As an only child growing up in New York City, Ayoka Lucas bypassed imaginary friends and instead consulted imaginary stylists. Her mother’s personal shopping business filled her home with racks of clothing and ignited her own desire to uncover styles by “reading fashion magazines, sneaking to watch MTV and simply being taken by glamour.”
Unless you’re living under a fashion-deprived rock, it’s likely you have seen her byline, heard her voice on the airwaves or watched her visions sashay down a runway over the last decade in Charleston.
All of her work is connected by an appreciation and adoration of style. But behind the bold colors, lavish textures and signature pieces lives a quieter, arguably stronger, connection--community.
The only child from New York City found a South Carolina village and a vehicle to help unite its people-–“the community has nailed collaboration and that’s key to its success,” Ayoka touts.
As the creator of Charleston Fashion Week and outspoken advocate for embracing progressive trends, Ayoka sees gratification that“we are now connecting with the world at large--you see fashion leaders from around the country coming to cultivate and celebrate fashion right here.”
She was able to work identifying and uniting the next crop of talented stylists, make-up artists, models, photographers and designers coming on the scene. Trendspotter tip: keep your eyes out for a collaboration with Emma Demuth, a local 16-year-old levitation photographer.
But as any fashionable socialite knows, no matter how much fun you’re having, there comes a time to hop to the next party. Lucky for you, Ayoka’s taking the cool kids she’s met along the way with her (and is always looking for new ones).
May 2013 marked the launch of Style Public, a culture club, based on “a desire to tell stories about amazing people from amazing people.” The site is dedicated to providing access to global trends in music, art, fashion and life
The goal is “to make exclusive stories more accessible, the things that are on the brink of national exposure.”
Watch for Ayoka to be making moves to the East Coast and beyond, bringing back inspiration, adding clients to her image consulting rolodex and spotting her treasured street style in locales around globe.
Words by: Meredith H. Siemens
Photography by: Corey Tenold
Photo Location: House of Mariana Hay, Croghan's