This month being Black History Month, I chose to purchase a copy of a magazine I have been meaning to purchase for a while, ARISE Magazine. As described by on its website, "ARISE is Africa’s first and foremost international style magazine. Highlighting African achievement in fashion, music, culture and politics, it provides a positive portrayal of the continent and its contribution to contemporary society across the world." I was very pleased with my purchase in that on top of the colorful displays of fashion, it made me look at the modern African fashion world in a new light. I took African-American psychology in college, and having learned so much about my culture and the Afrocentric point of view, I learned much about myself. In my fashion, ARISE Magazine is a fantastic display of the Afrocentric point of view through the medium of fashion. I am very excited for the next issue because this current issue's features brought an interesting perspective of the cultural scene of Africa that sparked my interest in the "true" culture of Africa, past and present, and not just the violence and hardship that is depicted on the news so often in American society.
This month the magazine's cover girl is, Kerry Washington. I saw the movie that she was in which was released last Christmas, Django: Unchained. It was a thoroughly entertaining Quentin Tarantino film with all its action, violence, and exaggerated blood and gore, but in my fashion, Washington's beauty, and talent as an actress, was enough to offset the brutality of the movie all by herself. She has made history being the first African-American female lead on a major network drama in 38 years on ABC's hit political thriller Scandal, and she speaks eloquently in the article about what she has learned about being a Black women. This current issue of ARISE Magazine includes other interesting topics including the tokenism or progressiveness of Black runway shows; Angola's dance craze called, Kuduro; the social efforts Cape Town's creative talent; and thoughts on whether there be a "United States of Africa". I urge everyone to enlighten themselves on this fashion magazines making grand strides for the image of Africa. I will include more from the magazine later on in the month.
In regards to fashion and beauty, one particular feature I enjoyed entitled, Buff Around the Edges, share responses from the many men of style who work in fashion who provide us with their simplistic grooming secrets which help them to stand out in more than simple ways. They go to show that grooming and having great style does not require high maintenance, but an intuitive sense of what works for you, and how to apply what works for you with what your life is all about. What I got from them is that its about learning about how to mesh your lifestyle in a way that is simple and manageable for you (not so much based on the traditional techniques of our father's advice). I've pulled my favorite responses from the article below.
FERDI SIBBEL, MODEL:
"I do as little as possible grooming wise. I'm a model so I get things like facials pedicures and haircuts on shoots. I stay away from doing things like that in my own time - or I use my girlfriend products. I should have pedicures more often - they make my feet look good - but I don't like people touching my feet that's the problem.
"I've had a beard for 10 years but sometimes I have to shave it for work. I'm 33 but without a beard I look like I'm 21. it looks and feels really weird when I wake up; like I've gone back in time. I use a Phillips small trim first because it's more practical and you can be more accurate, then I wet shave in the shower. I don't use any product - just a little bit of cream to hydrate it, but that's more for the skin then the beard.
"I have this in between length hair- I don't really have a haircut- so I just slick my hair back with Bumble and Bumble styling wax or if there's no products at hand I just wear a hat or a beanie. I like hair that you don't have to worry about and I don't want to waste time in the morning."
SHAKA MAIDOH AND SAM LAMBERT, CO-FOUNDERS ART COMES FIRST:
SHAKA MAIDOH: "I've had an afro on an off for maybe six years. Sam cuts my hair for me; he's good at it but he doesn't trust me with his hair. He also braids it into corn rows sometimes adding tread like the Ethiopian style. My twin sister chooses my hair products. I don't use much, maybe some natural shea butter.
"When I turn vegetarian and stopped drinking I decided to live the whole natural way of life and the beard came naturally. My mum hates it, she says I look like Osama bin Laden. It's a little bit too much for my parents so if I'm going home I tidy it up."
SAM LAMBERT: "Shaka and I didn't make a joint decision to have beards, it just came about because it's a natural way of being. I like to keep it natural; I don't use colognes and I use nothing on my hair; water is enough. I don't think your body of hair needs as much product as people think. As soon as I come out of the shower I moisturize with Dove Aloe Vera, and that's it.
"I cut my own hair, just a minor trim. When I had long hair I needed a way to get ready as quickly as I could so I taught myself how to braid. I grew up watching my sister's do it."
JEAN-PAUL PAULA, FASHION CONSULTANT, WAD MAGAZINE:
"I hate shaving. My father tried to teach me how to shave a long time ago. I did it once and ended up with pimples all over my face, so I've just trimmed ever since. I have little or no hair growth, so I only do it once or twice a month.
"My hair's a different story. It changes with my mood. For a while I put body paint on my hair and wore wigs and weaves. But living in Paris people aren't as open minded as you might think and it got really exhausting having people looking at me weirdly all the time. So I shaved my hair really short. Now it's longer on top and the sides are shaved.
"I'm from Curaçao (I moved to Holland when I was a year old), where it's part of the culture to really take care of your hair - especially for the women. I go to an amazing Arab hairdresser on the street where I work. It's €7 for a cut; I show him a picture and he does exactly what I want in 10 minutes. Amazing.
"I have very dry skin and find using Vichy Aqualia really helps. I also carry Caudalir lip balm with me everywhere. At the moment I'm wearing Armani Diamonds. It was Christmas present and I use it almost everyday."
MARC HARE, SHOE DESIGNER:
"I've had my dreadlocks since I was 17, I couldn't imagine not having them anymore. I grew up in a Rastafarian household but I don't particularly have them for religious reasons; I wouldn't call them fashion dreads either, that sounds awful.
"There are a lot of myths about dreadlocks. People ask me the same three things about my locks: Do I wash them? How do I wash them? And how do I keep them in? I put hair oil or coconut oil on them every now and then and wash my hair every ten days to two weeks - I let them dry naturally. It's a Sunday job.
"Whenever I go to France I visit Santa Maria Novella pharmacy and stock up. It's just half an hour away from my factory and it's lovely going through a massive cathedral to get cosmetics. I once got a bottle of Helmut Lang Cuiron there but I don't think they make it anymore.
"I'm naturally low maintenance - there's not much of a skincare regime at all. I use Korres shower gel - it has this really nice sheen - and in the summer, when I've got a tan, I use Burt's Bees moisturizer - I try to use natural products."
PAUL BAPTISTE, BUYING AND OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, THE SHOP AT BLUEBIRD:
"My sister was a model, so when I was growing up she was travelling all over the world. I was always reading her magazines, getting obsessed with grooming. So I knew about the rules of shaving - going against the grain, letting your skin breathe, using a hot flannel - all before I started shaving. From the age of about 21 I was working with beauty brands and getting to understand the technology behind looking after skin. Then I oversaw the the Harvey Nichols beauty department so I had to know what was going on. I have quite sensitive skin so I try not to aggravate it by shaving every day - and use (MALIN+GOETZ) Rum Bar soap.
"At the moment I am wearing a scent called Eight & Bob. There's a beautiful story around it that involves the Kennedy brothers and the fragrance being secretly shipped to them inside books from wartime Paris. It's recently been rediscovered - and is still sold in a book.
"I grew up in Yorkshire and came to London in my 30's. People don't bat a eyelid at what you wear in the south, but in the north we take getting dressed very seriously. If you're not prepared to dress up you should just stay in."
MISHA TAYLOR, PHOTOGRAPHER:
"When I was 19 my father bought me a beautiful old shaving kit, with a badger brush and straight blade. He's a complete romantic. He keeps promising that soon I'll have a beard to shave, but I am almost 32 and I'm still not there yet. I haven't shaved to the skin in a long time. I have a patchy beard so I use a beard trimmer and that's enough. I don't like the feeling of freshly shaved skin - it's strange and greasy.
"I grew up in South Africa then LA, so my skin is used to warm weather. When I moved to Paris it started freaking out so I found a good moisturizer. In the shower I use Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, then moisturize with Dermalogica Active Mosit and I'm ready to go.
"Hair wise I'm super-low maintenance. I like Kiehl's shampoo, but I don't really use conditioner or styling products. I use and underarm roll-on by Issey Miyake. Anything too musky I don't like, and anything too sweet makes me nauseous. I like soft scents that disappear quickly."