“God gives that insight and desire to get to a better place and not be complacent and live a life of ‘going to work everyday.’ That was never my course….it just never would never be me. I knew that as a child, I must do the things in my heart and my dreams.” — Kithe Brewster
The picture above features one of the most recognizable faces on Earth. She has her head comfortably resting on a man who has fashioned the mega-watt star- and many like her- such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry, Iman, Celine Dion, Julianne Moore, Usher, Outkast, Eva Mendes, Drew Barrymore, and Heidi Klum.
Stylist and fashion editor Kithe Brewster’s career is as prominent as they come. He has done editorials for magazines such as Vanity Fair and has styled red-carpet affairs for Hollywood’s elite- and the occasional chart-topping chanteuse. During his reign he’s helped a few achieve “fashion icon” status along the way; Camilla Morton of British Vogue famously wrote, “Kithe Brewster is to the best dressed list, what Henry Ford was to the automobile.”
With a versatile resume too extensive to include in an already robust interview, one would expect a trembling experience if one would ever meet him. One would be surprised that he is exceptionally warm…truly an anomaly in the fashion industry. I had the privilege to meet Kithe and discuss his incredible story, his highly publicized weight-loss journey, and his mission to connect with people’s hearts and aspirations through his career.
MisterLevius.com: When did it all start? When did your passion for fashion begin?
Kithe Brewster: I was obsessed with vintage clothing; as a little kid I liked going “thrifting” and finding old things. I’d buy stuff for a dollar and I was changing it and cutting it all off. Mom would be shopping at a department store or mall and you can’t really go chop up the clothes. But when you go to vintage stores and you buy something for $2 you can whack off the sleeves, so I was doing kooky, deconstructing things as a kid.
ML: You had other interests as a child before jumping into your fashion career, correct?
KB: I had a career as a child actor- and dancer…I studied under Katherine Dunham directly in East St. Louis. I moved to New York when I was 16 to pursue my career as an actor, dancer, singer, “Broadway”… I auditioned a lot but I also had a part-time job working in my uncle’s fashion showroom. After a year I decided I wanted to be in the fashion industry- specifically a fashion editor. I had met all of the top ones who worked at Vogue, [Harper’s] Bazaar and all because they frequented my uncle’s showroom. I’d put clothes together for them in the showrooms- I’d be like “Oh, these shoes would look great with this” and then I’d see it come out in Vogue or [Harper’s] Bazaar. They would listen and place exactly how I recommended.
ML: How old were you at the time?
KB: I was 17.
ML: What was your initial reaction from your family about your direction to styling?
KB: My entire family was opposed to it. My father and uncle cut me off when I moved to Paris, but I learned everything I needed to know.
ML: That had to have been hard. When did you move to Paris?
KB: I moved to Paris at 19 with $500 in my pocket. I’d stayed with a girl model friend I knew who just got a model permit to live in Paris. She was not supposed to have guests but she said I can stay for a week- but would have to find my own place. I didn’t toot French, I had very little money, I didn’t have an agent. I didn’t have anything set-up because I had dropped out of school and quit my uncle’s company, so he wouldn’t help me…so I had to do it all on my own.
It wasn’t easy getting an agent since I didn’t have published work, only tests, but I finally found an incredible agent who fast-tracked me to success. Also, the agent’s husband was an entertainment lawyer with many top fashion designers as his clients, so the couple basically introduced me to society. I was able to connect and meet with powerful people, which was a great way to move upward. I got the opportunities through the social connections I’d made and I had learned that that is a really great way to get around any city.
READ THE REST OF KITHE’S AMAZING STORY AFTER THE JUMP!