With a star-studded list of clients and a new collection under his belt, self-made celebrity stylist-turned-designer Jason Rembert talks defining moments, growth and what's to come.
Celebrity stylist, designer and creator of Aliétte, Jason Rembert
What inspired you to work in fashion? When I was in high school, my brother was really into clothing. That was around the time of jerseys, Prada, American Club sneakers and Iceberg—before it really even had a name: streetwear. That was my first entrance into fashion, and I used to wear my brother’s clothes all the time—anytime he wore something that I thought was dope, I was trying to wear it that same week. So many styles evolved around that time, and it’s when urban edge and ready-to-wear merged together, so I feel like that was the time that I started to love fashion. I didn’t want to just be a spectator, I wanted to be involved in it.
Did you always envision yourself as a stylist? To be honest, I didn’t even know what a stylist was. But I wanted an intro into the industry so I applied for different internships and eventually found this website that listed internships, and there was this one for a magazine called Elle. I didn’t know what it was at the time—I knew the spelling and I knew what the logo looked like, but I didn’t understand how significant it was in fashion at the time. Then I applied and I got it.
From Hollywood stars to major sports icons, you have curated an amazing celebrity roster. What has been so instrumental in building your list of clients? Being authentic, and understanding each client first as a person, and then as a creator and artist second. I try to do a good job helping them achieve their goals and how they see themselves stylewise. Identity is a big word, and I always want all my clients to feel like they have their own identities and it’s not something that I’m just throwing on them.
How has your approach to clients changed since you started your journey as a stylist? When I first started, social media wasn’t a big thing, and I feel like now there’s a lot of referrals or interests of new clients that come from social media alone. For overall approach, I try to work with someone who is not like anyone else on my roster. I think the uniqueness and the range of creators that I’m able to work with is a challenge, but when I’m able to work with so many different body types and I’m able to have so much range within their style, it’s probably one of the most amazing feelings as a stylist. That’s what I thoroughly enjoy, and I never want any client to feel like I’m dressing them like another person.
What has been one of the most surprising lessons you’ve learned along the way? Everyone doesn’t think like you, and common sense isn’t as common as you think. I used to be less understanding because I thought that everyone just got it, but now I’m realizing that’s just not the case. Everyone doesn’t just get it. Some people just may need a little bit more time to understand or grace to get it. So, for me, I think I have patience now, which I’m grateful for.
What inspired you to launch your own collection? When I launched the collection I was over 10 years into my styling career and I felt like I had made some amazing art—some iconic, beautiful, great art. But as amazing as this art was, it was compromised in a lot of ways. It had influence from the clients themselves, from their publicists, managers, partners, everyone. There are so many variables, so when I stepped out and created Aliétte, it became my own art. It was unique to me and unique to how I saw the world. It’s unique to the stories of women who I have encountered, and have been supported and loved and nurtured by. Aliétte is art that speaks to me.
As a stylist turned designer, what have you found the most challenging about the transition? The most challenging is time. It’s a lot to juggle—especially for someone like me who has a thriving career as a stylist and a rising career as a designer. There are so many opportunities that I feel like I have to sacrifice on both ends. And my personal life is so important to me, just being there for my kids and spending time with them. I feel like it’s a balance within the three, and it can be difficult at times, but I make it work.
Also, as a designer, no one tells you how much these things really cost and how much work it really is. My respect and love and support for my fellow designers is heightened now because I’ve really learned to stand in their shoes.
Do you have a defining moment in your career? I think I have many. My career is fun and I’ve done some amazing things that I’m still grateful for and humble about. A few of those I would say are Ezra Miller at the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald [premiere] in Paris when he wore Moncler, or Zayn Malik when he wore the metal arms at the Met Gala, Lizzo on the cover of Time magazine in the Mary Katrantzou couture gown, Issa Rae at the Emmys this year wearing Aliétte—that was a huge moment. I enjoy all of the great fashion moments in my career; I’m grateful for it. All of it has been game changing for me as a creator.
What styles are you excited to see this upcoming season? I feel like I was a sweatpants man and now I’m such a trouser man, so I’m excited to see trousers used more in menswear, to be mixed in more with streetwear and sportswear, but still be celebrated.
If you could go back and give your younger self career advice, what would you say? Breathe and take time. You don’t have to sacrifice so much.
Photography by: PHILEY SANNEH/BFA