June 5, 2019

Behind The Style: Sashà Elina de Oliveira

As sneakers and streetwear continue to permeate the runways and showrooms from New York to Paris, stylists find themselves spoiled with options in how to create looks that grab your attention, make a statement, and leave a lasting impression. That’s not to say it’s an easy task to blend these worlds together. No one can just walk off the street, throw a pair of Off-Whites into a photoshoot and make it seem legit. For proof of that, look no further than the women part of our ‘Behind the Style’ series. 

Sashà Elina de Oliveira, Gia Seo, and Alexis Quintero, all have made names for themselves in the fashion world with their impeccable work as stylists and creators. The StockX team travelled to New York City this past April to spend a day with these three inspiring creatives, working with photographer Lucka Ngo and creative director Juliana Salazar to talk about their journey in fashion and New York, what they’re excited about to come, and their favorite StockX handbag picks. If you’re looking to stay ahead of the trends, read up.

Editor’s Note: Toronto-native Sashà Elina de Oliveira moved to New York City at the age of 22 with dreams of becoming a stylist. With continued persistence and notable mentors, her career has stayed on the come up. While sneakerheads may recognize her from modeling for Jordan brand, behind the curtain she’s styling for clients such as Tommy Genesis. Not to mention the fact that she brought the most serious heat for this photoshoot in a pair of unreleased Sheryl Swoopes PE’s. Sasha talked to the StockX team about those first pivotal experiences moving to NYC, how she was heavily inspired by her mom’s impeccable taste growing up, and the underrated importance of tailoring.

Would you like to introduce yourself?

My name is Sashà. I am a fashion stylist from Toronto based here in New York.

If we met at a dinner party, how would you describe what you do?

I just tell people I’m a stylist and they go, “a hair stylist?” and I’m like no, a fashion stylist. (laughs) This is something I’ve been doing for a while now. I’ve been in New York for six years and literally, even to be here for this long, is crazy to me. I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I moved here to do styling and it’s taken some time, but we’re finally here.

What was your first job in New York?

My first job in New York was at Helmut Lang on Mercer Street in Soho. Honestly, that was the best thing that could ever happen to me at 22 years old. I remember before I moved to New York, I went to Soho and I was so intimidated to even go into the store because everyone was wearing leather and had these sharp bob haircuts. They had that look and I was like, “Damn, I don’t want to go in there I’m so scared.” Then I moved here and they were hiring. I had an interview and I got that job in under a month of moving. 

So, you started off working retail?

Yes, I started off working retail and then from there I was interning at magazine publications. My first styling assistant position was En Noir. They were doing their first lookbook at Complex and I remember going to Complex offices like, “Oh my God! Here I am!” From there I just started assisting and interning any time that I could, and it took off from there.

What was the moment that you knew this is what you wanted to do?

I think being let go from a job. It really instilled in me that this is what I want to do and this is the time to really make my dream come to fruition and do this full-time with no other job. Especially with styling, it’s hard.

Where are you at right now in your career?

Right now I am working with two artists as a full-time stylist. I just finished a tour with Tommy Genesis. That was my first time doing a tour of my own. She’s super great and her creative vision is insane, so just to even work with her and mix her vision and my vision was amazing.

What traits of yours do you think have been the most beneficial to your progress as a stylist?

Honestly, I feel what has benefited me the most is the inspiration I get from my mom. I’m also super influenced by the ’90s. I love Nia Long, Jada Pinkett. Everyday I feel like I am Lisa Wikes from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. So I think me staying true to who I am in my style has definitely helped me progress. I try to keep it very simple. I love a $5 jacket and you can mix it with Needles or Comme Des Garcons. I always feel like trying to keep that high and low balance for myself has really worked out. I don’t think I’m the girl that people may see in a full Louis Vuitton outfit. It’s always a high and a low combo and I think that’s very relatable for young girls out there. So when they are looking at me for inspiration they know they could actually get that, buy that.

As someone who has access to more things than the normal person, how do you stay true to yourself?

I try to stay true to myself by keeping the same vision that I had when I moved here. When I moved here, I didn’t want to be an influencer. I moved here to be a stylist and, nothing against influencers, I feel like that’s a very commendable job, but for me styling is what I initially wanted to do. I dropped out of school, moved here at 22 with my tax return, and I was like, “We’re not going back. We’re going to make it work.” That right there is what has driven me this entire time. Also, I come from a generation where we didn’t have influencers. We were so used to seeing stylists more behind-the-scenes, and now we’re seeing them more in front of the scenes. It can start to get tricky like, “Are you a model? Or are you a stylist?” But for me, it’s all about trying to stay true to who I am is still remembering what I moved here to do. 

What sets your work apart from others? What is your X-Factor?

I think what sets me apart is my mom. That’s where I get my inspiration from. My mom is my mom. So growing up, how I dress right now, it’s literally clothes from my mom’s closet. Every time I go home I’m like, “Mom let me get this I know you’re not wearing it” or she’ll be like “No you’re not getting this !” That’s what sets me apart. I look at my mom and as far as fashion goes, she was always in something simple and comfortable. She wore sneakers all the time.  She wasn’t wearing six inch heels, she was always comfortable. Also like I said, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. (laughs) I literally love Lisa Wikes. To this day, I am looking at outfits of what she used to wear and it’s all very simple too. It’s all denim, Levi’s. I also love when people see me they sometimes they say I’m giving them Jada Pinkett or 90’s vibes. That’s literally the look I’m trying to give. I like that people can see it.

What do you think the most underrated part is about building an outfit or a look?

I feel like the fit is very important. You can do a lot with an $8 pair of jeans if you tailor them.  The fit of a lot of things can really make or break your outfit. So many times I find something and I’m just like “Oh man, we got to tailor this,” and I’ll want to wear it, but I purposely will not wear it until it fits correctly and it looks correctly because I feel that that is what really matters.

What’s next in fashion?

I would say Jacquemus is one of the best brands right now as far as innovation, silhouette, color, and a good eye for detail. Their detail is insane. I think the direction that he’s going in is definitely something that’s needed for women. 

What is next for you?

This has always been a dream of mine… Before I moved to New York, I used to look at the Coveteur like all the time. I used to do people’s closets and try to make it all nice, like “we’re going to put your Chanel bag over here by your nightstand and maybe put some shoes on top.” And now I’m actually shooting with the Coveteur on Monday and we’re doing a full closet feature and quite honestly, it’s crazy. I cried when I got the email. Especially for any girl who’s in fashion, I feel like we’ve all looked at the Coveteur for inspiration. Even down to like my apartment, I’ve always been like, “It’s going to be Coveteur ready for whatever it happens.” I’m really, really, really excited and honored to even be a part of it.

Sashà Elina de Oliveira