June Ambrose and Johnetta Boone
Fashion enthusiasts hung on to every word of style icon, June Ambrose and legendary costume designer, Johnetta Boone during the most recent Soul Era Style event at Macy’s in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall.
Ambrose rose to prominence in the 90s as a personal stylist and music video stylist for the likes of Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, P. Diddy, Busta Rhymes and R. Kelly amongst many others.
Boone’s work as a costume designer, which she defines as a person who is able to create garments from scratch, includes the films, For Colored Girls, Cadillac Records and The Notebook. She is currently working on Tyler Perry’s hit series, The Have and The Have Nots and For Better or For Worse.[pull_quote_left]…When you can’t walk, crawl; but always get up. If you have a pulse, then you’ll get up and you’ll keep moving…[/pull_quote_left] Ambrose and Boone traveled across the nation with the Soul Era Style in-stores. Event locations included, New York, Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, DC, and San Francisco before concluding in Los Angeles. On her reasoning behind participating in the tour, Ambrose commented, “It’s important for the consumer to understand their buying power, their value and their worth. Johnetta and I are honored to not only be able to share this wealth of information as well as make ourselves accessible. It’s about giving back and paying it forward.”
With the rise of social media, there has been an influx of people referring to themselves as, “stylists”. Ambrose is emphatic about the fact that her work over the past two decades transcends the title. When asked if she feels any pressure to maintain relevancy, Ambrose says “I was never stuck in the box of being a stylist, I’m a costume designer, author and television personality. I have a collection on HSN. I’m the CEO of my own business. You have to have a plan; you have to know what your brand represents and where you want it to go. People still refer to me as a stylist but I can’t hold that title anymore because I’m so much more than that. Styling is where I’ve built my career so I’m not shying away from it but I’ve earned the right to be more than that.”
Outside of costume design, Boone has designed a clothing line for young girls transitioning into womanhood, which she and her partner are currently pitching to retailers. She shares that there’s been no challenge in staying relevant and maintaining dominance in her craft as she’s been in the industry for three decades. “My consistent work is based off of the relationships that I’ve built with producers and directors. If you’re new to this business, you have to establish yourself. June and I met in the 90s when I was a stylist and I crossed over into moving cinema because for me it was more exciting to create a look for someone that was in moving cinema rather than one that was staged.”
Ambrose says one of the keys to having a viable career is, “Maintaining the integrity of your brand. I’m evolving in my career, I’m more focused on the consumer and making over America.” She emphasized, “People want what they can’t have. If you can maintain a sense of elitism it really helps with your marquee and your value. Also, know the quality of your work. You’re as good as your last job; constantly build on your craft. I always feel like I’m still growing.”
Ambrose, who has a background in investment banking, attributes much of her success to honing in on the business aspects of her craft. “I believe [understanding the business aspects of this industry] separates the haves from the have nots. Once you’re in, you realize “stylist” isn’t just a title, it’s something that you truly have to work for. Though the industry is very saturated, I’d still like to think fashion is a very elite trade.” She continues, “Just because you have a personal client or a couple projects doesn’t automatically make you successful. You have to constantly be looking towards the future and how you can build your brand. What are you going to do with yourself ten years from now?”