Julian R. Lark, where shall I start? He is a Stylist, Fashion Guru, the Editor-in-chief of Kontrol Magazine, and the owner of premier cosmetics brand REVEL. He does it all, and does it well too. I had the pleasure of meeting Julian while I was runnin’ through the A with my woes (am I using that word right?), and it’s safe to say that I fell in love with his fashion expertise and infectious charm instantly.
Julian has successfully turned his love for fashion, beauty, and fabulous editorials into his full-time career, while inspiring many to do the same along the way. It is clear that Julian knows the true definition of black girl magic as some of our favorites have graced the cover of his magazine. Zendaya, Elle Varner, La La Anthony, Brandy, Lil Kim, Keke Palmer, Marsha Ambrosius, and so many more. Other publications should take heed.
Check out my interview with the man himself as he explains how he started Kontrol Magazine and his thoughts on the Atlanta fashion scene.
Sabrina Dunn: Can you tell me how you started Kontrol Magazine and the meaning behind it’s name?
Julian R. Lark: I used to design back in the 4th grade; that was when I first started designing clothing. I wanted to be a fashion designer. I came to Atlanta and went to AIU, Buckhead campus. I graduated with a BA is Fashion Design & Marketing. After graduation, I couldn’t get my start; I would reach out to all of these magazines like Essence, Upscale and Jet. No one would respond to me when I was trying to get my designs out there. One day, being a server at Cheesecake Factory, I decided to sit down in the booth–I remember it was booth 81. I sat down with my computer and I decided to create my own online publication with my own clothes on the cover to get my start that way. After the second issue, it became a lot to run a magazine and design/sew clothing. I had to make the hard decision to give up one. I decided to become a wardrobe stylist–it was the same thing dealing with fashion and doing what I loved to do. That’s how I got my start.
In regards to the Kontrol name, we were playing with the name trying to figure out what in the world to call this magazine. The Janet Jackson “Control” song is one of my favorite songs that I always play whenever I’m in a place where I need to figure out what’s going on with my life. I was driving down the road–I forget where I was going–I was listening to the song and I thought, ‘Ok, that’s it! That’s the name of the magazine! Control, but we’ll do it differently with a K versus a C so that it has a little edge to it.’ I called my best friend, I told him about it and he loved it. It embodied everything that I stand for, what I want other people to stand for and what I want this publication to stand for.
SD: Some people are just editors and others are just stylists, what is it like being both?
JRL: It is very demanding and time consuming. However, they both bring me the same amount of joy.
SD: If you had to name the top 5 characteristics that are essential to have to make it in the fashion industry what would they be?
JRL: Have to be a hustler, have thick skin, you must be determined, willing to learn, and be able to take criticism.
Sabrina Dunn: What are your thoughts on the current fashion scene in Atlanta?
JRL: I feel like Atlanta needs a lot of work. I feel like we all have to come together to make Atlanta do what LA and New York does. I think Atlanta needs to take the time to learn and understand what the fashion industry is and means.
SD: When it comes to your legacy, what is your vision for your career?
JRL: To create a lasting brand that is not only sophisticated, classy, chic, and edgy, but will also stand the test of time.
SD: Lastly, what advice do you have for aspiring editors or stylists?
JRL: Know who you are and what you want before you go after it.
For more on Julian R. Lark check out his website julianrlark.com and his new cosmetics line at revelbyjl.com!