John J. Angel has carved a place for himself working with Nigerian and foreign artistes. In fact, the Lagos State University graduate of Marketing is in a class of his own, when it comes to style.
Here, he shares with TS Weekend what keeps him going in the industry. He also talks about his marriage and challenges among other issues.
Can you tell us briefly about yourself?
I am John J. Angel also known as Deangelictouchstlist. I started styling professionally in 2009 but have been in the entertainment industry before then as a makeup artist. At that time, the styling industry wasn’t that known. Artistes used to come on set with different outfits while makeup artists helped in putting the outfits together to suit the background, storyline and location of the movie. One day, a film director advised me to take styling as a career. I heeded his advice and went for training on styling, and this has helped me in the course of my job.
What is your job as a stylist and what’s your relationship with some of the celebrities you cater to?
As a stylist, my job is to interpret the style and personality of an artiste, events that he or she wants to attend and what suits his or her personality. I have worked with lots of celebrities including Wizkid, Davido, Don Jazzy, Patoranking, Tiwa Savage, Koredo Bello, Nyanya, Oretzi, Clarence Peters, Sesan Unlimited, Aje Friends and many others. Also, I have worked with some foreign artistes like Awilo Logomba and Sakorde. In future, I hope to work with John Legend and Drake among others.
I employ different attitudes while working with these celebrities. Though, I am close to some of them, I am not that close to others; it is simply a working relationship. My job has made me to know when to draw the line, because people respond to things differently. There are times I disagree with these celebrities on what to wear; but what matters most is that the job has to be done, and that is what usually brings us together. We disagree to agree just to get the job done.
How was your first job as a stylist?
My first job as a stylist was interesting because I was not after the money but concerned that people should see that I did something creative and unique, which would make them have faith in me. The discouraging aspect is when people doubt me and are not appreciative of what I have done. They feel they are doing me a favour by giving me work to do, but it has actually groomed me to who I am today.
Are you given enough time to come up with ideas when dealing with these celebrities?
One of the problems stylists face is that they are left with limited time to come up with ideas. An artiste can call me today and expect me to come up with some designs the next day. The artistes that I have worked with in the past had a level of trust in me, so they normally call to tell me what they want. And I am able to interpret their jobs, at the end of the day; they are satisfied with my work.
What are the trends for men?
At all times, men should look tidy, clean, smart and elegant. They should ensure that their clothes suit their bodies. They don’t have to necessarily follow trends but wear clothes that match their body shapes.
What are some of the things you have learnt on the red carpet?
On the red carpet, I have learnt to be spontaneous, detailed and work with themes of the carpet, while not dwelling excessively on things I cannot defend. Anything you do is a style; it all depends on how you present it.
Can you mention some of the awards you’ve won?
I’ve won some awards including Pan African Awards 2018, October 1 Stylist of the Year 2018, and Most Sought After Stylist 2019. These awards were given to motivate and encourage me to do more. They also go to show that people are noticing what I am doing and I don’t have to disappoint them. The awards have enabled me to be more dedicated to my work.
What is the source of your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from things that happen around me. I also conduct research on what other people have done and then improve on them. I equally go out of my way to do unusual things that people have not seen before.
Do you have any plan of going into music or movies?
I don’t have any plan of going into music because I don’t know how to sing. I featured in a couple of movies but stopped in order to concentrate on my job as a stylist. I recently acted in a movie that I co-produced, and it will be released later this year. However, my plan is to feature in more movies this year.
Is your wife in support of your career?
My wife believes in what I do and I am happy to have her as my wife. Sometimes, I wonder why some marriages crumble. I believe people should marry those that know and understand them. What keeps marriages going is the love and respect for each other. This is very important and this has been my principle.
What advice do you have for up and coming stylists?
They should know the reason they want to venture into styling business. They should not go into styling because of money, if they do, they will lose focus and be frustrated when the money doesn’t come. They should be confident, creative and carry out lots of research that will make them relevant in the industry.