Today we’d like to introduce you to Donzhané Lyons.
Donzhané, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
As a young girl, I was always into fashion and being creative as far as my sense of style. It took me a while to know what career I wanted. In middle school, I was accepted into an all-girls after-school program where we had mentors and learned about being young women.
This program taught me lots of personal skills and brought me out of my introvertive shell. I was then accepted into a vocational tech school where my trade was cosmetology. I never was interested in doing hair or anything related to it, but I knew that it was similar to the fashion field.
In my 9th grade year, my parents separated after being married for 14 years. I struggled with my academics because there were a lot of things going on in my household. My school lacked counselors or guidance for me to talk to so I had found myself an outlet. I started creating outfits using an app called Polyvore. In a moment, I felt the need to just find some peace that is what I did.
Fast forward to my senior year of high school, it was time to apply to colleges, my ideal goal was to go to an HBCU out of states such as CAU, FIT, or SCAD. With the lack of guidance, I had to complete college applications, I did not start applying to colleges until March 2018. My guidance counselor never pushed me to attend a university, she considered me to go to a community college for 2 years, but I knew that I was not settling for that. I took it upon myself to apply to UMES.
After being denied from other schools, UMES was the only school to reach back out to me about potential acceptance if I had come and did the summer bridge program. It was like they saw potential in me. After being accepted and attending Fashion Merchandising, I decided to join some organizations such as the human ecology club. Being a part of this organization, I contributed to one of the annual stylist competitions which allowed me to become more creative in the fashion field.
One aspect that kept me here was the fashion program. Which many alumni who have graduated from the program would refer to. I have learned over the course of years that fashion is my therapy and I find peace-creating art. I have been through some rough patches dealing with very traumatic situations while in college, but I have found the light at the end of every tunnel.
The upbringing of the Fashion Entrepreneur Program and the ability to learn so much and network with so many great individuals is breathtaking. I joined this program in Fall 2021, where I began to rebuild my brand while working with alumni and mentors.
Traveling to LA and experiencing the fashion district, sitting in seminars, and walking through executive offices have been a blessing and have changed my life drastically since then. Being consistent, persistent, and vocal in my work I was able to connect with an amazing individual. I call my mentor to intern with him on his next huge project.
In the last 3 months of 2021, I told myself I was going to do more with my brand, I wanted to produce more content while working with other creatives as well. I decided to put together a test shoot based on the creative design I was interested in. I reached out to upcoming photographers, makeup artists, models, and brands to collaborate. In January 2022, is when I released that content and the shoot was amazing.
Being able to work with other individuals to build our portfolios is one of my goals. My latest shoot was my anniversary test shoot in April 2022, called “the new & improved” which is dedicated to my rebrand. Over these last 5 years of being a wardrobe stylist, I have realized that there is so much more to fashion than just creating inspiring outfits, my goal as a stylist is to tell a story through the eyes of fashion.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
My journey as a wardrobe stylist has been a rollercoaster ride for me. Some struggles that I have faced as a stylist are being consistent and lack of inspiration.
When I first started creating style boards in 2017-2020, I was using it as an outlet not for career purposes. After I branded myself, It was hard for me to create content, manage work, and still remain focused and on top of my academics so I started becoming inconsistent with posting and creating virtual content.
Between 2020-August 2021, I had a creative block and that is when I had no inspiration to create or had the inability to access my internal creativity.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a creator, creative and wardrobe stylist.
As a stylist my goal is to provide clients with a top-tier experience, utilizing services and skills in the fashion industry to achieve looks in order to tell a story through the eyes of fashion. After learning and being fluent in fashion I have been able to understand my assignment when it comes to creating and that is to tell a story.
My specialty for years now has been virtual wardrobe styling, which is creating style boards for my clients, while I have branched off and become more into editorial wardrobe styling.
My greatest accomplishment thus far is landing my dream internship, working with an amazing celebrity wardrobe stylist on their next big project. I’ve always been eager to learn and develop great connections with mentors such as Dougie Newton, so I am just excited and can’t wait for the world to see what magic we create.
What differentiates me from others is my optimism and my ability to go through whatever just to get to where I want to be no matter how long it takes me. If it is something I am passionate about I am willing to work through the process until I have made it to that point and then continue to elevate from there.
We’d love to hear what you think about risk-taking?
I believe that risk-taking enables and encourages innovation which is important when you want to grow. Every failed risk is not always negative because you have to be willing to crawl before you can walk. I often take risks when I want to be pushed outside of my comfort zone.
For instance, I was invited to join an entrepreneur panel to talk about my journey as a business owner and advice on building a brand. I have always been shy to speak in front of a crowd of people but after doing the panel and connecting with those in the room it was a relief and a step forward in my journey, it allowed me to become interested in joining more panels in the future.
Risk-taking can be big or small but I’ve always encouraged others to just take that leap of faith to do it now. Learning to be uncomfortable in situations is good because that space allows you to grow as an individual.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zhanestyledme/