Fashion Week may be over, but Alisha Crutchfield is just getting started. While it’s rare and wonderful that a woman fresh out of her 20’s would be the founder of a premiere imaging firm, Alisha’s blazed a stylish trail. Everybody could be doing this, right? Maybe, but they’re not.
Crutchfield completed a marketing degree from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, prior to taking an internship at Roc-A-Fella Records in 2004. She got her break as style assistant for Disturbing The Peace, the independent label imprint founded by rapper Ludacris. Styling with Luda and the entire DTP collective, Alisha began to brand herself thanks to unique concepts and willing partners. She thanks Ludacris, who she says was equally creative when it came to innovation and style. As Alisha tells it, an introduction got it rolling:
“In 2004 I was interning…I was introduced to Stephanie Miller (O'Share) who was Ludacris' stylist the time. She brought me on as an assistant, to also create custom pieces for DTP and various other clients. I worked as their sole assistant for three years and eventually began styling my own clients, starting with Kanye West (College Dropout Album).”
Alisha would generate her own clientele to build the brand she envisioned, one job at a time. She was the first stylist to work with R&B singer Trey Songz, and had an extensive role in developing his image. World-renowned photographer Fadil Berisha would take Alisha under his wing as a friend and mentee, introducing her to high fashion, encouraging her work on catalogue campaigns and expanding her high fashion network.
Eager to diversify with the clients she met along the way, Alisha would embark on editorial, advertising and more music video styling. 16-20 hour days became the norm as her brand became her life; StyleWise would take dedication. The down to earth beauty would mentor and collaborate with other New York stylists while continuing to create projects of her own. It would take years before things opened up, and when they did, they busted.
Proving there is no such thing as an “overnight success”, Alisha was recruited as the fashion director for the Miss Universe Organization, styling Miss Universe, Miss America and Miss Teen USA. One year later, she was also asked to be the in-house stylist for Russell Simmons design group, Argyle Culture. The girl from Boston was now styling billboards for Macys featuring Tyson Beckford nearly a decade after her journey began. “Style wise”, for sure.
This year Alisha produced and styled shows for New York Fashion Week and co-produced a fashion night event at the Limelight, who held their own Fashion Week in conjunction with the one taking place in NYC. StyleWise styled the ModaListas Fall / Winter 2012 Collection Runway Show, the Edwing D'Angelo Spring / Summer 2013 Collection Runway Show and the widely hailed Alhassan Toure / Toure Designs debut Collection Runway Show. During the same week, she styled the re-launch of Russell Simmons’ Argyle Culture Fall Collection.
When it comes to the future, Alisha stays it will continue to be about the expansion of her brand:
“My portfolio is as diverse as my clients, allowing me to work in numerous creative environments locally and internationally…I refuse to be limited to one area of fashion.”
Look for StyleWise to emerge as an umbrella for other endeavors to flourish under, to include high fashion staffing service, style smart concierge services, digital friendly apps the fash-techy types, and more.
Alisha Crutchfield is described on her twitter page as a “serial Entrepreneur, extreme Optimist + convicted Lover a/k/a Fashion Director, Costume Designer, Design Consultant & Trendsetter!” Follow her at @StyleWiseNYC.
By Kim Kane @kimkane1