Amani Skalacki is the local stylist and artist taking over the fashion scene in Kansas City and beyond. She turned her interest in fashion and knowledge of accessories into a successful career in fashion, editorial and advertising in local and national magazines and advertising campaigns. Her portfolio includes jewelry and accessories design, wardrobe, prop and set styling, as well as fashion editorial writing. After receiving her degree in Art History and Fine Arts from Kansas State University, she worked for various art organizations before fully devoting herself to her artwork.
“I have worked in the corporate world for more years than I can count. I worked for the Chicago Art Institute, Kansas City Art Institute, The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and Hallmark. I have always made artwork, but it wasn’t until I found myself burned out on corporate America that I took the plunge into making art full time. I was selected to show my work at the West 18th Street Fashion Show, Triple Crown Summer in 2012. Kelly Kuhn, owner of Blue Gallery, was in the audience and was impressed by my work. We developed a show called ‘In Bloom’ that was inspired by the collection I showed at the fashion show. A photographer saw my work at Blue Gallery and asked if he could use my work for a shoot—I showed up on set and was asked to style the shoot. I received a styling credit and then started styling in Kansas City and assisting stylists in Los Angeles and Chicago and eventually became a full-time stylist. Since then, my work has been featured in magazines in all three cities.
Because of my art background, I have a strong understanding of a variety of materials. My styling work is not specific to one area. I’ve been lucky to work with clients ranging from luxury to commercial markets with shoestring budgets. I love a challenge! I can make just about anything with a limited amount of materials. It’s all about understanding the basics of design and construction.”
Skalacki believes that fashion should be accessible to everyone, which is why she styles for every body type and budget.
“I am known for pairing high-end pieces with thrift store finds. I love the high-low contrast. It’s finding beauty in the misfits, or the discarded objects that are just waiting to be transformed into treasures. Fashion should not only be accessible based on cost, but it should also be accessible to women of all shapes and sizes. I love working with clients and models with curves. It’s real life. There are more women that are a size 10 than a size 2. I think it’s important to show a variety of shapes and sizes in my editorial and commercial work. I also believe models don’t need to be 18 to thrive in the editorial or commercial market. I am seeing more of a shift in the fashion world to include a variety of sizes as well as ages. I love that!”
Skalacki’s most recent work is her Hardware Collection. She’s created jewelry from recycled plumbers chain that’s woven with gold-plated wire crystals and vintage glass beads. It’s inspired by her grandparents’ migration to the United States on the S.S. United States ocean liner in the 1950’s and is a tribute to their courage to fulfill their dreams in America. Skalacki says they were master tradespeople—her grandfather was a master tool dye maker and her grandmother was a dressmaker, and both concealed the few family treasures they had in the seams of dress linings and hidden pockets. Those treasures are now revealed and exaggerated for all to see, blurring the lines between structure and embellishment.
“The show is inspired by the pieces I created for the West 18th Street Fashion Show, Summer Migration. The collection was originally created based on my grandparents’ migration to the United States from London. The collection was a snapshot of the larger collection I am creating for Blue Gallery. I will be working with the same materials and will also be adding semi-precious stones. I’m creating a series of larger pieces including corsets, breastplates and statement necklaces, which will be displayed in a way that they can be viewed as stand-alone pieces of art or jewelry that can be worn.”
Skalacki is currently working on an art show at Blue Gallery that will open later this year. For more information, visit BlueGalleryOnline.com. To view Skalacki’s styling work, visit SkalaDesigns.com.