Even major-league influencers start somewhere. Though he now partners with brands like Amazon and Gillette, fashion influencer Rashad Little started out shooting photos with his mom’s camera, using a brick wall at his little sister’s elementary school as a backdrop. Now the LA-based creator is a pro, racking up hundreds of thousands of followers as he pursues his mission: to help men, especially men of color, present themselves in the best possible way.
Though he makes it look easy, early in his career Little commuted three hours a day from his home in a Seattle suburb to work at a rental car company. He worked overnight shifts at a 24-hour gym so he could make content through the night, when business was slow. On Sundays, his only day off, Little would grab his mom’s old DSLR to shoot enough images for the following week. “In the early days, I’d shoot my own outfit photos, six or seven at a time, and post them over the next few days,” he says. “That’s how I got started. This was all grid posts and side-by-side photos on Instagram, pre-Reels and pre-TikTok. It existed, but it wasn’t like it is now.”
TikTok, “like it is now,” has provided Little with a huge platform. He’s gained over 600,000 followers in just a few years, with a mix of the right content, consistency and patience. One of the best ways for TikTokers to get noticed is by starting a trend and going viral with it, and Rashad — aka @mrrlittle on all platforms — had his own viral moment with his monochromatic outfits. “It was called Monochromatic Man, and it was a video to a remix of this song ‘The King’s Affirmation’ by the artist Iniko,” he says. “They have this slow song with a snapping loop, and every time I snapped my fingers, I’d change my outfit. I put that out at the end of April last year, and by June it was a full-blown trend. All the influencers were doing it — [even] Lupita Nyong’o and her husband did the trend. Seven or eight months down the road, it was still a staple.”
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Moving from the world of still photography on Instagram into Reels and then TikTok was a natural shift for Little — his focus has consistently been helping men, no matter the medium. “I’ve always wanted to inspire men to look better, dress better and smell better,” he says. “Videos get the point across more quickly and [offer] more value. And I do think we need more representation of Black men in the space. I’d done years of research on how to better my style — how to become a better, more focused and disciplined man. Once I felt like I had enough knowledge, I wanted to pay that forward.”
When the blue-chip brand deals started coming through, Little knew it was time to get more serious about his career, and he started making plans to move to Los Angeles. After signing a modeling deal with Wilhemina, he now works with the agency Insanity Group, which is based here. Plus, LA is home to countless creators and influencers — while some may roll their eyes at #InfluencersInTheWild making content everywhere they go, Little finds this local community inspiring. “When the sun is out and I see other people out recording, it gets me in the mood to be creative,” he says. “LA is the big leagues when it comes to brands, fashion and things I’m interested in. And since I moved here, I’ve doubled what I did in terms of income, so LA has been very beneficial for me. It’s been a great decision so far.”
In the spirit of Rashad’s mission to help men everywhere (but especially those in LA) look more stylish, here are a few of his local recommendations:
“This is a small jewelry brand based out of Orange County. They have some of the most uniquely designed jewelry that you’ll find on the market. Two of their rings I literally wear everyday — one on my left pinky finger, and one on my right middle finger. Their jewelry is just phenomenal. Highly recommend them whether you’re just starting out with jewelry, or you’ve been wearing jewelry for years.”
“A lot of their boots have helped me go viral [laughs]. Their boots have been prominent pieces I’ve had on in lots of videos. I recently got the chance to finally go to their warehouse and do some work with them. Number one: These boots are high quality. I had a pair of their Chelsea boots for three-and-a-half years, and I just now had to get them replaced. I was probably wearing them at least three or four times a week. Two: They’re really fashion-forward but also timeless. They have their core collection that’s always going to be in style, and then something like python skin — they’ll push the envelope like that. They’re high quality and versatile.”
“One of my creative friends @Coastalflicks started it, and it’s really growing pretty quickly. They do affordable jewelry, which I’m all about. Growing up, I thought you had to go into Zales or Kay to have some nice jewelry, and you had to go drop four or five grand. No. You can get a $60 to $70 Cuban link chain. It’ll look good, it won’t turn your neck green, and you’ll be fine.”
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