If any influencer should instead be called a creator it’s Everett Williams. The 29-year-old, Columbus, Ohio native has earned a following of nearly 500,000 across TikTok and Instagram by regularly creative-directing and posting what are best described as solo fashion shows. The outfits are inspiring, mixing unexpected prints and silhouettes, and the styled-out sets could rival most fashion week productions if not confined to an iPhone.
“I approach every [Instagram post] like the release of an album,” said Williams, who now lives in Los Angeles. “They all are highly developed and thought-out. I want each to have its own point of view, and it’s really challenged me to learn new ways of doing things and push myself creatively.”
It’s also earned him a slew of opportunities. That includes paid partnerships with Tiffany & Co., Farfetch and Calvin Klein. Last year, V Magazine asked him and his boyfriend, Nicholas Scarpinato, to creative-direct, produce and model in a four-page spread for its summer issue. Scarpinato regularly co-produces his social posts. “That was a really big moment for me to do all the things I love,” he said.
But not all of his work is styled to a T. “For TikToks … [I] find an outfit and song, and just let all seriousness out the window. You really just have to let all the guards down and have fun to make them good.”
His signature classic-meets-modern looks take inspiration from a variety of music and movies, and typically include vintage pieces. Among his current favorite brands are JW Anderson, Gucci, Loewe and Paul Smith, and he has his eye on 21-year-old designer Simon Gold (@simon.gold), who he follows on TikTok.
Williams’ road to his influencer career is pretty typical for a fashion creative: He got his first taste of the industry during high school, while developing store displays and layouts at Abercrombie & Fitch’s corporate HQ. He then went to Parsons, interning at Marc Jacobs in product development. All the while, he was building a following on Tumblr, which, he said, set him up for success on Instagram. He earned his first paid projects toward the end of college.
“I had a decision to make, whether to take a corporate job or take the risk and go off on my own,” he said. “I packed up my things after school and moved to L.A., and it was the best decision I have ever made.”
The lesson learned: “It’s so important to believe in yourself, even when others might try and stray you away from your beliefs.”
To see all 13 Gen-Z names changing fashion, click here.