MIAMI’S RESIDENTIAL IT GIRL AND GO-TO WARDROBE STYLIST TALKS FASHION AND PHILANTHROPY.
By Katie Jackson
Photographed by Imani Ogden
Hair & Makeup by Tamia Everett for TamiaStyles
Location: MSM Studios
Wardrobe stylist Rachael Russell certainly has an impressive résumé. Over the past few years, Russell has quickly become the go-to stylist for celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, Gabrielle Union, Chayanne, and Kathy Lee Gifford. Russell has also styled for national commercial shoots and campaigns, including the recent launch of Anheuser-Busch’s latest creation Oculto and worldwide footwear and apparel brand Nike. In addition to her styling projects, Russell is a creative consultant for Miansai, the popular Miami-based handmade accessories brand. But perhaps Russell’s greatest achievement has been the launch of her non-profi t organization Style Saves, a charity that provides underprivileged children with back-to-school clothing. Within the last five years, Style Saves has expanded from Miami to cities across the globe, making Russell the leader of an organization that is truly making an enormous impact.
Growing up in Providence, Rhode Island, Russell’s love affair with styling started at a very young age. “The first time I remember picking out my own outfi t was my fiJorst day of Kindergarten,” said Russell. “I’d say it all started then.” After earning her B.A. in marketing from Johnson & Wales University, Russell moved to Miami to study fashion merchandising at Miami International University of Art & Design. At MIU, Russell had the opportunity to study fashion styling abroad in Milan at the prestigious Domus Academy, where some of her acclaimed professors included editors from Vanity Fair and stylists from Grazia magazine. After graduating from MIU, Russell landed a coveted assistant stylist position with Vogue magazine before moving back to Miami where she styled independently. Russell is now represented by Ford Models as a Talent Artist.
While she has always had a passion for styling, Russell also had the desire to become involved with philanthropy. “I was always interested in giving back but never really felt connected with a cause,” said Russell. After visiting her family in Rhode Island and taking her two younger brothers back-to-school shopping, Russell realized that she wanted to combine fashion and philanthropy in a way that positively benefi ted children. “After taking my brothers back-to-school shopping, I saw how excited they got, and then reminisced about my own experiences and how fun it was to put together outfi ts for back-to-school,” said Russell. “I realized that not every student is afforded this opportunity, and I was inspired to create something that gives them a chance to have the clothing necessities for school.”
Russell created Style Saves in 2010, and has since provided thousands of in-need children with back-to-school essentials by raising funds through fashion-focused events. In collaboration with different brands and other Miami philanthropists, Russell hosts events where portions of the proceeds go to Style Saves. “Some of the events we’ve done recently have been in store events with 7 For All Mankind, Vince, and InStyle magazine at Longchamp,” said Russell. “Additional events include our arsa Pippen Basel Brunch at Fendi Château Residences and Art Heist in Wynwood.” But perhaps the biggest event is the annual Style Saves Swim Fashion Show Fundraiser at the Soho Beach House in July. “This year will be our 5th annual swim show production,” said Russell. “We bring together a mix of upcoming and well-established designers for a night of fashion for philanthropy. We also work with other amazing sponsors like Redbull, Moët, and Perrier, to name a few.”
Though she finds her styling work rewarding, Russell admits that there is no greater feeling than helping others. “I really love to give stuff away and live for those Oprah moments of ‘you get clothing, you get eyewear,’” said Russell. “It feels so good to make other people happy.”
To volunteer, make a donation, or for more information about Style Saves, visit www.stylesaves.org
For more information on Rachael Russell, please visit www.Stylerr.com