Empower Mag: Mike B, Stylist to Entertainment's Elite
Editor’s Note: Today I bring you a post from the weekly column I pen over at Empower Magazine, an online and in print quarterly business, entertainment and community interest publication, dedicated to highlighting and uplifting the entrepreneurial spirit.
He was born Michael G. Barnett, and is known for enhancing the flavor of some of the biggest and most fashionable names in entertainment. Mike B (as he is affectionately called) always knew that he loved style and fashion, but he never thought about being a stylist... The very thing his weekly shopping trips with his mother was grooming him to be. Mike B's accomplishments speaks for itself. As one of the most accomplished stylist in the business he helped shaped the image of some of the most influential music icons including The Notorious B.I.G. and Sean "Puffy" Combs, as well as a ten year stint as the in-house stylist and fashion director for Bad Boys Entertainment. Today he is focused on building is own style conglomerate BOGARD (Building Organizations Geared towards Real Deals) Management & Consulting LLC, with a very impressive client list. Celebrities the likes of Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Ludacris, Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, and Dr. Dre. Collaborating with brands such as Nike, Reebok, Budweiser, Beats by Dre and State Farm; as well as consulting on designs for RocaWear, New Balance, Adidas, and Public School NYC. I caught up with Mike B. for a little chat, see below.
I hear you are not a man who is led by the trends?
My style is influenced by the streets. To describe it… clean and classic with a touch of renegade couture.
You worked seven years as Groovey Lew's intern assistant without pay, before becoming Puffy's liaison. Tell us why the extended internship?
I did it for the love and to sharpen my skills. To network and build relationships. That's the kind of hustle that most people don't understand. Those seven years was like going to University, for free. Back then as interns we didn’t do it for money, we did for the love.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Just do your homework! Go and figure it out. Learn your craft and study the history, as there is nothing new created under the sun. Styling was like Double Dutch, I just jumped in!
What is the biggest lesson you've learnt from guys like Sean "Puffy" Combs, Groovey
Lew and others?
Always make sure you have a notebook and pen. Write down everything, be eager to learn. Nobody is going to give you anything, you've got to create your own name.
What has been your biggest achievement or career highlight?
Despite working with some of the biggest names in the business, my biggest achievement to date is being able to finally build my own name and brand.
Who are your style icons?
My style icon is Ralph Lauren, the god of lifestyle. You can wear Ralph Lauren, eat on Ralph Lauren, and paint your house with Ralph Lauren.
Mike can't live without his...
Tech must have:
His phone aka "the office" with the streets being his boardroom.
Power style accessories and staples:
His hats and sunglasses. He is never without them - they change by the day and the weather.
His home is NY, his hustle is LA and his lifestyle is worldwide.
Follow Mike B on Twitter and Instagram @iBOGARD
Read more about this style maker in the Summer print issue of Empower Magazine on a news stand near you.