6 questions with Ty Hunter, fashion director and Beyonce's stylist

Ty Hunter is known for styling Beyonce, a woman who is as iconic for her incomparable music as she is for her flawless fashions; for his very own clothing line, "With Passion," the energy of which is as palpable in person as it is on Ty's Instagram; and for his engaged support of LGBT advocacy as an openly gay man. Ty spoke with GLAAD recently about his experiences and inspirations:

GLAAD: In your own words, what sets you and the clothes you design apart in the fashion industry?

Ty Hunter: I hate to sound cheesy, but there really isn’t a lot that separates my line from any other line.  “With Passion” is a movement promoting the style from within that I am collaborating with ServedFresh.  This collection aims to harness that familiarity and apply it to circumstance, life and emotion.  As we present this collection our focus will be to create a contagious spirit of empowerment and enlightenment through simple symbolism.  What makes you smile!  What makes you hold you head up high.  It’s about creating your own style moments, and everyday.  My biggest things are making sure that people always feel their best.  Fashion is just the vehicle I’m using to do so.

 

A photo posted by Ty Hunter (@tytryone) on

GLAAD: Your Instagram account is filled with motivational statements, just as the colors and images in your designs are clearly meant to inspire excitement. In what ways do you think fashion can change culture, even influence LGBT equality?

Ty Hunter: Fashion influences everything because it doesn’t separate.  You don’t have to be White, Black, Latino, Asian, Indian, Gay, Straight, etc. to wear hot clothes that make you feel good.  I’m all about equality.  I’ve been mistreated plenty of times because of my race, sexuality, religious beliefs, etc., BUT that doesn’t stop me from continuing to shine my light.  That’s why I chose the color yellow.  And most importantly, that’s why I chose exclamation points.  I wanted to chose yellow because it signifies light, and the exclamation points because you should be proud of who you are and express that to the world.  The exclamation mark has functioned as a literary symbol to communicate emphasis throughout time.  It’s a placement at the end of a sentence or statement university translates impact and conviction.  It elevates expression and delivers a message or action With Passion.

 

A photo posted by Ty Hunter (@tytryone) on

GLAAD: What have your experiences been like as a black gay man in both the fashion and music industries?

Ty Hunter: I know this probably isn’t what you want to hear, but my experiences haven’t been horrible because I chose to turn them around in my favor.  Everybody always tells me, “You are so calm.”  It’s because I choose to turn my lemons into lemonade.  People respect me because they know I’m there to do my job.

GLAAD: Who have been your most significant role models?

Ty Hunter: My most significant role models are my Grandmother because she’s the one that gave me the initial push to start this career.  My mother because of her tireless efforts to make sure my brother and I had the best, Miss Tina [Knowles] for always believing in me, and most importantly…my daughter!  Because she’s my greatest blessing!

GLAAD: What in the history of fashion has been your favorite trend?

Ty Hunter: My Dad took me to my first concert, and that was Diana Ross.  She has pretty much started the bug.  But I love anything that makes me feel good.  I try to not go with trends.  I try to find timeless pieces, but my must have are my combat boots.

GLAAD: What's next for you and your brand?

Ty Hunter: The next step is more designs, more women’s apparel, a new app, and you got to stay tuned for more great things!  Can’t give away all my secrets now.  As long as I can keep inspiring people, people will continue to inspire me to be greater.

Be sure to keep up with Ty and "With Passion" on Instagram and Twitter.