Tag Archives: fashion stylist

That Drum Machine Ain’t Got No Soul, and Seoul Ain’t Got No Style; Thoughts on Seoul’s Fashion Scene

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Fashion terrorists, the lot of them. They were all fashion terrorists…I was overwhelmingly told, often from people with little-to-no style, that I would be so bored in South Korea. Even at Seoul Fashion Week, I was assured I would be unbelievably and unforgivably bored.

Why?

Because, they’ve simply got no style.

I wasn’t sure how to take it, why was everyone so focused on reassuring me of my imminent boredom? Perhaps it’s because I can’t hide from my fashion persona. No matter who I met in South Korea, be they native, foreign or just passing through, made vocal assumptions about my having a fashion career. Clearly, I was one of those Fashion People. Clearly, I needed to be warned. Even some of the Korean locals I met asked me, in my professional opinion, if I thought all Koreans just tried to look the same? SeoulFashionWeekSS2017-Fashion-Needs-Jesus.gif

Even by the time Seoul Fashion Week rolled around, some of the international press (that stayed on the ground for approximately 1-2 days) made bold assumptions about how they lacked style and they have no subcultures, often comparing it to the nearby island nation which has made waves in the fashion industry (Japan, if you hadn’t caught my drift).

What was this all about? Here’s my response to the whole “They All Look Alike” Camp:

Plenty of foreigners come from countries and communities where “they all look alike too”, the difference being less noticeable because of physical differences in racial spectrum, not because the lot of them are actually dressing vastly differently. It’s that tribalism that we lean to as humans, in hyper-diverse cities, however, this tribalism may simply have more striking visual differences, but take out the varying racial features, plenty of people still look very much the same. People stick to their uniforms, whatever those uniforms may be. The Wall Streeters have their own uniform, sure one may have faded hair, one may have blonde straight hair, one may have brown wavy hair, but rest assured, there’s still a uniform that is relatively easy to spot. In other words, these self-appointed fashion critics are missing a lot of the bigger point, simply because they are looking at a more homogenous major city. Funny enough, many of these foreigners who were so quick to dismiss Seoul’s fashion, dressed eerily similar themselves, they just looked a tad bit more diverse.  *DRAMATIC EYEROLL* See?

“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

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Le sigh.

Now that I’ve managed to insert an alarmingly accurate quote from one of my favorite books/films of all time, let’s look at some street fashion from the emerging Seoul scene, shall we? :

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@Apehouse

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@TheSeoulChild

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So, there you have it, ending with visions from the front row. The moral of the story, Seoul is still emerging and developing a sense of who it is in fashion, but it doesn’t mean fashion doesn’t exist there, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. See even more by following the story on Instagram: @FashionNeedsJesus

XoXo,

S.

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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

H&M, Diversity Woes, and the ish We Aren’t Talking About in Fashion

When I first sat down to write this, I wasn’t sure where to start. The realities are that being a Black woman in America, let alone the ever exclusive Fashion Industry, means that I’ve been groomed to start out by being largely welcoming, open, and explain my disdain for recent events regarding H&M’s expression about what positive imagery looks like in a non-threatening manner. Heaven forbid the Angry Black Girl trope be placed on me for the mere expression of justified feelings, and as a means for flippant dismissal of said feelings. Because, you know, despite my years of building up my self-esteem and self-image after experiencing grief caused by going natural before the natural movement, having darker skin than presently idealized, and growing up hearing sh*t like, “You’re cute for a dark skinned girl” or “I liked you better with straight hair”, and countless other micro-agressions, having few role models or fashion icons, having my full lips and hips pointed and laughed at even though plastic surgeons make bank off of my features, I’m still supposed to “be calm” and not take things so personally. Somehow, I’m told I’ve got a chip on my shoulder and I’m overreacting should I broach the subject. What’s more, I’ve been so conditioned, as a woman, and a Black Woman, to need to explain my stance in a manner that’s apologetic so as to not hurt anyone’s privileged feelings. No longer. I shan’t be sweeping this under the carpet today.

H&M South African Ad Diversity Tweets

The world is still worse for the wear, and willfully ignorant. Apparently, when called out by the Twitterverse regarding lack of diversity (zero Black models) in their ads in South Africa, H&M had this to say:H&M’s marketing has a major impact and it is essential for us to convey a positive image. We want our marketing to show our fashion in an inspiring way, to convey a positive feeling.”. The tweet conveyed the idea that the lack of diversity in South African ads was justified in their pursuit of representing the brand in a positive image.

Wait.

What?

While I could rant on just that alone, I’ll also go here:

Diversity needed, Nykhor, Fashion Super Model

Nykhor Paul, a gorgeous Sudanese model, gives absolute life as she uses her platform to know how unprofessional make-up artists behavior towards her has been, and then proceeds to relay issues of the fashion industry at large. Well said. #AllThaSnaps

There is a serious problem with the continued lack of diversity in ads, on the runway, and throughout the fashion industry. It is the lack of diversity and willful ignorance that allows for never ending cultural appropriation while continuing to dismiss the original creators. It is the lack of diversity that allows for tropes, stereotypes, and one dimensional characters in film to run rampant as the only token representation. It is the lack of diversity that continues to repackage racism and  it’s subsequent micro-agressions, opting instead to call it advertising, branding, and positive image. It is the lack of diversity that continues to contribute to “the unconscious tendency to ignore the complex forces of history, colonization, slavery and identity” as Leslie Miley, formally of Twitter, so elegantly stated. It is the continued lack of diversity, that allows for silencing tragic realities by talking over them, such as is done with #BlackLivesMatter being combatted by #AllLivesMatter, and #BlackGirlsRock being combatted with #WhiteGirlsRock. The lack of diversity has spilled over and over, into every sector, and every industry.

As an artist, I believe, without doubt, that beauty is universal. I always have. I always will. Every single person is created in the image of the Creator. Beauty is divine. It should be a sin to see such beauty… such a diverse, incredible, and complex array of beauty, and not acknowledge that beauty. Even so, it’s 2015, and still there’s nothing new under the sun. Deeply embedded racism and micro-agressions drive on in the hearts of man, and we stay disconnected, vacant of true purpose by refusing to connect fully and empathize as humans.

I’ve had to fight to recognize my own beauty in the fog of a fallen world. I continue my fight to help others see their own beauty. I have listened and advised Black women who considered going natural, I’ve verbally combatted women of color as they dissed their God-given features and hues, I’ve stopped women of varying amounts of melanin on the street and told them how beautiful they were, in a world that continues to put Eurocentric standards of beauty on a pedestal. I’ve made it my mission to be the light, be the change and be the voice as I build my brands in the fashion industry to include every shade imaginable. Frankly, there’s so much more left to say, and I’ve only begun to unravel to complexities and brokenness, but stick with me, there’s more to come. It’s time to #TalkAboutIt and #BeAboutIt.

#BeTheLight

XoXo,

-Sphinx Rowe