The Stylist Behind Bretman Rock's Fashion Transformation

The Stylist Behind Bretman Rock's Fashion Transformation

Sometimes, the making of a new fashion darling really does happen overnight. In Bretman Rock's case, it took place on July 22 when stepped out in the streets of New York wearing head-to-toe Peter Do. The outfit — ripped jeans, fitted blazer with metal lapels and ultra-low tank that revealed some rock-hard pecs — practically catapulted him into fashion stardom.

It was Rock's first-ever paparazzi street style moment, he told me a few weeks later outside Peter Do's show during New York Fashion Week. "It honestly was a surreal moment and day for me," he said of that viral moment. "I didn't think that Peter Do would ever dress me from head to toe that day."

He's since been a magnet for photographers at events and shows, wearing everything from vintage Roberto Cavalli to emerging designers like Robert Wun. His looks are androgynous, avant-garde, provocative and unabashedly sexy. He attributes the success of his new fashion journey to stylist Brian Meller, who he started working with this summer.

"My stylist has been very helpful in finding what I should be wearing," Rock adds. "I feel like I already have a pretty good idea of what my makeup should be like. So it's been great having a guardian angel dress me." Indeed, though he made a name for himself with beauty tutorials on YouTube, it's now his elevated wardrobe that's getting a chance in the spotlight.

PAPER caught up with Meller to learn more about their working relationship and how he was able to take Rock's style to the next level.

So how and when did you and Bretman first start working together?

Bretman and I started working together at the beginning of the summer. We met through a mutual friend and instantly connected. I think from the beginning there was a mutual vision we had for what we both wanted to do before we even spoke.

What were those first conversations like when you were deciding on how you both wanted to approach his street style?

One interesting thing is that before our first fitting, we didn't have much conversation on what he wanted to wear. It was very casual, just for a few street-style looks while he was visiting New York. I pulled some things from designers I loved and Bretman ended up liking them as well which showed how aligned we were from the beginning. We did talk more after that first fitting and both agreed that we were aiming for the next level in his fashion journey. Elevating not just by using high-end designers, but by mixing those brands in with emerging brands or industry favorites that might be new to some of Bretman's following like Peter Do and Robert Wun. Elevating by being more purposeful with the choices we make and thinking about how it contributes to the larger narrative we are trying to tell.

You've incorporated everything from archive runway looks to pieces by emerging designers. How do you decide which looks to pull on any given day?

The first time I met Bretman he was wearing a full vintage Jean Paul Gaultier denim look so I knew he had a love for vintage fashion that I really appreciate. It is amazing to work with someone who understands the beauty in wearing vintage pieces or making a reference so I knew that I definitely wanted to focus on pulling both archive runway looks and also lesser seen vintage pieces. For Bretman I worked a lot with ARTIFACT, a vintage rental place in New York that has an amazing collection. Their pieces were definitely some of Bretman's favorite but we always work on finding a balance between emerging designers, bigger brands, and vintage. It is also super important for Bretman to support designers from all different backgrounds. In the end, we usually just go with whichever look he feels best in regardless of if it is vintage or new season but that goes to show how wide of a variety there is to choose from.

What's it like to work with someone who's coming into their own on the style front? I imagine it's much different from working with an already established fashion star.

It has been liberating to work with someone that is coming into their own style because there is much more freedom to experiment and hone in what works collaboratively. As a stylist it is also motivating and inspiring to have someone that is so willing to try whatever you pull. There have been no limits. It allows me to take time to research new designers and pull pieces that might not be as "wearable" in a traditional sense. And even though Bretman is newer to that front, I think he will always have the edge of being open to anything and pushing the boundary of what is expected for him to wear. I think people can see that and that is why they have responded so well to this new chapter in fashion for him.

You've only just started working together, but what are some of your favorite moments that have come from this relationship so far?

That first Peter Do look that Bretman wore will always be so special to me because it is what started this whole journey. We were so excited when we tried that look on but I don't think we realized how well received it would be because, after all, it was just a street style look. But within 24 hours it had been posted all over Instagram, there were "viral" Tik Toks about it, and designers were emailing asking if they could send for Bretman. I think it helped Bretman and I both realize this major potential that we could tap into.

Other than that, my favorite moment has probably been the purple Robert Wun look, aptly named The Purple in his AW21 "Armour" collection. I knew from the moment I received that look that Bretman would wear it and when he put it on, we both shed a few tears of joy because of how perfect it was. It felt like the look was made for Bretman and it was so wonderful to be with him the whole night he was wearing it and see everyone's reactions to it in person. A moment that I will remember forever!

Photography: Brian Meller