Neko Kelly has a passion for fashion
Twenty-three-year-old Neko Kelly eats, sleeps and breathes fashion.
The creative director and stylist, who operates under the moniker, Bootleg Rocstar, told THE STAR that he dreams of becoming a fashion mogul, and he has been working assiduously to make it a reality.
Kelly, who hails from Old Harbour Bay in St Catherine, has done styling and creative directing for many big names, such as I-Octane, Konshens and Masicka. His services have also been employed by the New York-based Elements Magazine, and local magazines such as Buzzz, Envy Fashion, The Gleaner's Flair and Kerry Manwomanhome.
The Clarendon College past student told THE STAR that's his passion for fashion developed during childhood when his fashion savvy mother would dress him in trendy outfits.
"Ever since I could remember, I'm that person that's always telling people how to dress. My family is really a family that is aware of fashion. My mother made sure we were always 'clean', and we always have trendy things. So, it stemmed from that," Kelly explained.
It was during his first year at the University of the West Indies, Mona, where Kelly was studying for his bachelor's degree in language communication and society, that he got his professional start in the fashion industry. His classmate introduced him to an international stylist, for whom Kelly later became an assistant, and worked on many projects.
"My duties were to be on set before her and organise the clothes. I was basically her second (set of) eyes. She would ask my opinion on ideas. The first major shoot I assisted her on was Buzzz Magazine and it was with Konshens and Masicka," Kelly shared.
Eventually, the gigs became sporadic, and Kelly grew weary of waiting on calls from his boss, so he branched out as a freelancer, and started sourcing job opportunities on his own.
"The first shoot I did on my own was with Envy Fashion Magazine last year, and I actually came on the cover for that. I was the model, stylist and creative director," Kelly shared.
Since then, the Bootleg Rocstar has been in high demand by people who crave his creative insight.
"I have like a million projects in the pipeline. I'm always working. I have a project with Miss Jamaica World first runner up, Royanne DeSilva, and Envy Fashion Magazine's July issue. I recently did three natural hair photo shoots for a lady who has a product line coming out soon," Kelly shared.
For those hoping to make their mark in the fashion industry, Kelly advised that they should market their talent every chance they get.
"When you meet people, you have to look the part, talk the part, and really be knowledgeable about the industry. Also, there are a lot of events that are held during the year that you can go and volunteer and interact with the right people," Kelly advised.