Meet Zerina Akers; the stylist responsible for Beyonce’s foray into African fashion
Beyonce’s style has been through many phases during her career but in the last year or so, Beyonce has found a niche which fits perfectly with her personality and has a sense of style which is instantly recognizable.
Whilst Beyonce does have a keen sense of style herself, this elevation has to be credited to her stylist Zerina Akers. From obscure emerging designers to African designers; Zerina has show range and depth when it comes to finding clothes for Queen B.
Photography by Tyler Adams for Barneys
According to Akers’ biography, "Fashion is not only about luxury; it’s about inspiring her clients to express their authentic selves. Beyond the brand names and glitz, style starts with the person first."
Talking about why she loves her job so much, Akers says she cares about making people feel more confident and secure about their style by helping them select clothing that they love and feel great in. She aims to highlight and enhance every client's difference, what makes them unique and special.
Zerina Akers has worked with important names in the industry and at the moment on working as the stylist and wardrobe curator for Beyonce. Her work with Beyonce is what has earned her the most recognition and she has found herself being celebrated among the pages of magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Akers has been credited with Beyonce's stunning style transformation and the more notable of her looks in recent times. Zerina has also worked with stars including Beyonce’s proteges Chole and Halle, award-winning director Ava Duvernay and actress Yara Shahidi.
Akers started her illustrious career in fashion as an intern in W Magazine's style closet. Whilst she was there, she worked with style legends including Alex White, Karl Temper, Camilla Nickerson, and Shiona Turini. Afterwards, she began freelancing at W and other publications such as WWD and Harper’s Bazaar. Whilst studying for her degree in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing from L.I.M., Akers also worked under the watchful eye of iconic stylists and editors like Camilla Nickerson, Lori Goldstein and B. Ackerlund.
Talking about her approach to styling and why it isn't just about the clothes but mostly the people, Akers says, “I try to incorporate [diversity] into my life as a stylist by working with all different shapes and sizes.’’
I try to incorporate [diversity] into my life as a stylist by working with all different shapes and sizes.
Diversity is certainly something Akers is known for and her work with Beyonce during her trip to South Africa was a particular highlight. Aker’s reached deep into the soul of the continent to pull clothes from some of the most prominent and emerging designers. She put African fashion in the global spotlight as fashion lovers the world over, clamoured to discover these dynamic designers.
Beyonce in Tongoro
Beyoncé opted for bold colors and rich patterns during her trip for Global Citizen Festival in South Africa. She made vibrant fashion statements with every outfit she was spotted in and put rising African designers like Tongoro and Rich Mnisi on the map.
During her performance, the singer sported an ancient Egyptian-inspired beaded bodysuit, a bodice designed similarly to traditional Zulu jewelry and an emerald green ensemble made in collaboration with South African designers Enhle Mbali Maphumulo of Manual Rossa Apparel and Quiteria & George.
In an Instagram post after the performance, Beyonce shared a slideshow of some of the show-stopping ensembles she rocked while in South Africa, and gave a beautiful shoutout to the creative minds behind those looks. She wrote, "Thank you to the talented African designers who kept me feeling fresh. Y'all go so hard," she wrote.
Beyonce in Rich Mnisi
Speaking to Fashionista.com about how she chooses designers, Akers said, "That's my favorite thing to do, because I think there are so many brands out here, and I think there's a lot of money being spent. I feel like there's more than enough to go around."
"There's a lot of young, really awesome creative minds that are doing a lot of really great work. I try to, whenever I can, give them a platform to showcase it.’’
Thanks to other young black creatives like Akers’ who are looking deeper into the world of fashion and giving African designers huge platforms to shine. We rise by lifting others, long may it continue.