Kayla McKnight plans out the color scheme for an outfit. Photo by Malayka Shaw.

“Campus couture,” NCCU student launches fashion business

March 25, 2024

According to textile and apparel junior Kayla McKnight, there’s one specific talent needed to make someone a successful fashion stylist and that’s “your ability to work with what you have.”

McKnight, the owner of the on-campus styling business, “The Fab House,” said that it is the essence of flexibility, versatility, and having a keen sense of what colors are complimentary with others, as well as the assorted styles of shirts, jeans, and shoes that will compliment an outfit.

Born and raised in Baltimore, McKnight said that her interest in fashion started in elementary school when she watched the reality television series “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane.”  The series was about Kimora Lee Simons, the owner of the clothing line “Baby Phat” and “Project Runway.”

Kayla McKnight

She said she liked seeing how the contestants on “Project Runway” would style their finishing designs on the models.

Encouraging her interests, McKnight’s mother bought her a sketchbook with stencils while she was in elementary school. Soon she switched to a blank-paged sketchbook and began examining magazines for ideas.

McKnight, however, didn’t start styling friends and family until high school, where she originally wanted to start her own clothing brand. She said that it would be more feasible to start her own styling business, which is how “The Fab House” was created last September.

“I started out styling my roommates. I have three roommates. They they would all let me style them and let me record them to go on my [Instagram] page. I would do two outfits for them, and I would decide which outfit was better,” McKnight said.

According to McKnight, social media has played a huge role in the growth of her business. She has also been influenced by styles on social media worn by celebrities and influencers, particularly the Instagram influencer and former YouTuber, De’erra Taylor, owner of “Lorvae,” a luxury sunglasses brand.

McKnight, however, works on the opposite side of brand marketing by promoting her styling business using strategic ways to increase her audience engagement and clientele. By using marketing ads on Instagram, she can control the revenue contributed to the ad along with its duration on her page.

This also allows her to choose target audiences for her business.

“The Fab House,” offers several types of styling assistance from in-person wardrobe styling, to creating a Pinterest look book collage of ideas for clients to reference. This is all done, she says, with remarkably affordable prices.

Her main objective, says McKinight is to “Help people be their most authentic self and really give what they want to give. “I just want everyone to really be comfortable in their element and expand people’s horizons to different aesthetics to see if they are willing to try other styles of clothing.”

Her suitemate, Malayka Shaw, a textile and apparel junior, has been a model for McKnight’s styling ideas.

“She literally chose what was in my closet,” Shaw said. “It was fun. I didn’t realize she could make it that fun, and I actually liked the outfit she came up with.”

She and McKnight share a similar connection through their interest in fashion and design. Shaw said McKnight works hard as hard on her schoolwork as on her business.

“We have the same schedule throughout the day, and we go to this building called the ‘Dent’ early every day to make sure we have everything we need: our garments situated, our schoolwork done, and what we have to do for the next day,” Shaw said. “She’s very dedicated and that’s what I love about her.”

Despite McKnight’s dedication to her growing styling business, this is not her end goal.

“At the end of the day, I want to be a designer, to style my own clothes, to make my own clothes, and to style them,” she said.

McKnight wants to eventually convert “The Fab House” into a styling and designer brand business, creating a brick-and-mortar location. Ultimately she wants to have locations around the United States, starting with her hometown of Baltimore.

 

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Kayla McKnight plans out the color scheme for an outfit. Photo by Malayka Shaw.
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Kayla McKnight plans out the color scheme for an outfit. Photo by Malayka Shaw.
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