This fall, theGrio.com partnered with Kristi Love – founder and creator of the style blog IfUWereMyBoyfriend. Riggs – a designer and stylist – hosted an exclusive event at the DC location of Paul Stuart, a high-end menswear brand.

The experience brought together tastemakers and fashion insiders to celebrate style and culture.

Riggs took some time to answer questions from theGrio.com about her journey to become a prominent stylist.

1) What inspired your blog?

I was very inspired by the renaissance that is happening in the world of men’s fashion and lifestyle. In my lifetime I’ve never witnessed men having so many different options as to how they can express themselves from a style perspective. From sneakers to suits to accessories, men seem to be open to thinking outside the box and to taking chances with their look. They seem to have an increased interest and enthusiasm in developing their personal style. And I find it incredibly refreshing and exciting!

Also, beyond just clothing I have a natural penchant for good living and I love sharing that with people. Growing up I was exposed to a lot of different ways to live well. From vintage cars, to great real estate, to the best skateboards or travel, I know good stuff.
And at the bottom of it all I was inspired because I just really love men! Starting with my handsome father to my homeboys to my boyfriends past and present, I just really have an appreciation for men. I love seeing them at their best and I’m more than happy to help them be that.

2) What made you partner with the Grio?

I thought theGrio was a good fit to partner with because of their progressive following and because they seem to have their finger on the pulse of the next best thing. They don’t seem to just follow what’s trending, they seem to create the dialogue for what will be trending.

3) Tell us about your journey as a stylist

I came into this world style-obsessed. It has literally been my focus all of my life. I began my professional journey very young as a fashion designer and stylist. My mother opened a ladies’ accessory and fashion bar when I was 13 years old and I worked with her side by side from the ground up. I would design one-of-a-kind pieces for her customers. Starting with jewelry and T-shirts and then expanding eventually into clothing. I would go to the market and buyer’s shows with her all over and especially New York City where I really became inspired to work in fashion.

And when she couldn’t attend the shows herself she would send me by myself at the age of 16 to do the buying for that season. Around the same time, my older sister Ericka who was a fabulous hairstylist at the time was working on a lot of photo shoots and fashion shows. Whenever there was a need for a fashion stylist she would have them to book me because, as she would tell them, “her baby sister was the best stylist that she knew”.

I went on to follow a traditional educational path but I never stopped designing and styling. While I was attending Howard University I landed a coveted internship with Spike Lee under costumer Ruth Carter on “Malcolm X.”

I think that was what really energized me and confirmed that I really wanted to pursue a career in the clothing and production industry. After that I worked as a stylist on numerous music videos and editorial shoots in New York. Eventually, after a conversation with my father where he asked if “I wanted to be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond” I decided to move back to DC and start my own collection, Kristi Love. Since then

I’ve been cultivating a business and brand that has given me the opportunity to design and style for the best! And by best I don’t mean celebrities or the rich always. All of my clients are the best! The bulk of my design/styling clients are just every day fabulous people that have an intuition for design and a natural taste level that enables them to appreciate what I do. In turn, it makes it very gratifying for me to create looks for them that make them shine! I get just as excited when I design/style my clients for a special occasion in their life as I do when I design/style my celebrity clients for the Grammys or BET Honors!

4) List your top three style influence

-My mom. My mother has always had a fashion forward, avant-garde style. Even the way she chose to wear her hair, which was in a very short natural almost buzz cut sent an impactful message to me that it was OK to have your own style and to be a trendsetter versus a trend follower. Also, my mom was an avid enthusiast of high fashion. Through her fashion magazines and Elsa Clench she would “study” all of the designers and share that knowledge with me. Which is why I’ve always had an advanced understanding of design and abwealth of information to be inspired from as a young designer.

-Old Hollywood movies. Growing up my sister and I loved watching old movies and musicals in particular. I was always really enamored with all of the grand costumes. So in turn, most of my pieces and ideas are inspired by references from the movies of the all eras. From roaring 20s silent pictures to roller disco 80s movies.

-Patrick Kelly and Betsy Johnson. Although, I have many favorite designers I’d have to say these two were the most influential because they both showed me that fashion could be fun and whimsical. It doesn’t have to always be so serious. They taught me that your statement as a designer through your clothes could be an extension and expression of your spirit. In addition, I was influenced because Patrick Kelly was an African-American and Betsy Johnson was a woman that were both living and creating on their own terms.

5) What makes your style blog unique?

I think it’s unique because it’s a men’s style blog from a woman’s perspective. Which to most men is a very important perspective. Men are always very curious as to what’s appealing to us. What we want. Through the blog, I give them the blueprint on how to be that guy in the room that men want to be and women want to be with.

Secondly, I don’t just stop at clothing. I give them the complete picture of what elevated lifestyle is. No matter what kind of guy they are. Whether they be young, old, outdoorsman, artist or polished businessman I know how to visually express what good living is.

Lastly, my blog is unique because it’s more style focused versus fashion focused. Meaning, I’m guiding men on to how to style themselves in a way that evokes a response. I show them how to communicate through their personal style an image of excellence without covering themselves in obvious labels. I show them that it’s the right look, not the labels that say, “I’ve arrived”.