Style Chat With One Of Kenya’s Top Stylists Winnie Odande

If you were to meet Winnie Odande, her presence and impeccable sense of style always stands out. How she puts every piece together, is quite an art. Winnie is the creative director of Dande Styles, a styling Company she founded out of her love for fashion, and a desire to put a smile on others through what she believes is her calling.

The fashionista is also the lead stylist at Switch TV, and the brain behind Shop Dande, an online store. She describes herself as a creative and a storyteller – and fashion is her avenue: “fashion gives me a blank slate to express myself and tell a story my way; that is, through styling,” she says.

Read up on our conversation below:

What’s your definition of style?

You’ve often heard it being said that fashion is what you’re given and style is what you do with it. That’s true. Style is what remains when fashion fades. How you wear trends. How you wear basic/simple pieces and switch them up to head-turners. Style is inherent. It can be learnt though. It’s almost like a skill, a natural skill. Style is what makes a $5 item beat $100 price tag item. 

How did you get into styling? 

I’ve always had this love and interest in fashion for a very long time while growing up but not once did I think that this is what I’ll end up doing as a career. My colleagues at my then workplace noticed my sense of style and would constantly inquire about the items I was wearing and if I could get some for them. This sparked something in me. I realised that it’s something that comes naturally to me and I could also make money from it and so the journey began.  

 What’s a typical workday like for you? 

I’m currently the lead stylist at Switch TV, that means daily outfits are needed for the different shows aired on the channel. So a typical day would involve some if not all of these: 

  • Send/respond to emails, inquiries, etc.
  • Research
  • Social media management
  • Sourcing/Pulling: This basically means going around different stores and hand-select items I feel would work for the client. This can take the whole day depending on the nature of the job.
  • Sorting/Arrangement of the outfits
  • Returning items that I had previously used for styling
  • Assigning some for laundry 
  • I also have to make sure all the stores get photos of outfits worn on any given day for their social media platforms as well. 

What’s your favourite part in the styling process? 

I actually enjoy the sourcing bit much as it can be hectic at times. The winner though has to be the look on the clients’ face when their vision and my ideas merge, and something beautiful is born, giving them that smile on the face: the face of a satisfied client. That is always my highlight on any given job.

Who’s your fashion icon? And why?

I don’t have a particular person seeing that I get inspiration everywhere around me. They sometimes vary depending on where I am in life at any given time but some of the people whose style I love include Tracee Ellis Rose, Victoria Beckham, Celine Dion, Rihanna, Solange, Blair Eadie, ZaklinaPisano, JenniferOseh, among others.

If you feel an outfit needs an upgrade, what’s your number one style booster?

An oversized coat. Try it, it does wonders.

As an authority in fashion and style, where do most people missing it when it comes to putting it all together?

 I could mention a few things I’ve noted:

  • Dressing their body (so many things fall under this).
  • The misconception that more is best. Less is more. You don’t have to throw in every stylish piece you own in one look. Wear them sparingly.
  • The notion that something has to be expensive to look good.
  • Functionality.

Any advice for upcoming fashion stylists?

If this is what you feel you’ve been called to do, then there’s space for you. The world needs to see your imprint so don’t hold back. It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be, but it’s doable. Do your research properly. Figure out your audience or target market – then dive in. Any opening you get that will take you ten steps ahead, grab it. And be professional while at it.