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.
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?
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.”
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? :
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
Tis the season for endless events, holiday parties, Christmas gatherings, and opportunities to get all dolled up! Granted, Thanksgiving is also around the corner(lest I get ahead of myself). This week’s The Want List is all about power neutrals, and is lush with winter white and sparkly black pieces! While I do love to dabble in color, there is something breathtaking about one in rocking it out in neutrals with command presence and power(just see Olivia Pope for reference…I’m pretty sure she would love the beige Cartier watch!). Chic. Sophisticated. Confident. Those are the traits that expertly pulling off neutrals display. Even so, it’s easy to be incredibly boring, so here’s your fashion inspiration for what to wear while you’re being a gladiator in a suit at work, to that bumpin’ cocktail party, and to that formal engagement with your significant other. Naturally, there’s also my ever present gift guide(hint hint). Peruse, click, shop, and enjoy!
Rock the Popesque power neutrals, be the fashion icon that’s in there somewhere, and give your gifts generously.
My loves, you’ll have to forgive the shadow I cast while taking this wonderful shot of these beautiful besties casually strolling the High Line. Their natural hair, beautiful smiles, and bold colors stood out from the masses, and I had to stop them. If they weren’t already stunning, their finishing of each others sentences and mutual support suggest their friendship is one for the ages. #LoveIt
Emanuella & Audrey
The High Line
Personal style, defined:
Audrey and Emanuella expressed that style is culture. Audrey is from Kenya, and Emanuella is from Ethiopia, so they are both inspired by their identity as East Africans and Americans, and merging those cultures in their external expression
Expressing your culture, whatever that is, and being confident in that expression
She didn’t get why me, in my casual sequins, and nonchalant fabulousness, would stop her. Clearly she didn’t see what I saw. Though she seemed very shy, her style was anything but. Her in her gold mirror framed shades and black tulle skirt, and in a way that was authentic…she wasn’t trying to be…she just was. Just based on her outfit and occupation means she could’ve vied for a spot in my #Squad.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Personal style, defined:
I like to pull together difference pieces and just try to make sense of them.
In a world full of basics and fashion basics, it’s nice catch authentic street style. With the bold lip color, the wide legged pant, and the New Yorker tried and true Adidas, their outfits All Tha Snaps.
Aziza and Kyle
Non Profit Worker and Music Producer
Personal style, defined:
Wearing what you love. Aziza doesn’t care about designers, she wears whatever she feels, and Kyle wears whatever is fly.
It’s the day before Halloween, and I keep thinking about the dramatic shift in Tha Industry known as fashion. It seems like this is one big, formal ball during the Regency period, and though you may start with well-rehearsed steps, romantically synchronous movements, and one dashing partner, before you know it the tempo has changed, and someone else is grabbing your hand. Perhaps you’ll upgrade to a better partner, perhaps not, either way, the constant exchange is enough to make anyone dizzy. Some partners will grow tired, and bow out, calling an end to the dance forever. Some dancers will be ill-paired by their chaperones(also known as investors). And some will be tossed of of the party altogether, left in the cold, clinging to their publicists to spin the details in their favor. How can one deal with all of the farewells?
Ralph Lauren, the exhibitor of the uniform of the American aristocracy, stepped down as CEO. Rightfully so. Alber Elbaz has handled being booted from Lanvin after a beautiful 14 year tenure, with grace. Donna Karan created 7 Easy pieces, mastered jersey, and helped usher in the Power Woman, and has gone to focus on philanthropy. Ralph Rucci, America’s sole couturier, walked away from his namesake late last year, leaving a void in sophisticated, dynamic elegance…
Raf Simons stepped down from Dior after ushering in a different kind of cool. Even Alexander Wang and Balenciaga ended their short fling. There have been major and minor exits from the fashion ball room. From NYC to Paris, no fashion week city is safe from the changing tides. It’s one thing for 100+ year old fashion houses to change dance partners every so often, but when we’ve lost some of the last few iconic, American designers with their own houses, one cannot help but to feel the loss. (After all, who could’ve possibly replaced Ralph Rucci but Rucci?)
Shock. Awe. Everything in between. It wasn’t even a week after Dior’s break up that Lanvin adds fuel to the fire! et tu Lanvin, et tu? For some, I get it, it was time to retire…It was time to focus more on family, and hobbies, to focus on travel, relaxation, and the like, not having to be locked into a schedule or a deadline. Then again, there are other, not-so-innocent wills forcing the hands of Tha Creators and bending Tha Industry. Fashion has become a trilliondollar industry, after all…and it leaves plenty at stake for those who are now ultimately holding the purse strings. Tha Industry is fair game for portfolio diversification, and as it continues to grow, more and more non-creatives will undoubtedly have their hand in the pot.
What does this mean for luxury fashion houses? Bad “strategic moves”. Cost cutting at the expense of the quality and creativity. Cheapening of the brand. The usual. Ugh.
Ultimately, the creatives lose their voice. “Faster…cheaper…faster…cheaper…” Goes the chant of the investors, and the fashion bubble will have to burst some time. There’s pret-a-porter (ready-to-wear) twice a year, then there’s couture twice a year, and the increasing presence of pre-collection. Men even got their own Fashion Week in NYC.
Round and round it goes, faster and faster she spins on the dance floor. Raf felt like there wasn’t enough time to really explore the creative process, or to edit. Frankly, I don’t blame him. Dizziness and light-headedness will undoubtedly ensue. The bubble will burst sometime, and the belle of the ball will ask or be asked to sit this dance out. What, with investors seeking to squeeze more and more out of the creatives and into the hands of the consumers, something has to give. I only hope that the true artists, Tha Creators,will unite in a plan of their own to reclaim Tha Industry. And I hope that, perhaps, the business of fashion will take more time to indulge Tha Creators, to listen, to match their pulse throughout every strategic decision, every investment meeting, every investor, every seamstress, every couturier, and every member of Tha Industry. We’ve lost too many icons, after all.
But who knows. Maybe I’m being overly dramatic. Perhaps Alber will turn up at Dior…none of us know for sure. Maybe America will have another couturier. Maybe Tha Creators will rise up against the tyranny and usher in a new age of le artiste. It’s too early to tell. What I do know for sure is the shows will continue at hyper speed, and life will inevitably go on…I’ll just be over here, clutching my pearls in the meantime, bracing myself for whatever bomb drops next. Here’s to hoping for better days ahead.
It’s Autumn…even if it is starting out mild at best. Regardless of her mood swings, it’s time to let our beauty match the weather. Here are some early fall beauty trends I absolutely adore, music to put on repeat, and an inspirational book to cuddle up to!
Now, please excuse me whilst I put Adele on repeat…
Chaunielle Brown of Coco Brown Studio 21 is a rising fashion stylist and icon who is rapidly making her rounds in the world of editorials. Her work has been published in Playhaus, FAULT, and The Dapier, just to name a few. Witty, and well-travelled, Chaunielle doesn’t hold back in following her dreams! She doesn’t follow trends, will fearlessly pull pieces from new designers that suit her aesthetic, adores MAC’s Ruby Woo lipstick, hates sewing, and generously drops knowledge for aspiring fashionistas.
Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! I’ve loved your latest editorials, and I appreciate you taking time to speak with me…why don’t you tell me how you first got started in Tha (fashion) Industry?
Ummmm…probably after I finished my first schooling. I went to the University of Miami to get my Bachelor’s. I studied advertising, graphic design, marketing…
Yeah…but, I really wanted to be in entertainment. And, it’s so funny to think of, because now I’m in fashion. I didn’t really think of how powerful fashion was, I guess…And then I decided to go to fashion school…and I really wanted to go to New York, but, I was still baby like in many ways.
That happens to all of us!
So, the next step was the Art Institute in Miami to study fashion design, ’cause I thought I wanted to be a fashion designer.
*at this point, Chaunielle bursts into a solid 30 second laugh*
But…I don’t like sewing.
Is that what ended that? Sewing?
I don’t like sewing! I do like draping though! I like picking out fabrics. I love that. I realized later I like putting fabrics together, I like illustration, I like accessories, and designing that (accessories). That’s where it started, and it kind of grew from there (into styling).
Wow, so do you think your formal education in fashion design has helped give you an edge against stylists who have only focused on learning styling?
I really do appreciate the fashion design background even though I didn’t end up actually designing clothes, per se…it definitely helped. Learning the history and illustration, all kind of contribute to the vision, and the style…how you see things. It shaped that for me, so it definitely helped.
That’s great to hear. So, after Miami, when did you actually make the move to NYC and start pursuing styling here?
I was in living in Milan, and I finished school, and I was looking for another internship. And, I could not find anything. I dunno…I thought there was more than one chance, but then, when I saw how many of us there were, I realized everyone was after the same thing. And, maybe not so special…But we were. So, I left to come to New York for Interview Magazine, and that’s how it started. That’s how New York started.
I like that, every one has to have an origin story, especially when it comes to this city.
OMG. Random question. So Raf Simons is no longer with Dior. How do you feel?
Um. I don’t feel anything about that. I’m sure they’ll find someone wonderful to fill his role next. I don’t follow too many designers in that way. I’ve got a love for everyone. I don’t follow trends. I go with what catches my eye.
What fashion house has caught your eye lately?
Gucci. I absolutely love the new collection. But, my interests could change season to season.
So, Gucci caught your eye this season. You don’t care much for fashion arrivals or departures, it’s all about catching your eye? So, could it even be a brand new designer, so long as they caught your eye?
Oh yeah, they could be completely new, so long as they catch my eye! I love Christian Siriano, for example. They just have to catch my eye and inspire me.
So tell me, where do you go, what else do you use for your inspiration?
Everything. Emotions…what I’m going through, and pain. Movies, I reference movies a lot. Again, it goes back to wanting to be a part of the entertainment industry, and realizing how deeply I’m inspired by film. I love period, I love history…I wish I had paid more attention…in history. Now it’s like a story made for fashion, and I get to understand what was going on.
I came into fashion through a love of history, I can relate to that! So, tell me, what has been your favorite magazine collab thus far?
If I had to say I had a favorite, I really loved Jem and the Holograms, I really, really loved how that came out, even though it was so stressful. Even though there wasn’t enough time.
Why wasn’t there enough time?
Being in styling takes so much. It takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of my energy. I don’t sleep for days. To do an editorial I have to take days off in advance. But, even without enough time, I love doing it.
Do you ever work with private clients, or do you focus all of your energy on editorials?
Mainly editorials right now, but I’m not opposed to private clients, in fact I’m open to doing pretty much everything. I do want to expand into celebrity, music, and TV…they’re all connected, and each one I’d get to do what I enjoy.
I love that you’re open to expanding your brand! What would you say your breakthrough was in Tha Industry, where you really started booking more editorials, and started getting some name recognition?
I don’t know if I even feel that way yet. I don’t know what moment I’m waiting for. I haven’t felt that [breakthrough] just yet, I guess. I see it coming. I just do what I can, and hopefully I can grow in doing what I love to do. That’s it. Nothing extravagant. Nothing crazy. Just being able to do what you love.
Amen sis! I love that! Would you say your creativity has a spiritual foundation?
Oh yeah. I mean, God is always center around what I do every day. He’s a part of myself, He’s a part of everything I do. I have moments of remembering how He holds things all together..He always had me all of the time. Like, if I was freaking out, I’d be reminded not to worry…not to worry about anything. So, I begin my projects by praying. Then I work. Make some magic. Tell a story…I tell stories that will make people think…through fashion.
Wonderful! Do you have any advice for aspiring stylists, designers, or anyone else interested in breaking into Tha Industry, coming to New York, making that move like you did?
*Another solid 30 second laugh break*
Put your helmet on, put your elbow protection on, everything you can, you think you’re the only one, but you’re not. It’s a hard city to be in, especially if you are not already established. You will spend days, months even, on project after project, putting your heart out there, and getting let down. All these wonderful things that you think will happen…sometimes fall through the cracks. You will always second guess what you are doing, or run away from what you are doing. It’s not easy. You have to be motivated and have some faith foundation because otherwise you’ll go bat-sh** crazy. I’m already crazy. You definitely need something to keep you grounded… Hmmm, what else? Always encourage everybody. Don’t get worried about what everyone else is doing. Run your own race, walk your own path…It’s easy to think you haven’t accomplished anything…don’t think that way. Dust yourself off, put your lil’ crown back on…
and keep on truckin’. All you need is that one yes. One yes can change everything. So keep going. Refuse to give up.