Are you ready for a tall glass of wine? Because we caught up with PR’s ‘go-to guy’, fashionista, and celeb stylist, Shiraz Reddy.
A qualified publicist and event director, a sometimes media correspondent, and a celebrity stylist on the side, can you believe this is all done by the one and only, Shiraz Reddy? Oh, and let’s not forget that he’s a creator of exciting, out-of-the-box, and influential content. Is there anything he can’t do? So let’s deep dive into a pool cool as we chat to Shiraz.
Shiraz, your career is one we would call ‘poppin’. From PR to fashion, to broadcasts and communications; you have your thumb stuck in almost every pie in the entertainment industry. Tell us, how did this journey begin?
Well, it started 11 years ago with an internship at a regional radio station in CPT, then a 2-year stint in community TV. From there I grew in various roles, from working in online media, to print, and not long after, I found myself working for an international FMCG brand. That’s when my journey within PR agencies started and I currently continue to grow in that space, whilst still keeping my personal brand alive and doing some cool projects on the side. The hard work and sacrifices in my earlier years are now finally paying off.
From styling celebrities to winning the best dressed male award, and constantly solidifying your mark in the creative world. Is this a path you foresaw for yourself, or is it a world you suddenly got sucked into and chose to never leave?
I always knew I wanted to do something glamourous and exciting with my career. Media and fashion were passions from day one and I never knew how I would one day turn a passion into a career, but with some patience, and being at the right time and place (and at the right me), it paid off! So, no I did not see myself here but I’m grateful for it all.
The Boy on the Park Bench is the blog that you have been running since 2010. What pushed you to start this blog? How has it influenced and impacted your career now?
The name on its own says it all, I was a boy on a bench, new to CPT and trying to juggle a part-time job, full-time studies, and living away from home. I needed a space to vent and then the blog came about and over some years it’s become what is. In the near future, it will grow into a more informative and interactive space, but it is a product of my brand portfolio that I am proud has sustained and still stays true to itself and why I had initially started it.
Your fashion choices are something we all want to know more about. Did you always have the eye of a fashion fanatic, or was it a power that grew over time through trial and error?
I got the stylish genes from my parents and proudly so! I always had a keen eye for fashion and a need to look good, even as a scholar, a casual day was all about planning the right outfit! It’s only in the last 5-7 years that I’ve taken it more seriously and owned my personal style and learned to only go with looks I actually love.
Did you have an inspiration that you looked up to whilst growing up? Do they still influence you now, and have you found any new influences?
I’m always inspired by my parents for many a reason but mostly for how they live life with love first and then everything else. I also am very inspired by figureheads like the late great Tata Nelson Mandela, and the amazing Oprah. One man that, till today, truly inspires me is Ravi Naidoo (founder of the Design Indaba)! They are pioneers of so much and I can only pray I leave a footprint as they have!
How would you describe yourself and your personal style through 3 articles of clothing?
Classic and comfy: Crisp white shirt, black pants, and a good pair of white sneakers.
Winter is around the bend, what do you think is going to be the winter essential and style icon this year?
Short cut jackets and bold pops of colour through boots!
What colours do you think we should be wearing right now?
Hues of brown, cream, bronze, and for those willing to take more of a risk, I’d say yellow, purple, red, and blues.
What do you predict will be the biggest fashion no-no this season?
Fur top beanies and boots with fur!!! Also, faux fur is the go-to ALWAYS!
What are your tips for building the ultimate winter wardrobe, on a budget?
Layer your clothes and the pricing of the layered items! Invest in things like coats and denim and shoes but go cheaper with your shirts, knitwear, and accessories.
Is there any article of clothing, or fashion accessories that you think should be in everybody’s closet this season?
A Paddington-shaped coat.
How do you recognize the upcoming trends, and how do you become a trendsetter yourself?
Wow, I doubt I’m a trendsetter, but I do like to know what’s what by reading international fashion media and following key fashion influencers online.
Apart from being yourself, it can sometimes be difficult to express yourself the way you want to. What are your tips for people and creatives who are trying to build their very own style and brand?
Don’t be afraid of being unique, compromise but only to ensure you learn from the experience but never to please others. Be honest and note there is no such thing as a stupid question, so ask, ask, ask until you’re sure. Don’t copy others because they’re not you, so do you and be true to yourself throughout no matter how hard it gets.
Final question Shiraz, sweatpants or jeans?
Sweatpants before jeans always!!
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Words: Thuveshnie Govender | Images: Lwando Mxutu