A Convincing Reason to Look Beyond the Runways for Inspiration

Erykah Achebe is more inspired by the streets of New York and the culture of Nigeria. New York.

By: Tara Gonzalez
Styling: Noah Lehava, Tara Gonzalez

With a wardrobe of never-ending patterns, textures, and shimmer, Erykah Achebe could blend in amongst the colorful culture of Cuba, Nigeria, or the rest of New York—her style is somehow place-less. If time travel ever became a reality,  the Barneys New York stylist could also fare well in the ’70s, ’80s, or 2000s—truly timeless. Her wardrobe has everything from wide-legged denim to disco-ball earrings to this season’s structural Jacquemus.

When deciding what she would wear for this shoot, Achebe laughed at the notion of picking out her three looks the night before. She moved her fingers through the racks and pulled out a striped velvet top before deciding on a green glittered crop. “A full runway look is not inspiring,” she says as she pulls it off the hanger and over her torso. “People will ask, ‘What did they style it with?’ People don’t even have their own imagination...” She trails off and asks if we could tie a knot where the crop’s long trail begins at her back. As we fumble through the fabric, she insists there is no one way to do it: “At least, I don’t know the right way!” In Achebe’s closet there is no right or wrong way. There is just her way, which, to anyone looking in, would appear to be the exact right way.

Staying true to herself, Erykah Achebe is Erykah Achebe, walking down a runway only she could walk, on a block in Brooklyn. A runway where there are no full looks, but instead pieces of looks with patterns and colors and textures from everywhere and anywhere—from Nigeria to New York.

Click through to read how Erykah stages her Instagram photos, the best places to shop vintage in New York, and all the emerging designers you didn’t realize you needed to know about. You can also shop her style here.