From Elle Intern to NYFW Designer, There's Hardly a Job Jason Rembert Hasn't Had

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We've featured plenty of stylists on our Who What Wear With Hillary Kerr series, but none have left quite so big a wake in their path as Jason Rembert. The celebrity stylist and Aliétte NY designer has given a strong and permeating sartorial voice to Black women in entertainment (and the occasional man—who could forget Ezra Miller in that Moncler x Pierpaolo Piccioli puffer gown?), producing many memorable moments. With clientele including Mary J. Blige, Issa Rae, Lizzo, Solange Knowles, and Michael B. Jordan, there's hardly a red carpet best dressed list that hasn't featured Rembert's handiwork. Listen in as he takes us from his days of scouring Ed2010 for internships (stylists, they're just like us!) to running his very own fashion brand and every noteworthy styling moment in between.

We didn't meet until Who What Wear was shooting Issa Rae for our February cover a couple of years ago, and I was just so excited about you, about what you were doing with her. Tell me about that relationship. It seems to work very, very well from my eyes.

Issa, man, Issa is the dream client who doesn't care about fashion. At this point, I feel like I honestly know what she likes or what her extremes are. But I really, really love that she doesn't care about fashion. That's probably one of the most inspiring things because you work with so many people that care too much. We were doing the Golden Globes one year, and that's when everyone wore black, and so she ended up wearing black, and I wanted an emerald necklace. I hit up a good friend Lorraine [Schwartz]. I was like, I need a custom necklace. Issa didn't care about a diamond necklace. It was not like she didn't care; it's a little bit more like she has so many more amazing things that she's doing in life. It was like, oh, cool, it's nice. But it's a $2 million necklace. Like when your aunt gets you pajamas for Christmas, it's like, oh, this is cool. When you get a chance, Google her at the Golden Globes. The necklace is gorgeous. But I love her nonchalance. It's not rude; it's just like it's not the most important thing in her life. Her love language is sweats and Converses. She still looks great in that, and she still looks great in dresses. It's amazing to have a client who honestly wants to do other things. Again, she's taking over the world.

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You've worked with such incredible people over the years in entertainment, Hollywood, music, all of it. I was wondering if we could go through a few of those clients and you could tell me about your favorite or most memorable style moment together. Can we start with Mary J. Blige, please?

Mary J. Blige. The icon. I am such a fan. My favorite look that I've ever done with her was actually recent. It was at the premiere of her My Life documentary, and she wore the Alexandre Vauthier Couture gown, and it was just beautiful. It was regal; it was her.

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Okay, how about Miss Issa Rae? 

I think I have two, and they're both sparkles. The first one is the CFDA carpet Pyer Moss custom with Swarovski. I thought it was so cool the belt read, “Every Nigga Is a Star,” and I thought it was really dope and cool and fresh. And then for the second look, we did a Marc Jacobs at the NAACP Awards. To me, that was the first time where I really felt like it was a fashion fashion moment. 

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What about Elaine Welteroth (who I adore)? We had her on Second Life, the other podcast. I get such a kick out of watching what she's wearing.

I love Elaine. We have fun every time we link up as well. We link up a lot because we do The Talk, and we just wrapped Project Runway.

She feels very busy to me. 

Oh, extremely busy. Too many clothes. It's a lot, but Elaine wears clothes so well. We just did this. This pink Halpern look for Project Runway, and she posted it. It was her walking on a green field, and it was a crazy-pink look. That was an amazing look. She's definitely super, super fashion, so we have fun.

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In addition to a prolific, impressive, and inspiring styling career, you also launched your own ready-to-wear line in 2019, Aliétte. Clearly, you had been waiting to do something like this. Can you talk about the process? Tell me about how the line came to be.

Fun fact: A lot of people may not know that I actually started off as a designer. When I was in college, I started off as a designer, and I was doing a lot more cut-and-sew T-shirts and hand-embroidered T-shirts. Please don't Google or try to find them because they're horrible. That's how I started off. At the same time, styling started picking up, and it was a way that I really felt like I could express myself and hopefully go back into design one day. Did I think it would be this soon? No, not at all. I'm still busy styling. I'm still on a plane every week, and I'm still juggling and maintaining multiple clients. So I thought it would be when I'm a little calmer, and I'm trying to figure out what my out is.

But for me, I was working with a client, and the client was doing a red carpet. The client was wearing this amazing look and turns to me and says, "Hey, why am I not wearing your clothing line?" And I was like, "I don't know. I need to work on it. We're gonna do it in the future." The next week, the client emails me and says, "What's going on with your clothing line?" and I responded, "I'm working on it, I'm working on it." And the next week, the client emails me and says, "Hey. What's going on with your clothing line?" The following week, the client had a photo shoot, and I went, and the client was like, "Hey, what's happening? You playing around?" I actually had been working on some stuff, and she was like, "Let's go to dinner," and asked, "How I can support?"

Two months later, the client was nominated for a Critics Choice Award and was like, "I'm wearing your dress." I didn't even have a sample. I had sketches. And that client is Issa Rae. I remember the day before the Critics Choice Awards, we did a fitting. Of course, I'm a stylist, so I got backup options. She tries on this dress, and she said, "What do you think?" I was like, "It's cool. I got these other dresses." She was like, "Are they your dresses?" I was like, "No." She was like, "I'm not wearing them, then. This is what I'm wearing." That's amazing, to have someone who's that supportive and to help you make that leap of faith. And a month later, I showed at New York Fashion Week.

Shop Jason Rembert's Brand Aliétte NY

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Next up, check out our previous episode featuring Who What Wear's own editors discussing their favorite fall trends.

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