The Morehouse graduate now NYC DJ, has been into the fashion game just as long as he been into music. Exchanging the southern lifestyle for the fast-paced city life; we learn a little bit about his perspective of the NYC fashion scene, as well as some of his favorite fashion trends. See what celebrity he draws inspiration from and what are some of his aspirations in the fashion industry; all in our conversation with Kenneth Kyrell.
Where are you from? How old are you?
I am 28 years old, originally from Durham North Carolina. I now reside in NYC and I’ve been here for about 6 years now.
What are your interests/hobbies?
In March of this year, I became a full-time DJ, which takes up a lot of my time. A lot of my interests and hobbies are related to my profession. I love connecting with people whether it be at parties, day to day communication or through some of the media work I do. I am also one of the hosts of Curated: The Creatives Podcast, that I record weekly with two of my friends Fred and Telsha. We talk about what’s going on in our lives, the creative industry, and we sometimes have guests join us to talk about their experience within the creative industry. When I’m not doing that I am hanging out with friends, finding new places to eat throughout the city, and in the gym. The gym lately has been a place of mental refuge for me -- it keeps me sane.
I’ve been a full-time DJ for about 9 months now. Before I decided to focus on DJing full time I worked in the Fashion Industry for 6 years as a Fashion Buyer and then a Fashion Director for a large retailer.
When I was working in Fashion, a lot of my time was spent at events and parties. Being frustrated with hearing the same music at every event is what inspired me to start DJing myself. Jokingly, my friend challenged me to become a DJ and start having my own events. I started watching YouTube videos and watching some of my friends as they were DJing and it went from a being a hobby to something I truly loved and wanted to grow each day. In addition, I do some creative consulting for a few brands and media correspondent work but my focus is the music and continuing to elevate my skills when it comes to DJing.
How long have you been into fashion?
I’ve always been around it. I would spend summers in Snow Hill, North Carolina with my grandparents -- which is a very small rural town. When I was not outside riding my go-cart or hanging with my cousins, I would help my grandmother cook and sew/tailor clothing for my grandfather and some of her friends. I would say my interest originated early in my childhood however, it really became something I was passionate about when I moved to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Morehouse College.
In Atlanta, I became really connected to the fashion scene. I directed a lot of local fashion shows and partnered with many of the boutiques there for events as well. Instead of going to Miami for spring break I would go back and forth to NYC and intern for fashion PR companies, designers and even Mercedes -Benz New York Fashion Week. I landed a summer internship my Junior year which led to a full-time position post-graduation.
How would you describe your sense of style?
Lately, it’s been like a mood ring. I can’t say I have a particular uniform I generally go for, it’s just based on what my day consists of or how I’m feeling in that particular moment. It can range from streetwear to a custom double-breasted suit. In the past, people would say I was daring with my fashion choices, but I think I’ve calmed it down a bit in terms of wearing a lot of color and print. I'm really open to any fashion trend as long as I can make it my own. I don’t follow a particular crowd or aesthetic, I just wear what I want and wear it how I want.
How has living in NYC shaped your style and your fashion sense?
New York City is a place that is all about individuality -- it feels like we live in our own little bubble at times. There are so many different people from all walks of life here and you can honestly wear whatever the hell you want and people don’t really make it a big thing.
In the south, there were times where people would look at me super crazy because I was wearing something they were not used to seeing. NYC has inspired me to take even more risks and care less about what people think about it. You can’t please everyone and I stopped trying a long time ago.
Who is your fashion spirit animal/who inspires you? And why? (artist, athlete, actor etc.)
It may be a bit weird to some but I love what she stands for when it comes to fashion and being so unapologetic -- none other than Rihanna. Rihanna can wear something that's been worn by others and make you think you’ve never seen it before by really making it her own. Some of my other notable fashion spirit animals would be Jaden Smith, A$AP Rocky, and my father back in the 80s/90s. My pops was always fly!
What are your favorite fashion pieces? (hats, belts, hoodies etc.)
I would have to say a pair of sunglasses. My collection of sunglasses is ever evolving. I feel like here in NYC, sunglasses are somewhat like a double entendre. You can wear sunglasses to complete your look but also when I have sunglasses on I’m in my own world and can worry less about someone bothering me (or at least that's what I like to think lol). The second thing would be shoes. Shoes can make or break a look. You can tell a lot about a person based on the shoes they are wearing.
What are your favorite brands?
Right now in terms of footwear, I’m always going to lean towards Nike. More specifically I’m loving the Off-White and Nike moment that’s been going on for a while. It's a collaboration in which you can see the brand DNA of both Nike and Off-White; which to me is important in Fashion when two brands come together to create one product.
I’m also a huge fan of Pyer Moss. Kerby has been putting in work for a minute and to see his brand really flourish and become well known and respected by both the industry and consumers, is really inspiring. His pieces are super functional with an added flare to make it feel extremely special and one of a kind.
There are so many brands out right now doing amazing things. I am personally excited to see the growth and direction of some newer brands (some of which my friends are the masterminds behind) such as: Ryan Knew, The Skinnys, and GeChic Luxe Wear to name a few.
What current fashion trends are you loving right now?
I love the combination of oversized garments with more fitted things, whether it be an oversized blazer with a pair of fitted leather trousers, all about the juxtaposition. I am also enjoying the trend of elevated streetwear -- I recently purchased a pair of silk track pants that I have worn with both a blazer and some sneakers. Investment pieces that are versatile are always a go-to fave of mine.
Which ones are you hating?
There isn’t a particular “trend” that I hate at the moment. However, how people put things together may not be my personal choice. Fashion and the concept of “trend” in my opinion are both subjective. There are some looks that I have seen lately that I know have been duplicated from people’s fave IG model, celeb, or what they have seen in a magazine. I wish people were more open to taking inspiration but adding their own flare and stop trying to look identical to those they follow.
Do you have a dream fashion piece? (a specific coat, belt, pants etc.)
I've always said I was going to get married in a custom Dior suit -- so I am excited for that to happen… one day. There is also that double-breasted oxblood floral suit that Michael B. Jordan wore in the August 2015 Vogue fall fashion spread (with Liya Kebede) I’ve been trying to get my hands on. It’s perfect and I need it!
What are your goals and aspirations with fashion? Where do you see yourself ending up?
I really want to continue to combine my profession and my love for music with fashion as I’ve been blessed to do lately. Many of my clients that I am able to DJ for are part of the Fashion Industry. I am looking forward to working with more fashion brands for music direction when it comes to their runway shows/fashion presentations and even curating the sounds that are played within their store. The world of Fashion and Music are so synonymous these days and I love that they influence each other.
I also have a lot of concepts and ideas in my mind of a collection that I want to get out. I’ve been sitting on it for a while but I am taking my time doing research, planning, and making sure it is done the right way. Before that happens I wouldn’t mind collaborating with a brand for a capsule collection of some sorts. That's actually something I want to make happen in the near future.
If you would like to keep up with Kenneth and his journey you can connect with him through his media below:
Kenneth Kyrell Instagram:
Kenneth Kyrell Soundcloud:
Curated: The Creatives Podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/us/