Behind red carpet appearances, award show performances and street style looks, there are wardrobe stylists like Carmen Lilly, who are ultimately responsible for a celebrity’s make-or-break moment. With a client roster that includes Estelle, Rocsi Diaz, Kelis, and DJ Kiss, Lilly knows more than a thing or two about putting together clothes, shoes and accessories. “I’m inspired by my clientele as they are all dynamic women in business doing great work across many different industries. Helping them articulate their personal style and build a wardrobe that will give them confidence is one of the many highlights of my job,” said Lilly. And, with an edgy sense of style and a fluffy fro to match, Carmen has paved the way for her very own spotlight.
After graduating from North Carolina State University with a BA in Art & Design, Lilly landed an internship with Donna Karan and her passion for fashion began. Black Enterprise caught up with the style influencer, mommy and wife to learn more about her journey.
On the top 3 highlights of her career.
1. Building a Personal Shopping program within the first company I worked for Intermix.
2. Working on the history making show 106 & park.
3. Starting my own business.
On her attraction to the fashion industry.
My creative spirit has always drawn me to the arts and great design. I have appreciation for the craftsmanship, skill, and research that goes into what Fashion designer produce each season. I love figuring out how to translate the collections for clients.
About the most influential mentor in her life.
I have had several people that have directly helped me in my career but I would say my biggest supporter has been my husband. He has pushed and supported me through all the ebbs and flows of my career and has been my greatest support system and champion as I started a business after having our first child.
Some of the toughest decisions made in her career.
Learning to say no to things that were not aligned with my overall vision or brand.
On advice for young aspiring stylist.
Be passionate, know your industry, and intern to gain as much experience as possible.
On wise words for women in business.
Don’t take anything personal know that it is just business.
On managing her career as a wardrobe stylist, mom and wife.
I have learned to go with the flow and created realistic expectations of what my role is for my family. I also have an amazing partner and family support system that keeps the wheels moving.