Tag Archives: fashion

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

Seoul Fashion Week SS 2017, Street Style Photographers Capturing What I Wore

An ode to my OOTDs, as captured by some of the photographers at Seoul Fashion Week. I went to watch shows, and observe street style, but I, in turn, was being observed. While I have not found nearly all of the photos, here are a few, be sure to click the link to check out their Instagram accounts and websites for more Seoul Street Fashion! Also, don’t forget to follow my Insta!

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@UlloKorea
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Kim SeHun
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@ApeHouse 
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@hoon_andrea

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@Jihye_o3o
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@kinnnnha

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@ske.jw
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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.

Sphinx and Ariane Selfie

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

 

 

To Paris, With Love: An Interview with International Fashion Designer Ariane Fonseca of Yhaniqua Lopes Designs

Ariane Fonseca, Fashion Designer for Yhaniqua Lopes
Fashion Designer, Ariane Fonseca

“You’re a Christian woman, you have to be strong. And, sometimes, God allows us to go through a situation to become the woman that He wants us to be…”

 -Ariane, encouraging me.

This is  a very special edition of Let’s Convo, while I got the opportunity to chat with Ariane, Fashion Designer for the elegant AfroCentric brand Yhaniqua Lopes, many beautiful changes have occurred. Ariane was involved in a Shoot-A-Thon with a plethora of models, photographers and creative directors, and her beautiful line of swimwear and accessories ended up in a spread for Creativ Modern Magazine!  For now, Let’s Convo!

 

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S: So, first, you are preparing for a Shoot-A-Thon to be a featured designer, how did you come to design for shoot. 

A: I got involved…since the first time I met Jolaina, I knew I was gonna work with her somehow.

Yhaniqua Lopes Swimwear 2016-Fashion Needs JesusS: Really, instantly?

Yeah because she is the type of woman that I am, we have a lot of things in common.

S: So what type of woman are YOU? 

A: A go-getter! She knows that I love to see women of God working for their purpose and helping others. You know, just being whatever God wants them to be in life. I’m in love with women like that! So, when I saw her speaking on that night, at the Bible study (#JustDoItCrew, Hillsong NYC) I knew I was going to do something with her. So when she brought up that she was interested, actually I said to her, “Let’s do something NOW!” There was not a lot of mystery, it was straight to the point.

Yhaniqua Lopes Fashion Line, Fashion Needs Jesus.jpgS: That’s beautiful. So let us a know a little bit about how long you have been designing. You design for the line Yhaniqua Lopes, which is a beautiful name! Why don’t you also tell us a little about the name?

A: So, Lopes is one of my last names, it is Portuguese. Yhaniqua comes from my first name, Ariane, and Yhani is my nickname, and the Qua comes from the African-American names like Shaniqua, LiQua, and names like that. So, I my friend put together my nickname, Yhani and Qua, and I loved it! I felt it was very African-American, and I am African, so the Lopes coming from Europe, added to that made it a good combination.

S: It’s very global! So what’s the inspiration for your line and how long have you been designing?

A: So I’ve been designing for 3 years, almost 4 years now. unbelievable. I started in Miami and I love a Chanel vintage look, and I try to design all my collections based on that. A chic, elegant, feminine look, as well as my country [Angola], and my continent, Africa. I use a lot of African and African inspired fabrics, that’s the majority of the fabrics that I use. So basically a symbiosis of African inspiration and vintage Chanel.Yhaniqua Lopes Designs-Fashion Needs Jesus.jpg

S: That’s a beautiful combination, you do design very elegant pieces, I’ve had the opportunity to look at your collections and I look forward to getting to style some of your pieces!

With your inspiration coming stemming from Africa and vintage Chanel, how do you feel your line and your brand go in line with your purpose with what God has for you?

A: Besides just designing clothes, I also promote Proverbs 31:30, which talks about the beauty of a woman. That beauty passes away, but if you are a woman of God, you shall be praised. So, I believe that God put me in the fashion industry not only to to dress women, but also to empower them to be whatever God wants them to be in life. So, that’s basically what I do with my clothing line. I design them and promote them, but at the same time if people go to my website, they will somehow see the Proverbs 31 passage, and I hope that they get inspired by that. Yhaniqua Lopes Motivational Streetwear-stylist Sphinx Rowe 2.png

S: That is absolutely beautiful!  Do you just focus on womenswear?

A: Yes, that’s the purpose that God put in my heart.

S: So, you’re also developing a streetwear line! So tell us a little about that. What’s the purpose and the goal of your new line? (I had the opportunity to style her new motivational streetwear!) Yhaniqua Lopes Motivational Streetwear-Stylist Sphinx Rowe

A: So, basically the streetwear line will convey the message that God has put in my heart for those women. Whatever He tells me, whenever He talks to me in my meditation time or the vision and instructions that He gives to me, I believe that by having a streetwear line, allows me to share the message. Rather than just Proverbs 31, I can tell them how to be that woman, and become that woman of God. So, in all my business, I have messages, and phrases that teaches women something, or tells them how to get to their purpose.

S: That’s extremely uplifting, I love that you are empowering and motivating and with your brand! Thanks so much for sharing and we can’t wait to see what more you have in store! 

But wait, loves, there’s so much more to this story and how I connected with this designer and what’s next for us! Follow along to Part Deux! In the meantime, you can follow Ariane’s incredible brand, Yhaniqua Lopes, on Facebook and Instagram!

XoXo,

S

 

 

Vlog: Styling Alicia Keys, and Watching her own the #NoMakeUp Revolution

My loves,

Guess who got to meet the womyn, the myth, the legend, Alicia Keys? Me, that’s who! I had an opportunity to assist Chaunielle Brown for a Fault Magazine Cover Shoot for Alicia Keys! It was incredible in seeing her champion a voice and presence of confidence that is shaking many people to their core. Here I discuss what it was like witnessing her beginning the #NoMakeUp Revolution!

 

I’ve met several celebs whilst working in Tha Industry, but few whom I fangirl over. So rock #NoMakeUp and send me your selfies! I can’t wait to see them!

XoXo,

S

Introducing: Fashion Needs Jesus, The Vlog! Seoul Fashion Week and Other Things…

 

Hello my loves,

I’ve decided since I’ve been crazy busy, but do want to continue offering you great content, to venture into the world of vlogging! Don’t worry, I’ll get back to writing great content too! In the meantime, check out the first vlog where I talk a bit about Seoul Fashion Week, the well dressed men walking around in Seoul and even the couple dressing! My travels were so inspiring that I’m eager to get back, but, I’m here for now. In the meantime, I’ll keep sharing photos of street style and updating both the blog and the new vlog and most importantly, I’m just going to have some fun!

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: In Desperate Need of Magic

My loves,

People keep asking me why, oh why, did I come to Seoul. Me with my delectable brown skin, kinky curly hair, and non-ability to blend in, why would I choose Seoul as my first international trip. Truthfully, then answer is still somewhat murky, but I shall try to explain.

2015 was ending, and as the worst year of my life came to a close, all I knew is I was in desperate need of some magic. I’d lost my mother, my very best friend and confident, and the very best cuddler. I’ve had some pretty tragic years most of you could only begin to imagine, and while I’ve always had the travel bug, thanks to my mother, some tragedy has consistently swiped my coins away. So, in the old US of A, I sat. But in 2015, I was looking at life, feeling dead all but for the breath in my lungs and the occasional hunger pangs. I’ve still felt all but dead until very recently, still. Still grieving, still pining away  at night, still screaming for my mom.

So there I was, with 2015 coming to a close, and I was blessed to have my family visit me in NYC. It was a hard Christmas and New Year’s. The loss was very present, but we desperately celebrated being with each other, it’s all we could do… packed inside my studio just thankful to be together. Conversing, laughing, cooking, vegging out at vegan brunches, and geeking out with light saber fights. We’re a really cool family.

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I remember saying that in the years of tragedy, and the most recent and greatest tragedy I’ve faced, I’d lost myself. My spunky, fabulous, whimsical self that did things on a whim and took chances and grabbed life by the horns. I remember saying, how is it possible that I’d still not left this country? If you knew me, you’d already assumed I’d travelled the globe. I moved across the country for college, to a state I’d never even been to before. *shrugs* I make friends easily with so many people from other countries, people who appreciate that I even take the time to say their name correctly (which normally happens on the first try anyway). So, the assumption is, I’m well-travelled.  My twin replied to this heart to heart with, “You’ll never know until you look up tickets.” So, I did, and I found myself only looking up one place. Seoul. The plane ticket was unbelievably low, and I thought to myself, if it’s still that price at 12:01 AM on 1/1/16, I’ll buy it.

No rhyme, no reason, it was just on my heart, and I believe it was Source talking to me. I just believed in my heart, in my 2.5 second decision, that Seoul would have that magic I was desperately searching for. I had been interested back in college, about teaching there with my bestie, and then interested again because of my interest in the city as a non-European fashion hub but none of those thoughts were recent. Still, it’s the only place I thought to look up a ticket. And the price remained the same, so starting the new year, I bought a ticket to Seoul, and, my loves, it’s given me such life. 

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I could’ve gone to Japan, where I could still read the language at least (I studied it in high school), and been lusting over for over a decade. I could’ve gone to Paris or Milan or London, which would’ve been expected. I could’ve gone to the Caribbean where people look like me, and there’s warm weather and white sandy beaches to boot. But none of that came to me. Even my AirBnB was ridiculously cheap (#Blessed). I’m staying in Gangnam for $25/night. Cray. 

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Anyways, there was only Seoul, and I’ve been soul-searching ever since. It gave my wandering, dark life a light and a meaning. I had to start from zero. I learned how to read Hangul, and began learning how to speak the language. I studied every day. I started designing a mini collection so I could wear some original pieces. I started working out again (vacay bod on flex!). It gave my life purpose when it had been filled with nothing but despair. I’ve had so many people praying for me, loving on me and wishing me the best. I’ve had a surprising number tell me they don’t think I’m coming back! *giggles* We’ll see. There have already been soooo00000 many miracles and blessings. For now, I’ll keep posting my journey, talking to Source, and carrying my mom on this journey. #StayTuned. Follow me on  Instagram: @FashionNeedsJesus for lots of exciting travel-worthy posts! 

XoXo,

S