Keziah Lendor is one of those rare, inspiring women that you know that you can share a nice glass of wine with, and hire to help you plan bridal styling for your wedding at the same time. She’s extremely intelligent and creative, but also down to earth and warm. We can’t help but find ourselves being drawn to her insatiable love for the bridal industry and life itself, and it is for these very reasons that we were honoured to interview her.
Today she is sharing the enduring advice that every bride-to-be is craving for, and letting us in on the ever evolving world of bridal fashion and styling.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and Kez Styles.
My fashion journey truly began at University, when I attended the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. I began running a few fashion shows, and was in charge of managing people at the time and I would definitely say that it led me to want to pursue it a bit more aggressively, and make it into my full time profession. I decided that in order to do that, I would have to take the leap, and that’s what I did.
Soon after I completed my degree, I did a magazine internship locally to tap into a more solid knowledge of our local fashion industry, as the knowledge I had at time was of the more global landscape ironically. When I was young and even in University, I was interested in many different things from sports, to dance and fashion, but I fell deeper in love for fashion and as such, I would have fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s BAZAAR gracing my study tables in my dorm room.
I started my blog about a year after leaving University while still in Trinidad & Tobago, to which I subsequently became a contributor for the American publication Lucky Magazine . It was very unexpected, but with the encouragement of my Godfather (who thankfully did the branding and design for my website) I started my blog.
I unofficially launched Kezstyles about two years after, as I networked during that period building a household name for myself in fashion. It was a definite eye opener for me, as I began to get a bit of international exposure, and that was of course the best possible thing any fashion blogger/ stylist could ask for. It just made me realize more and more how much I wanted and needed to be a part of this environment, and how natural it came to me with regard to styling and doing fashion shoots, etc. It was effortless or what some would call second nature.
So what I did, which is what I would advise for anyone now starting up in this business to do, was that I started small. I had not yet registered my business, but I began styling for shoots on a smaller scale, and ended up doing some Creative Direction which I actually now love. It definitely came hand in hand with the Fashion Styling, in terms of creating concepts for stories, and envisioning how everything should look for shoots. Creative Direction became a passion of mine, and is now one of the main services that I offer to clients.
To be honest, this is actually when I realized that in order to make my vision a reality, and expand my expertise in the field, that travelling to the US was my best option. At the time, Fashion Styling in the Caribbean was still a very new concept to most, and as such was not a popular or successful field to venture into. Therefore, this is when I knew that I would have to venture out, educate myself, build exposure and then come back to Trinidad & Tobago at a later date, not only with more knowledge, wisdom and prowess, but in the hope that the industry would have been a bit more developed.
I ended up working in New York for two years, but bounced around between there and Trinidad & Tobago doing fashion styling for many clients and working within the Film industry, to slowly but surely build my repertoire. I registered my business – Kez Styles in Trinidad & Tobago during that time, and wanted to truly put the groundwork and foundation in within my home country, and get it running. But at times I would feel a bit stumped with just the “fashion styling” part of my business, since it was still a fresh concept to grasp in the Caribbean. Interestingly enough, what ended up transpiring, was that in order for this chosen field of mine to become lucrative for me, I found myself taking on new endeavours such as working in TV Commercials, Corporate Styling, Personal Client Styling and then the biggest category of them all – Wedding/ Bridal Styling.
Amusingly, wedding styling became the one category that I completely fell in love with as time progressed. And though, it is an extensive amount of work and could be a bit stressful at times, it has irrefutably been the most rewarding.
Was it challenging for you to get out there and make yourself known as a “Fashion Stylist” in the Caribbean?
I would not say that it was as challenging as most would think. What I actually believe is that with everything that you love doing, you have to put in the work to get a return on your investment, so that’s what I did. I was already acquainted with many people within the Fashion industry, so what I really saw as homework was actually working more with that network of people, and just putting my work out there for others to see.
Before I had gone to the US, I had already begun doing small projects with clients who would come to me personally, and speak of me to others, so I already had a little foot in the door. But in getting more into Social Media Management as well, which is another aspect of my business, I needed to expand and brand my business, but at the right time. So, this is when I registered the business, and really brought everything into operation so that I would begin to be recognized in a more professional light.
Every business owner will have his or her personal challenges, but in essence it really was a smooth transition, thankfully. I followed certain procedures very succinctly, and was very strategic in my methods, like I still am today in growing my brand.
What is Bridal Styling exactly & What Packages do you offer to your clients?
Before the Wedding Services – Clients may have an idea of what they want their bridal party to wear, or what they would like their dress to look like, but may not have the imagery in place to send to a seamstress. In some cases they may not even be aware of what bridal stores exist locally, or even internationally that may be available to them, and this is where I come in. I assist and direct them to the right places to purchase their bridal attire, or their bridal party’s attire. I even give advice on what look may suit both the bride and her bridesmaids, or even the groom if he is also a bit out of sorts with what may work for him.
It is a very tedious task, and most women (guilty) tend to be a bit indecisive when it comes to certain things, and clothing is definitely one of them. So my job would be to make the decision for you, and make your life a bit easier. I assist in making you feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful on your special day, and that is truly all that matters.
Sometimes, I get lucky and the bride may already have a full colour scheme in place, and exact ideas for bridesmaids’ dresses, and it’s just up to me to focus their plan a bit and put it all together. I would organize images from online, books or magazines, and both the bride and I would sit and choose a particular design, or a combination of styles that we think would best suit everyone based on sizes, etc. But for the most part, that’s what I would do before the day.
Styling the bridesmaids is key, and also the bride if she requires any additional assistance with accessories or fitting before the day. From head to toe, I can literally come in and be your little “miracle worker”.
On the Day Services – I would go in, steam all bridal attire, and ensure that everyone is ready and revving to go for the particular time. I can say without any hesitation that I have never had a late bride, and I am truly proud of this! In essence, I would go in and facilitate the time that it would have originally taken to get the bride and the bridal party ready. Instead of them doing it, and stressing about it a bit, I keep everyone calm and happy by performing all of those duties for them. The job on the day is truly “Damage Control” with every little element pertaining to bridal attire, beauty and everything in between. I become the second maid-of-honour of sorts for most brides and though the job itself is quite a tedious task, there is no greater honour than being a special part of someone’s day.
All of my packages are Custom, since every bride will require different services for their wedding day. I create packages to facilitate the bride’s needs, so I never just throw a fixed cost at them and tell them to work with it. The bride’s bring the specifics and I move to suit based on those details.
IMAGE: KEZIAH LENDOR STYLING A BEAUTIFUL BRIDE
What would you say is the main concern for brides regarding their look on their wedding day?
Their physique is number one. Believe it or not, most brides really may have no idea as to what dress may suit their body type, and I am sure many others reading this could relate. That’s what Bridal Stylists are for! Not everyone may have an inkling as to what may look outstanding on them, and they may think they do, but when it comes to your wedding dress, the process could be a bit more challenging.
Wanting to look perfect for your soon to be husband on your wedding day is tremendously important, and I completely understand. But what ends up happening in most cases is that with that need, comes a great deal of insecurity. And what I am here to say to all of you lovely brides to be, is that it will be taken care of. Despite all of your insecurities about your body and your size, you are loved and your fiancé adores you. So no matter what, you will be treated with nothing but love, sensitivity and respect from me during your search for your perfect dress. Together we will have you looking and most importantly feeling your very best on your big day.
What advice would you give brides-to-be struggling to find their “ideal” bridal look?
My advice would be for them to remember how beautiful they truly are. They all deserve to feel amazing on their wedding day, and there is no way, no how that there isn’t THE dress out there for them. So in just knowing and remembering that one thing, that should in itself bring some sort of comfort and security while going through the wedding planning process, because they are already amazingly beautiful.
What bridal trend has caught your eye recently? Have you applied any of these to your recent brides?
The thing is I waver a bit with the term “bridal trends”, because I feel as though everything is recurring in different times. In reality, it’s not as if the style was not already in existence at some point in the past, and was already a “trend” at that time. We see various designs popping in all the time and when you take a step back, you realize that it was something that was extremely popular 40 or 50 years ago. It just shows how outstanding bridal fashion really is! It’s just timeless.
What I can say is that I am seeing a lot of floral work, whether it is embossed in chiffon, or in the georgettes, or even in the veils. You can see a lot of petal detailing, which I think is so gorgeous, and is a definite trend in the bridal fashion world.
You can also see a significant amount of off-the-shoulder gowns, not only in the bridal fashion environment, but in the fashion realm as well. Floral accents dominated in 2016, so I am excited to see what 2017 brings to the bridal fashion space.
What bridal trend(s) do you think brides-to-be should kick to the curb?
I don’t think any bride should stay away from any design or style. I would encourage brides to be as open minded to the wedding dress shopping process as possible, because once the style looks amazing on you, then it is a winner!
But, if you need to kick anything to the curb, then let it be a close-minded, one-way approach to shopping in general, because you just never know what may suit your body type perfectly and have you looking like a queen.
Do you love classic bridal looks or do you encourage your brides to be a little more adventurous with their wedding day look?
Most of my brides go with classic looks, but I love modern styles. You have to meet bride’s half way for sure, and it ends up working out pretty wonderfully in the end. I have classic brides who just stun in the classic mermaid or Cinderella dresses, so its works either way for me, once my bride is happy and looks charming. If anything I would definitely wish for a few more creative brides, who want to try new things, but thankfully I do get some of my classic loving brides to bow to some of my ideas, because they trust me and know that I will only deliver the exceptional.
What has been the greatest reward from working in the Bridal Space?
It has definitely been satisfying my clients, and all of their needs. I have really found so much appreciation in the thank you cards or notes that I have received after the wedding, saying that I was such a life saver for them on the day, or I made their day so much better, and easier for them. So the greatest reward has certainly been the feedback from all of my amazing clients, and how much they appreciated me just being there with them on their wedding day, helping them and being their go-to person, and their right hand lady. When they look and feel beautiful on their wedding day, and they voice it, it is an outstanding feeling. But when they see their final images, and they feel even more joy and love, you can’t help but feel accomplished, proud and truly humbled by the entire experience. And intriguingly enough, it happens every single time.
Any final thoughts? Please share your favourite quote or saying that inspires you…
Do what you love, and love what you do, and you will find that you will never have to work a day in your life. You will be so much more content with everything. Your work will always bring you joy. The satisfaction on your client’s face will always bring you joy, and that’s what counts in this life. And to the beautiful brides-to-be, never forget how lovely you are, and that out of all the women in the world, your fiancé chose you!
A special thanks to Ms. Keziah Lendor from Kezstyles for sharing her amazing story, and great advice for brides-to-be!