31 March 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- At School...Kizzy Conway -- The Comedian of the Hour, Howard University

Ran into Kizzy Conway, a very humble brother in The Punchout (an eatery here at Howard) and he truly struck me as a warm soul that is all to eager to make the grimmest of situations all the more pleasant. It's not only through his comedy that he achieves this for his demeanor is one that makes you feel at ease on instant.

His splendid play on warm, earthy orange and brown tones complemented his very down-to-earth personality and the spring season before us. As for the fedora, well it adds that sizzle factor to the entire look while simultaneously prepping us for a timely summer!

26 March 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- At School...The Arts Do It Best - Part 2, Howard University

Let me not be biased because I know several wall street bankers and medical doctors who can throw together a quite resplendent look that is a far cry from the stereotyped impressions surrounding these careers. All the same, at Howard University I cannot seem to go wrong with the next generation of budding Black artists when it comes to encountering a well-developed fashion sense. Literally, I don't have to wonder too far from Lulu Vere Childers Hall (home of Howard University Gallery of Art and Division of Fine Arts) before I stumble upon one style-conscious soul after another.

This is Wunmi, a Nigerian fashion design student who is decked out in a vintage trench coat complete with a hood. A nice investment I would say given the topsy-turvy weather that has swept the U.S. of late.

I will be sure to keep you posted on the growing cadre of up-and-coming African fashion designers, both students and marginally established designers. So stay posted to Chike-Ikechi and continue to laud the arts since it is the verb in the language of culture (kudos to Dr. Harrell).

p.s. This "The Arts Do It Best" is turning into a very intriguing little series here! Bravo to the arts!

WASHINGTON, DC -- At School...Reinvented Expressions of Herringbone, Howard University

I seem to be on a jacket fixation of late when it comes to the gents. In the case of this jacket, why wouldn't you be! It's not only the jacket though that won me over, but the stimulating patterns that are tied together in a harmonious manner. However, the herringbone patterned jacket is what had me transfixed with the ensemble. A weave pattern such as herringbone comes with an aristocratic air that has made it an almost timeless fabric. Thus, the meeting of a herringbone weave on a mod, youthful jacket creates a vicious concoction of old school class blended with present-day urbanity.

25 March 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- At School...The Arts Do It Best, Howard University

Ms. Parker is my Art Appreciation/Art History professor. The juxtaposed patterns of the tunic dress and blouse is what caught my eye.

Maryanne Mokoko, architecture student and one half of design house, Côté Minou. Loving Maryanne's daring play on colors (i.e., the belt). Plus the slim nature of the belt is a pleasant departure from the oversized, chunky belts that have been thoroughly exhausted. On a final note, the pairing of ballerina flats and stirrup jeans has a quaint look about it that I just love. What do you expect...she's a designer!

23 March 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- Street Beat...Sun is Shining, the Weather is Sweet, U Street NW

The outfit is not so extravagant; I do commend him though on some nice layering that is deftly topped off with a very urbane jacket. However, what stirred me to snap him was the ambiance of the late afternoon rays, his somewhat 80s hairstyle and this aura reminiscent of British Invasion rock era. On another note, he kind of reminded of Rooney, a rock pop outfit I'm feeling right now.

22 March 2008

Sartorialist Pointers...

The "well-tailored" look

The "well-tailored with a dollop of color" look
(Part Un)

The "well-tailored with a dollop of color" look
(Part Deux)

The "gaily, floral printed dress with a not-so-clichéd twist" look

The epitome of the "patterned and textured" look

Photos: Scott Schuman (thesartorialist.com)

WASHINGTON, DC -- Sartiorialist Reception...Adamson Gallery, 14th Street NW

20 March 2008

The Sartorialist Showers Love on The District -- Adamson Gallery Reception

So today I made my way down to the Adamson Gallery to view the The Sartorialist exhibit and I must say I was thoroughly pleased at what I saw! Actually, I take that back. Scrolling through The Sartorialist on a day-to-day basis and appreciating the refined and eclectic sense of style that engulfs the world over has left me more than pleased. Seeing the man himself (Scott Schuman) amidst some of his finest pieces of work was breathtaking to say the least and eclipsed my wildest dreams.

The setup of the Adamson was self-effacing which added immensely to Schuman’s art. Vacant, white walls canvassed the gallery with Schuman’s animated portraits peppering life into the somewhat minimalist décor.

Aside from the occasional snapshots of fashion luminaries such as Ozwald Boateng or Gilles Bensimon, much of the characters that adorn the pages of The Sartorialist are virtual unknowns. For them, their reputations are purely mediated by the slightly cocksure poise they exude, the complementary backdrop that oddly enough always flanks them, and their fashionable flair that consummates the artistry of the entire photo.

Now I’m sure many would esteem for such a reputation (decked out in their Sartorialist best, half the attendees at Adamson surely did), but the question is how does one go about doing so? Well, simply going bold and unrelenting in your arsenal of looks can be a start. Trust, from someone who frequents The Sartorialist multiple times a day, my advice is well-grounded. For men, bold does not necessarily mean experimenting with sprightly colors as a simple, well-tailored, suit-and-tie guise will definitely garner you Sartorial acclaim. However, well-tailored with a dollop of color (i.e., a dashing pocket square-tie combo) is equally if not more effective in building that Sartorial clout. As for the ladies, maintaining the spirited theme of gaily, bright dresses or accessories with an avant-garde twist will also score points. Seriously, formulaic, clichéd styles will not cut it unless it is worked in creatively and the look is commanded as one's own. Furthermore, across the board, creative use of patterning (that works mind you) is something that will, at an instant, catch Schuman’s eye.

So after reading all this, are you as geeked about The Sartorialist as the good hundred patrons that strolled into the Adamson? From a mere description, it may be hard to come to grips with the giddiness that surrounds Schuman’s art and his overall contribution to the fashion industry. Phillip Lim of 3.1 Phillip Lim has lauded Schuman as a “pioneer” in capturing the true style of the street while Derek Lam frequents the site at a rate where he enters into a panic when new photos are not up. So if designers and fashion notables alike are drawing inspiration from Scott Schuman’s work, do yourself and your wardrobe a favor and click on over to The Sartorialist—it’ll be a worthwhile sojourn that could very well turn addictive!

19 March 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- At School...Vests Work Best, Howard University

Summer is around the corner and the vestiges of winter’s chilly winds, downcast weather, and dreary skies are slowly making way for the greenery of spring. Fashionably speaking, this transition from the nippy days of fall to the balmy months of summer often poses difficulties for many in terms of clothing choice. Do I brave the slight cold with a cute, almost-summery number or do I dress for the expected elements? These thoughts definitely run through your mind countless times over as you prep your daily outfit. Nevertheless, the flexibility of fashion confers unto us options and it is left to us to seize them.

Enter the vest. Operating as a befitting transitional, season accessory, the vest is becoming a wardrobe must have due to its ability to double as modish windbreaker of sorts. The embrace of the vest among local denizens is in tune with the synergistic relationship that high-end fashion shares with the styles that are unearthed in the concrete jungles of metropolis' worldwide. Proenza Schouler's Spring 2008 collection drew from the aesthetics of street fashion so it was no surprise to see sauntering down their runway several abbreviated vests splashed atop looks. The emphasis on form and clean lines created by the vest flatter the bodice and render it a malleable item in any closet--be it for purely aesthetic leanings or as a light cover from the elements.

On a relatively breezy spring day, I love how these two young ladies incorporated a vest into their personal styles while at the same time being cognizant of the somewhat unkind elements. Job well done and their bags aren’t half bad either!

Photo: Marco Madeira (style.com)

17 March 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- Street Beat...The Boots, Adams Morgan

WASHINGTON, DC -- Street Beat...In Love With Zara, F Street NW

Caught this chap en route to leaving the new Zara store on F Street NW. Not sure if I should have expected this or not, but his outfit was pretty much straight out of Zara sans the shoes and tie! Even so, his outfit doesn't come off as too brand-laden like you often find with Urban Outfitter aficionados. I guess this is owing to Zara's matured yet palatable clothing selection that is not trend-heavy.

13 March 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- Street Beat....Technicolor Dream Shawl, U Street NW

Her vibrant shawl lived up to her spirited personality. Ran into this inspiring lady while doing a photo shoot (pictures to come) for Côté Minou.

11 March 2008

The Sartorialist photo exhibit showing in Washington, DC

After a well-received debut at his Danziger Projects showing in New York, The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman, has relocated the exhibit to none other than Washington, DC! The exhibit will hold in Adamson Gallery in The District.

The Sartorialist, amongst others (i.e., Jamel Shabazz, James Van Der Zee, Yvan Rodic of Facehunter), sparked a lot of my initial interests in approaching street photography from a fashion angle so this opportunity will not be passed up in the slightest. More importantly though, the showing of The Sartorialist in The District says a great deal about how the culture of fashion and style is being perceived here. Washington, DC has been looked upon as a very dry, uninspiring hub of fashion, but the arrival of Schuman's gallery will make outsiders begin to reconsider that homogeneous label.

Here are the details for the exhibit.

The Sartorialist
March 15th - April 26th, 2008

Adamson Gallery
1515 14th Street, NW
Suite 202
Washington, DC 20005

So to round off, be sure to check out the gallery and I'll leave you with a few of my Sartorialist favorites over the years.

Photos: Scott Schuman (thesartorialist.com)

9 March 2008

CHICAGO -- At School...University of Chicago, Hyde Park

It seems as though a riveting concept has come upon the world of fashion. Take note of the above picture. The heel, being close to the ball of the foot as opposed to the heel, mirrors what came waltzing onto the runway at the Spring 2008 Marc Jacobs show. The young lady (pictured second) did express comfort in wearing these gladiatoresque Puma sandals so even though structurally it looks off-kilter, Marc and Puma may be tapping into warped sense of comfort in women that goes beyond six inch stilettos (I bite my tongue)!

Photo: Associated Press

8 March 2008

WASHINGTON, DC -- At School...A Perfect Rendition of Tie-Dye

I made it a point to launch this blog with an individual that spoke to my vision. Today, African fashion is experiencing a resurgence; one that is etched in redefining and reclaiming a past that was somewhat misconstrued. Jean Allman, in Fashioning Africa: Power and the Politics of Dress, touches on Africa dress being perceived as merely costume and void of fashionable elements. With the creative mindset of this aspiring Zambian designer (pictured above), Shumo-el Mumba, the tide will only continue to turn on this epiphenomena thrown on African fashion.

Welcome to Chike-Ikechi!