Marko the Curator announced the release of Timeless Fashion Through The Eye of Marko The Curator exclusively via Billboard on Thursday (Nov. 14).
The anecdotal coffee table book — available for purchase on Dec. 1 — is inspired by the vintage curator and celebrity stylist’s 20 favorite pieces that he’s both collected and used to dress his biggest clients, including Migos and Travis Scott, throughout his decade of working with hip-hop artists.
Although he is still open to crafting images for new artists “if it’s right,” Marko says this book is his announcement of his shift of focus from celebrity styling to his design projects — like his upcycled Gucci collection titled Dr. Guccenstein — and selling one-of-a-kind vintage finds.
In honor of the styling period of his life, Timeless Fashion Through The Eye of Marko The Curator fondly mentions career-making moments like styling Migos for their “T-Shirt” video and lending Versace pieces to Trinidad James.
His new creative endeavors include opening up his current archive to a club that for $1000 annually — which goes towards a first purchase — allows members to receive exclusive access to vintage pieces from high-fashion brands like Gucci, Chanel, and Versace.
He has also partnered with Threadbeast as the first stylist for their Guest Stylist program. He visited the headquarters of the men’s streetwear subscription box service to lend his eye to the creation of unique packages for customers.
Uday Singh, Threadbeast founder and CEO, says he selected Marko as the first stylist because “with our guest stylist program we wanted to show the versatility of our approach and the brands we work with by partnering with notable stylists. With our curated and highly personalized approach, it was a no brainer to bring in Marko.”
As Marko prepares for the release of his book, his members only club, and collaboration with Threadbeast, Billboard sat down with him to talk about working with Migos, entering the fashion world, and being inspired by musicians.
How did you get into fashion?
I think it was the universe’s plan, but it all came through my mama and music. My mom, I credit her for my eye in fashion. She worked hard all her life and I remember even her uniforms always looked pristine. When she had a day off, she was always dressed very nicely and tried to make us dress nicely. My love for music is what really took me into fashion because I grew up in a CD era. I love Nas and when I heard him, I wanted to see what he looked like. When I opened the CD case and saw that he looked just as dope as he sounded, that became my personal aesthetic. I wanted to look just like these heroes that I listened to.
What brought you into the world of styling for celebrities?
I was always trying to do music myself. The producer who helped me out at the time, he was also a musician. I’d always come around and have cool sunglasses or chains, and he asked me for wardrobe help because he started having red carpets and videos. We started bartering my services for studio time, and then he started inviting me to parties and events. We were at an event and I met a director who introduced me to King Los, who had just been signed to Bad Boy, and I started styling for him. And Bad Boy Records was trying to sign Trinidad James at that time, so they brought me in to help woo him, and I started working with him. It just spread from there to Future to Migos. It went from me being a musician to getting more attention for my wardrobe. I became the industry’s best little secret for the past eight years.
Who has been your favorite artist that you’ve styled?
Eric Bellinger. I believe in things being organic, and he has such a great energy. We vibe and he has this great eye for fashion. He loves to reinvent himself for every project. He also trusts my eye. We can run wild with a cool idea and let it really unravel.
Why did you decide to make your next project a members only collection?
When I was styling, my biggest fear was to dress someone and have them walk into an event and find someone else wearing the same thing. That’s why it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I started pulling from showrooms and from stores because I would style people on my own one-of-a-kind archives. There are going to be some pieces that are online, but there’s a lot that will be exclusive to the members only. There’s certain pieces that you have to touch and feel in person. I want people to come in and have an experience and be able to touch the garment, try it on, feel it, and really get a hands-on approach to it. I want that exclusivity of people knowing they have access to rare archives.
What was your inspiration behind creating this book?
There’s been such a huge buzz and resurgence in vintage fashion among the new young batch of kids. I started seeing all of these vintage vendors and vintage collectors pop up. And I was like, “Yo, I have this collection that I’ve really never shared with anybody. It’s always been for myself and my clients.” I would see other people’s curated collections and I don’t think they compare to what I have, so I thought it would be a good time to share my eye and my stories with the world.
What’s your favorite piece in your book?
If I had to choose one, I would say an Autumn/Winter ’89 Moschino dinner jacket. It’s so mind-blowing to see a military-cut jacket having cutlery as hardware. It’s a piece of art.
Out of all the memories attached to pieces in your book, which one would you say is your favorite?
The Pendleton Navajo print coat. It’s the one you see Quavo wearing in the “T-shirt” video and on the Culture album cover. I remember I bought it at a flea market in Pasadena before I met Migos. It was in my closet for five, six years, and then I got the call two days before we flew out to do the “T-shirt” video, knowing that there was a snow scene. We wanted to do this whole outdoorsy vibe, and I thought, “Oh my God, this is the perfect time. I finally get the chance to bring this jacket out.” And he loved it. Unknowingly that becomes the cover of the album. Offset put one on and then Takeoff could’ve worn the third one, but I remember he had his mom’s fur coat. That’s why I have on the extra one. We were able to take some behind the scenes pictures, like one of me and Quavo wearing the matching one that was supposed to be for Takeoff.
How did it feel to unexpectedly have your pieces worn on the Culture album cover?
It was one of the most rewarding things in the world. I was inspired to do this by looking at my favorite rappers, so to see people that I inspire now inspire the next batch of kids, I think that’s the most full circle thing in the world.