Tastemaker, Stylist & Raven Maven.
Say Hello to Dyann Scarlett.
A Raven Maven is a tastemaker, they innovate and transcend pre-existing normalcy. By definition Raven, as an adjective means “of a glossy black color” and maven means “an expert or connoisseur.” Every quarter, we will select a Raven Maven, a member of the African diaspora who is making impactful work in society and culture. We will share their stories and discuss their motivations, failures and success. Our Raven Mavens, step in the room and they command attention and when he or she leaves their presence lingers. I'm proud to announce our very first Raven Maven in fashion, Dyann Scarlett.
Back in 2008 I had the pleasure to not only meet, but live with Dyann in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Throughout our time as roommates we shared many fun memories and heartfelt moments. During my initial interactions with "Dee" she gave off the vibe that she thought she was "all that". I came to find out that she was not only "all that", but so much more. Dyann is sweet, kind, creative and innovative. She is a positive influence and a supportive friend. With all these characteristics in mind, it made perfect sense to tap her for an interview. I recently had the chance to catch up with Dee and ask her 5 Ravin’ questions. I think you'll be surprised by the answers.
TOYA: Once you told me that when you're on the train you like to revamp people's outfit in your mind. You, know like change their look. Do you still do that and is it some sort of mental fashion exercise?
[Laughs] I can’t believe you still remember that! Yes, I do it every time I am on the train or wherever I am gathered around people. It has become a force of nature and also a sort of exercise for me. It keeps my fashion instinct alive. It’s funny now that I look back at it now because I have been doing it for years. Just this morning I created a whole outfit on the train in my head from these two ladies sitting across from me.
TOYA: You have close friends and a tight family. How do you keep your professional life and your loved ones happy and balanced?
My family and my friends are my backbone and lifeline. They keep me humble and balanced. It is very easy to get caught up in this "hype" and loose your way, I need them as an outlet and that’s what they are to me. Work is work and home is home. I try my best not to bring work home when I leave my office, I enter my home life and its all about laughter, love and family. That’s my sanity!
TOYA: Can you tell me 3 of your must haves in your closet and why are they important to you?
First, a great watch! Trust me ladies it makes a difference when you have a great watch on your wrist it shows that you prioritize in some sort of weird way. Second, a statement jacket — I have an obsession with jackets if my wardrobe can consist of only jackets I would be a happy girl. To me a great jacket adds style to any outfit. You can have on a simple black dress if you throw on a great jacket it can transform a whole outfit! I have this blue jacket from Zara whenever I wear with anything. People stop and give me compliments on that jacket — it makes a difference. And third, a white button up shirt. I have several and I constantly keep buying more. There is something about having a "white canvas" that allows you to experiment. You can throw on gold or color accessories, a fur vest or better yet go with black and white. Having a nice white fitted shirt allows you to create so many different outfits and I am obsessed with buying them.
TOYA: I designed the logo for Embellish Style, an online boutique developed by you and Yannica Souffrant. Tell me more about Embellish Style and what you and your partner hope to achieve or do differently?
Yes, you did and to see how much it has grown into this huge following is just amazing. Embellish Style, actually includes three partners: Yannica, Jay and myself. The three of us each bring such great energy and direction to our company. I thrive as the creative director and have the ability to showcase and use my creativity and skill set to push our brand and drive that innovative force.
Our goal from the beginning has been to showcase that raw fashion talent that is available to the world. We like to consider ourselves a platform for discovery. What we aspire for, at Embellish Style is for the everyday person to experience and have access to refreshing designers and their work. I will never forget I had a client one time who recently got divorced, lost a bunch a weight, she was very depressed and wanted a life "makeover." We took her shopping, got rid of all her old garments, revamped her closet and she felt like a new person. That’s why I love fashion. It’s more than clothes it makes you feel good. When you dress good, you feel good! This is not a popularity contest for me. Fashion is my life and I live for it.
TOYA: Share with us your two rules that you live by. How do they empower you?
For one, be nice to people and try your best to live good. I live by that motto, it's simple yet empowering. I have gotten a lot of things in my life by just being nice and good to people. I don’t have a bunch of degrees under my belt and nobody ever handed me anything. But a lot of doors have opened for me due to being kind and gracious and humble. People are attracted to that and just having a positive attitude makes a huge difference.
My second, rule is: It could be worst. I constantly have to repeat these words to myself. When I feel as if my back is to the wall or I am having a bad day and everything is going wrong. I stop and say to myself, "Dee it can be so much worst. Somebody elsewhere is in a way worst situation then you. Be thankful.” Those four words keep me grounded.