Willyum Beck, Graphic Design Alum, Chosen as Stylist for Yeezy Collection

By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Gaming & Technology

April 28, 2016

Fashion Week Runway

Willyum Beck, who in 2011 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Portland, recently worked as a stylist for Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 presentation at New York Fashion Week. He was one of six stylists who worked directly with Renelou Padora, Kanye West's personal stylist, during the collection premiere at Madison Square Garden.

Willyum earned the nod to work on the Yeezy collection by applying to be a stylist for the “VFILES Runway Competition,” a user-generated Fashion Week show showcasing designers, models, photographers, stylists, and make-up artists discovered on VFILES’ website. While he wasn’t initially selected, Willyum received a call from VFILES creator Julie Anne Quay (JAQ) asking him if he’d come to New York City for a “special project.”

Willyum later learned that Kanye West’s creative team utilized VFILES as a platform to identify stylists for the Yeezy Season 3 presentation—and that they liked the look of Willyum’s portfolio.

When he viewed the Yeezy collection, Willyum had an immediate positive response to its focus on body positivity. “It challenged the antiquated standards of beauty. [Kanye West] also handpicked the models and every single one was a person of color. The fact that his show featured 1,200 black models makes him the most important person in fashion right now,” Willyum asserts.

The Big Reveal

In the days leading up to the runway show, Willyum helped to merchandise clothing. On the day of the show, he dressed the female models. “Each stylist had 20 assistants from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising who helped us to dress the 1,200 models,” he says.

“It felt amazing seeing everything come together. I had goose bumps the entire show. All the hard, grueling work and sleep deprivation were worth the final product. The statement was really powerful and I felt like I had some part in that message, which is the best feeling. I'll never forget it.”

He admits that nothing could have prepared him for the sheer magnitude of the runway production. And while he always had a love for fashion, Willyum adds that three instructors at The Art Institute of Portland were instrumental in building his technical fashion skills.

“[Fashion instructors] Melanie Risner and Sue Bonde were major influences. I didn't even know how to thread a needle on a sewing machine prior to [my fashion studies]. They gave me a crash course in the fundamentals and technical aspects that I wasn't able to teach myself.” Christine Taylor, who previously taught photography at the school, has provided continued inspiration. “My styling work and collaboration with Christine is what caught the attention of VFILES and Kanye West's creative team,” Willyum adds.

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By: Rachel Handel Filed under: Gaming & Technology

April 28, 2016

alumni new york fashion week Portland