By Jase Peeples
Originally published on Advocate.com March 13 2013 4:25 PM ET
It takes more than a great sense of style to become a trusted lieutenant in Kimora Lee Simmons’s army of fashionistas. It takes passion, imagination, and an endless supply of fabulous. As the senior graphic designer for Simmons’s expanding shoe company JustFab, Johnny Anastacio brings all this and much more.
Tasked with designing the print ads and website content for the company, Anastacio’s talented touch has helped propel JustFab to new heights. But it’s his sassy fun-loving personality that has made the adorable designer the breakout star of the Style network reality series Kimora: House of Fab.
Before the show’s season finale airs tonight at 9/8 Central, we caught up with the gay designer to chat about his experience working for the most feared fashionista in the business, blurring gender lines in fashion, and why so many gay men seem to be drawn to the industry.
The Advocate: Kimora has a reputation for running a tight ship. Were you intimidated when you first started working with her?
Johnny Anastacio: I would be lying if I said I wasn't. My first few meetings with Kimora were definitely intimidating, but Kimora was super cool and knows what she wants. Knowing her now, I feel like we have a good understanding of her goals for JustFab and what I can offer her. Everything she puts her hands on always turns out fabulous, and luckily for me, I always bring the fabulosity!
What has been the best and worst part about working in the fashion industry?
I would say the best part about working the fashion industry is the access to clothes and accessories on a daily basis. Our buyers always have new products around the office and I absolutely love to see what’s trending and knowing the hot item of the moment. The downside is the fashion industry is uber-competitive and can be cutthroat.
Why do you think the fashion industry seems to appeal to so many gay men?
I find the industry to be super accepting of gay men, especially the more fashionable and over-the-top personalities. I think we have a great connection with women and also take pride in our appearance, which makes it easier for us to work and succeed in this industry.
Many of your wardrobe choices blur the lines between traditionally feminine and masculine fashion. Do you feel an amalgamated sense of style is the wave of the future?
I love mixing women’s with men’s fashion. Having a smaller-framed body, I tend to shop at the women’s section for bottoms and accessories and the menswear section for tops. I do feel like more men nowadays are willing to take more risks in fashion. With sites like Instagram, Pose, and Lookbook.nu popularizing these looks, public awareness for men wearing women’s fashion is becoming more acceptable and relatable.
Who are the fashion designers currently inspiring you most?
I’m super inspired by Christopher Bailey (Burberry), Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy), Alexander Wang, Vivienne Westwood, Jeremy Scott, and David Melgar (JoyRich).
Catch a sneak peek of the Kimora: House of Fab season finale below.