Houston Style Setter: Syretta Avent
As the voice of Fashion Crazed Foodie, Syretta Avent spotlights the best in food and fashion that H-Town has to offer. Much more than just a blogger, Avent is also heavily involved with marketing and e-commerce at Charming Charlie's corporate office; plus, she's the wardrobe stylist for a certain someone who will soon appear on a major network—her lips are sealed for now.
“For somebody that didn’t start my career until my late 30s, I’m just climbing that ladder. I’m working my hardest just to get to where somebody [is] who might have started in their 20s, fresh out of college," Avent tells Houstonia. "I’m making up for all of that time. Between working as a wardrobe stylist and blogging, I’m just trying to make a name for myself.”
What was your first proper introduction to fashion?
It would have to be piling in the car with my grandmother on weekends to go to garage sales and thrift stores. It would be a hunt for whatever we could find. We would go to Traders Village. ... Once we would go get the stuff, she would come home and pull out her sewing machine and tweak it however she wanted it. Pair that with watching TV and seeing Cher, Bob Mackie and Thelma Evans on Good Times with her clothes. I’m an ‘80s baby, but seeing that stuff from the ‘70s and just stuff my grandma would have around her house ... all of that made me a stan for fashion.
You wear quite a few hats in the fashion world. What's your advice for someone who wants to get similarly involved in the industry?
I’m not saying you have to go get an education, but I think a lot of us feel like we were born with an innate passion for fashion. Going to school actually helped me to learn the history and helped me with networking to make very important connections that I’ve made.
I feel like Claire Sulmers—well, I look to her and her hustle and what she did. I’ve met with her and spoken with her and read her book and said, How can I apply this to myself? How can I use my own resources to gain the level of success that I have in mind and the types of things she’s done? So, going to school, networking and finding a mentor—even if it’s someone you don’t know personally. Apply all those things and go after it, not giving up. Houston doesn’t have the hugest fashion scene, but use your resources to your advantage, even if it means getting on a plane and just traveling to see what the fashion scene is elsewhere. It’s about just doing it.
Let’s talk about Fashion Crazed Foodie, your blog and Instagram. When did it launch, and what was the catalyst?
I think it’s been 11 years as of this past October. It was first called "Old School New" because I have this love for vintage and everything old school, like I mentioned with Good Times and Cher. So, I would just blog and write about old-school fashion, anything vintage, and I would sell a little bit of vintage clothing and accessories. Once I went to school, I changed the name to Fashion Crazed Foodie. That came about because my husband was in the hospitality industry, went to school for that, and we would travel a lot. Whatever we would see Andrew Zimmern or Anthony Bourdain go eat on the Travel Channel, we would pick that as our next destination to travel so we could go eat the same thing. I felt like I also needed to include fashion because I love fashion just as much as I love food.
There was one time when I was able to blog every single week. I can’t now, but thankfully I have Instagram. Wherever in the world I am, I can share what I’m eating or what I wore. I’m a born writer. I’ve been writing forever, so I just thought having a blog and blogging about fashion and food was all the makings of me just in a blog. The tagline for my blog is “the tasty travels of the swanky budgeteer.” Because [my husband] worked at the Four Seasons Hotel, we could travel and stay at luxury hotels for free. It made me love luxury, but little did people know I was staying at a five-diamond hotel for free. I love high-end, luxurious things, but I don’t always pay what someone else would pay.
What are some of your favorite spots to eat and shop in Houston?
I’ll start with The Hay Merchant. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in the world. People ask me who has the best burger—I will tell you the Cease and Desist Burger at The Hay Merchant is the absolute best. They have pig ears there, too, which are super tasty. Uchi is my other favorite restaurant. I actually can’t imagine eating sushi anywhere else in Houston besides Uchi. As far as shopping, I would say you can find me anytime at any thrift store. I like Chloe Dao. It’s so cliché, but The Galleria and Free People.
What's a favorite celebrity fashion moment?
I like the extravagance of Cher, but I also like the simplicity and minimalistic vibes that Sade gives off. I’d also say some red carpet moment in the ‘70s, or probably someone outside of Studio 54. There are so many, especially when you think about the fashion in the ‘70s. Also, just bringing it more up-to-speed, Rihanna on the Met red carpet. She’s had about two that I know I’ve saved to my phone. I'm not the girl that’s stanning for the everyday look that maybe anybody can put together. When you think about Cher, she’s different and her style is unmatched. When you bring it down to the moment in time we’re living in, SZA. I love how her style is so effortless. Some may look at her and say, “Oh, I’d never touch that or do that. What was she thinking?” I just think that anyone who can show their creativity through their clothes is somebody that I love. So, I don’t have an exact moment. It’s just a conglomerate of all of those.