prestigious red carpets including the BET Awards, Emmys, Oscars, Grammys, NAACP Image Awards, Tony Awards, Stellar Awards, Soul Train Music Awards among many others. Sylvia tells us more..
At what point in life did you discover your creative flair?
I think in high school, when it was about homecoming and prom season, I would go to the store to find a dress to wear, and I could never find anything I liked, so I would always design it myself. So when I was in grade school. I would just buy fabric and draw something and have a tailor sew it, so that was when I actually discovered that was like I have this talent. I didn’t know where I got the talent from, because my mother was a nurse and my dad was an IT person. But when I did my research, I found out that one of my grandfathers was one of the tailors for the Biafra soldiers, he designed some of the uniforms. My mother loved fashion. She would dress us up as kids, like her little baby dolls, we would have every Easter dress, Christmas dress, from the hat to the shoes to the gloves.
When did you realise you could make a living from being a costume designer?
I realized it when I learned I could get paid for it. It didn’t have to be a hobby anymore; it could actually be a career. I remember while watching television with a roommate in collage, and the credits were rolling, and I saw costume designer, at that point, I realized it’s actually a job. People get paid to do this, so that was how it kind of happened.
Did you get your parents support?
My mom thought I was wasting time and her money. For Nigerians in that time, creative talent wasn’t accepted. She wasn’t as receptive to it, until I actually graduated from college and ended up with a really good project and she began to see my name on different projects on Tv. People started asking her if it was her daughter’s name they saw on TV the other day, and she would go “Yes, actually it was my daughter. Initially it was like “is that how you are going to live the rest of your life?” What else are you going to do?” But all that has changed now.
Form styling commercials, you moved on to music videos, album covers, then film and television, what was the evolution like for you?
I started doing music; I kind of knew a lot of musicians before I knew actors and actresses. I have worked with a lot of musicians. My first gig was a TV commercial for a clothing store called City Trends. After that I discovered I could do a lot in other areas, and here we are today.
How did you get some of Hollywood biggest names on your clientele list?
Getting to work with the big names is definitely God’s doing. There was a team of us who actually worked on the movie Stomp the Yard. That head of department, because I was working under a costume designer, got the project at Tyler Perry studios and asked me to join him on it. From there I kind of grew with Tyler Perry studios, and grew with other productions as well. As people begin to see your work, not just in Atlanta, people start to recognize you.
He also worked with a lot of other people as well, and would often ask me to style other big celebrities. He has kind of been that push for me, so that was how I got the big names. From there I gained a mentor, Susan Batson. She is an acting coach for a lot of big names, like Angelina Jolie, Russel Crowe and she was one of his acting coaches for a film that we did. She is the most amazing woman I have ever met. She is very spiritual, I really enjoy her. We just connected on every level of life.