Sophia Hyacinthe, Stylist & CEO of Immaculate Wardrobe, is all about changing how women show up in the world. For her, what you wear is as much about how you look as about how your look makes you feel.
Born and raised in the Bronx and now lives in NYC, Hyacinthe earned her bachelors in Fashion Merchandising Management from Berkeley College. Hyacinthe says she's always been interested in music and fashion. “It's always been and will always be what I live for." She describes herself as spiritual, creative, and unique, and says her friends and family would call her funny, stylish, and passionate. In other words, she's a natural for creative endeavors.
Hyacinthe began her stylist career as an apprentice to celeb stylist June Ambrose. These days her styling expertise has been featured on SiriusXM and in the New York Post.
Over the past thirteen years, she's built quite the business, working with women CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies, publishing industry powerhouses, and girl bosses all over New York City.
Here's the wild part. She's not only a highly sought after stylist, she's also an equally sought after DJ known as DJ Soda Pop, spinning for brands like DVF and Rag & Bone and at queer and underground parties at ACME, the Museum of Sex, and Kinfolk. She says her style is all about blending 90s hip hop with hot sonic house beats, while also adding in musical influences inspired by her Haitian roots.
Here's a look into how Hyacinthe combined the seemingly strange pairing into an impressive career that is all her.
Sophia Hyacinthe. Photo credit: Sebastian Melendez
Sophia Hyacinthe. Photo credit: Sebastian Melendez
How would you describe your childhood, and who you were as a kid growing up?
I grew up the youngest and only girl with three older brothers in a hip hop household. I can clearly remember all the guys in the neighborhood gathering at my house to listen to Jay Z's reasonable doubt. Being the “pesky" little sister, I was, of course, banished from the gathering, but hid and sat on the top of the stairs and memorized every word as if my life depended on it. My taste in music expanded beyond hip hop when I got exposed to different cultures from going to middle school in Greenwich Village and later frequenting iconic NY hotspots like The Beatrice Inn and The Kenmare.
How did your venture into styling begin? Is there something you would consider your “big break" in terms of launching your work as a stylist?
I was fortunate to have a clear understanding on what I wanted to do in life from an early age. For example, I was so obsessed with fashion that I would sleep with Vogue fashion spreads under my pillow so that I could wear the outfits in my dreams. Music and fashion worked hand in hand as the music set the tone for everything and acted as the soundtrack to my life. In high school, a counselor introduced me to the amazing stylist/writer/activist Micheala Angela Davis who took me under her wing and later got me my dream job a styling internship with style architect June Ambrose. Upon graduating college and through my consistent interaction with female professionals in retail, I founded and tapped into a niche market. It took one client believing in me and hiring me to build my confidence and clientele.All of my clients are extremely successful, not only excelling at work but also in their personal lives. Being around them not only keeps me sharp as a stylist but also as a business person. I've learned to gain and leverage my contacts to make partnerships with fashion power houses such as Moda Operandi and Barneys New York.
How did your venture into being a DJ begin? Is there something you would consider your “big break" in terms of launching your work as a DJ?
Music was so important in my house whether it was listening to Charles Aznavour on Sunday after church or riding around with my brothers blasting Biggie in my parent's Jeep. I craved it and always needed to be surrounded by it. I started creating playlists for my job and I took them very seriously.
My co-workers were always impressed by my selection of how I could have Pat Benetar, Sade, and Little Wayne in the same set.
I carried my secret passion for DJing for a long time until my best friend Eddy paid for my first class at Rock N Soul and it went from there. Along the way, I've met and continue to meet really cool DJ's along the way that support and inspire me. My big break so far would be me going out to an Acme party and meeting party planner extraordinaire Deryck Todd then spinning one of his parties where I met and built a relationship with the Museum of Sex's event coordinator which lead to my Thursday residency at their club.
What inspires you?
I like multi-dimensional music. Music that has texture and makes me feel. Artists I admire include Onsulade and Bonobo. With fashion I am inspired by things that are quirky and aren't classically beautiful. I love how Miuccia Prada approaches fashion and beauty, especially in her women's tales. I find inspiration in common things and everyday people. I keep myself visually stimulated by surrounding myself with art I love Austrian artist Egon Schiele and street photographer Jamel Shabazz.
How do you spend your free time?
I love thrifting and finding treasures at vintage stores in Madison Ave. Curating street style photo shoots in local areas like the Bronx. Listening to music, discovering new songs, and old gems. Spending quality time with my best friends and family.
Do you see a connection between your work as a stylist and your work as a DJ?
There is a direct correlation between my work as a stylist and DJ because the way I style clothes is very similar to the way I mix music. I consider myself a musical stylist. The way I pair contrasting prints is very similar to the way I blend different music genres.
What is your dream for your future career wise?
I see myself as an International Stylist and Fashion DJ. I want to further increase my client base and work with other industry heavy hitters such as Sheryl Sandberg and Bozoma Saint John and continue to build strategic brand partnerships with luxury brands. I'd love to create a career outreach program for young girls in the Bronx. I'd love to partner with fashion houses with luxury hotels to curate unique dynamic audio experiences.
If you want to catch DJ Soda Pop live, you can find her with Okayplayer on January 17th and her residency at the Museum of Sex begins January 28th.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."