Hot Picks is a column in which fashion insiders reveal their latest obsessions–sharing their recent purchases and must-have pieces.
Celebrity stylist Sierra Simone is currently prepping for New York Fashion Week as many fashion insiders are, but she makes enough time to chat for close to an hour. Simone landed on our radar quite a while back–largely due to the elegant yet edgy looks she’s been putting together for Celia Gooding of “Star Trek.” Aside from working with a buzzy actress, she’s also previously built the style stories of both Mack Wilds and Winnie Harlow. On a personal level, the stylist’s aesthetic is elevated with a hit of refreshing energy. She is constantly finding herself picking up pieces from brands like Tibi, Jil Sander, Bottega Veneta, and The Frankie Shop. In her wardrobe, she mixes household names with selects by Edas and Poster Girl.
As a Black girl who grew up in Boston with Panamanian roots, Simone notes that her life was largely community-focused. That meant that she was always watched by neighbors and others–but that didn’t stop her from cutting up clothes and expressing herself creatively through textures and fabrics. She recalls a distinct memory of making 12 of her friends match her for a special moment. As she smiles largely on our video call, she shares: “I remember one birthday I made all of my friends wear those swishy jogging pants and we had to get sneakers and my mom bought them all.”
Notably, she also says that her mother was one of her earliest style icons. “My mom was so fashionable growing up, I admired her, [and] watching her get dressed,” she said. Throughout her adolescence, she tells me that she was a superfan of “Martin,” “Sex and the City” and “Legally Blonde.” Another highly influential pop culture moment for Simone was “Love Jones,” she expresses that she has spent so long attempting to recreate the vibe that Nia Long and costume designer Shawn Barton executed. “I’ve seen the movie like 20 times, I always thought Nia Long was so pretty,” she tells ESSENCE.com. “Even her dress-down looks. I watched everything, so I think it was kind of a melting pot of everything [that inspired me].”
Sierra said she felt a lot of her childhood hobbies manifested into her realizing she was destined to do something in fashion, but she couldn’t exactly decide what the career would be. But, following high school she decided to attend LIM College and study fashion merchandising. When a professor pushed her to take one more credit, she stumbled into a styling course and said she immediately loved it.
While in school, she interned at multiple companies. Upon graduation, she was looking for work and took on jobs working with talent at record labels. But, her love for fashion and her contacts in the industry kept calling her so she took the plunge and went on to assist celebrity stylist Jason Rembert (the two met while she was still in the music space). This was her launchpad to becoming a full-time stylist–and it led her to her first client Winnie Harlow.
Currently, Simone is proud of building the images of Whitney Peak, Nafessa Williams and Charlemagne The God. Similar to her personal style, the pieces she puts her clients in are always well-tailored and a bit eclectic. For Harlow, in the past, she pulled stunning selects by Christian Siriano, Marc Jacobs, and Elizabeth and James. Not to be forgotten is the stylist’s constant dedication to supporting emerging designers like Julia Heuer, she also fuses this into each of her client’s looks. Each of these brands is a testament to the stylist’s rolodex of contacts, but also the power of her impeccable vision.