Deidré Mckenzie using tools, talent - ‘Switch it Up’ gives stylist bigger platform
On January 21, when Protoje released the music video for Switch it Up, his scorching collaboration with Koffee, fans were undoubtedly excited to hear and see the two musical geniuses on the same track. So when the video dropped, it came as no...
On January 21, when Protoje released the music video for Switch it Up, his scorching collaboration with Koffee, fans were undoubtedly excited to hear and see the two musical geniuses on the same track. So when the video dropped, it came as no surprise that much of the talk around the video surrounded the lyrical potency displayed by the duo. However, that was not the only reason the video created a buzz. A huge talking point following its release was the wardrobe.
Set against the backdrop of the stylish Gatsby era, the visuals, which saw cameos from the likes of Lila Iké, Sevana, Jesse Royal, Jaz Elise and more, was the talk of the town as viewers highlighted the immaculate, posh and polished pieces. Indeed, the entire cast was serving looks!
Soon after the video’s release, the styling had everyone enquiring about the person behind the looks, leaving the woman who put together the wardrobe totally overwhelmed by the response. In an interview with The Gleaner, brand and image consultant Deidré Mckenzie revealed her styling credits, including the dancers’ looks in Masego and Shenseea’s Silver Tongue Devil, as well as Afro B, Vybz Kartel and Dre Skull’s hit single, Shape Nice. Still, nothing prepared her for the feedback she received from the Protoje and Koffee video. Recalling how she was put onto the project, McKenzie described the entire experience as a dream.
“A friend of mine, Nellie, she and I went to college together, we graduated from the same programme at Edna Manley. She works with Xtreme Arts and so she called me and said, ‘Girl, I have an opportunity for you, yuh nah go say no. As a matter of fact, I am not even going to give you a chance to say no. Protoge and Koffee.’ That’s all she said and I was like screaming. I was at work because I work a 9-5, proper proper office and I was like ‘What yuh saying, no yuh lying to me, I not taking you serious’,” she recalled.
McKenzie said nothing could contain her excitement. “I got excited. I was bouncing off the walls, nobody couldn’t chat to me for the rest of the day because I was so excited about this project. She was like, ‘OK, I am going to send the song to yuh and I just want you to tell me what you think’. I thought about which era really captured the type of look we were trying to go for and instantly I thought of the Gatsby era. I thought 1940s and it was all about gloves, all about diamonds and glamour and they were just very posh during that time. But I was like let’s do that, but with a modern twist.” McKenzie said.
With a short timeframe to execute, she admitted she was a little flustered wondering how she would pull it off, but decided to lean on her creative skills. The stylist told The Gleaner that she created most of the accessories worn in the video, hand-stitching, mixing and matching where necessary. “As I wondered how I would get all these things, I reminded myself that ‘Girl, you’re good at creating accessories so just create everything’. I created the pins that were on their collars, I created the accessories that were on the girls, the fur coats etc. I could hardly find any gloves and the little ones I had were so basic that I kinda just glued on something here and stitched something and it all literally came together two days before the shoot.”
Although everything was working itself out, McKenzie admitted to becoming a little flustered by the magnitude of the project. She expressed that with the video being two internationally acclaimed celebrities, it dawned on her that there was no room to ‘mess up’. “Everything was coming together but I remember for like a big portion of it all, for about a day, I just cried. I was like how am I going to pull this off, is me one and this is Protoje we’re talking about. This is Koffee,” she said. “The excitement was still there innu but for a big part of it, I was just like, I just don’t want to mess this up. It was crucial for me to get this right.”
In the end, after all the hard work she put in, she did get things right. Not only did she get validation from both Protoje and Koffee, but countless fans of the artistes. So much so, that her phone did not stop ringing after the music video release. “The day of the video, I was like just waiting to see the whole thing together. I was waiting like everybody else. It gets released, I watch it and what I was thinking cannot be said on camera because I was like, overwhelmed with everything,” she said.
The response has been amazing. McKenzie added, “My phone just started going off and I’m like ‘What’s happening here?’ Then I started seeing messages coming in, I started seeing people reposting, people tagging me in the video, articles started going out and in these articles people were saying ‘But the styling’ and I was like ‘You’re talking about my styling?’ It was overwhelming. I can’t lie. I was shook.”
Since then, McKenzie, who works in marketing, said she has seen doors open and opportunities coming her way. She said persons have been put on to her work and have begun approaching her to work on their projects.
“I have learnt not to put too much expectations into anything because where it all comes from is hard work. At the end of the day, its all up to me to make sure that coming out of that buzz, I continue to put out content and put people’s faith into my work. Really and truly, I was not relying on that video to do anything for me but what has been happening since that video is that persons are coming to me, they are asking me a little bit more about the work that I do and I have a few projects that I have started to work on since then,” she said.
“The whole basis of Mz Xeri is taking beauty and creating beauty out of nothing. Now that people see what I am about, it’s now all about ensuring that I put my best foot forward in everything that I do and use the tools that I have been given to make things work out for me.”