Monday, April 30, 2012

Style Maven: Andre 3000

"To me, that's real style, anything that feels comfortable and expresses
your personality and makes you stand a little taller." ~ Andre 3000
The below commercial is just one tip off the ice burg in regards to what Andre 3000 has to offer soon in the entertainment industry. Yes, the vintage yet new age hip-hop legend, Andre 3K, Dre, Benjamin Andre, 3000, Three Stacks, Ice Cold, Possum Aloisious Jenkins, Dookie Blossum Gain the 3rd, Johnny Vulture, or whatever name you knowhim by, is slated to be returning to the spotlight sometime this year, and not just with music. On top of preparing his first solo album to hopefully be released this year, as far as fashion goes, his line Benjamin Bixby will make a return this year since his first collection came out in 2008. I, personally, am immensely excited considering Andre 3000's comeback for he has served as one of MY personal style icons considering his futuristically-nostalgic, suave, and culturally eccentric style-vibe. There are so many creative reasons for why he does what he does, and his  explanations  for his actions expose his wildy intellectual mindset, what he is interested in, and what he has been influenced by and, in my fashion, considering his past garb, he is most likely thinking on a plane none of us have dared to explore, which is what I enjoy so much about this revolutionary artist.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Serious Style: Editing Your Style for Sucess

Melanie Fiona
Today I came across the March 19, 2012 issue of Jet Magazine with Cee-lo Green on the cover, I came across a short interview highlighting the lovely Melanie Fiona. She has a genuine quality about her which shines so radiant, not in a defiant, bombastic, and rebellious way, but her candor seems to come from a wholistic mindset which makes her aura so positively energizing. Melanie Fiona has been gracing the airways with her single "4 A.M." from her album "The MF Life", and in the interview she was asked what the does her title stand for. While most of us would simply think, "MF" means, Melanie Fiona, she went of to mention that "The MF Life" was more of a pun, that can mean whatever you want it to mean. She goes on to say, "Life is filled with highs and lows. You have to pay attention to those moments. They are what define you." In my fashion, she is absolutely correct! This, in my fashion, helps to expose a deeper aspect of Melanie Fiona's style, who she is, and what she stands for. Reading her comments to the questions posed in JET made me realize that people who have realized this fact early on in life, are those who are able to lead a life that they wanted to lead. How can you live a fulfilled life if you don't have complete control over the factors that affect you. Life is about reflection, and progression; the only way you are going to progress is if you pay attention to what is going on in your life and maybe its not so much about recognizing what is high and low in your life, but its about how you react to these high and low moments that define who you are. Me personally, I have found that journal writing is a great way to look at your life retrospectively. Every morning I set a few minutes out of the morning to write out my intentions for my day, and how I plan to reach my goals as far as my life goes, mentally, spirtiually, and physically. I write out what is most important in my life and what it is I need to focus on for the day to keep my life in check. I make sure I do this everyday, and I  it helps to to really layout the events of your day and ponder how in the future you can navigate through the negativities of your life. After taking time to reflect on life, it's impreative to hold yourself to your commitments, no mater what,  and force yourself to act upon your set intentions. I have found that it takes a certain level of self-discipline to want to progress in life, and by paying attention to the destructive aspects of your life and eliminating them daily by holding yourself to a higher standards than the day before, you can train your mind to be able to handle all situations you encounter with your own understanding of how to overcome adversity in your life. How do you achieve excellence in life? By doing the right thing! From what I have learned, excellence is the result of caring about what you do, and putting your best effort into what you care about. Excellence is an outward expression of inner integrity, and integrity is an important aspect of anyone's style, agreed?

READing Your Style

Complex Magazine
Complex Magazine is one of my favorite mens fashion magazines, and I implore all men to view thier observations for the "50 Mistakes Dudes Make While Getting Dressed". In my fashion, most of these mistakes should be avoided for sure! Click through here to view them, or visit the link above to view their website.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Style Watch: Jessie J

I heart the women that is Jessie J! She is such a visual delight every time she shows herself. Jessie J came from the UK to the USA in 2011 with a very hard, rebellious UK bad girl 'tude, clad in bright bodysuits, gemstone lipstick, outrageous and fanatical frocks, with her signature black bang and shoulder length haircut. I suppose she was really digging her pony tail from the Grammy Awards this year, for in her new video below, "Laserlights", she has parlayed her look into yet another classic, yet modernly innovative style  using her ponytail. As I always say, it's good to mix things up a bit every once in a while, and she certainly has ruffled my feathers in a good way! I have been very pleased to see the progression Jessie J's career because on top of being an undeniably talented vocalist with the personality of a seasoned professional, her look is what has been keeping us in tune to her music. In my fashion, she is always a sight for soar eyes with her optimistic feeling colorful combos and avant guard distinctiveness. I feel that her outfit choices are good examples of how to wear pieces that are more playful, and distinctive design-wise, but acceptable to wear outside of the Hollywood spotlight. If you ask me, I feel her look is already noteworthy in regards to her sartorial influence, for considering she does it so well, I foresee more people on the streets taking the same risks Jessie J rocks on stage quite soon. This single "Laserlights" is to be available on her platinum edition of her debut album "Who You Are" in May.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Style Watch: Elle Varner

In light of my previous à la mode post featuring this natural haired beauty, I would like to start the weekend off with a cute new music video from the Elle Varner. Elle Varner is another one of the afro sporting songstresses in the industry now who is brining soul/folk music to the pop market among other artists like Adele and Gotye. I had to highlight this blog for my IMF'ers because if you are familiar with Ella Varners first single, "Only Wanna Give it to You" ft. J. Cole, this second single, "Refill" is a great follow up, in my fashion. I enjoy the fact that her first song was upbeat, colorful, catchy, and cute! Her look went along with the feel of the song, so we were really able to connect with who Ella Varner is as her own brand from the get go. This second track is a beautiful balad of a love story in which she has a heartbreaking and unfortunate ending, but its ending really helps the video and song come together full circle, and shows more of a clever side to Varner, which is a part of her personality that I am sure will help keep her relevant in the industry. If she can continue to produce work that is of this caliper, she will be well on her way to distinguishing herself from the rest of the crowd on the scene to build a stronger brand for herself.  Be on the look out for her album, Perfectly Imperfect, out later this year.

Serious Style

My mind moves a mile a minute trying to
find out, "What's next"
My new segment "Serious Style" will delve more into my more hardhitting sartorial philosophies. Normally, my mind is running a mile a minute thinking of eight different topics at once, trying to accomplish multiple tasks at once, and planning my next moves ahead four or five steps, but then there are times (out of no where most times) I catch myself staring into the distance, thinking about a single topic, that of which I continue to think further and further about trying to find an ultimate solution to my quanderings. Here in "Serious Style", I am going to catch these random passing thoughts, that I find quite pressing, in regards to how style makes for a strong individual and my thoughts on the direction of the fashion industry. While we would like to think that the fashion world is all colorful frocks, luscious fabrics, and an assortment of sparkly jewelry, the processes to make sure these things are available for eager customers is quite serious from a business standpoint. I would like to expose what I think about industry issues such as model's fair and legal treatment in the industry, issues concerning the increasing globalization of fashion and what that means for certain sectors as technology continues to develop, and what we can do to change negative perceptions and aspects of the fashion industry. I want to touch on social issues such as colorism, segregation and tolerance, and and how one can use fashion to make a social stand against a cause (i.e. Trayvon Martin supporters wearing hoodies). I'd also like to touch on what people have done in the past to stand up for social inadequacies using fashion. Fashion can be used as a powerful tool for change, so I want to explore how its been used in the past, and what we can do in the future to use fashion to bring us into more harmony with each other. The goal is to figure how we can preserve the essence and purposes of fashion and style so that future generations can be inspired by our legacies. Fashion is fun, but it's a tough business.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

à la mode: "Short" Order

In the May 2012 issue of American Vogue, Joan Smalls is shot by photographer Steven Meisel, highlighting all types of gorgeous shorts to consider for this summer! Notice the heavy floral looks and bright, bold colors! In my fashion this shoot pays homage to Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Beyonce types who are on swing with the natural hair trend and Afrocentric vibe which is becoming all the rage the fashion world. This shift is probably due to the fact that African-American women in music are gaining more global attention (i.e. Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, Elle Varner), and taking a strong presence in entertainment (i.e. Basketball Wives, Hip-Hop Wives, Housewives of Atlanta). Italian Vogue was certainly correct when they observed how the “Rapper Chic” look is making its way into fashion, and this spread in American Vogue makes for a more business professional rapper chic. It’s always fun to add a little “flava” into your look!  Photo Credits [source]


Elle Varner-like

Esperanza Spalding-like
Cynthia Bailey-like

Teyana Taylor-like

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Style Watch: Driicky Graham

If you have been keeping up with the latest head gear trends, I am sure you have seen a new plethora of men who are bringing back snapbacks hats. Big Sean, for instance, made a splash in the industry when he gain mass popularity in 2011, clad in gold chains and rings, blazers and a snap-back. Now a new artist by the name of, Driicky Graham, is helping to make the trend a definite staple in men's wardrobes for the moment. Going into the this summer season, his track "Snapbacks and Tattoo's" will definitely sound good blasting from our speakers with its hard beat and the lyrical style of this new artist, and the song really speaks for the times in regards to how we are dressing now. In my fashion, the rough and tough assumptions  normally associated with a person who wears tattoos has officially been desensitized considering the amount of adults who have at least one tattoo has risen from 16% in 2003 to 36% as of now, as indicated by the Pew Research Center [source]. Also, if you remember, it was not just a decade ago when the urban market turned it's favor towards fitted baseball hats as the new standard piece for any "cool guy" to own. Well if you haven't got the memo already, view Driicky Graham's video below to get the message every "cool guy" needs to know now.  Read his bio here, and an insightful interview here to learn more about this New Jersey kid who started rapping simply to relieve stress.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Character Building: Willy Wonka

Willy Wonka played by Gene Wilder (1971)
 and Johnny Depp (2005) [photo]
What type of child were you growing up? A bully? The kid everyone copied their homework off of? Perhaps, you were the art geek, or stayed in sports year round. Which ever type of kid you were, do you think you were as "bratty" as the kids out of the cult classic films, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory released in 2005. I bring attention to the Willy Wonka character because when you think of the way Willy Wonka dealt with these bratty children, he did it with fun, flare, and a dose of what they deserved without even trying.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

READing Your Style

Photo Credit: [source]
In my fashion, staying current is an important aspect of fashion and style. Think about business ventures: if you understand stategic management and brand positioning, when you set out to introduce your product to the public, the first step of assessing your success is to know what is going on in the market and stay current on the developments of your competitors, the desires of the consumer, and what's happening in your field as a whole. Now I ask that you apply this thinking to your style. To have great style, no matter if you agree with what the trends of the moment or not, you must be aware of what others are doing to distinguish yourself, that way you know what not to look like. Be yourself - everyone else is already taken! If you refer back to my April Letter to the Editor, this goes along the lines of "Editing Your Style for Success". It is essencial to be at least acutely aware of your surroundings and what is popular at the moment so that you can think of forward thinking ideas that position you ahead of the curve in regards to fashion, and according to your own personal development into who you really are. Remember, dressing different from everyone else and having a distinct style shows the world that "I feel comfortable being my own person and I will be strong to those who attempt to sway my thinking outside of who I am." This segment, "Reading Your Style" is dedicated to readings that I found enlightening for myself, and would hope they help you realize something that you needed to understand in your life. I am very eclectic and find inspiration everywhere, so I will point you to different articles I read from a variety of sources. These articles will also be found on my side bar, so check back often to see what new reads I find. 

Today's Read:
Vogue Italia "Natural Hair Trend"

Click ahead for more articles recomended after the jump...

Friday, April 6, 2012

à la mode: Tails of the City

In my fashion, I am completely ready to discontinue layering, feeling chilly, and having to think so much about how to brave going outside in the cold. In light of the coming warmer weather, what better way to introduce my new feature "A la Mode", French for "in the current fashion or style". As I have mentioned in my "April Letter from the Editor", this spring is all about restoring the vibe of the "90's" taking inspiration from florals, and sea life, and using outlandish, bright, and offbeat colors to lift our spirits, and keep us excited. I love looking at fashion spreads for inspiration. In my fashion, they are the best way to show the consumer the best ways to wear a particular garment and express the feeling you can have when wearing it (depending on the stylist, of course). To me, photo shoots are the ultimate photographic experience! To set out to compose the most beautiful, most interesting, most inspiring image is my heart’s desire for I know for myself, it is my personal way of influencing others and sharing MY knowledge of our world, as well as shedding light on the true essence of who we are, and how our world is beautiful in so many ways. I like to think that with the perfect image, a viewer will engrave that visual in their mind to mean so much more than simply a photo taken at a particular time, but as an inspirational tool to make whatever sparks of imagination we gain from that visual as tangible as possible in our own point of view. Whether we take away a particular feeling, message, a nostalgic resonance, or maybe even an epiphany, a photo can explain to us what we really want in life, and set us on that path to obtaining it. It sets the tone for an ambitious mind state, and like I always say, "Dress for the position you want, not the one you are in," or in other words, attitude before aptitude! Until I am able to create my own big budget photo shoots with the best team of artists, in the best locations, with best equipment, I will be highlighting what photo spreads and images that I find truly captivating and worth a look see. I would also like to expose the ways stylist and magazines produce a particular shoots and I will also be highlighting my chosen spreads on my side panel, so be on the lookout for some very interesting visuals to come on

My first feature comes from American Vogue, April 2012 issue, photographed by Craig McDean, and edited by Fashion Editor Tabitha Simmons. (Clicking on the images will make them larger to view)

Very edgy, and Edward-Scissor-Hands-
Chic, yet it radiates an innocent, school girl.
Perfect for looking rebelliously comely 

In my fashion, this look seems very
comfortable for this spring. Although it is
long, I say go for less revealing looks that
give you a quirky confidence to stand out
from the crowd.   

Sunday, April 1, 2012


In my fashion, I must say, last month was a good month for fashion on television.  Paris Fashion Week ended the show season, and started the month out right (especially on E! Channel's Fashion Police). "Rip the Runway" aired on BET, and the new designer competition show "Fashion Star" premiered with great success on NBC. One show that premiered, that I have already come to love is "Styled by June" on VH1, for I have already learned a lot about what it means to be a stylist in the entertainment industry and how important one's personal image is to their success. As a stylist you must understand confidence: how to get it, how to keep it, and more importantly, how to spread it. A stylist is a motivator. They motivate people to have confidence, and as a stylist, one must understand confidence-how to keep it, how to use it in hard times, and how to keep others around you positive and confident. My path to fashion began when I started taking photography classes in high school. As a photographer, I realized people weren't as confident as they would lead you to think, for when I take that photo, if the subject does not have enough confidence, you can pretty much read all of their insecurities (especially when someone waits on pins and needles to be shown their photo just in case they must have a re-do). As a stylist, I work to eliminate those feelings and make others feel the confidence to feel their best, even if you don't have the opposite sex (or the same sex, wink) drooling over you, 247. Being a stylist requires understanding human behavior, because if I can not get my subject to exude the confidence I need to emit from the photo, then I am at a loss! I need to understand how to bring out peoples alter personalities and forms to show the essence of an emotion to gain the maximum effect for my audience.