In the final chapter of our portrait series with Converse, we shine a spotlight on Imruh Asha. You’ve likely seen this stylist’s mastery before—most currently dressing Big Sean for the latest issue of Glamcult. But Imruh is not unfamiliar with the influential; as a self-proclaimed “walking wardrobe”, he’s known for his bold-but-tasteful direction. We caught up with Imruh to learn how the magic happens, dressed for the occasion in an outfit carefully selected from the Converse Essentials range. If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for us.
When did you realise you wanted to get involved with styling?
I think it was at the moment I started working at the contemporary designer store SPRMRKT, about three years ago. I started working closely with a lot of big, inspiring brands, which were making all kinds of different content. We started making content for our own social media and promotion, creating our own editorials. I then realized you express 1000 times more with a visual/mood/vibe than with words.
How important has time been in developing your individual style?
I’ve always been very busy with my own style, and it I don’t think it’s something you develop in a certain timeframe or by means of a study that you follow. For example, over the course of four years I developed through life events (jobs, people around me, inspiration)—very organically and effortlessly, not forced at all.
How has your approach to styling changed with experience?
Preparing/planning is 90 percent of the whole thing. It’s a lot of emailing, calling, contacting etc. Preparation is key, after all that comes the fun part.
You do a lot of amazing collaborative work with Carlijn Jacobs, among others for Glamcult. Can you tell us a bit about this bond?
I met her in the library and bumped in to her, then her books fell and we both wanted to pick up the same book (I touched her hand a little by mistake). The title of the book was Upcoming pioneers in fashion. We opened to page 10, and from that day we were on the same page.
Speaking of Glamcult, you recently styled Big Sean for us. How did it go and how did you approach planning his outfits?
It was a fun job; I wanted to portray him in different looks than he’d normally wear. I wanted it to be more pantone-coloured with high-end brands, different poses—less gangster. So I showed him some Young Thug references, as he’s very open to contemporary fashion. I also told him a bit more about the brands. For example, two of the outfits came from London-based designer J.W.Anderson, and I knew that A$AP Rocky recently collaborated with him on a capsule collection. This all made it easier and Sean was very open to work with us.
Do you believe your style and artistic talent will mature and grow with time?
Of course it will grow with time, as you come to work with more inspirational people, brands, etc. But I don’t think you can learn styling with time. As in: doing a study for four years. It’s an interest that you have or not. You have a feel for colour, silhouettes, fabric, etc. or you don’t.
In your opinion, what gets better with age?
All my friends around me.
We hear you are very interested in surrealism, which can also be seen in your work. Can you tell us a little bit about this?
Life is surreal.