Behind the risky yet phenomenal fashion transformation of one of the greatest artist of our times, Zerina Akers reached styling heights while remaining grounded and keeping her hands and heart close to something that matters to her : putting the light on Black and African designers.
Zerina started as a fashion closet intern at W Magazine, she worked amongst talents like Alex White, Karl Temper, Camilla Nickerson, and Shiona Turini. Afterwards, she began freelancing at W and other fashion publications such as WWD and Harper’s Bazaar. In between pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing from L.I.M., she worked under the tutelage of fashion’s most accomplished stylists and editors, such as Camilla Nickerson, Lori Goldstein and Beatrice Ackerlund.
For Akers, 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. She cares deeply about motivating people to take a confident and secure approach to fashion, helping them select pieces they’ll really love.
I recently turned 30 and I’ve decided that my 20s were for working hard, my 30s will be about working smart, and I will enjoy it all in my 40s. I don’t have a lot of time so I try to spend it wisely. When I have moments to just be with my people and be in my home, I make sure to cherish it and make it count. For me, now is about investing my time into what I want to create, and who I want to be. In between pulls or running errands, I’ll try to catch up with my friends and family over the phone and make sure that no matter what they know that I think about them and I love them. I try to start my day by taking a few hours in the morning to just be with myself; cook myself breakfast, do whatever is important for me that day.
When asked about her proudest moment as a stylist she goes with what seems to her, the obvious choice : Beyonce’s Formation hat look. « That was the fist time I realized that I can create work that will OUTLIVE MYSELF. That look was composed of all INDIE designers and became it’s own moment, it’s own image. it’s own meaning ; it became a symbol of POWER. » A power and confidence that Akers exudes through her very own style.
I believe our strongest asset is our faith. As a black woman, the most difficult thing I’ve had to overcome in my career is figuring out where I fit in. I’m the second person in my family to attend college and going to work where, at the time, I was surrounded by colleagues who were women with wealthy families or a rich husband.
As a young woman wanting to go far but having to build my own security working in an industry that seemed to pay in clothes, I found it slightly challenging to find the place in the garden to plant my seeds. That led me to explore different facets of the fashion industry from public relations, editorial, commercial styling, celebrity styling, etc. I’ve met so many awesome women that have managed to do what they love on their own terms. Women like June Haynes, Yvette Noel Schure, that have all inspired me.
On Black designers she goes : “There is so much talent in the World and often not enough resources for some people to truly express themselves through their craft. I have watched many young designers grow but I have also watched many designers stray away from their dreams. I just try to support them as much as I can because sometimes it’s the most simplest moment that can completely launch someone’s career and completely change their life.”
My favorite place to eat is wherever my Grandmother is cooking and if she doesn’t want to cook, I’d like to fly to Italy and go on a food tour. Los Angeles really is one of those rare places. I love the beach but I would probably go crazy on an island. I enjoy Metropolitan life but New York just doesn’t cut it for me anymore.