Stefon Allen, better known as Zoe Dupree, is a rising star in the fashion world. As a new comer to the community of fashion stylists, Dupree has been on the fast track to stardom since styling big names such as Fantasia, SWV, Trina Braxton, Cyn Santana, French Montana, and so many more. This Philadelphia native and recent graduate of Allen University didn’t always have his heart set on styling celebrities. He found his calling while dealing with post-grad job hunting, after earning his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. But fate struck the day he and his friends snuck off to the BET Awards with no money in his pockets, but big dreams in his heart. When Dupree and his friends were asked to participate as seat fillers next to celebrities during the award show, he used the opportunity to network and introduce himself as a fashion stylist to anyone who would listen.
Dupree is heavily active on both Twitter and Instagram, and accredits his social networking skills to landing his first booking with Hip-Hop Princess Lil’ Mo. After getting in connect with Lil’ Mo’s manager via Twitter, he was soon able to style the diva for a small concert held in Baltimore, Maryland; and the rest is history. Zoe Dupree has been featured on local news stations as well as BET’s 106 & Park and was able to attend the 55th Grammys with R&B trio SWV. I was able to speak with Dupree to gain insight on how he was able to get his start and he graciously shared a number of great tips to network successfully, and how to stand out in this highly competitive field of fashion.
You recently graduated from college with a degree in Business Administration, how important is it to know the business side of the fashion industry, just as much as the styling side?
Zoe Dupree: It plays a major part because this is a business savvy industry. It is important in the way you represent yourself and conduct business through contracts, licenses, and emails. You must always have confidence even when you may not have experience in certain areas. But God will place you where you need to be.
How do you go about getting merchandise for shoots and maintaining clients?
ZD: You have to go out and build relationships with showrooms and designers; show them what you’re about. It’s also good to develop mentorships with people who will take you under their wing and guide you.
In past interviews, you have accredited networking to how you have achieved success, what are some networking tips that you would like to share?
ZD: Well, a lot of people don’t normally mention this, but first off, keep God first. Without him, nothing would come about, because he is your help. Pray over everything. Be aggressive. Have contacts and do your research on your potential clients, because they want to know what you can do for them. Talk to different managers through social media. And pray!
What are some do’s and don’ts that you have learned along the way?
ZD: DO – Know your work and pray. Be willing to make sacrifices with time and traveling. And be on your toes when things change.
DON’T – Let anyone knock you off your work; stylists are a luxury and people should be honored to have your services. Don’t let anyone tell you what you deserve.
It was a pleasure having the opportunity to speak with Zoe Dupree and I will definitely take his words to heart as I grow as a fashion stylist. His styling workshops have reached more than 7 major cities, so to stay connected with Dupree and his upcoming events, follow him on Twitter at @ZoeDupree1914 and on Instagram at @zoedupree. For booking and to see his work, visit www.zdupree.com.