Industry Insider: Anna Akbari, PhD of Closet Catharsis
Itâ€™s not everyday that you meet someone with a PhD in the fashion industry. So it comes as no surprise that I was immediately intrigued when I came across personal wardrobe stylist Anna Akbari of Closet Catharsis, who holds one in visual sociology from the New School. Last week, I managed to catch up with Anna in NYCâ€™s Hellâ€™s Kitchen neighborhood to learn more about her.
With an educational background in religious and Middle Eastern studies from New York University, Anna doesnâ€™t seem to be your likely candidate for a fashion stylist. But her story brings us back to summers spent in Nantucket in which she worked in sales at the local boutique. It was there that she noticed her gift in matching and pairing pieces for her customers, as well as mindfully kept observations of how customers interacted with her depending on what she wore. And with experience, her sales position led her to other opportunities encompassing more responsibilities, such as working in showrooms and presenting to buyers for well-known department stores.
Where the role of personal wardrobe stylist truly flourished was when Anna had begun wardrobe consultations for friends, and then moving onto several clients. There, it has since grown from a side-gig to an established company, Closet Catharsis, with services at affordable rates.
Notably, the story of hard work isnâ€™t one with which we are unfamiliar. What truly makes Anna special is her understanding and application of her studies in self-presentation and interaction. Catering to clients of all backgrounds, Anna listens specifically to each of their needs, whether it is to function as a personal shopping aide for an afternoon or assist in a cathartic experience of clearing the closet of mal-fitting pieces.
And while each shopping experience is different, Anna notes that not everyone is looking for a wardrobe of the latest arrivals. She recalls two of her clients; one of which only makes trips with Anna to Century 21 to spot hot deals, and another who only hits the department stores with Anna when the sales are the talk of Refinery29.
With all that said, Anna does have her own particular picks for stores that she enjoys frequenting and styles that she admires. Here are just a couple of her suggestions for those needing inspiration:
- Billy Reid (54 Bond St, New York, NY 10012, http://www.billyreid.com)
- JF&Son (19 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012, http://jfandson.com/)
- In God We Trust (265 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012, http://ingodwetrustnyc.com/)
- Old Hollywood (110 Mesrole Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222, http://oldhollywoodmoxie.com/)
- Wool & The Gang (http://www.woolandthegang.com)
- Rogan (330 Bowery Ave, New York, NY 10003, http://www.rogannyc.com)