Coolest Person In The Room: Briana Andalore

Coolest Person In The Room: Briana Andalore

Story by Andrew Nguyen / Photography by Diego Villagra MottaMay 02, 2024

Popularity is relative, especially in the digital age. You could have hundreds of thousands of followers online but be completely unknown in the streets — massively famous on Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, but lack any kind of real, authentic cool in person. For our series Coolest Person in the Room, we pinpoint all the people whose energy is contagious regardless of their following count or celebrity. Meet Briana Andalore — the original downtown girl and stylist behind Julia Fox's nonstop iconic looks — born and raised in New York — that you need to know.

Hello, am I speaking to the coolest person in the room?

No, babe! You’re the coolest person in the room.

No, you are. That’s why we shot you for this!

Aw, babe!

How are you? What are you working on?

I'm good. I'm just digging myself out of returns. But it's good because it means it's closing that door and opening another. I was working on the Kehlani music video for “After Hours.”

How did you get into styling?

I don't know, at the thrift store? My mom used to always take me to a thrift store growing up — we didn't have a lot of money. It was also like a different era for thrift stores. We would go to the ones on the Upper East Side where all the rich people donated their clothes, so we’d get like Christian Dior coats. My mom's really stylish so we had to make our looks fab. She loved putting me in dresses and frilly things and bows. She'd always dress me up. I always looked really good. That's really like where it came from.

Where did you grow up in the city?

I grew up on Bleecker and Thompson. I'm a real downtown girl.

Shirt: OMIGHTY, Glasses: Karen Wazen Collection, Bra: Vintage, Pants: Dilara Findikoglu, Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti, Necklace: Jersey Virago, Bags: Dsquared2

What was your introduction to the fashion industry?

My mom was a jewelry vendor and designer and sold jewelry on the street. We were always doing that growing up. I was always in SoHo, so my entire life was surrounded by fashion. I was just born to be in it, in a way, like I always wanted to work in fashion. In high school, I used to be like a cyberpunk goth — I was always doing something crazy with my clothes. But I was like, I can't stay another day longer in high school. So I went to this really cool alternative high school called City-As-School, where you could do internships for credit, so I ran. I just knew that was the path for me.

I ended up getting an internship when I was 16 with this fabric company called Milano Merchandising or something like that. It was really strange and a different era. We would get textiles from different mills around the world and cut swatches and go on fabric meetings and pick the fabrics. I’d go to meetings with Betsey Johnson and Anna Sui. And Baby Phat bought some of the fabric that chose to bring to a meeting.

So textiles were kind of my first love in fashion, and I really wanted to be a designer. Then I worked in retail in SoHo when I was 17, because of course you have to be a retail queen if you want to work in fashion. That's where I learned how to do everything that I do. By 19, I was promoted to become the manager of the store. Then I started Franziska Fox with Julia when we were like 22 or 23. We literally looked at each other one day and were like, “Let's start a fashion brand.”

Glasses: Chrome Hearts, Dress: Mad Morpho, Top: Maison Margiela, Collar: Bootzy Couture, Headpiece: Piers Atkinson, Glasses: Chrome Hearts, Shoes: Talent’s own

Did you ever have like an “I made it” sort of moment?

I don't know if I ever felt that. I always knew that I was a fashion person.

How did you develop your personal style?

I don't really think too hard about it. Even for the pictures for you guys like, I didn't plan anything. I just put my outfits on. It just comes instinctually. All my friends are like, “So what are you gonna wear?” I'm like, “I have no idea.” I'm a 20-minute queen. I literally get together in 20 minutes because like that's my entire life. I mean, I guess I'm always on the hunt. Maybe that's the planning. I'm always looking for new clothes in my free time. When we're on vacation, we're always going vintage shopping, too. When we were in Lebanon, I started talking to some cool people from the internet and then they got me in touch with cool, young designers and then we went to their store. There's always a vibe happening.

Top and bottoms: Fal-ash, Sunglasses: Karen Wazen Collection, Shoes: GCDS

How was working on OMG Fashun?

That was really an evolution of what Julia and I had been doing. The designers are supposed to create things in each challenge, so Julia’s in-theme with them throughout the show. I was sort of a contestant in a weird way, too, because I had to get scrappy and find different things based on the themes. But I didn't have very long to make all of the looks, to be honest. I feel like I had a month, so we made some things in house, and my assistants and interns went to thrift stores around the whole city looking for things.

All of the years of hunting for people and designers came together, using pieces from around the world from people that I've already worked with who made customs. It was just about trusting people and great working relationships. There were a lot of people that we worked with at the inception of their career, so it's like we kind of did it together in this weird way. And then this is our moment where we made a bigger significant look. I’m excited for the world to see really cool looks and all the really cool contestants. I’ve formed relationships with some of them and am trying to work with them more now and just creating a bigger fashion family, like one of the contestants I just used in the music video. I always love working with new people and the same people and getting different opportunities for all of us.

It's really amazing that you've been able to work with literal lifelong friends like Julia and genuinely support each other.

That's my best friend. That's my sister. At the end of the day, if everything was to go away, we would still have each other. She's my family.

Dress: Jersey Virago, Glasses: Chrome Hearts, Shoes: Balenciaga

Do you have any advice for people trying to make it in the fashion industry?

It's about being kind and loving and authentic and really working hard. I worked in retail for seven years learning SKUs and doing inventory at my store, but now I take inventory of all my samples that come in. I had to learn it and acquire it. Also, handle things with care and take care of people. It takes time. It takes doing a lot of odd jobs, but then it all just comes together.

Do you go out still?

I don't really do that anymore — I'm at Club Briana. During the day, I have to do logistics, return things and answer emails. The only time I get to create is at night, so I prioritize that instead of going to the club. I have to prioritize things that I care about right now, and if that means sacrificing going out sometimes, that's okay.

The last thing I want to ask is: what does “cool” truly mean to you?

Being yourself and owning your truth. Whatever your truth is, just be it. There's no reason to hide or be someone else. Whether you come from this or that, it still can all be cool as long as you own it. That just shows through, and the rest comes. I don't think it's about style either. It comes from inside. People come in all kinds of styles. It's about your heart and your love.

Photography: Diego Villagra Motta
Hair: Marin Mullen
Makeup: Amelia Jackie

Editor-in-chief: Justin Moran
Managing editor: Matt Wille
Editorial producer: Angelina Cantú
Andrew Nguyen