We had the good fortune of connecting with India Purnell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi India, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
The single most important decision that I have made that has contributed to my success has been to combine my passion with my purpose. My name is India, but you can call me “Indi The Holistic Stylist”. I am a freelance holistic wardrobe stylist specializing in curating time capsule pieces, revamping closets, and personal shopping services. As a licensed professional, I specialize in human behavior analysis and infuse my therapeutic background in a way that allows me to individualize the client experience. I have a flair for detail and possess the ability to mix labels, looks, and trends to astounding effect. With a mindful take on implementing sustainable fashion, I up-cycle innovative pieces for a variety of clientele. Utilizing my background in psychology to promote positive body imaging through wardrobe, I guide clients towards being comfortable with stepping outside of their comfort zone – in style. I began my wardrobe styling journey in 2018 and I have had the pleasure of being published in magazines including celebrity comedian and Keto enthusiast Torei Hart, featured costuming work with tv and music video productions, styling editorial photoshoots, and curating collections for runway shows. Basically anywhere that I can tell a story with clothing is my happy place. I have always enjoyed getting dressed and being able to control what I look like and how I present myself to the world, but never in a million years did I see myself creating a career of this. I had always been so intune with what I wanted to pursue academically, that I never really gave myself the chance to consider that I might be talented in other areas in my life. It wasn’t until my husband said to me, after the one hundredth time – “you are always putting crazy stuff together and it works out, you should just become a stylist”, that I actually listened to him and saw myself in a new light. As a new fish in the “Arizona fashion industry” pond, I knew I had to figure out a way to make styling my very own and include as much of me as I could to create my own lane. Using my sorority sisters and close friends as guinea pigs, they graciously allowed me to step into their lives and help them prepare themselves for experiences that were monumental. Birthdays, bachelorette parties, speeches, and graduations – I facilitated the visions that they had for each event in their lives. I was also front row to their insecurities, anxieties, body image and flaws when it came to the way they dressed. As a mental health professional, I showed empathy with each of them and promoted healthy dialogue to address concerns that arose, in a rational and mindful way. I knew then I was meant to share my love and passion for the body and the mind equally. It is not easy to grow from discomfort, to step outside of ourselves and the narrative that we have created about what our limitations are. But when we are brave enough to venture off, we find we are much more than self defeating behaviors and that we are limitless. This is the work I vowed to provide for each person I connect with. Supporting the shaping of their own definition of beauty, from the inside out. My “why” has always been to heal those who want to be healed, even if they are the ones that are hurting themselves. I thought, If I can achieve this with students that I work with, this is achievable with my styling clientele. This is when my brand, IndiStyleU, was re-innovated and became Indi The Holistic Stylist. Without the ability to recognize and make room for all of my skills and talents, I limited myself for so many years on what I believed I could achieve based on what I thought was success. I am the happiest I have ever been in my career. I take pride in knowing that I have made a positive impact on the individuals I have worked with and I am honored to have had the experiences I have thus far. Merging my passion for fashion and my purpose of healing from within has allowed me to share my greatest gifts with the world, and the best part is that I am just getting started.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I received my bachelors in social work and psychology and I licensed master Social worker, so my world view is naturally to consider all things that weave the fabric of our lives. Unfortunately, that includes trauma and self defeating behaviors that we may have about our perceptions and our body. When I realized this also dictates our idea of how we dress, what we invest in, and how we see ourselves, I knew there was a way that I could help people begin to heal from within while looking their best. It wasn’t and hasn’t been easy with starting my own business and especially one that could be perceived as a non-essential in such trying times, However, I find that these are the times that we all strive to fulfill our creative outlets in a safe and productive way. I love that my contributions can help people tell the stories they want to share with the world. Beyond being a black entrepreneur I the middle of a pandemic, there is often the obstacle of being seen for my work and my vision and not just for my skin – for example having the luxury of doing a photoshoot in Downtown Phoenix without snarling faces and cop cars driving by multiple times just to ask what my team and I were doing and how long we would be is almost impossible not to encounter. As I dove deeper into the Arizona fashion world, I realized the more I went above and beyond for people, the less my presence would even be acknowledged, while I watched those same people fawn over my counterparts of other races. I do my best to not allow my past experiences to dictate how I see the world and the people in it, but to build awareness of myself and the gifts that I know I am meant to share with the world. As I continue to build IndiStyleU, I want the world to understand that there is a world where they can be, look, and feel, just the way they are made to be. That the only limitations that we have are those that we create for ourselves. that we can take on all the versions that exist of ourselves, and step outside of our comfort zone- in style.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have grown to love a great deal about Arizona and acquired some favorite spots in the Valley. I am a sucker for any place that I can see art and culture so when I am in the mood I head to Roosevelt Road to check out all of the dope murals and artistic expressions displayed in Downtown Phoenix. I am Sun Devil through and through and still remember my first trip up to A mountain ( something that everyone that lives here should do at least once!) and just watching the lights over the city cascade across the sky. Not too far away from the mountain is Tempe Marketplace where I spent my college years and did some serious damage to Nordstroms Rack Target! Now, I get to make new memories with my husband and daughter there as we continue to grow our family. To finish it off, the best Mexican restaurant in Tempe hands down is La Fonda’s on Baseline Road. the chimichanga alone will have you ordering to go while you are still at the table. It has become a family staple for good times and good food.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shout out to the following: My husband, photographer, and motivator – Darryl Brown II My number one little lady and style assistant- Yara Monae Brown These two are my reason and I would be nothing without them. My sorority sisters for supported me and being my guinea pigs. they helped me craft how I worked with clients. My mother and my sister – for Inventory for when I didn’t have big budgets ( or any budget) and always supporting me holistically.
Darryl Brown II – Marathon Photography