Image consultant Loren Lee Henderson from Bonteheuwel, Cape Town has been sketching since primary school. She always had her sights on the fashion industry, and now at 23, she just launched her own image consulting brand StyleByLoren. Loren’s journey in fashion initially started in 2011 when she was the fashion co-ordinator of an online empowering youth magazine, IMBO. In 2013, she featured weekly on the television talk show Vanity Case on CTV. With her positive and goal-driven personality, she started working on more fashion projects soon after the launch of StyleByLoren. Some of the projects involved styling fashion shoots in collaboration with Issa Leo (the founder of the menswear label Issa Leo) and the South African swimwear label Gabrielle Swimwear. What sets Loren apart from other stylists and image consultants is her manner of capturing her surroundings as a means of inspiration. We asked her a few questions about herself and her chosen career.
Shanaaz Abrahams for LIVE SA: Bonteheuwel is known for high drug and crime rates, what challenges were you constantly faced with?
Loren: I knew I would succeed despite the drug and crime rate. My biggest challenge was my parents. Having to hear them say “there’s no money in fashion” was really discouraging. I decided to give dancing a go but even dancing was an issue. I then realised the only constant things in my life were my love of fashion and God. It was then when I decided to pursue styling.
LIVE: In some instances fashion ignores curvy girls; what’s your philosophy on style and size?
Loren: When it comes to fashion there is no need to exclude anybody. Personally, I prefer working with curvier women. This is also why I am an image consultant: to assist women who are slightly turned off by what fashion seems to be.
LIVE: How would you know when it’s your “I made it” moment?
Loren: It would be when I am managing my own fashion house where I’d be able to teach young people with similar backgrounds to mine the ins and outs of fashion, and how to move forward in this industry. But for now, it would be being able to pay for things.
LIVE: What was the inspiration behind launching StyleByLoren?
Loren: It was my birthday and I felt it was time to accept my calling. I got to offer people more than one option in styling and some encouragement. Like my saying goes, “I use the power of fashion to empower others”. Because I am a freelance stylist, I get to work on projects attached to my brand, in that way encouraging those I work with to continue pursuing their dreams. I get to encourage people to continue pursuing their dreams.
LIVE: Since launching StyleByLoren, who have you worked with?
Loren: I’ve worked with quite a few names that aren’t out there just yet but within a few years could possibly knock the socks off of main fashion gurus around the world. I’ve worked with photographers such as Shirley Hunt and Francios Prestorius. I have, however worked with the Top Model SA Michelle Allen and Cape Town-based artists Ashleigh Davids and Burnaboy.
LIVE: What advice do you have for young people from impoverished areas getting head?
Loren: I had no qualifications or experience but through determination, an ambitious mindset, a learning attitude and constantly speaking to God made anything possible. Remember to be active, be bold and knock on the door you wish to enter through.
YouTube: StyleByLoren ClosetChats
All images received from Loren Lee Henderson
Follow me @ShanzAbrahams