Category Archives: Places To Be: Travel

SEOUL FASHION WEEK, S/S ’17 MOOHONG COLLECTION REVIEW

What would the cool kids look like a few generations after the apocalypse had ravaged civilization, and a merry band of badass survivors had managed to begin repopulating and rebuilding society? Now that you’ve got that scenario in your head, the answer is they’d look pretty dope, and dressed in MooHong. While I didn’t have the greatest seat at MooHong’s show during Seoul Fashion Week, I could see the ultra cool stroll down the runway. Frankly, I think it’s that sense of ultra cool that has to become the anchor of Seoul’s emerging fashion scene, but that’s the topic for another post.

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MooHong had an ultra cool confidence that is irrefutably modern, focused on asymmetric construction, and uncommon cuts. Undoubtedly one of my favorite collections, MooHong kept a rather mild color palette, and managed to never be boring. MooHong SS 2017-FASHION NEEDS JESUS 0.jpg

We saw blazers that were longer than average, and anything but normal. One blazer I was particularly fond of had lapels on the back, revealing red writing, that I can assume, spelled out the brand’s name. It was just interesting enough to catch my eye, and yet, easily sellable for the client who is still a bit shy about how daring to be when enhancing their style. There was plenty, however, for the fashionable man and woman who’s confidence and bravado already matched their style.t768x1152_46

As if that weren’t enough, there was a pleasant androgyny, that didn’t looked forced at all. Instead, it looked sophisticated, and well thought out. It wasn’t a man in a dress, it was a man in a really cool long top with an asymmetrical hem, opting to wear no pants, and layering on a dope blazer. It was genuine, believable, and better yet, sellable. Whether it was menswear or womenswear mattered minimally at best,  the traditionally masculine elements complemented the traditionally feminine. The traditionally feminine carried elements of the traditionally masculine. It just worked. Here are some of my favorite looks, from one of the best collections presented at Seoul Fashion Week! 

Be sure to catch some sweet street style and the fashion diaries by following along on Insta:@FashionNeedsJesus and Facebook!

XoXo,

S

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SEOUL FASHION WEEK, S/S ’17 pushBUTTON Collection Review

What was spectacular about pushBUTTON’s Spring/Summer 2017 show? I’ll admit, there was a subtle shock to see every man stroll down the runway in a pair of heels. There’s just something I can appreciate about the democratization of pain. Clever. But, really, that wasn’t the most spectacular thing. The brilliance in the collection was held really in the distance of the collection. And just what do I mean by that, after all, this girl was sitting pretty on pushBUTTON SS 2017-FASHION NEEDS JESUS 16.jpgthe front row? Well, just that as a stylist, it’s easy for me to focus on pieces. I start wardrobing in my head the minute I see a piece I like. Which client would that work for, what would pair well in his closet, what could I style that with on a shoot? Immediately, my mind wonders. In fact, with several shows I saw at Seoul Fashion Week, I would get excited about some great pieces. At pushBUTTON, however, the brilliance was in the distance, I found myself getting excited about just about every look that strolled down the runway. Funky, colorful, and cohesive while maintaining an air of uniqueness. Were I a fashion buyer, I’d be in trouble. That’s what I loved about pushBUTTON. As if my word weren’t proof enough, pushBUTTON’s collection was named one of the best of the season, further establishing their global presence!

Candied stripes and colors filled the venue, with boxy cuts, and willowy drapes. The whole pushBUTTON SS 2017-FASHION NEEDS JESUS 19.jpgthing felt like a perfect summer day. The day where you hold hands with someone you love, and cruise in a drop top with the sun kissing your shoulders. Where you were headed exactly, God only knows; a music festival, a beach, a club that has you waitlisted for a month before you can even get in, or dinner at that lovely little restaurant on the coast you’ve always wanted to try, perhaps. Either way, the cozy, cool pieces from pushBUTTON would easily take you to the next level.

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pushbutton-ss-2017-fashion-needs-jesus-14Gold pants? Check. Baby blue, updated, pussy-bow blouse. Check. Green jumper with just pushBUTTON SS 2017-FASHION NEEDS JESUS 4.jpgthe right amount of side boob action for the ultra daring? Check. Sheer lavender midi dress you didn’t know you needed, but totally do? Check. The crimson ultra wide-leg pant that will have you sashaying down the street? Check. I could go on, but you get the idea.

The retro references, modern cuts and lovely color palette created the perfect distance. The type of woman who will wear this collection may be your very best friend, and your closest confidant, however, the minute she puts on pushBUTTON, she’s so cool that she’s practically untouchable, and miles above the rest.

 

XoXo,

S.

Catch awesome street style from Seoul Fashion Week, and the Fashion Diaries on our Insta @FashionNeedsJesus and our Facebook page!

 

Seoul Fashion Week, S/S ’17 Songzio Collection Review

Tailored art. That’s the collection Songzio(송지오) that presented itself at Seoul Fashion Week, while I watched intrigued from the front row.  The collection was among  some of my favorites, showing primarily menswear that ventured from relaxed to tailored, and bold to subdued.
img_8313Despite the clear juxtapositions, the collection was beautifully made, complementing each outfit to stroll down the runway. Fashion designer, Zio Song, while not making particularly wild or crazy silhouettes, did manage to play with proportions, interesting details that nipped at the male waist ever-so-slightly, colors, and patterns in a way that made the show memorable, and the clothes wearable even for the less daring man or woman wanting a contemporary suit.

We saw the black, white and navy colors, ever-present and ever-resilient in menswear. Zio Song did break up the predictable palette for contemporary suiting by also incorporating lively colors such as aqua, primary blue, emerald green, and the occasional yellow. IMG_8345.jpgIMG_8340.jpgThe patterns were not only striking in contemporary menswear, but also refreshingly bold for contemporary women’s suiting as well. Paint strokes, jagged lines,  and a green dominated print with such brilliant strokes that it abstracted itself into spring foliage by a quick glance of the eye were a few of the several prints presented. Add to that some easy-breezy knits, the brightly splattered outwear being an answer for that transitional spring weather, and the collection has rounded itself out quite nicely.

IMG_8311.jpgAs for silhouettes, the long mandarin collar button ups, and long flowing tunics paired nicely with the wide leg pants that found themselves strolling down the runway. I quite enjoyed how the pants were not merely cut wide, but also had such pleating details reminiscent of a school uniform skirt, the effect was different, however, given the soft and pliable nature of the summer-weight fabrics used. Also, as to further emphasize this push in the menswear in particular, the slightly sheer fabrics in some of the looks leaned towards a unisexuality almost. Fabrics and even details normally reserved for womenswear took a stand at the Songzio show, and a great one at that.

XoXo,

-S

And if you haven’t done so already, Follow all the Seoul Fashion Week tidbits on our Insta: @FashionNeedsJesus!!!

To Seoul and Paris, with Love…

Namsan Tower, Seoul, Fashion Needs Jesus

If 7 is the number of completion, then 8 is the number of new beginnings. This 8th month of the year, this August, I saw the first anniversary of a year without my Mother. Undoubtedly the hardest year of my life. But this 8th month,  is the same month that I am flying halfway across the world to begin, again. I’m headed back to Seoul, this decision is less than 60 days old, and whole heartedly full of faith.

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The first time I went to Seoul, it was in desperate search of magic. The second time around, my trip to Seoul will be about restarting, resetting, and refreshing. I’ve been the better part of dead for a year. Bitter, broken, filled with despair…breathing but not living. That’s what I have been. There have been moments, where I got to feel alive. 강남 Gangnam Style, Fashion Needs JesusIn a year without my mother, I helped style Alicia Keys, have done several styling sessions, I’ve met and interviewed some dope designers, I’ve taken street style photos in another country,  I’ve started learning another language, I’ve left jobs that were too toxic, I learned to say no to things that didn’t suit or serve me, I’ve had a small community of incredible women surround me during my grief, and somewhere during this year of pain, I’ve still managed to smile and to laugh.

With grief comes catharsis. 

My catharsis left my creative soul questioning what was in my heart, and why I wasn’t following it? I know the dreams in my heart, dreams that were largely on hold as I grieved. I kept trying to make things work by my own hands, the normal way, the usual way, and it kept not “working”. At least, not “working” how I meant it to. But, when I stopped measuring myself against a standard that wasn’t native to me anyway, the corporate rather than the creative, I started to live again, and dare to make bold decisions

So that’s where we are. 57 days ago, I decided to give up my dope studio in Williamsburg that was killing me in rent, and had become a prison of my grief. 57 days ago, I decided Seoul Searching-Fashion Needs Jesus-NamSan Tower, South Korea.jpgsuddenly, and with encouragement from a bestie, to just follow what was in my heart. After a lil talk with Jesus, and a few months before the decision of pointed prayer and mediation, and the culmination of such emotions and faith made the decision easy. 57 days ago, I starting measuring myself against a standard all my own. 57 days ago, I decided to head back to Seoul.

So, who do you tell you’re moving overseas? Outside of my sisters, and the bestie that helped me make the decision, I told one person initially, Ariane, the designer for Yhaniqua Lopes. Well, interestingly, at the end of Spring, I met Ariane Fonseca at a #JustDoItCrew meeting(a bi-weekly event run by a mother-daughter duo from Hillsong NYC that helps you foster and follow your God-given dreams). She is this gorgeous woman, huge smile, doll-like eyes, and gorgeous Angolan accent. She was persistent about wanting to get to know me and work with me, she could tell I was in fashion and felt I had a beautiful spirit. I was super #TeamNONewFriends. I didn’t want to meet new people, and explain why I could possibly burst into tears at any given moment. But here she was, smiling. She eventually convinced me to style her line, and God did the rest. She was encouraging, warm, and immensely powerful. She’s gonna take the world by storm, no doubt about it. We talked about these foreign places where we felt a connection, for me, Seoul, for her, Paris, we talked about our singleness, we talked about our struggles in NYC, we talked about my grief, and we promised to meet up for coffee.

On July 30th, we did meet up. She was moving, and before she told me where she was moving to, I asked if she was moving to Paris. She sported a gorgeous smile, and said yes, by way of Miami first. I told her I was moving, and she asked without batting an eye, if I was moving to Seoul (a decision I made the day before). I told her yes, by way of New Jersey (but I’m staying with an awesome family in Brooklyn, another extension of God’s love!). We were finally leaving NYC, and as different women than we came. Zero plan, all faith, and a belief that this was what God put in our hearts. So, there we sat, in that coffee shop, encouraging each other for 2+ hours, while others might think we were crazy, already finding kindred spirit and feeling God’s presence.

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So, 27 days ago, I moved out of my studio, I was surrounded by beautiful people who poured into me, and helped me when I literally could not help myself. People who demonstrated what it meant to be the Body of Christ, and to pour into someone and love someone. Throughout this time, I’ve connected with beautiful people, woken up from my grief and started to feel alive again. 22 days ago, I mourned the year anniversary without my mom. 5 days from now, I’m flying to Seoul. Countless people have blessed me, told me I’ve inspired them, or both. Either way, I’m believing for great things, my creativity is resurfacing, and I’m becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to, a woman of relentless faith. I’ve meditated on God being able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all I have every hoped for wished for and imagined for. I’ve meditated on plumbing the depths and testing the heights of God’s love. That meditation and that prayer has given me the strength.

Reset. Refresh. Restore. 

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There is so much more to follow as the best is yet to come.

Follow the journey here, on Facebook, and Insta!

XoXo,

S

 

 

In These Streets: Seoul 서울 Street Style, That Special Kind of Cool

My heart was not prepared for eye lust my wanderlust would bring about while traveling to Seoul. I fell in love for so many reasons, and one of them easily being that Seoul fashion is, simply put, one of the world’s most beautiful lies. It thrives on expertly executed ease and youthful whimsy while maintaining a duality of utter sophistication.

I. Just. Can’t. Even.

Of course, it’s a major city, and a darling of Asia, so one might easily assume that it carries weight in the fashion world. Even so, assuming, and witnessing, are 2 completely different things. Let’s dig in, shall we?

 

CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE MEN?

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My bestie is convinced one of these gents is giving me “The Eyes”…

Because the men came to slay. While I did snap this at Seoul Fashion Week (서울 패션 위크), I would just see squads of men, dressed to kill on a daily basis.It was the norm, and not the exception, trust me. It made me remember why I am in love with menswear. If more men took the time to appreciate it on mass…I’d die a happy woman. Well dressed men. Just roaming in droves. Men unafraid of color, of slim fit, and of bold patterns. Men whose sole focus was not on their shoes matching their belts. Men who wore suits just to go out for dinner with friends. Men who looked sexy in pink, like, bite your bottom lip and cross your legs, and clutch your pearls levels of sexy…in pink.

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My. Heart.

#ICan’tEven.

#TheDream.

But, seriously, I’m pretty sure that so many stylish men travelled in packs as a result of

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Squad.

the school culture and mandatory military service. The minute you enter middle school(or for some, starting in elementary school), you’re in a uniform. Thus, time outside of that uniform is precious. I would surmise that in the midst of developing, growing, and nurturing friendships, style is simply one of those things that naturally fall in line.  After all, self expression is paramount to self development. If I have fewer opportunities to be expressive in the clothing that you wear, I could easily imagine being attracted to those whose style I admired. Scarcity breeds necessity, no? The result? Roves of men, uniform in their level of style, while still managing to be utterly individualistic. #swoon.

 

 

Next: Couple Dressing is a thing, like, a big THING.

I’m so used to seeing, unfortunately, so many couples whose aesthetics do not match. Thankfully, I live in New York City, and while I do see many well-dressed couples to swoon over, but I’m not sure we have the most aesthetically pleasing couples per capita. Frankly, Seoul couples looked stunning, and often wore articles of clothing that were the same. Seoul is crazy for kicks, but can you imagine seeing so many couples wearing the same pair? I lost count, but managed to snap this couple, whose style suited each other.

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Also, Heels For DAYS!

It didn’t matter how many women I saw doing the MyFeetHurt Shuffle, they were going to stomp the city of Seoul in their heels!

But, it also seems like the heels made in Korea, are way better suited for us city girls. They typically had a thicker and sturdier heel.  #Werk . Yes I drooled over the men, but the women also came dressed to slay!

So much more street style to report, but for now, enjoy some of what I found whilst wandering the streets of Seoul!

XoXo,

S

Seoul (서울) Searching: #BlackGirlMagic, 3 things I learned Traveling While Black

“The world is in awe of your beauty and enchanted with your being.”

-Me, just now (Sphinx Rowe)

Let that sink in, digest it, and let it nourish your soul. Write it in lipstick on your mirror and recite it daily. While I don’t wish to alienate any of my readers, I needed to write this topic. Traveling While Black is an experience, and not the negative one I was led to believe it would be. So I have some lessons for other travelers, especially people of color.

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Lesson 1: Stay Away from “Well Meaning White Folk”

For some reason, Well Meaning White Folk(WMWF), feel the need to tell travelers of color, especially Black travelers, that the world will reject them. After being largely helpful with answering questions about Seoul, out of the blue, I was assured that “Koreans are racist” and even though I was American, my dark skin would make things problematic.Stay Away From Well Meaning White Folk

Why did this White American male feel the need to tell me these things? Probably because he was hold on to his own prejudices and carrying them with him to South Korean, where he now lives. The truth is, there are issues everywhere, but I was largely welcomed, and accepted! This is true, especially once I spoke bits and pieces of the language, and did even the littlest things in a Korean manner, like giving and receiving with 2 hands. Most of the White Folk in my life were nothing but absolutely positive, but this friend of a friend felt the need to be negative. This prompted me to ask loads of other Black or mixed travelers, and, interestingly, the WMWF seems to be a trend, “Oh, you know they’re gonna be racist towards you over there”, the more I asked, the more I got a response similar, said by their WMWF who are carrying their prejudice with them.

Firstly, as Person of Color, how much do we hate that we are lumped into this often ill-perceived category, continually perpetuated by the media? So, who am I to think that of an entire people or even listen to someone who has the audacity to think that of an entire people? It doesn’t sit well with my soul. It’s his own brokenness, because that’s all prejudice is. Brokenness. Take some time, connect with Source, pray and meditate and love people. Are some people going to believe what they see on TV? Yes, but that’s all the more reason to travel and take your #BlackGirlMagic with you! #BlackGirlMagic has allowed beautiful, diverse, women of color from all different shades and backgrounds to share their truth, and not the negative image largely displayed by media. We get to control our narrative instead of letting others continue to control it for us. WMWF are consciously or subconsciously attempting to stamp this out this power when they tell you “X” place is going to be racist towards you. Don’t believe the hype. Everywhere has it’s issues, problems whatever, but don’t allow that to stop you from traveling. I cannot stress how beautiful I felt there(soooooo many photos taken), dark skin and all! I had a blast!

Moral: I’m thankful, because of Jason, the WMWF, because in that brief moment of weakness, I wrote this post, and I did some research and found the fantastic blogger Jenny, of Western Girl Eastern Boy, whom I actually ended up meeting and dancing the night away in Hongdae. We talked about race, dating, and her encounters with WMWF and foreigners. So, because of that foolishness, I ended up connecting with a beautiful soul in 서울. #LookAtJesus

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Lesson 2: Tell Your Story, The World Needs to Hear It

This continues with Lesson 1. You are a vibrant story and culture wrapped up in to skin that drenched in melanin. And honey, the world needs to hear it, see it, touch it, and if you’re feeling frisky, taste it. Firstly, your culture is so everywhere. Hip-Hop, rap, soul, R&B, rock and roll, lip injections, chocolate tanning, braids, locs, style… the Black cultural diaspora is real. We are global citizens, and need to embrace that. It’s really easy for Americans to get stuck, to believe that everyone should speak English, and to not interact with any locals, even when they do travel abroad. Don’t be that way. Listen to their stories, wander off the beaten path, and share your stories. It is incredible to experience the culture exchange that can happen (which I will get into on another post! ). People responded so positively when I did things the Korean way, spoke with a good accent, and just tried. It showed I was respectful of the place I was entering. Also, don’t shame your ancestors, carry yourself well, because you have the divine opportunity to control your narrative.

Moral: Don’t only go to McDonald’s, tourist traps, and only talk to fellow foreigners. If you’re going to be there, be there, experience new things, try new foods, and talk to people, preferably in their language(there are apps for days at this point, blogs, vlogs, you name it, so learn some things to say, and cultural nuances).

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Lesson 3: A Simple Smile Can Be Disarming

Frankly, I’m a lot. I know this about myself. I’ve embraced it. My style(but hey, it got me photographed at Seoul Fashion Week…I mean, I wear sequins on a Tuesday), my big hair (#TeamBigHair #TeamNatural), my piercings…I’m…just…a lot. So, going to a place where piercings or tattoos or whatever isn’t as common, or is associated with things that are inherently negative, is something to be mindful of. Whether you are traveling to Seoul, or anywhere else, take the time to be mindful of the culture you are entering. I wasn’t going to take out my piercings, but for the the few people I encountered with judgement in their eyes, I smiled. It worked wonders. I often got a smile back. So, whatever pre-conceived notions may have been held, may just melt away by you being there and being your beautiful self.

Moral: Smile. It can do wonders to break down barriers. Also, smiling while dancing may just lead to one of the best dates you’ve had in a long time! 

Sphinx Rowe, Doeksugung (덕수궁) Palace, Seoul South Korea

Travel, meet interesting people, do dope things.

The most incredible thing I learned was the importance of being able to control my narrative and sprinkle my #BlackGirlMagic. You should too, and let me know how it goes! I’ll be posting even more photos on the (Insta)’Gram, so follow me @FashionNeedsJesus. Tons, more to write, I haven’t even gotten to the fashion yet, so #StayTuned!

XoXo,

S