BY Stephen Nartey, 9:30am July 12, 2023,

AJ Gibbson is the stylist behind some of Lil Nas X and Chloe Bailey’s most iconic looks

Alexander-Julian Gibbson/Photo credit: Alexander-Julian Gibbson via LinkedIn

Nigerian-American creative director Alexander-Julian “AJ” Gibbson emerged on the fashion scene with the dream of styling models but he ended up being the most sought-after by celebrities on the global stage. The most notable stars he has designed for are Laverne Cox, the first openly transgender person nominated for an Emmy; singer Chloe Bailey; rapper Lil Nas X, and many more.

Bailey was for example styled by AJ for her cover photo for Flaunt Magazine. The singer had indicated in media reports about how she lost confidence in showcasing her body. But it seemed AJ brought her self-confidence back in one of her major cover photos. Her fans went wild after social media was awash with different shades of photos in Flaunt magazine, according to Madamenoire. Celebrities including Marsai Martin, SZA, Snoh Alegra, and Jordyn Woods also went on social media to compliment her look in the cover photos. The singer was seen in different dimly lit scenes with jaw-dropping costumes and stunning hairstyles.

AJ also had the world talking when he styled Cox in a striking floor-length gown he crafted out of kanekalon braiding hair. The decision to style the Emmy award-winning actor was done on the spur of the moment when Cox was preparing for a Paper Magazine cover shoot in 2020. He used seven packs of bleach-blonde hair in designing the mermaid-shaped gown, spending two days making the dress. In media reports, AJ spoke about wanting to do something out of the ordinary for the actor. He knew the task would be daunting given the nature of how hair easily entangles and takes man hours to separate each stretch from the other. His first attempt at using the first hair was totally wasted but with determination, he brought out the imagery he had cast in his mind for the hair dress. Indeed, he killed the show as he had anticipated. His dexterity as a stylist became evident lending credence to why he is the preferred choice of many celebrities, according to Allure.

These are just a few of the celebrities AJ has dressed, boosting their self-confidence. Since he entered the fashion industry from his involvement at Howard University’s homecoming fashion show to styling singer Lucky Daye for his Candy drip tour, AJ’s art has known no boundaries. Raised in a Nigerian home in Houston, Texas, he had initially envisaged a life either as a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. But he always had an affinity for style and dressing and this led him to establish his clothing line at the young age of 16. He supervised his personal website and directed organized photo shoots as well. In the midst of it, he couldn’t divorce himself from the styling aspect which always caught his interest.

The dream was finally set after his internship at XXL Magazine in 2012. After he executed his first photo shoot and produced an eight-page thread as well as the concept, the director was impressed and assured him of a job after college. AJ switched courses as a pre-law student at Howard University to major in public relations and went on to intern at Flaunt Magazine and Fendi, where he got his first job.

With a thriving brand in the fashion industry, it isn’t surprising that the Nigerian-American creative director earned a place on the 40 Under 40 list of achievers. He attributes his growth and achievements to his Nigerian heritage where style took center stage in every activity of his life, whether he was dressing up for church or social events, according to Huffington Post.

“Styling is, in large part, literally just problem-solving. What is the situation at hand and what is required of me? And how can I fill that out? After I figure out how to make it happen, then I start applying my own style and my own flare to it,” AJ said of his work to the news site.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 12, 2023


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