Shantal Mendez, a young and fresh local talent, recalls being introduced to the exciting field of fashion from an early age. After leaving Mandeville to pursue her studies at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, she quickly realised that there were many layers to the creative genre and decided to ditch her initial plans of fashion design and stitch her way to become a stylist.
“Being from Mandeville, the only thing I really heard of was fashion design. I wasn’t aware that there were so many layers to the art form. When I arrived in Kingston and started going to Edna, I was open to the idea of styling, just to see if I would be good at it,” the graduate told Living.
It seemed to have been a hit among those she had the opportunity of influencing and it gave her a great sense of pride and fulfilment to create a complete look from nothing and make it into everything marvellous.
“Fashion means uniquely expressing yourself. Just like a painter takes his brushes and puts his heart out on the canvas, that is how I feel when I’m doing my thing in styling. I feel like I’m bringing my heart into the pieces I’m styling,” Mendez said.
In fashion since 2012, Mendez who goes by the moniker, LuMarve, started her professional journey in 2018. There was, however, a side of her that has been doing this all her life. She took a break in 2019, when she gave birth to her daughter, and had every intention of returning, until COVID-19 came along and changed the world as we all know it forever.
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So far, the young stylist has worked with recording artistes Joby Jay, Johnmark Wiggan and Cherine Anderson, as well as individual clients who are not up for shopping or looking to jazz things up for a special occasion. From a collaborative standpoint, she has joined creative forces with photographers Rachel Connery and Keniel Peart.
“My artistic process starts with a consultation; getting a feel of what they want, their style and comforts, the colours they feel comfortable working with. Then I go ahead and do some research to find the style that best fits the mission; that comes with a mood board,” she stated. Then comes her favourite part: shopping.
From there, she will go into piecing everything together. She has actually gone on to do some creative direction for photo shoots.
When asked to weigh in on some of the trends that are re-emerging in recent years, Mendez gave an insight by sharing her evolving style list. This includes, but isn’t limited to, the bomber jackets, sweater crop tops (no matter the weather), crochet outfits, chunky loafers and bucket hats.
“I remember wearing chunky loafers when I was in basic school. And I am here for that. I love it. Crochet has really been growing and taking over. I feel like it was always there, but it is large now. Bomber jackets have made a comeback, and sweater crop tops, no matter the weather. I am not a fan of bucket hats, but those are coming back. I would wear them; how they are styling them nowadays is beautiful,” she shared.
Winging it in this industry, she says, has been a blessing in disguise. The lack of information provided by notables in the field might have disturbed her, but it didn’t deter her from paving her way. In fact, the trial process gave her more motivation to apply herself. While undertaking her mission, this agent was able to learn many tips and tricks along the way, garnering a greater appreciation for growth and knowing her worth as well.
With the world now reopened, Mendez hopes to see greater success. “My advice to those looking to discover their style is to be authentic in who you are. If you love something, wear it. It can become your style without being in or out of trend.”
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