A Look

The tenets of dressing well are easily understood, but not so easily practiced, especially on a college campus, where it always feels like you’re separated from that one item to complete an outfit. The item could be at home, missing, or still on the rack at the store, but either way, it’s not there when you need it. 

This brings me to my first tenet: nothing ever looks bad, it just doesn’t look right. What I mean by this is that any article of clothing could conceivably be turned into a masterpiece. Be it a Saturday night party, or gym couture, every item has its setting, a place for it to shine. Wearing a leather jacket might be cute at the gym, but it’s not doing nearly as much work as it could at an Alpha party. Clothes, even the ones your mother buys for you when you tell her not to, have value. An oversized shirt is really sleepwear; a too small shirt is really a crop top; an ugly sweater is really an ugly Christmas sweater; an ugly shirt is really just 90s throwback gear. Their utility lies only in one’s own possibility to innovate from nowhere, conjuring up new aesthetics or looks. 

A big part of my wardrobe (when I used to care about how I looked on weekdays) is color-blocking. Now, color-blocking refers to pairing colors on the color wheel that are complementary or opposite. This manifests in multiple ways: wearing pastels with pastels, three different shades of the same color, all neutral colors (denim, brown, grey, navy, etc.) to block against bright colors (yellow, red, pink, etc.), and complements (e.g. green & red). It is a system with rules that must be obeyed, until you’ve mastered it; then, of course, you can break any rule you so desire, but it is a good starting point for opening your eyes to see what colors pair well with one another. Remember: outfits do not start and stop simply at shirt and pant, but spread to accessories and anything else carried on the body forming a full aesthetic. 

Set pieces are a way of carrying an aesthetic. They mark the look for its setting; like, for example, a leather jacket signifying a party look or a grid vest signifying reclamation of the geek look. These pieces speak for themselves and can be obtained for the low at thrift stores and for the high at other stores, if you’re the type of person that minds wearing some presumably dead person’s clothes. 

All of these tenets are essential to forming daily looks, which then comprises an individual’s aesthetic, or what a person can typically be expected to be serving, on any given day. Remember: copying someone else does not make you look better, it makes them look better. Inspiration on the other hand has no loyalties.

By: Chad Tucker, Staff Writer

ROUNDUP: 5 Digital Platforms that Highlight the Beauty of Blackness

NATAAL

A platform with an emphasis on contemporary African art, NATAAL takes film, fashion, music, art, culture and media to a whole new level with striking visual aesthetics.  

(Image: Naatal.com, Photography by Thompson S Ekong)

(Image: Naatal.com, Photography by Thompson S Ekong)

AGHATISE

Our very own creative director, Mark Igbinadolor, has created a space to showcase his amazing photographic talents. As he highlights on his beautifully minimalist about page, AGHATISE is a “visual and social platform and portfolio.”

(Image: Aghatise.com, Photography by Mark Igbinadolor)

(Image: Aghatise.com, Photography by Mark Igbinadolor)

GHUBAR MAGAZINE

With an eye towards traditional African aesthetics, GHUBAR magazine initiates a fashion, arts and lifestyle magazine in to the digital space. It is essentially “dust, culture and aesthetics with a twist of Arabic.”

(Image: Ghubar Magazine)

(Image: Ghubar Magazine)

SAINT HERON

Because it is a Solange produced project, you know the visual aesthetics are going to be beyond creative imagination. She combines her musical background with her talents in creative direction and makes a platform that represents a new movement of visionaries and independent artists of all realms. 

(Image: saintheron.com) 

(Image: saintheron.com) 

CRWN MAGAZINE

Finally a magazine that wants to tell our hairstories, CRWN magazine provides gorgeous content represents our hair as the crown that it is and seeks to expand the edges around standards of beauty. It “exists to create a progressive dialogue around what it really means to go natural in America.

(Image: crwnmag.com

(Image: crwnmag.com

 

Charity Gates, Digital Director

5 College Bloggers That Will Make You Want to Dress Up for Class

Everyone knows that college students have a lot on their plate when it comes to being academically successful and alert for constant intellectual challenges. So it’s understandable that apathy creeps into the mind of your average student when it comes to getting dressed for class. In order to lessen the severity of this apathy for campus style, I present to you five college bloggers’ whose Instagram will give you the right ounce of sartorial inspiration to make you want to dress up for class. Prepare to be visually stimulated. 

 

Sam Yohannes, Ryerson University, @samhannes

A mixture of eccentricity and vintage classic classifies Sam’s unique style. She understands how to mix and match pieces that are seemingly unmatchable and turns it into a beautifully unique aesthetic that is all her own. Her quirk looks make for the chicest fashion statements that are begging to be followed. Follow Sam’s Instagram for cool architectural perspectives, gravity defying hair shots and super stylish friends.

Andy Jackson, Delaware State University, @anndyjackson

If norm core style were a person, it would be Andy. His looks take on classic and timeless elements with an overall modernity that completes his sartorial vision. Andy’s ode to the quintessential Ivy League style of the ‘40s through ‘70s is like a breath of nostalgic air. Follow Andy’s Insta for major urban chic inspiration and a glimpse of a fashionable life well-lived.

Penda Sarr, University of Toronto, @pendasarr

The ultimate style maven, Penda assembles looks that are chic and stylishly executed. She has the layering game down to a T with the perfect accessories to elevate every look. Her international sensibilities certainly add another dimension to her sophisticated style. Follow Penda’s Instagram for an insider look at how a fashion girl socializes, eats, lives and travels in style.

Oguguam Ugwuanyi, Loyola University Chicago, @oguguam

Communicating her fashion sense through menswear inspired pieces and throwback shapes, Oguguam is the epitome of a fashion cool girl. It’s easy to see her fun personality through the quirky details she adds in her accessories and the completion of her style. Catch a glimpse of the fun side of fashion on Oguguam’s Instagram full of playful shots and scenes of Western African lifestyle. 

Cheyenne Adler, New York University, @adamantlyadler

One-part fitness guru, another part style guru, Cheyenne has all the elements of a well-balanced life. She infuses her athletic tendencies into her highly sophisticated urban looks with just enough grit to make it that much more effortless. Follow Cheyenne’s Insta for daily dosage of a little visual imagination of city life and decidedly modern metropolitan style.  

(Source: Adamantly Adler)

(Source: Adamantly Adler)

Charity Gates, Web Content Editor

When Art Meets Fashion

Where does inspiration come from? How does inspiration provide the seeds to create something with the potential of greatness? Creative minds exist in almost every industry, otherwise there would be nothing to show for human ingenuity. It is an interesting experience to see how various worlds can come together and merge into one inspiring abyss of imagination. So when the fashion and art worlds combine, inspiration for daily style is a masterpiece in the making. That’s why I looked to the works of some of the most innovative Black artists to create some artistic looks.

LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE

(Art via Gowen Contemporary; Top: J.Crew, Pants: Topshop, Loafers: Lord & Taylor)

(Art via Gowen Contemporary; Top: J.Crew, Pants: Topshop, Loafers: Lord & Taylor)

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is a British artist whose work combines the Western expressive techniques of classical portraiture and the idea of the multifaceted nature of blackness. The subdued minimalism of Yiadom-Boakye’s painting inspired this classic ensemble of stripes, loafers and cigarette pants. The main figure’s prominent human qualities make it seem as if they can walk off the canvas and into the real world.

SHANTELL MARTIN

(Art via Vogue.com; Graphic tee: MANGO, Denim: ZARA, High-tops: Converse )

(Art via Vogue.com; Graphic tee: MANGO, Denim: ZARA, High-tops: Converse )

In the language of lines, creatures, characters and messages, British artist Shantell Martin’s stream-of-conscious drawings make for a light-hearted visual experience. In the simplicity of her use of black ink and white surfaces, it is easy to find street style influences. The relaxed cool of her art easily translates into a pair of distressed denim, graphic tee and high tops.

JEAN-MICHEL BASQIAT

(Art via Wikiart; Sweater Vest: Madewell, Blouse: H&M, Skort: Pilot , Boots: ALDO)

(Art via Wikiart; Sweater Vest: Madewell, Blouse: H&M, Skort: Pilot , Boots: ALDO)

One of the most innovative American artists of the 20th century, Basquiat merged the styles of street graffiti with the classic techniques of cubism and surrealism. His work was not only eye-catching, but also contained provocative social commentary that forced the mind to see the messages beyond the image. The rugged maximalism and layered technique of his crown piece inspired an outfit that takes the same effect. The sweater vest layered on top of a flowy blouse, ankle boots and skort reminiscent of the shape of the crown are all inspired by the Basquiat artistry.

BRIANNA MCCARTHY

(Art via Brianna McCarthy ; Top: Marni, Pants: Rosie Assoulin, Platforms: Stella McCartney)

(Art via Brianna McCarthy ; Top: Marni, Pants: Rosie Assoulin, Platforms: Stella McCartney)

Up-and-coming mixed media artist from Trinidad and Tobago, Brianna McCarthy’s, work vividly addresses issues of beauty, stereotypes, and representation. She creatively uses mask imagery to evoke the ethereal beauty of her subjects. The layered technique of her artistry inspired this look that reflects mixed textures and shapes. The outfit follows the three-tiered dimension of the drawing. The ruffled gray top plays into the multidimensional gray of the figure’s face. The bright yellow cut-out pants reflect the pattern of the floral-esque shapes that decorate the figure’s neck. Following the line of the drawing, the platform brogues are reminiscent of the black and white pattern forming the shoulders of the subject.

JACOB LAWRENCE

(Source: Art via Phillips Collection; Blazer vest: Topshop, Pants: Marni, Sweater: Romwe, Boots: ZARA)

(Source: Art via Phillips Collection; Blazer vest: Topshop, Pants: Marni, Sweater: Romwe, Boots: ZARA)

As the mastermind behind The Great Migration Series, Jacob Lawrence Inspired by the daily experiences of African Americans in the early-mid 20th century, Lawrence had a special talent of depicting the shapes and textures of the city spaces that Blacks occupied. His “dynamic cubism” style expresses so many emotions that capture the sentiment of such a critical time in American history. The hues of his color-blocked city scape in this piece inspired an urban chic look. The structure of the vest complements the abstract print of the pants and references the geometric structure of the city block. This cropped sweater is a great layering piece to the vest which also plays a tongue-in-cheek reference to the city in the statement of “You Are Here”. The urban chic look would be incomplete without a pair of healed ankle boots. 

 

Charity Gates, Digital Content Director

Should Fashion Be Politically Correct? A Response to the NY Times

What is the cost of a fashion statement? How far are we willing to go to call something “chic”? Straddling the line between appropriation and offense and raising awareness around socio-political issues, many major players in the fashion industry create on the basis of exploration. However, they fail to acknowledge the struggles of the same cultures or people that they claim to “borrow” from. Clearly stated by Vogue Italia editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, “Fashion isn’t really about clothes. It’s about life.” but there is an unfortunate pattern of photographing high fashion, luxury shoots with the backdrop of poverty and social marginalization. These shoots are concocted under the guise of creativity for being inspired by the grit of “street life” or the “real world.” This language, coded in the idealism of sartorial ingenuity, is actually detrimental to the communities that are exploited as a mere “backdrop” or source of inspiration. While the notion of wanting to artfully “shed light” on various social ills seems pleasing, it is only superficial. At the end of the day, major fashion houses, models, photographers, and other major players featured in these exploits are still gaining tremendous monetary benefits. Even though the fall 2014 Chanel ready-to-wear show helped to raise awareness about women’s rights and the inequality of the patriarchal system, a piece from the show will still go for thousands of dollars and the patriarchy remains alive and well. This is not to say a simple runway show will bring about significant change after centuries of inequality, however, major fashion brands like Chanel still benefit from a system of inequality that persists.

As W magazine’s editor-in-chief, Stefano Tonchi remarked, “Like any art form [fashion] becomes propaganda.” Fashion has a responsibility and a role to highlight the issues of society and force them into public conversation. Often, the overly constructed, avant-garde productions of the fashion industry are labeled as escapism because creators do not want to face the ugliness of reality. I agree that it is wrong to assume that designers, editors, and other major players in the production of fashion are after a “cheap shock and not a deeper commitment.” But one does have to consider the diversity of experiences, perspectives and issues individuals are facing in the world; especially relating to the so-called “inspiration” that fashion people take from these struggles. In an industry that is so lacking in diverse representation and where these questionable “fashion statements” are committed heavily by white people who hold considerable societal power, fashion should be politically correct.

NOTE: You can read the original New York Times article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/15/fashion/should-fashion-be-politically-correct.html?ribbon-ad-idx=5&rref=fashion


Charity Gates, Digital Content Director and Contributing Writer



Grace Wales Bonner Defines Blackness with Malik

(Source: Saint Heron)

(Source: Saint Heron)

Menswear designer Grace Wales Bonner explores sexuality, black ‘70s and Senegalese culture with photographer Harley Weir and Julia Sarr-Jamois, i-D magazine’s senior fashion editor. Partnering with the two, the team traveled to Senegal to bring the collection to life. Wrestlers, locals and kids were part of the cast of the trip. Donned in Grace’s Ebonics collection—entitled Malik—Senegalese wrestlers bring both personality and essence to her clothes from bouts in pink lakes to shots of their training and homes.

Denim bellbottoms imposed on the city or pastel lakes and striped suits caught in motion, these are the products of a respect for Senegalese culture and Bonner’s challenge to notions of black men. In the video that accompanies the photo exploration, we get personal with a Lebou wrestler. Learning of his morning rituals, we follow part of the young wrestler’s journey to becoming a top wrestler while also being shown intimate scenes of him in his home. Bonner noted that she hopes through her collections and presentations, to bring a softer view of black men. The video humanizes and characterizes the wrestlers who wore her clothes. For her, there is so much more nuance to black men than the art and fashion world’s perception of them as “street.” From photographing at Lake Rebta (or Lac Rose), known for its pinkish hue, to close-up portrait shots accentuated with subtle blush, Bonner pushes back on ideas of masculinity, femininity and sexuality.

(Source: i-D)

(Source: i-D)

See more visuals and the video at i-D

Mark Igbinadolor, Creative Director and Contributing Writer  

Fall Essentials

Leaves are changing colors, fresh crisp air has replaced the muggy humidity and fall style is beginning to emerge on campus. We all know that with a change in the seasons means a change in your wardrobe. The most important question is what should replace those colorful shorts and breezy tops that occupied the summer months. Mastering the annual season transition is the ultimate sartorial feat, but with these five fall essentials the challenge is accepted.

The Chunky Sweater

                                                          1. Zara 2. StyleBop 3. H&M

                                                          1. Zara 2. StyleBop 3. H&M

Sweater for fall? Groundbreaking. But a chunky sweater? Chic. With a chunky sweater, you will be able to combat the cooler temperatures and look stylish doing so. Plus, they are so versatile. Pair your chunky sweater with a pair of slim fit jeans for a casual look or dress it up with a mid-length skirt for an elevated air. 

The Cropped Pant

                                                        1. TOPSHOP 2. Zara 3. River Island

                                                        1. TOPSHOP 2. Zara 3. River Island

One item that made its existence known on the fall/winter 2015 runways was the cropped pant. This brainchild creation from the 1970s era merges the aesthetics of a skirt and pants, so you can have the best of both worlds. Also, a cropped pant will take your outfit from basic to editorial heights with just the zip of a zipper and close of a button.

The Ankle Boot

                                                   1. Public Desire 2. Lulus 3. La Garconne

                                                   1. Public Desire 2. Lulus 3. La Garconne

Because who doesn’t love a great pair of boots! In almost any style, shape or color, the ankle boot is the ultimate fall essential. Fall is not fall without the boots. Just like the other essentials in this list, the ankle boot is a versatile item that can go from casual to refined with the change of a top or bottom.  

The Turtleneck

                                                         1. Nordstrom 2. Madewell  3. H&M  

                                                         1. Nordstrom 2. Madewell  3. H&M  

I have come to appreciate turtlenecks as a piece of simple sophistication after believing for a while that they were a tactic created by parents to torture their children. Turtlenecks are the beacon of bohemian chic and can give you an artistic edge just with a simple pair of jeans or pants. Best of all, they make for a great layering piece when the weather is especially unforgiving.

The Suede Skirt

                                                           1. Nordstrom  2. MANGO 3. Zara

                                                           1. Nordstrom  2. MANGO 3. Zara

No longer tied to the space of a cowboy ranch or western rodeo, the suede skirt is a chic compliment to the likes of a leather skirt. The unconventional texture makes it a great piece to add a little eclecticism to your fall wardrobe and be a great layering piece to any of your favorite fall essentials.

 

Charity Gates, Digital Content Director and Contributing Writer