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Stylist Taylor Okata Shares a Piece of Golden Fashion Advice

Stylist and creative Taylor Okata is paving the way for what should be an entirely new generation of stylists. By nature, those who style editorials, campaigns, and the like are tasked with telling stories through clothing.
But today’s tastemakers, like Okata, are infusing who they are into everything they do. It means Okata’s latest gig, helping bring to life the Spring 2022 Jacquemus show in his native Hawai’i, wasn’t just a passion project—it was a healing moment for his queer inner child; a chance to represent his culture in the biggest way possible, resulting in a viral moment that had the industry talking across Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

In the interview below, get to know Okata as he styles some of his favorite gold Mejuri pieces and walks through how he got to where he is today and what he hopes the future of fashion holds.

Tell us who you are, what you do, and what you stand for.
My name is Taylor Okata and I’m a Creative Director and Fashion Stylist. I stand for creating a safe space where indigenous and local creatives get the representation and protection we deserve. Growing up in Hawai’i, I always felt this was missing. Whether I can make a difference through visual (story-telling), calling out negative stereotypes and xenophobia – I always aim to represent me and my culture at best.

Taylor Okata wears Essential Cuff, Small Hoops, Curb Chain Necklace, Baby Box Chain Necklace, Flat Curb Chain Necklace, Stacker Ring and Eternity Band

Walk us through a day in your life.
No day is really quite the same, haha. It depends on where I am, the day and the project(s). I was working in Honolulu over the last six weeks, so I’d wake up at 4AM (due to the time difference) to be online for my Hawthorne team and other ongoing projects.

Tell us about your recent experience working on the Jacquemus show and why it was such a first for you but also the brand/luxury fashion at large.
It’s still a bit difficult to articulate how much this was a dream come true for me, my business partner Ben (@passion.fruit), and so many of my fellow locals involved. It was a healing moment for my (queer) inner child — talk about a full circle moment. Growing up, I felt I had no choice but to leave the islands in order to “succeed.” The opportunities I wished for seemed nonexistent, and there’s still a lack of representation and visibility for local talent. That’s why this project, in all aspects, has changed my life and inspired so many. The Hawai’i representation was just beyond — Not only on the runway, but for all of the artists, crews and guests involved. When has another brand, or luxury fashion at large, highlighted local talent across all platforms in such a capacity?

Taylor wears Flat Curb Chain Necklace, Baby Box Chain Necklace and Beaded Cushion Gemstone Pendant

How would you describe your personal style? And in what way(s) has Hawaii played a role in helping you discover or define yourself through fashion?
I just do me, haha. If it doesn’t feel authentic, I won’t force it. I don’t personally take part in a trend just because it’s a trend. I won’t wear just any brand. Hawai’i has always played a vital role in my personal style, and my work ethic is heavily influenced by my cultural upbringing. I wear and work with brands + designers with a mindset I relate to. I was raised on Hip-Hop and R&B, but also Punk, Ska, Skate, Surf, and Native Islander contexts, so all of these things have had an impact on my perception of style and the way I dress.

Taylor wears Single Colored Mini Hoop Blue Sapphire

What should people know about Hawaii?
To start, educate yourself on the complex history of Hawai’i — We have such a rich culture, which for the most part, hasn’t been properly communicated in Western culture and media. Also, there is a big difference between being (Native) Hawaiian and being from Hawai’i.

Debunk a myth or common preconceived notion about jewelry.
I used to be advised against mixing metals. However, I typically wear yellow gold with white gold and/or sterling silver.

Taylor wears Curb Chain NecklaceBaby Box Chain Necklace,  Eternity Band and Stacker Ring 

Tell us a time where you used fashion and/or accessories to break the rules or do things your own way.
I’ve used fashion to break the rules and do things my own way since I can remember. I was told I dressed “weird” or was doing “too much” with how I dressed from the time I was a child. I just kept going, and it’s got me to where I am today.

Taylor wears Eternity BandCurb Chain NecklaceBaby Box Chain Necklace and Beaded Cushion Gemstone Pendant

When it comes to gender and jewelry—what has always been your approach? And what do you think it will take to even further de-gender jewelry?
I personally don’t shop by gender. My approach is what I like and what feels good on me. Growing up, I was exposed to beautiful pieces made with Tahitian Pearls and Ni’ihau Shells, which other cultures may only categorize for women. When it comes to shopping by gender, I think there’s a lot we need to unlearn and become confident in. We see so many men wearing pearls now, so it’s definitely happening.

Can you share with us your #1 styling rule?
Don’t force it.

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