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Daily Inspiration: Meet Kari Cummings

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kari Cummings. 

Hi Kari, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My aunt was my very first creative influence. She did it all… She introduced me to designing as a kid. We stayed up late and practiced sewing, cooking, and talked about literally everything. I always cared about creative things. I was that weird kid, who was wearing different clothes, writing stories, and inventing things – the one who wanted to travel to other planets. That was always my thing and I always had the feeling that I wanted to do something with creation, ideas, imagination because I just loved it. 

I became fascinated with New York City and the fashion industry throughout the years and said, “I’m going.” I found myself at 18 traveling to a city I’ve never been to with $1,000 to my name, no social media presence, and waiting on my dream fill up my wallet. I initially went to New York to pursue a career in modeling. I went to endless casting calls, traded for print with almost every photographer in Brooklyn during that hot summer until I landed a deal with Bicoastal Management. Within my years of being represented, I was published in various magazines like Paper, Billboard, Fashion Bomb Daily, and unique brands. I had a very successful run in the modeling industry and loved every minute of it. 

However, my heart wasn’t fulfilled. I studied graphic design because I thought I might find out how to earn money with what I wanted to do. Then by chance, there was a contest by an advertising agency which I saw. So, I won the contest and the prize was an internship at an advertising company, Be Social Group, and that was my first time that I really had insight into the industry. To be honest, I had no idea it was an industry, I was absolutely unaware. Once there, it really stuck to me that ideas can be so powerful, and there are many components in being a creative director that I always loved. Its storytelling, it’s writing, its art, its filming, its photography, and all of those ingredients that I always loved and adored in myself and in others, came together. So that’s how I ended up being in the creative industry. I wanted to get more familiar with the process of behind the scenes and how every masterpiece is formed. 

At that moment nothing excited me outside of work as a creative director. I’ve been creating innovative content out the mud since. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road is bumpy but I’m on my way there. Maintaining as a creative, parent, entrepreneur, human being, etc. is no joke. The creative aspect has always been fluent but the business side is a learning progress. It’s so much ground to cover. Not every good creative is a good creative director. They may be a brilliant art director, a brilliant copywriter, but really sh*tty at leading people and not the best communicators or not the best with conflict. Every project I create is designed with a concept and a story behind it… that’s where my creative direction and leadership comes in. I plan every image/video months in advance and the content is broken down into several projects that take time, passion, patience, and a team that’s still building from scratch. 

In conclusion, once I do retire from managing the full business operation and get to focus solely on designing/creative direction, the mission is partially accomplished. There’s always more! 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m a Creative Director! I can also be labeled as a Wardrobe Stylist and Image Architect but nothing moves without the creative director. 

I specialize in buzz-worthy editorial photo shoots and music videos. Throughout my career, I’ve been extremely passionate about my job. I’ve always went against the rules of fashion while having fun with 70s glam, 90s street style, and the presents years fashion but also mixing high- and low-end brands. For me, being a creative isn’t all about luxury. It’s about making my clients feel comfortable, confident all while being able to express themselves. Whether I’m helping clients reclaim their image, set/product styling, or overall creative development on a project. I’m always on the move. 

I believe what sets me apart from others is my ability to invent a new image and increases a brand/person’s visibility. My job is, unarguably, more critical today than it ever has been. Why? The predominant methods of advertising/discovery are visual. If your visual and creative aspirations are larger than your current team’s capacity, then I’m the woman to contact. 

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
For me, I want to continue to grow. I consider myself very blessed because I’ve been able to, over the past five, six, seven years, lay a foundation in my career. People have seen the ideas evolve. I started out from crocheting to sitting in the beauty chair for Nars cosmetics. That A-Z is ultimately phase 1. In my mind, I haven’t done any work yet, I’ve just sort of made a case for why my point of view is valid. What I’m into now is making my voice mean something, making my voice speak to a larger creative community at hand and through action, not press releases, make something that is more heartfelt and speaks to the community and people and humanity frankly through my outlet of fashion, music art, and design. 

However, I would love to be hired by my favorite fashion houses like Dior and Louis Vuitton in the future. I would also love to start my own clothing line in the next year or so. That’s something I really look forward to. I do see a shift in trends and vintage becoming the new streetwear. 

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