Scot Louie On VH1’s The Impact And How He Got His Start In Celebrity Styling

Tone Woolfe

Celebrity stylist Scot Louie, originally from New York City has a polished and tasteful style. The core of the looks he creates do not stray from these signifiers. Each outfit he conjures is well thought out and filled with intention. Keke Palmer, Kelly Rowland, Ryan Destiny, Niecy Nash, Ari Lennox, and countless others have called upon Louie for press runs and significant red carpet moments. The moments he’s created often are comprised of immaculate two-piece sets or gowns that exude femininity. There’s a bright magenta Maison Valentino suit by Pier Paolo Piccioli that Louie pulled for Lennox in 2022 that is seared into my brain. It’s an example of his efforts and how he revitalizes his clientele’s relationships with fashion. His work ethic and knack for piecing together memorable outfits keep him booked and ever-busy. 

Over a phone call, Louie recalls a key moment from when he was ten years old that speaks to his fascination with fashion. Through laughter, he recalls that for his birthday at a roller rink, he decided to cut up his jeans that his mother had just bought him. Louie tells me that his experiment didn’t turn out well. But, this defining moment speaks to how he was always leaning into expressing himself creatively. He calls himself a product of the hair salon–he would sit in his mother’s salon reading Harper’s Bazaar soaking up the conceptual looks within the magazine. “As a young kid I always knew I wanted to be a designer,” he says. Though he wasn’t equipped with the tangible skills to become a designer, he allowed this fixation on clothing to guide him, and he never wavered. 

By high school, he was taking trade classes in fashion design where he learned patternmaking and began formally working with garments. It wasn’t his strong suit, but it did push him to continue reaching for his aspirations–eventually he met a mentor who gave him the tools he would need to become a stylist. At 18, after diligently reaching out to Lil’ Kim’s assistant, he received a golden opportunity to work with the rap icon. From that point forward he was working towards landing more celebrity clientele. R&B singer Mya was another artist he styled before the next phase of his life.

A move to Los Angeles came shortly after when he was 19, Louie says he remembers the exact date: January 5, 2013. He’d enrolled in college despite being fixated on becoming the next Rachel Zoe. Odd jobs to make ends meet came next–he later would drop out of college. But, he still had tunnel vision and continued working towards the goals he’d mapped out before leaving his hometown New York City. By 2016 his dedication to his craft paid off and he says that he began working with singer Ryan Destiny in addition to the entrepreneur and designer Elisa Johnson. 

As time continued, Louie’s opportunities continued to grow and his clientele did as well. Eventually, he found himself living a bi-coastal life. Fast forward to the present, for the past three years, he has been back in New York City. When I ask what led him back he shares: “I think it’s important to come home to check in and come back to your roots and hit the pavement to go back to where it all started.” It’s a fitting message given these moments he’s living in at the present. 

Now Scot, who is still styling and elevating his clients’ style prowess, is a fixture on VH1’s The Impact: New York. He’s also gearing up to release a cookbook Tastemaker: Cooking With Spice, Style & Soul, out in September—this stems from his love for cooking—he credits his mother and grandmother with teaching him how to create his delicious dishes. The reality television series centers around a core group of friends who are working to leave an impact on the city that many say never sleeps. After years of watching characters on TV, it could be a tall order to become a part of a cast. When tasked with describing what it’s like being in front of the camera Louie says it’s been different being on the other side. “I’m a stylist first so I’m used to being behind the scenes, it’s been exciting,” he says. This current era is also about ascension for Louie. He describes it as a time when he’s being intentional about everything. “[I’m] ascending into a fuller form and a different person,” he adds.

Below we spoke with Scot Louie on how he got his start in fashion years ago, how cooking is more than a hobby for him, and more. 

ESSENCE: What is your earliest fashion memory?

Growing up I’m a child of New York and my mom is a single mom and she worked across from FIT, which is the most prominent fashion school in New York. I’m a child of the hair salon, so Saturdays were spent at the salon. That’s really where it all kind of began for me. Those are my earliest fashion memories. As a young kid I always knew I wanted to be a designer. I didn’t really have the technical skills. As I got older I went to a trade school and learned about being a stylist from my mentor.

Did you always love expressing yourself through your personal style?

Always. I always wanted to be different. I remember I got in trouble on my tenth birthday because I cut up my jeans. My mom had just bought me these jeans–I wanted to look special. I had a skating rink party, it actually turned out horrible.

When did you decide to make the move to Los Angeles?

I moved to L.A. at 19, I knew I wanted to work with celebrities, [and] I knew I wanted to be a stylist. I wanted to be Rachel Zoe. I wanted to be the best Hollywood stylist. I enrolled in school knowing I had no real desire to be in school. I spent all of my time trying to get celebrity clients and build my roster. I dropped out of school and I didn’t graduate. That was 2013 I remember it like it was yesterday, my mom dropped me off at the airport and I spent the next nine years of my life in Los Angeles. 

Who was the first client you worked with that you felt you were able to transform their style and take it to another level?

I will say a big thing for me [is that] I already had bigger clients when I was in high school. In my senior year of high school, I started working with Lil’ Kim. Moving to L.A. was capitalizing off of what I had already been doing. I had been working with Lil’ Kim and Mya before moving to L.A. and then when I moved to L.A. it was a lot of figuring it out. It was doing a bunch of little odd jobs. There wasn’t a specific client until 2016 when I met Ryan Destiny. That’s when things turned around for me. I had started going back and forth between New York and L.A. 

[Then] I started working with Elisa Johnson [too], Magic Johnson’s daughter. That’s really where things spun in a different direction. I was working with more recognizable talent. We were watching the inception of Instagram and all of these other social media platforms blow up at the same time. So it really became a thing for me to make sure that I’m posting my work and ensure that it really highlighted who I am as a stylist. 

Did social media help you grow as a stylist?

1000 percent. I always say social media has been a large part of my career. That’s how I started my career. I met Lil’ Kim’s assistant on Twitter, this was before Instagram had become a big thing. I stalked him for two years and sent him mood boards and emailed him [about wanting] a chance. Then he said Kim is finally willing to give you a chance. We did our first fitting on my 18th birthday. So, social media has always been an integral part of my career.  

What do you think are your distinct signifiers or codes as a stylist?

I think for me it’s the 1:1 relationship that I provide for my clients. When you see Ryan Destiny you know who her stylist is. I do like to say that I am someone who is very polished and in tune with my image and my style. I don’t tend to stray away from that much. I think that’s what really highlights who I am [as a stylist].

What’s the importance of cooking? Has it always been a hobby of yours?

I am Jamaican, I was raised Jamaican–my mother is Jamaican. As a part of the culture you have to do everything, and you have to be good at everything. I’ve always loved to cook. Growing up, I wanted to do everything that my mom did. I think that’s where all of that stems from for me. What made it such a bigger thing and what led to the cookbook is [the fact that] it’s a love letter to my roots. My oxtail I would have to say is the best and it’s in the book. It was a lot of trial and error. My mom and my grandmother are really intricate parts of me learning to cook. And growing up Jamaican the critiques always help you do better next time. 

What can we expect from the cookbook?

It’s a multitude of things I’ve crafted over the years. It’s some new things, some favorites. It’s going to be a lot.

How would you describe this current era of your life?

Ascending into a fuller form and a different person. It’s the ascension era. I’m more intentional with the things I do with my time.

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