We know (and love) the Emily Bustamante of Love & Hip-Hop. After reading countless interviews about her rocky relationship with Fabolous, we decided to chat with the Virginia native about one of her other first loves: fashion.
She’s a rising stylist and designer who is tirelessly creating a fashion line, Emily B, set to be available in fall 2012. Incorporating her personal style and know-how from working as a celebrity stylist, the mommy-of-two is anxious to release the collection despite added weight from her reality star success (“Now that I’ve put it on TV, it’s so much pressure”). Even though this leading lady of the show was headed to taping, she took a few minutes to offer tips in getting a fashionable foot in the designing door and what she tells her daughter about sexual health. –Niki McGloster (@missjournalism)
You’re working on your fashion line and have been for some time. What are some words of advice for young ladies trying to follow in your footsteps?
Becoming a stylist, a lot of people think it’s easy. It’s been a very long road for me; I’ve been doing this for a very long time. It’s easy to be a stylist, but it’s harder to be a celebrity stylist because there’s not that many celebrities. There’s a lot of competition. My main advice would be to just build your portfolio. Start at a small scale, even if you have to get your girlfriend and dress her up, just to show what you’re capable of and show your personal vision. Build relationships with photographers and directors. Those are the main keys to getting in the door and getting started.
What advice do you have for a young woman who is trying to find her personal style?
Style is not about money or the brand that you’re wearing, it’s about how you put it together. That’s what fashion is really about. Like, right now I have on a Target t-shirt and leggings and some really cute, high UGG boots. I’m comfortable, I’m stylish at the same time and my shirt was $17 [Laughs], so it doesn’t always have to be name brand. You can layer your stuff and mix and match brands to make it look good. Find stuff that fits your body, fits your curves, is comfortable and looks good.
What tips do you have for Chrissy who’s going to be helping Jim Jones with Vampire Life?
Vampire Life is a t-shirt brand, and they’re doing an outwear line that’s separate from Vampire Life. She’s helping design the coats and other outerwear. Chrissy has an eye. If you have an eye, a vision and style, you’re capable of designing. With her, as long as she has the business side right, she’s good. The business side is the toughest part. With me, I know about designing and I know about fashion but I don’t know the business part. You really have to educate yourself on the business end of being a designer and being a stylist. It might look cute–you dress people–but at the end of the day, when it’s time to get paid, make sure you know your numbers!
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[Laughs] You have to know what your cut is going to be!
Exactly! You have to know how to spend your clients money, too. They’re looking to you for advice on not only shopping but how to get value out of their money. A good stylist isn’t someone who takes $10,000 from their client and buys two things. No! [Laughs] You have to know how to get the best deals, how to pull, how to get free things for your client… It’s a lot more technical than people think.
Would you encourage rising designers to go to college, take classes or just grab books?
All, of course. You know, I read constantly. I went to vocational high school for fashion design and have been doing this since I was a teenager, and I still don’t know everything. You can never have too much information. Definitely educate yourself, read, take a course. To get your degree in fashion design only [takes] two years, so it’s never too late.
Definitely. Where are you at in the process of having your line ready for next fall?
It’s been a long process, and it was all about getting the business end right. I’ve had my ideas and sketches forever, and I’ve constantly had to revamp my sketches because fashions changes with time. Right now, we’re in the design process and whatever I have to do to make it happen, I’m doing it. But now that I’ve put it on TV, it’s so much pressure! [Laughs] I’m like, this has to be the hottest thing ever because all these eyes are on me now.
Now, in the first episode you sat with your daughter to discuss the state of yours and Fab’s relationship. With World AIDS Day being celebrated yesterday and HIV/AIDS awareness taking place all month, do you talk to her about sex and sexual health?
Absolutely, we have those conversations where we talk about sex before marriage. I try to instill in her that she should wait to have sex until you’re married, but we talk about AIDS and any STD. I need to let her know everything that could possibly happen when having sex, [Laughs] so we definitely have those conversations. I even show her pictures! [Laughs] She was like, ‘I’m never having sex, Ma!’
[Laughs] That’s good! That’s what you want.
We’ve sat down and Google [searched] pictures. STD’s don’t have a face, and you have to protect yourself. That’s something that’s very important to me.
Do you feel that you’ve open up a line of communication where she’ll be comfortable telling you when she does start having sex?
Oh yeah. I know deep down in my heart that she won’t have a problem telling me anything because we have an open line of communication. I trust, and I love her so much. She knows that I’m going to give her the best advice and it’s going to come from my heart.
Tune into VH1 on Mondays at its new time of 8pm EST to take a peek into Emily’s world!