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Elly Karamoh, the Man Behind Steve Harvey’s Fashion Reign

Steve Harvey is one of many Black male public figures who serve as an embodiment of high fashion style, often seen donning different arrays of colorful tailored suits and trendy trench coats. Harvey’s fashion sense has inspired other Black men. Harvey has one man to thank for his bold looks, Parisian-born stylist Elly Karamoh.

Photo Credit: Aurelien Desmettre

Karamoh was inspired by fashion at an early age while growing up in Paris. “I remember vividly at a young age, watching the couture shows because it is a part of the culture of Paris,” Karamoh explained. “There was a channel that we used to watch my mom and my sister [and I], and it would have a fashion segment and at the end of the news there will be a couture segment where they will highlight Karl Lagerfeld and John Galliano and they would highlight all the runway pieces in there”, he added. Beyond what he saw on television, his mother served as an example of the importance of displaying a unique style in person. “I remember when leaving the house my mom would put a lot of effort in dressing us and telling us that appearance matters and she would, she would name her bags, she would she would categorize her bags, she would say, go get my Louis Vuitton bag or go get my Celine bag,” Karamoh stated. “So at a young age identified fashion as a representation, identified it as a character in a way,” he added.

One major shift in Karamoh’s childhood that would influence his ideas of fashion was moving from Paris to the United States in the eighth grade. While Karamoh’s native language is French he struggled to learn the English language. “ With the isolation of learning English, I really took the time and dedication and commitment to fashion digitally and print. So I would just literally, to learn English, I would be in this [ESOL] program in school, and then I would watch the Disney Channel every day when I got back home to understand how people use the language”, Karamoh stated. “And then in my past time, because I didn't have friends, I would watch couture shows.I would watch all the couture shows.'' One such Disney Channel series that caught the young designer’s attention was Raven Symone’s television series That’s So Raven. Symone’s character in the series was a fashion designer. “I loved what she represented as a young kid. I did. I thought she was so fly. Raven Baxter was that girl”, Karamoh commented.

Photo Credit: Justin Boone

After high school, Elly began to obtain his first hands-on professional experience in learning fashion design, working in a private custom bespoke men’s wearhouse called Hierarchy Bespoke. During his employment, he began to hone in on skills such as proportion measurements, and how to understand the masculine physique to mask the posture of a man, as well as how to sell a product that doesn’t currently exist. Elly was able to also tap into skills learned from working various different sales associate positions in retail stores, and through unpaid internships.

“I wanted this so bad, where I didn't look at it like I had any other option, so working somewhere for free, I never looked like I was wasting my time. And I just didn't compare myself to others because a lot of the time I was isolated by others because I like fashion. I'm a young black man who liked fashion who talked about fashion and was scared to express themselves with his image”, Karamoh said. “And so I already learned how to be uncomfortable in a public setting. I got comfortable being uncomfortable. I set my mind on standing out at an early age, so I was really determined to get where I was.” Elly’s drive motivated him to sneak into New York Fashion Week shows, while also studying fashion designers, street style photographers and models. “People my age or even older ask me, How did I get here? and the answer never sounds realistic. It always sounds cliche, work hard. But really, you really, you have to be really committed and dedicated. You know, you have to pray about what you want. You have to speak about where you want to be”, he added.

Karamoh also expressed that sometimes even friends who were unsupportive had to be cut off in order to achieve success, “I've been at stages in life where I said, ‘ I don't want to start being a waiter. I want to start at a luxury retail and I had friends who I had to cut off strictly because they told me that’s not how it works. Well, it does for me. I think you have to tailor your mind for your future.”

His impressive list of clients aside from Steve Harvey, whom he refers to as Mr. Harvey has included Magic Johnson and Tyler Perry. Karamoh expressed that growing up he associated Harvey with his father figure roles in films such as Love Don’t Cost a Thing and You Got Served, the former being a big movie for him as he grew up in the mid-2000s recently turning 30 last October. While currently working with Harvey, one of his main duties is styling Harvey for multiple tapings of Family Feud, while other important daily duties include making arrangements with fashion designers for events such as New York Fashion Week. Karamoh who operates as a ‘one man band’ has also taken on Steve Harvey’s daughter Lori Harvey as a client. Speaking on high-powered Black men like Harvey’s openness to working with him, Karamoh stated, “They allow me to have full control and full creativity of their image. I have a certain confidence about myself that they were intrigued by a certain knowledge about myself that they wanted to know, considering that I'm from Europe and had a different approach on fashion.”

Photo Credit: Aurelien Desmettre

In closing remarks about the essential relationship between celebrity and fashion, Karamoh stated, “I feel like when the power of celebrity meets the exposure of fashion when those two worlds collide, it can really elevate the brand of a celebrity. I've watched the transformation of many people.”

Check out the 2022 Style Issue.

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