Fanshawe Fashion: How to dress for success

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: ILHAN ADEN
A current student (Nelly Boukoua-Lorsold, left) and a recent graduate (Jory Milner, right) discuss how they merge their entrepreneurial spirit with their passion for fashion.

Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have; this is something I have heard all my life, but what do you do when you don’t know where life will take you? It’s difficult to build a wardrobe around a dream and even more difficult when you have multiple aspirations.

Fashion is meant to represent you. It’s a method to brand yourself in a sea of competition in an aggressive job market. How do you then allow for creative expression while still being cognizant of potential employers’ standards? The answer: Think like an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship is defined by your ability to organize and develop a small business from the ground up, while also utilizing available resources to turn invention into innovation. What I believe fashion and the entrepreneurial spirit have in common is freedom; freedom of your time and freedom of expression. And just like fashion, there is considerable risk involved because you are betting on yourself.

Navigator. Londons student lifestyles magazine.

I spoke with a current student Nelly Boukoua-Lorsold, as well as recent Fanshawe graduate Jory Milner, to explore how they incorporate their entrepreneurial spirit into their fashion.

Nelly Boukoua-Lorsold

Boukoua-Lorsold is a Western University graduate, currently enrolled in Fanshawe’s one-year fast track social service worker program.

Boukoua-Lorsold defines fashion as a form of expression like any other art. She said she believes it’s important to dress confidently when she feels confident, but more important when she is feeling her lowest since fashion is a source of power to her. Always trying to remix her style with current trends, Boukoua-Lorsold’s style is inspired by the world around her.

“[Entrepreneurship is] making a name for yourself and using your talents and gifts to generate income,” she said.

As a freelance makeup artist and hair stylist, her office space is the world around her. Using her social media to build a brand, cross-promote and inspire, she transfers her go-getter spirit through the halls of Fanshawe.

“I’m branding myself as I walk around. I am a self-advertisement,” she said.

Although a risk-taker in fashion and business, Boukoua-Lorsold understands there are aspects of her style that require compromise in her field of study.

“You have to be aware of how you dress because you are going into family homes, working with people of different cultures, ethnicities and beliefs. The way you brand yourself is important, it can make or break your relationships with your clients,” she said.

In true entrepreneurial form, Boukoua-Lorsold is of the mindset where there is a will there is a way. She makes a point to dress for the job and not let the job dress her. She finds freedom of expression through her nails, accessories and hair styles.

“I [have] to watch what I am wearing, but at the same time put my own twist to it,” she said. “That’s what I’ve been doing in this program. Going to class is preparing for being in the field. We should be dressing appropriately [but] I also find a way to put my own flair to things.”

Through the power of her entrepreneurial spirit and love for all things fashion/beauty, Boukoua- Lorsold hopes to use her studies to help in all ways she can. She is working towards building a beauty academy in Nigeria and change lives as a therapist.

You can watch more of Boukoua-Lorsold’s journey through her Instagram @neen.kristel.

Jory Milner

Milner is a recent graduate of Fanshawe’s fashion marketing and merchandising program.

Milner defines fashion as “the root of expressing who you are… a really good outlet to express your emotions.”

She is recognized through her streetwear, which is her method of choice in branding herself, but describes her overall style as a mood.

Milner is of the mindset that if you work hard and play hard you will get somewhere. She believes autonomy over yourself and your time is the best way to describe entrepreneurship.

“You have to love what you are doing, and you can’t just feel like you are working at it, you are your own boss.”

Milner describes entrepreneurship as freedom; freedom to follow your own schedule and freedom to be yourself.

Currently working at a fashion forward shoe store, Milner can apply both her studies and creativity to her style.

With hopes of being a stylist, Milner is aware of the difficulty in building your own business especially when you are the business. That does not stop her from achieving her goal; instead it motivates her to be her most authentic self while still maintaining her professionalism.

“If I want to wear something totally outrageous no one will question it. People would say Jory is a stylist, so it makes sense, but at the same time I want it to be comfortable and appropriate.”

As an entrepreneur, life is a balancing act. On top of working full-time, Milner does a lot of freelance work to build up her portfolio. She styles local artists in London, freelances on magazine photoshoots and is an art assistant for many films at York University in Toronto, Ont.

Milner’s sense of style merges seamlessly with her entrepreneurial spirit through her individuality. She has branded herself well enough that no matter what she is wearing her style speaks volumes to the world around her.

“No matter what I am wearing, if someone were to point me out, they know it’s Jory. I kid you not, when people see me walking down the street and see just my back, they know it’s me,” she said.

Her fearlessness in fashion paves the way to her entrepreneurial success.

“Going along this path is opening doors for not only [myself] but for the people I work with to not be afraid to wear certain things because at the end of the day, only your opinion matters.”

In her studies she was able to understand how to brand herself and where to go in the fashion industry. She believes there are parts of the program that hurt her more than helped when it came to building a career in styling. The fashion marketing and merchandising program has since changed after Milner graduated and she feels like she may have missed out.

“Now that I am reading about the program, it has more aspects of what I want to do but [the program] did help me realize I want to be a stylist.”

However, her main takeaway from studying at Fanshawe was her ability to build a network.

“I met so many photo stylists and I’ve met so many brands that as soon as I got out of college they were like ‘hey do you want to work with my brand?’ And I took that opportunity. So that helped me but for the most part I think if they had more outlets after graduation and more direction it would have helped me a lot more.”

The downside of being an entrepreneur is creating instead of waiting for your own opportunities. Although Milner may have had a bumpy start, her passion, drive and work ethic keep her going. She hopes to be a part of alumni that can come back to help guide recent graduates.

“Basically, anyone in the program that I was in, you need to remember to go for it. Even when you’re in the classes trying to juggle everything and they need volunteers, you may be stressed out for a few days, but you will be so happy you did. Not only do doors open but people will remember you and will come back to ask you to do more. Don’t try and be the norm.”

You can follow her Instagram accounts to see her electric sense of style: @BabyJStyles and @StillJustJory.