Meet Donte Harris: Debonair Fashion Maven

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 01:28 Written by  Dana Weems

When it comes to fashion, Detroit-native Donte Harris is a maven. The 25-year-old is currently a stylist, fashion consultant and manager at Aldo with aspirations to be the next “it” person in fashion like his favorite three people: June Ambrose, Rachel Zoe and Brad Goreski. Being one part owner of Collage, a multifaceted production business that encompasses styling, interior decor and creative direction (i.e. photo shoots, video shoots and choreography), Donte is making his own print in fashion.

Collage provides “simplistic elegance,” says Donte. It’s a one stop shop for ordinary people on a budget who need assistance with an event or home need.

So “the hood rat down the block can get styled for her big party or event. She deserves that service too,” he jokes.

Having earned a bachelors in Biomedical Sciences from Grand Valley State University, you may think Donte sports glasses. While that may be true, his are Ray-Ban wayfarers — far from typical prescription glasses. It’s just who he is to insert a certain level of debonair fashion into every sector of his life.

How did he become the “fashionister” he is today? Well, it’s simple. He says it’s all his mom’s fault.

“I got caught in,” he says. “I live my life in fashion.”

Living his life in fashion is knowing trends, but also knowing how to spin trends to fit his personal style. Where does he look for fashion trends to cater to his personal style? He looks to magazines and designers such as Michael Kors and Oscar De La Renta, but he does not stop short of looking to unlikely places as well.

He says, “You see some of the cutest people in the mall. It draws me in like, ‘Okay’.”

To Donte, fashion is about being comfortable and being accessible.

“The more comfortable you are in it in, the better you probably look. Don’t get me wrong, it hurts sometimes. Beauty is pain, but you should never show it,” he explains.

This guy, who’s never been the jeans and t-shirt kind, has a lot of pieces in his closet and he has goals to accompany them all. He claims he just has too many [goals]. One of his many aspirations is to own a quaint little boutique on Ocean Drive in Miami where he’d also style celebrities. Being a buyer for a major designer and fashion house is also a goal of his.

But he plans to first learn more in fashion.

“I truly believe in being educated in what I want to do,” he says.

Having a keen eye for fashion and seeing that some fall short of getting it right, Donte has some fashion essential for today’s fashionistas and fashionisters.

Donte’s Fashion Essentials:

Little Black Dress.

Every woman should own a little black dress, whether it’s sleek and long or sexy and fitted. It’s a smart buy that’s beneficial, plain and simple. The key to purchasing a ‘little black dress’ is making sure it’s transitional. If you have one that’s not, purchase at least one that can serve multiple purposes and occasions. The little black dress is a staple in women’s fashion that every woman absolutely must have.

Navy or Grey Suit.

The ladies’ little black dress is the equivalent to the black suit for gentlemen. But we are in the age of navy and grey. Black will always be classic, but navy and grey suits are the new and improved black suit.

Bold Accessory.

Bold accessories can take an ordinary look to hauteness. The bold accessory you choose can be a necklace, ring, bracelet, a pair of earrings, etc. There are some for you too guys! Look for a piece that’s bold in shape or color, or in any form that intrigues you. Pocket squares are a hot item to accessorize with in men’s fashion. There are fun prints, patterns and knits on trend to dress up any casual blazer. Watches are a signature men’s accessory that will always be in style. It can be bold by being an embellished watch. Be sure not to wear your bold jewelry or other bold accessory everyday. Be bold in your eccentricity and get something unique that none of your friends have.

Nude Pump.

Nude heels in any height can flatter and polish an otherwise basic look. Nude is a color that can be worn in any season and with dark colors, neutrals, pastels, brights, jeans, dresses, skirts, etc. Nude pumps are simple transitional shoes.


You should own at least one of these super comfortable and stylish pieces. From solid colors to prints, there’s no wrong way to wear a maxi-dress. Wear with sandals, pumps or sneaker wedges. Pair with a blazer for a business casual look. Try a maxi-skirt too.

Perfect Blazer.

Every person should have a basic blazer in their closet. Of course, in black. But, think outside the proverbial box. After you’ve gotten a nice black blazer that fits well and can be worn day to night, explore the color wheel. Bright colored blazers are an amazing accessory that can pull off that jeans and t-shirt look some of us think as dreadful. A perfect cut blazer goes a long way. “A blazer is a must for every woman, man and child,” says Donte.

Plain White Dress.

A plain white dress is your best opportunity to wear your favorite accessories and those unusual shoes you’ve been dying to wear, ladies. Think of white as your canvas so you can put nearly anything on top to beautify your look. White is classic and will always look crisp and clean. Wearing a white dress compared to white pants, however; offers an unmatchable dainty and feminine air.


Ladies. Something, anything in lace. Lace is the ultimate romantic and feminine piece of clothing. Search for it and never let it go.


Yes! Your face can be an accessory to any outfit. Don’t be afraid to dip and dabble around in makeup. Just don’t do it all at once. Make sure you know what you’re doing or have a MUA assist you. In case you didn’t know, men wear makeup too ... just don’t go too far with it.


It’s the super cute, "in" color of the moment. There’s no reason why men can’t wear this shade of green too. Get you some mint.

Cropped Trouser Pants.

A good pair of cropped trouser pants says sophistication.


Every woman should wear heels. It kinda freaks me out when women don’t wear heels,” Donte says. While gals love guys that dress up, guys love when gals wear heels. It goes without saying, but still needs to be said.

Other Essentials for Men.

A pair of cognac colored casual dress shoes, a pair of khaki chinos, a light weight blazer and at least one white v-neck shirt and one a white crew neck shirt.


Check your closet for these essentials Donte says everyone should have.

For more on Donte Harris and Collage:


Dana Weems

Dana Weems

Dana Weems is a contributing writer and a fashion/beauty columnist for GMO. A Chicago native, Dana earned a MA in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in broadcasting with an emphasis in broadcast news from Grand Valley State University. She’s interned and worked at WLS-TV; ABC 7 Chicago’s entertainment show Windy City LIVE. Still freelancing, Dana has written for news sites, public affairs-based publications, fashion websites and other organizations.

She can be contacted at and