Celebrity stylist and designer, Misa Hylton Brim, has styled some of the biggest names in the industry. In 2012, along with Jai Hudson, she started the Misa Hylton Fashion Academy. The Bad Boy records stylist created the fashion blueprint for hip hop and R&B talent that’s still relevant today in the fashion world. Mrs. Hylton-Brim took time out of her busy schedule to give us a fashion crash course and a trip down memory lane. From our favorite girl group, Total and their leather one pieces, to Lil Kim’s unforgettable and legendary “Crush on You” video looks, to Jodeci’s leather Jersey and combat boots combo, Mrs. Hylton-Brim changed the fashion game for R&B and Hip Hop Male Groups. Here’s EGL exclusive one on one with the face of Bad Boys Records style curator!
#Total Summer Jam #20yearsofBIG @totallykima @lovekeishaepps @pamelalong3 The illest girl group on the planet 🌎 #respectthearchitect x @jaihudson_ Thank you @katerinalankova Thank you #dawnamatrixlatex for the custom Latex Kimono 🔥 Thank you Marco ✨✨ Thank you #mhfaalumni @_naomijonas ❤️ @astar26 ❤️ @finallykendall ❤️ @mondemakinit ❤️
EGL: You have been deemed a fashion fairy godmother as well as the woman that comes to mind we when think “Bad Boy Entertainment’s Fashion”! How did you get your start in the fashion industry ?
Misa Hylton-Brim: My start in the fashion industry begun with Jodeci, at the time I was dating Sean Combs and he had just went from intern to A&R at Uptown records so he was in charge of their project. I was sort of at the right place at the right time with the skill set and the gift. I was able to just step into that position! Growing up I was always a girly girl into fashion,clothes and hair. Everyone thought that I was a hair stylist first because I love hair! It’s a part of everything I do! So when I was dating Sean and he was working on their project, the video was coming out and it was time to go shopping for them I was there and flipped right into the position.hen we were coming up with the look for Jodeci it was different from what male R&B singers looked like at that time.
EGL: The leather baseball jerseys gave such an authentic hip hop feel?
Misa Hylton-Brim:: Right because R&B singers dressed up and wore hard bottoms and stuff like that so our idea was edgy it was different. It looked more like a rapper/ rocker type of look so we had to sell it to Andre Harrell because he was totally against it! We had to meet and convince him and he told us “If this doesn’t work out this is your a^^es.” Needless to say it worked out! (laughs)
EGL: And that’s dope because it paved the way for how R&B groups dress now!
Misa Hylton-Brim: Yup, that was a wonderful opportunity because I got to spread my wings creatively and I was very young so it gave me confidence early on and to have someone like Andre Harrell to stamp it and to be apart of a group that blew up overnight it was really a great opportunity and a wonderful experience! Because it was a success creatively,in addition to Andre loving my personal style, he asked me to style Mary J. Blige and the rest is history.
EGL:You created a spectrum of iconic looks for our favorite celebs from Lil Kim, Total, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige and Mr. Combs himself that still continues to remain relevant today! Was it difficult creating the perfect look for some of these artist? What was your biggest challenge?
Misa Hylton-Brim: No because during that time it was different it was organic! It was so authentic you would build with the client get to know them, what they liked, and listen to the music gain a understanding of the demographic. What would be unique, interesting, hot and cutting edge! What would grab the audience’s attention; what was accessible that the audience could relate to. lso what was aspirational and trendsetting that would make the audience aspire to want to be like these artist so it definitely was a collaboration of the natural flavor and flare that those artist have mixed with my interpretation and bringing it to life so we really sat down and wanted to come up with something different you have a few artist that are doing it now but it’s more so about labels and the latest fashion – not really style.
Wow Yancey ❤️ #Repost @yanceyedwards ・・・ #TBT ♊️💃🏽🕺🏾💃🏽♊️As I prepare for my big 90s throwback Day party THIS SUNDAY!!!! @stage48nyc from 6pm-12am Let's do a lil #90shistory I wanna share with y'all some of the movers and shakers of the 90s, that were responsible for music and fashion, and in the number one spot, and I'm talking about no other than @misahylton she's dressed everyone from #pdiddy #LilKim, #MaryJBlige, #Jodeci, #missyelliott the list goes on and on the break of dawn! She now runs a successful styling academy, where she teaches styling to students from all over the World!!! For more info contact her and her team at email@example.com ✍🏾to rsvp and media inquiries for the throwback party please email us firstname.lastname@example.org #misahylton #maryjblige #90sfashion #90sthrowbackparty #stage48 #stage48nyc #nyc #90shiphop #90srap #90srnb THIS SUNDAY @stage48nyc 605 west 48th st ny ny 10036
EGL: Just like throwing the latest name brand on and adding #fashionista to a photo…
Misa Hylton-Brim: Right! So it gets kind of boring for someone like me and that’s why people are trying to do the 90s over and over again because it was so different it was so authentic and it stands out. We weren’t just putting them in labels. You probably wouldn’t remember half of the brands they were wearing.
EGL: That’s definitely true! You remembered the look! The feel.
Misa Hylton-Brim: Right!
EGL: The MTV Music Awards in 1999 was the moment where the world saw you turn a hip hop legend Lil Kim into a fashion icon with the infamous single-pastie, What was the inspiration behind the look?
Misa Hylton-Brim:I had no idea it was gone to blow up like that! That it would be everywhere and still be mentioned up until this day. Like we had no idea! We was just doing Kim! What made her a fashion icon and when she really crossed over was when she did the “Crush on You” video with the different looks Because at that point she made it to MTV and that was BIG back then. There weren’t really a lot of rappers or African American artists that were getting played on MTV at the time so when she crossed over that was huge! Remember I love hair and I loved coloring hair with the different hair styles; that was always a passion of mine. So we did the primary colors then I was like “You know what, let’s go into the pastels! Let’s do lavender!” I knew I wanted to do something in that color scheme. Then I was hanging out with Missy Elliot and during a discussion about fashion and music,she said to me ” If I was kim I would wear one titty out!” That stuck in my head!
EGL: A fashion “A-HA ” moment (giggles)
Misa Hylton-Brim: (Laughs) Yup! A big lightbulb went off in my head. The next big event we had coming up was the MTV Awards so I just created that whole look but Missy sparked that idea by suggesting the one breast out.Then I did a cat suit that was made out of Indian bridal material because as you know with Kim, it’s always sexy sometimes raunchy but we always made it cute too. The pastel mixed with the indian bridal material calmed it down but she would always give sexy mixed with harajuki/ andhip hop B girl all in one. The mixture toned it down and made it fun. So that’s how that legendary moment came about but I really thought it was just another Kim moment you know I didn’t expect it to blow up that big. We were just being us!
EGL: We love to ask the question to our fashion icons “what’s inside your purse” to all the women on the go like yourself. What’s five fashionable items that you must carry in your purse while on the go?
Misa Hylton-Brim: Ok, so I have to hair a pair of EBJ Gallery hoop earrings in my bag, because I’m always on the go running around on the phone taking one earring off. I always have a extra pair of those. Then there’s my NARS lipgloss and a TATCHA luminous spray. It doesn’t matter how tired I get or if my skin gets dry from traveling throughout the day I just spray it. I live for TATCHA it’s like magic water in a bottle!
Misa- Yes it so I just spray my face put my hoops on my NARS lipstick and I’m good to go in any situation!
EGL: You were so many hats: mom, entrepreneur, fashion stylist, designer, philanthropist, and these are just some of the many hats you wear. How do you find a balance between being a mom and managing a successful career?
Misa Hylton-Brim: You know you just do it! You have challenging days then you have days when things seem to go so smoothly and you don’t even believe it. It’s just doing what you have to do you know! It’s extra hours to make sure you are putting the time in with your children. Prioritizing! Knowing when to say no to certain projects or tailoring to fit my kids schedule so that I never miss anything important in their lives as far as recitals,games,that’s how I did it and most importantly having a strong team behind me that makes everything go smoothly. People see me in the forefront but it’s the team behind me that ensures that everything goes smoothly.
EGL: Sort of like a dream team behind you?
Misa Hylton-Brim: Yup, a dream team. A right hand that can hold it down while I run to Westchester for this football game or to the ballet recitals. As far as my work goes, every woman needs support when running a successful business. Figuring out what’s important, having boundaries is big! Being straight forward on what’s possible and what’s not possible makes your life sooo much easier!
You recently started the “Misa Hylton Fashion Academy Day Camp”. Tell us more about it!
Misa Hylton-Brim: I started the fashion academy with Jai Hudson in 2012. It has always been a dream of mine and I felt I would do it later in life but I felt the urge to put this together and start now! It was like what am I waiting for? The time is now! I noticed the industry was changing and so many fashion stylists were popping up and they didn’t know what they were doing or they didn’t have the etiquette nor the training. They didn’t really understand how to monetize their career because it’s more than going shopping and putting together great looks. It was my way of giving back to a career that has given so much to me. I wanted to mold and teach the next generation so they can experience the success I had and even more.
EGL: I wish they had that when I was coming up! This is a once in a lifetime experience to be under the fashion great, Misa Hylton just learning and taking it all in! Priceless!
Misa Hylton-Brim: Me too! And we have it for adults too but this was our first summer camp this summer.The staff came together and decided to do it for the younger ones, but all year round it’s an academy for college age to adults and we’re off in July and August!
Looking forward to this Saturday 💫 #Repost @culturecre8tors ・・・ We are happy to honor Misa Hylton (@misahylton) at our Innovators & Leaders Brunch on Saturday, June 24th, 2017 during BET weekend. Misa Hylton is an internationally renowned fashion stylist known most notably for creating groundbreaking moments in fashion and music. As an accomplished costume designer, fashion visionary, and entrepreneur, Misa has shaped the images for icons such as Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Chris Rock, Kimora Lee-Simmons, Sean Combs, Faith Evans, Queen Latifah, and Lil Kim. Her Unique vision for fashion has been the driving force behind styling collections for established brands such as Baby Phat, Sean John, Korto Momolu of Project Runway, and Simone I. Smith. As an expert on the culture of hip-hop fashion, Misa has also worked with powerhouse corporations such as Pepsi, Viacom, and Proctor and Gamble in making their desire to appeal to a specific demographic a reality. Misa and her resplendent fashion sense has graced the pages of publications such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Vibe, InStyle, Essence, Elle and Paper Magazine. Later she humbly accepted the position as a Fashion Technology Consultant for Microsoft. Her entrepreneurial spirit and desire to pay it forward led to the development and opening of The Misa Hylton Fashion Academy – where Ms. Hylton instructs and mentors aspiring fashion stylists arming them with the etiquette, knowledge, and skill set needed for a successful career in fashion styling. Special thank you to our 2017 partners @motionshair & @vibemagazine
Your work is nothing less than legendary and remains the blueprint to every fashion stylist. What advice can you give to a young stylist that wants to get into the fashion world?
Misa Hylton-Brim: To stay creative and Become knowledgeable because they both go hand in hand. Don’t be afraid to dream and think outside the box. Trust your gut on the things you like because that might be the next hot look or image for a artist for a commercial or campaign. Become knowledgeable about the business you’re getting into and be sure that it fits your personality because you know being in this business is not easy. If you’re a super structured person or if you like the comforts of a 9-5 then it probably won’t be for you but at the same time if you love to be creative and free just work in a space that allows you to be yourself and to add value to other people’s life. It won’t always be so structured nor will it be easy but if you’re passionate about it trust me it’s so worth it!
What can we expect from Misa Hylton in the near fashion future? Any fashion ventures?
Misa Hylton-Brim: I have so much more that I want to accomplish and so much more that I want to do. The sky is the limit! Beyond the skies! There’s no limit for me! So yes you will be seeing something real soon because I want to write my book, I want to do my television show so there’s a few things I want to accomplish that I’m working on. Now that my children are all grown, I have more time to do it! The last few years,I wanted to slow it down a little bit to be there for them transitioning into college and their careers. Justin graduated college last year, my son Niko is starting his music career and Madison is in Howard University starting her sophomore year.
EGL: Is Madison into fashion like her mom?
Misa Hylton-Brim: Yes now she is! (Laughs) she wasn’t until recently. I never pushed it on her. I never pushed anything on my kids. I just know what they were good at and supported them. She actually just got accepted into the fashion school at Howard University so we are really excited and she’s interning at Elle Magazine. She’s having a great fashion experience but she has grown up around it so it’s like second nature for her.
EGL: Of course her mom is the one and only Misa Hylton-Brim (laughs)!
Misa Hylton-Brim: Yes she has been on plenty of shoots with me traveling with me as I picked and laid out looks at night!
EGL: Well maybe we will see her by your side for your future fashion endeavors!
Misa Hylton-Brim: I know right (laughs)!
The perfect balance of a solid foundation mixed with an extraordinary work ethic are the ingredients to Misa’s success! Were you not inspired to throw on your cape, be yourself while taking over the world? I know we were!
Written By: January Jones