I first met Kyle Kagamida when he was 19 years old and a culinary student at KCC. He called and asked to meet with me because he had just discovered the art of fashion styling and was interested in pursuing it as a potential career path. That was in early 2010.
When I was ready to do a spring story with an update on menswear, I thought of Kyle and invited him to be a guest stylist for the March 5, 2010, fashion spread in The Honolulu Advertiser. Although he was clearly nervous about doing his first styling job, he attacked it with energy and verve, pulling clothes from shops all over Ala Moana and scouting locations that suited the clothes.
His handling of that assignment, along with his great eye, good taste and willingness to go the extra mile to get it just right indicated to me that he was going to be a success as a stylist.
Kyle has since taken every opportunity to advance his styling career, working with magazines, newspapers, fashion shows and malls to put together elegant fashion spreads and shows. Next week he will leave for Los Angeles to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, with an emphasis on styling. I have no doubt he will succeed in whatever he chooses to do – although I so hope he will soon stop worshipping Rachel Zoe and come to appreciate the Kate Lamphears of the world.
When Kyle began contacting potential agents to represent him (yes, stylists need agents just as much as models do), they all said he needed more commmercial shots in his portfolio – the kind used in advertising and collateral – rather than just high fashion. So, in characteristic Kyle style, he put together a team to create some commercial shots.
When Kyle asked me to join him and his team on his final Hawaii fashion shoot on the North Shore, I couldn’t resist completing a pair of bookends to his local styling career.
The team consisted of photographer Brandon Tabiolo, hair/makeup artist Marc Cornwall, and Niche Models’ Ana Cunningham (who flew in from Kaua’i for the shoot) and Malia Murphey. Allie Lee arrived to assist Kyle a little later in the day.
A lot of work goes into styling a photo shoot long before the camera starts clicking. Kyle reviewed as many Hawaii commercial shots as he could get his hands on. He perused magazines and clipped inspiration shots. Deciding on a young, hip, fresh, beachy approach, he chose his models, then went shopping.
Over the past year and a half, Kyle has developed relationships of trust with retailers from Hermes to Prada, Banana Republic to Therapy, Neiman Marcus to Nordstrom. They allow him to borrow entire outfits and accessories at all price points for his shoots.
Brandon and Kyle initially chose Dole Plantation as a location but it was so busy they gave up on it after hair and makeup were pau – and went straight to Haleiwa.
Kyle brought most of the accessories from his own collection, which takes a lot of worry away.
The perfect North Shore sunset was ordered – and delivered. Everyone was happy. Kyle said he worked all day for the sunset glamour beach shot (see the final shot at the top of this story).
Please check out my blog about Jose and Maria Barrera, written when I was in New York visiting their studio:http://paularath.com/2011/06/my-day-in-the-garment-district/
– Paula Rath