Anesu Chogugudza


Johannesburg, South Africa

When did you develop a fascination with fashion?

Growing up I have always been fascinated by fashion. As I began to develop my "personal style," I cultivated my taste as a style maker.

How would you define your personal style?

I strive for versatility. My "personal style" is simple and easily relatable to everybody.

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On memorable projects:

Some of my most enjoyable projects has been the Markham partnership and the recent Diesel campaign I was part of.

What are the top essentials every man should have in his wardrobe?

A good pair of formal shoes and a good pair of sneakers, with these two items you're able to play with outfits.

What challenges do you face as a style maker?

Most of the times I have the challenge of people not understanding the way I dress at times and only jumping on it at a later stage. Professional brands often want me to conform to their ideas forgetting that I am a trendsetter and someone who rather starts a trend as opposed to adapting to one.


Who's your favorite designer?

Internationally I love Diesel, as much as they are a fashion brand, their campaigns are compelling and always convey a message that deals with social issues. Locally in South Africa, I love the growth that brands like Imprint, Young & Lazy and Sol Sol are having.

On upcoming projects:

After wrapping up the amazing #GoWithTheFlaw campaign with Diesel, I took on a summer campaign with Country Road, an international brand from Australia.

What is your dream project?

I would love to work on a project with Pharrell Williams, hopefully with G Star Raw and my dream job would be working as the GQ fashion editor to bring a new perspective into menswear.


What quote or motto do you live your life by?

The time is always now, start and rest will follow.


For more information on Anesu, please follow on social media at @aneyx



Atlanta, Georgia

Interview with Brand Co Creator James Gibson

What was the inspiration behind the creation of MESSRS R/R?

In founding Messrs. R/R, I think we were trying to harness and express the complexity of the modern-day man. No one is one thing or the other. We are all blends and mixtures of this and of that. For instance, if you look at the Spotify library of Que, one of the founders of Messrs, you might find everything from Ravel to 2 Chainz. I truly believe there is this Pangea phenomenon occurring where the borders that separate folks' interests and passions are disappearing in a lot of ways. What that means is that you can't judge a book by its cover. You have to dig into the pages and examine the footnotes to see what makes someone tick. A small part of that story is the clothing they wear, and we hope to be a vehicle for that expression.


How did you come up with the name for the brand?

The R/R represents the complexity and duality we believe exists in the modern man. You can be rough yet refined, a rake but romantic. "Messrs." is the naming convention used to identify multiple "misters." There are three of us that founded Messrs R/R- Que Lynch, Nene Kisseih and myself. So, you could identify us by saying- Mr. Lynch, Mr. Kisseih, and Mr. Gibson or you could say, Messrs. Lynch, Kisseih, and Gibson. For us, that convention demonstrates the reverence we have for being respected and respectful. The long and short of it was this when I was growing up my grandfather told me to never leave a woman with less respect than she had when she met you. We believe in that idea. The idea that no matter the circumstance, no matter the occasion, there is room to carry yourself like a gentleman and we made clothes to reflect that sentiment and wanted a name that would do the same.

How would you describe the brand's aesthetic

We make tailored workwear with panache. That means that our garments are a combination of the elegance and refinement of tailored wear and the rugged functionality of American workwear, finished with a devil-may-care attitude. We synthesize each of those elements with the goal of creating unique garments that are beautiful, purpose-built and steeped in heritage. So, for example, our M. Oxford shirt is made from Oxford fabric sourced from Europe. The Oxford is heavy and sturdy but has also been washed on the inside making it soft and supple so when you put it on you feel like you are wearing your favorite t-shirt. The collar is elegant and spread, but also has a workwear tab to secure it. The yoke is curved and triple stitched. And the chest pocket is a "workwear-inspired" utility pocket with a hidden smugglers' compartment, which is an MRR innovation. That shirt epitomizes the rough yet refined nature of Messrs. R/R.


Where do you draw inspiration for the brand designs?

We look to the heritage presented by tailored-wear and workwear to find creative ways to meld those two worlds together into garments that are altogether new and unique. On top of that, I think we rely pretty heavily on our tastes. I do not believe any of us would describe ourselves as "fashion designers." Instead, I believe we have a very pure and distilled sense of our personal and collective ethos and aesthetic, and that translates into us being able to create garments that we want to wear- garments that were missing from our closets. That said, we also understand that to some extent the old saying "Vox Populi, Vox Dei," "the voice of the people is the voice of God," is true. We are not just designing for ourselves. But we are betting on ourselves to a certain extent. Betting that our vision of what it means to be a man and how that reflects in clothing will appeal to others.

What have been some of the challenges with developing an independent brand?

I think the greatest challenge of developing an independent brand is the same as running any small business- doing it all yourself. We are three people who are passionate about what we do and sharing our vision, but we are only three people. That is both exciting and a challenge. But, unlike producing widgets, we have an advantage because of amidst all of the chaos presented by sourcing and scheduling and logistics, we get to retreat to the design process, and that usually means a bottle of Rittenhouse Rye whiskey, dope music and garments we are proud to put our name on. These moments quickly remind us why we do what we do.

Who would you love to see wear MESSRS R/R?

There are certainly some cultural icons out there that we think to reflect our aesthetic and whom we would love to wear our clothes. Idris Elba, James Blake or Yasiin Bey come to mind. But frankly, we are more focused on having the regular guy who digs what we are doing and who feels that our clothes represent who he is rock our stuff. We think that is the litmus test.


What's next?

We plan on continuing to put one foot in front of the other. We have grown a lot over the last couple of years. We have gone from offering accessories and handmade leather goods to diving headlong into the proper cut and sew garments. We plan on continuing that growth and producing more pieces we can be proud of, and that resonates with people. We also want to grow the philanthropic arm of Messrs. R/R. We have a project called (MR)2 where a percentage of every dollar spent with us by our customers goes towards creating brand new garments to be donated to folks trying to get back on their feet. So the better job we do on the front end of creating unique and quality garments and connecting with our consumer's the more significant impact we can have on the back end donating new clothes to those who need it most.  

For more on this brand, please visit and follow on social media @messrsrr

Sodney Dorante


New York City, New York

At what age did you spark a fascination with style?

I think for me it was when I was in High School. Growing up I would have to wear "hand me downs" from my older brothers and when my parents would buy me something I knew I would have to wear it for a few years. However, when I got to high school and could earn some money I was able to express myself and show my individuality thru my sense of style.


What drew you to the modeling world?

I think modeling found me. At first, it was something I was doing as a favor for friends, but then it turned into a way for me to fight my insecurities as a young black man and become more confident in myself and embrace my complexion


How would you define your personal style?

I'm big on just clean and simple looks. I'm not big on trends.  I prefer more timeless pieces that every man should have in their closet.


Whose career do you hope to emulate in the model industry?

Tyson Beckford. When you think of black male models, you can't deny the career of Mr. Beckford.

Although he is not a model I really admire Devon Franklin. The way he has been able to incorporate his faith throughout his career in the music industry and now in the film business is very inspiring.


What is your dream modeling gig?

My current dream is to model my own clothing brand during New York Fashion Week. I want to create a line comprised of clean basics with some accents that really would make the pieces stand out. 


What quote or phrase do you live your life by?

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28 KJV

For more infromation on Sodney, please follow on social media at @monsieurnoir_5


Fabrice Tardieu


Miami, Florida

What inspired your foray into show design after such a successful career in luxury menswear?

When I had my previous brand Bogosse, the only thing I was not designing was shoes. Since shoes have always been my favorite accessory to wear, it was always a huge challenge for me to find the perfect pair of shoes that were fashionable and relevant to what is going on in the fashion industry without being obnoxiously expensive and uncomfortable. I, therefore, decided to end this drama by designing my own.

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How would you describe the brand's aesthetic?

The brand focuses on creating a laid back luxurious aesthetic. It has a very versatile design that you can wear dressed up or down depending on your mood. A perfect example of what we do is creating runners with back support enabling you to walk as an athletic sneaker for its comfort but designed and meticulously handcrafted by hand with noble materials and skins such as Pythons to give it the luxurious feel.

Who would you like to see wear a pair of Fabrice Tardieu shoes?

I would love to see Barack and Michele Obama wearing Fabrice.

How has social media helped your brand?

Social Media has helped the brand be recognized internationally. It is truly an excellent tool for my line of work

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In your opinion, what makes a good shoe?

For me a good shoe is recognized from the quality of the material used, then the fit and comfort, the execution of the stitching applied and last but not least the uniqueness of its design

What's next?

We are currently working on a capsule collection in collaboration with one of my favorite athletes, boxer Saul Alvares "Canelo" that will be "DA BOMB" as my son Driss would say.

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

"Always pick to fight One battle at a time" and "Never forget that Passion moves Mountains"

For more information on this brand, please visit and follow on social media at @fabricetardieu

Aime Leon Dore Fall/Winter 17 LookBook


Aimé Leon Dore released its Fall/Winter 2017 Lookbook, and it was well worth the wait. Comprised of the brand's signature clean, crisp designs, the collection includes sportswear, shirts, outerwear, and suiting.  

For more on this collection, please visit and follow on social media @aimeleondore

Emmanuel LeGrair

Photo by Magda Krych

Photo by Magda Krych

Nashville, Tennessee

At what age did you become fascinated with fashion?

I began to develop my personal style when I started high school. I noticed that my taste was different from many of my peers. My brothers and a few of my friends would comment on what I chose to wear as "weird, " but I didn't care. I think that at that moment, I knew that I had something special and developed a new passion.

How would you describe your personal style?

My friends dubbed me the "Modern Sophisticate." In that, I have a love for classic styles, but I will add a modern twist to showcase my personality.

Photo by Magda Krych

Photo by Magda Krych

What inspired you to create

I experienced a great deal of personal change in my life. I lost 130 pounds, moved away from home, and changed careers. I was on the path to creating a better person. I decided to begin sharing what I had learned while encouraging others to step out of their comfort zones, get introspective, embrace their truest self, and look good while doing it.

What are the top essentials every man should have in his wardrobe?

Some essentials are a navy and a gray suit, a denim jacket, crisp white dress shirts (and a few other colors), a watch, brown lace ups, a pair of loafers, a few pairs of sneakers, two pairs of quality denim, a bag and an umbrella. I am creating a complete list on my blog very soon.

Photo by Magda Krych

Photo by Magda Krych

Who are your favorite designers or brands? How do they influence you?

I enjoy learning and following independent suiting specialists and boutiques with solid branding campaigns. I love seeing their process and their personalities shine through in their pieces and how they help their clients gain confidence through their clothing. A few of note are F.E. Castleberry, Angel Bespoke (Angel Ramos), The Dirty Inc., The Brooklyn Circus, Beckett and Robb, Ikire Jones, and Sid Mashburn. They influence me to find my own voice and be comfortable. Also, they inspire me to continue building my personal and business brand, and these brands taught me that caring about the way you look as a guy is not only acceptable but should be the norm.

What would be your dream job?

In a dream world, I would have a men's grooming lounge, a boutique, and consult in regards to personal branding. I would also travel as a professional background singer as well.

On upcoming projects:

I host menswear brunches in Nashville, and I am looking to expand that reach. I love the community that is building in the process. I may also do some recording soon.


What quote do you live your life by?

"Aim High. Pay the Price. Stay the Course."

For more on this style maker, please visit and follow on social media @thebettermanual

Karl Kani


Los Angeles, California

How did you get your start in fashion?

I was born in Costa Rica and we migrated to the United States in the late 60’s. My dad is Panamanian and he would get clothes custom made with a tailor in Flatbush, Brooklyn. I used to watch the process of him buying his fabric in Manhattan and bringing them to the tailor to have his garments rendered. When we moved to East Brooklyn, the competition was really in amongst the kids when it came to fashion. You had to have the freshest Adidas, the freshest Pumas--you had to be FRESH to be one of the “cool kids.” My friends and I would try to out shop each other and buy things but not tell the others where we got it from because we wanted to be exclusive. I got the inspiration from my dad to get my clothes from a tailor so they would be unique. That was my first take on fashion; I started making clothes for myself and went on to make clothes for my friends.

On the birth of Karl Kani:

I was making clothes for these dudes in the projects and one day this guy walked by with one of my outfits on. I was bragging to my friends that I made the outfits and they didn’t believe it. As they were checking out the outfit, they asked why my name wasn’t on the pieces. That’s when it hit me that I needed to start putting my name on clothing. At the time, I was 18 years old; I wasn’t thinking about branding until they made that comment to me. At that point, I wanted to come up with a name that meant something and could stand the test of time. Karl Williams, my family’s last name, Jeans didn’t have the ring that I wanted -- It didn’t sound like Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein, and I wanted a designer name. “Can I?” was a question I asked myself a lot in times of self-doubt. Can I be successful? Can I come from the inner city and build a brand? I figured if I add it as a part of my name, every day I would have to answer the question “Yes I Kan.” That was the start of Karl Kani

On Partnering with Cross Colours:

I went out to Los Angeles with a thousand dollars and was hustling jeans off Crenshaw Boulevard in South Central. We eventually got a store but got robbed some after. We ended selling jeans via mail order out of an apartment in Hollywood. One day, Cross Colours was having a fashion show, I went to the show and met the owner, Carl Jones, and we hit it off. The next day, Martin Luther King Day 1990, we met at his office and decided to team up and run the industry as two black-owned companies.

What do you attribute to the success of the Karl Kani brand:

Number one would be the blessings from God. I barely graduated high school but one thing I did have was work ethic and vision. At 12 years old, I would wake up at 5:30 every morning to deliver newspapers so I could get the money to buy clothing because I wanted to be a cool kid. When I got on, there were no black sales reps in the industry. I hired all my friends to be my sales reps. We opened the doors up for black executives in the industry.  In the early 90’s, it was all about supporting your own--that was an element that built Karl Kani. We were the brand that connected to the culture. Hip Hop needed a designer that was going to embrace the art form. Other designers did not want hip hop artists in their clothing.     

Rapper Tupac was a huge supporter of your brand. Did anyone from his biopic “All Eyez on Me” reach out to you regarding wardrobe?

The producer of the film, ET Hutton, and I have been friends before the movie. When the movie was in production, he and I sat down and he told me it would not be a Tupac movie if they did not have Karl Kani in the wardrobe. He asked me to remake some of the custom pieces that Tupac wore during pivotal moments in his life. For example, he had a Karl Kani sweatshirt on in the infamous Tupac and Faith picture. When Tupac got shot in New York, during his first live interview, they asked him happened. He said, “I didn’t feel nothing, I opened my pants, and I could see the gunpowder and the hole in my Karl Kani drawers.” Tupac was such a great guy and had a good energy.

On the shift in urban streetwear markets and going international:

I think the product wasn’t creative enough. People are not going to wear the same thing over and over again. People wanted change and I don’t think the streetwear brands were as quick as the market dictates. As a designer, you can sense the change coming and you have to adjust to the change in the market. It’s all about smart and being ahead of the curve. Also, the market has grown so much now. When we first started, urban streetwear was 100% black. Now the industry does not have a color. You have to adjust and find your movement in the change.

There came a time when we weren’t the big market in the U.S. that we were in the 90’s. We were not generating the business that we previously had. When things weren’t going as well in the States, we saw the urban streetwear culture is bigger than the U.S. Kids in Japan, London, and Germany want to be a part of this culture and they want the original pieces -- they don’t switch trends as quickly as consumers in the States. That enabled us to established our brand overseas and have a fresh start in the international markets.  

You have been in the game for 28 years. What is the biggest lesson you have learned during your career?

I’ve learned if you are here on this Earth and you have a destiny, what you do is not work anymore because it’s bigger than you. I’ve learned to trust the process and enjoy the future. We were put here to open up doors and we understand that. Now it’s about us staying successful. If we don’t stay successful, it doesn’t speak well for the culture. It doesn’t speak well for black-owned businesses. Ralph Lauren has been around since 1967, Calvin Klein has been around since the 70’s -- why can’t streetwear culture brands do the same? We have to be that cornerstone brand to make that happen because if we don’t, then who will?

What advice would you give a new designer working on their first line?

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Be true to who you are as a designer and find your niche. Find something you specialize in and let your brand build from there. A lot of times people try and come out with too many things, and it’s hard to master it all at one time. You must have excellent quality and a great concept for your brand. You also need to have a message behind your brand; you have to answer the question, "What does your brand stand for?"

What’s next for Karl Kani?

We have ten flagship stores in Japan and we are distributing into 25 foreign countries; Germany, Switzerland, and Amsterdam are our biggest markets right now.

I’m also working on the Karl Kani autobiography, a story of a 16-year-old kid from Brooklyn who had this idea that he could put his name on people’s back, build a brand, and become internally known. It shows the power of what can happen when you give a kid from the inner city time to think. It only takes one person that looks like you, that talks like you, and that you can relate to, to give you the belief that you can accomplish something. P. Diddy once said Karl Kani made the dream accessible. He made me feel like if he could do it, then I could do it.” That’s what’s it’s all about.

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

“If you can’t see it. You can’t be it.”

When I was younger, I would find myself in my room listening to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” in the dark and manifest my thoughts of what I wanted to do life. If you don’t have a vision, don’t have an endgame, you will be running in circles. You have to see where you are going, believe it, and speak things into existence. That’s the key.  


For more information, please visit and follow on social @karlkani

Tunde Ogunnoiki + FRESH.i.AM


Atlanta, Georgia

How did you get your start in Fashion?

I would say my Aunt introduced me to fashion. She designed and sewed her clothes as well as painted; she always kept me fresh. I remember her buying my first pair of Dunks. Moving from Nigeria to Atlanta, I developed a love for “creating art for people to wear” and the community and culture that the clothes create.

What was the inspiration behind Fresh.i.Am?

The inspiration [for the brand] was more about filling a void. When I started Fresh.i.Am in 2010, the fashion scene in Atlanta was very limited. I wanted to bridge a gap between my fine arts background and my love for fashion. I wanted to make something that made my friends look fresh and removed the enigma that Atlanta didn't have anything to offer when it comes to fashion. Fresh.i.Am is about self-motivation and rising above the doubter and haters to see you as a genuinely fresh individual. When you say "Fresh.i.Am”, it is not a reference to the brand but the person wearing the clothes.

How would you describe the brand's aesthetic?

I would describe our current aesthetic as new classic with hints of rebellion against mainstream BS. Our goal is to make people look different. We want people who wear our brand to feel like they're apart of something unique and the idea of individuality.

How has your work evolved since you began Fresh.i.Am?

I've become more calculated and more minimal. I come up with concepts for the brand by trying to tell a story of the brand through each line. Our first chapter, the first four to five years, of the Fresh.i.Am we stayed strong on big letters, big graphics, and very striking images. That became a part of our DNA. Chapter 2, the FUKK Collection was about being a rebel. We made FUKK more than a state of mind but a state of being.  Chapter 3, our new collections "New Roads" is a metaphor for where we are heading. We took emphasis literally from the streets. We are using a lot of street motifs such as a Plus sign and the double lines that you see on roads. Using the streets as a metaphor as to where it all starts and the place you have to be to get where you want to go.

How has social media and technology impacted your brand?

With Social media, it has helped us connect with like-minded people and cultivated some cool relationships. There are people we have worked with across the world and have never met. On the flip side, it can be overwhelming. It has evolved from something that connected people to a money machine for the social media companies. The introduction of the algorithms with social media has changed the organic engagement.

As far as technology, we are living in amazing times; tech has just made production ideas more accessible. Equipment that was very expensive and required teams of people for use is now cheaper and allowing us to create on another level. For example, our upcoming FUKK chain, I designed it with a 3-D artist, we made it with a 3-D printer, and the jeweler made it from pure silver. We were able to make something cool for under a thousand dollars whereas in the past, to go to a Jeweler and discuss your idea would cost a thousand not including time and material. The financial cost can put a stop on a lot of ideas.

What are some sacrifices you have made in pursuit of your career?

I would say my last relationship and being a father. My last relationship fell apart because she felt I cared more about the brand than her. I have had to put off being a father, but I had to put that on hold until the brand takes off in a way I feel comfortable.  From the outside looking in, it seems like I have it easy or living the life, and there are great moments, but there is a lot of sacrifices. I'm not doing this for fun or to be cool, this is my contribution to the world. So the sacrifices are casualties in my pursuit.

As far as risks I've invested everything down to my last dollar into Fresh.i.Am and has put me in a do or die position because I put so much into the brand

What are your thoughts on luxury brands integrating more streetwear looks into their line?

I don't think it is a trend but more so the direction. High fashion is more of a status thing with a particular market and features. For instance, you see $300-$400 t-shirts from Alexander Wang, it looks like a regular silk screen printed shirt, but the minute when you pick it up you notice the layers and depth. It makes clothes feel accessible but elevates the status. High fashion is always trying to reinvent the wheel. I compare high fashion as a scientist in a lab trying to make a cure for Ebola, but instead is makes the new wax paint for fabric. Recently, high fashion has become more aware that the people don't need the wheel reinvent but modified.

What’s next?

Our FUKK chain will be released very soon as the first in the collection of accessories. I am also experimenting with the exotic materials. We are also experimenting with latex, denim, and Tyvek in our new collection.

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

The tagline for our brand is "There is a method to our madness."

We as a brand have our way of approaching situations, collections, etc. There are many ways to get the same solutions. Finding your unique way of doing things is more important than trying to fit into other people's idea of what you should be doing.

For more on this artist, please visit and follow on social media at @freshiamatl



Miami, Florida

Interview with Brand Co-Creator, Johanne Wilson

On the Cool Creative Brand:

We have been in business for about five years. My husband and I have started COOL after being in the arts and design industry for over 15 years. As creatives, we try to spread our wings in different areas. We focus on video branding, design marketing, and digital web. Fashion, though not a core part of the business, has always been a passion of ours and [the collection] has become larger than what we initially thought. So now we are thinking about how it fits into the overall vision of the company. COOL stands for "Create Out of Love." For us, everything comes from the heart. It's more than just doing pretty work, but also being thoughtful about what we do.

What was the inspiration behind the ICONS Collection?

This is the age of the NOW generation, which is spearheaded by social media. They haven't had the "luxury of struggle." They have different interpretations of struggle and sacrifice than previous generations. The ICONS Collection is an attempt to bring some substance to today's innovation. Since fashion is very influential with the NOW generation, we chose it as the canvas to promote the heroes and heroines of the past.

How would you describe the line's aesthetic?

There are a lot of military influences in our pieces. We are pushing the message that it is time to organize, to get involved in our community, and join organizations on a local level that are doing the work.  We drew inspiration from the Civil Rights Movement for the styling of the collection. We looked at photos of the Black Panthers and drawing from a time when young people were active. We also got another set of inspiration from the TV show, A Different World. The young, educated, conscious hip-hop vibe is throughout the collection. From a pure fashion sense, the color black represents timelessness, and the people we are highlighting in the collection are timeless. The impact and the contrast of black and white makes a bold statement.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned starting the line?

One lesson is to not being afraid to take risks and create less. We decided to make ICONS a bullet collection, we make six pieces and then move on to the next; this keeps it fresh for us and makes the pieces exciting for the consumers. In an age of mass production, we are offering special pieces that we hope will be passed down as vintage items.

Who do you love to see wear the ICONS collection?

Beyoncé for sure, she has not been shy in talking about what she believes in. She has been going for it and not being shy about it. Jesse Williams, he's another one who does not shy away from using his platform to speak out. I would also love to see the Icons that we feature who are still living in our work. Also, Common has also really influenced our work; his Black America Again album inspired our whole presentation.

What’s next?

We are introducing some Latino Icons in April, Celia Cruz and Frida Kahlo. We believe ICONS come in all shapes and colors. We also have Mother Teresa complete and ready for release. Since we are artists, we want to explore more artists, so we have Basquiat coming. We are also exploring what makes someone iconic and what icons represent family, love, joy or laughter.

What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

I can do all things through Christ.

We are creating this work ourselves. We are drawing these icons. Everything we do is from the heart. There is doubt in the creative process and the way we keeping going is to remember as long as it comes from the heart it will do what it is meant to do.

For more information on this brand, please visit and follow on social media at @coolcreativeinc

Aaron Monu

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New York City, New York

At what are did you become fascinated with fashion?

When I was younger, my mom always dressed me nicely. I was always in the newest Reeboks, Jordans, or Levis, and she constantly told me "As a black man in America you have to present yourself in a way that is top notch. You always have to look your best". Her words subconsciously stuck with me through the years. Initially, I was really into street style, then it began to evolve, and I fell in love with menswear. I decided at around high school that I wanted to go into fashion. Fooling myself, I went to school for medicine, but at the end of my college career, I knew I was going to go into fashion no matter my degree.

How would you define your personal style?

I’m currently in a transitional state, a mix of athletic leisure and suiting. I’m moving towards something more sartorial, where it’s less about fashion and more about timelessness and functionality.

You are currently a Bespoke Specialist for Musika Frere. How did you get this opportunity?

I didn't get an opportunity; I created one. I was in was not happy with the company I was working for in Orlando, FL. I wanted to be in New York, but I had no idea how I was going to make that happen. I had been following the brand for a long time. I knew Musika Frere was a young brand with cool, trendy designs and they were one of the first brands to use social media to get big. I knew I had to do something dynamic to stand out from the other resumes. I created a leather clamshell binder. Inside I had suiting designs I sketched using fabrics from my previous company (hopefully they don't read this) and scanned my sketches onto a trifold portfolio. The concept was Aaron for Musika Frere, as if I was designing for the brand. The wording for the collection was describing my skills and qualifications. I sent the binder along with two mini bottles of high-end alcohol. I had previously scheduled a trip to New York, so I also included a card with the dates I would be in town so that they could check off for a meeting. Fast forward, I was at a conference touring the Sam Adams brewery, and I got an email that my package had been delivered, 30 mins later saying they wanted me to come in for an interview.

What are some important things men should look for when purchasing a suit?

I would say the most important thing is fit, more specifically how it looks on your shoulders. Also, the material, whether it's wool suit or polyester blend, that determines how long the suit will last, how it will breathe and how it will form on your body.

What risk and sacrifices have you made in your career pursuit?

I would say the move from Florida and New York. The cost of rent, the overall standard of living is a big sacrifice. Also, many people don't know my role is 100% commission. It's a big risk because I have to build my clientele.

Spring/Summer 17 is here. What are some trends men should look for as it gets warmer?

Regarding suiting, the beige trend, the whole color palette of beige will be used a lot. Perhaps yellow as well but I'm not sure how men are going to wear yellow. Unrelated to suiting, bucket hat is a trend that is coming back. Also, Camo for casual wear is going to be big again. Those are trends most men will be comfortable with wearing. There are others that I think are kind of outlandish.

Who is your favorite designer?

Ralph Lauren is one of my favorite designers at this moment. The timelessness and simplicity of his designs are elements of I’m incorporating into my personal style.

How important is tailoring?

It is the most important thing you can do. Most body types do not fit the mold that mass manufactured goods are sold in. I would suggest before you go buy new stuff, tailor your old stuff. You may have items that are not terrible; they just don't fit you right. Tailoring is a necessity and can enhance your confidence about your wardrobe.

What time should a person be willing to spend a little more money on?

Your suit and shoes. 100%

Upcoming projects:

I'm in the process of creating a series of suiting style tips on Instagram. In May, I'm assisting with the Musika Frere Pop Up shop in SoHo.

What is your dream job or project?

I would like to start a creative agency that outsources teams for company and brands based their vision and aesthetic. I would like to do creative direction for Musika Frere. I'm shooting for that now. For projects, I want to put on an awesome fashion show in New York.

What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

Simplicity is subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful - John Maeda

From more on this style maker, follow on social media @aaronmonu

Bold & Brave Threads


Tallahassee, Florida

Interview with Brand Creator, Allen Thompson

What was the inspiration behind Bold & Brave Threads?

A mixture of two things at the time it was conceived. One, I was just about to finish undergrad and wanted to focus on being self-employed versus working for a company. Secondly, I enjoy taking on community service projects and giving back to the community. So the inspiration behind Bold & Brave Threads became the sum of the two, having a T-shirt Company that strives to create awesome, stylish and fresh T-shirts that fit an individual in any setting. Along with the approach of wanting to tackle the challenge of doing something meaningful and helpful such as giving back to a community cause (i.e., Project Annie Community Center of Tallahassee and The Alzheimer Project).

How would you describe the brand’s aesthetic?

It's a modern/minimalistic take on current fashion. It's bold with a simplistic design that keeps the message through in and throughout for brand recognition. With that simple approach, the community can recognize the mission.

What has been the most challenging aspect of getting the brand off the ground?

The challenging aspect has been connecting the message of the shirts with members of the community so that the Bold & Brave Threads design can be seen as a representation of a change in the community and the forefront.

Who would you love to see wear Bold & Brave Threads?

Seeing the people within the community, no matter what part of the region, wear this brand so that people will stop and turn heads asking about the design, in turn spreading the message of the causes we support.

What’s next for the brand?

Well, I'm glad you asked! I see Bold & Brave Threads in a couple of fashion magazines continuing to showcase the never ending message with even more stylish designs. Also, it would be pretty dope to have shirts within a couple of retail stores bringing the brand up to a national level.

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

My M.O is "Strength, Compassion, Confidence, and Life."

For more on this brand, please visit and follow on social media at @boldandbravethreads

Kathleen Milord

Orlando, FL 

At what age did you become interested in Fashion? How did you get your start as a stylist?

I became fascinated with fashion at age 17. I was a senior in Catholic high school. I began working at a local shoe store. I wore a uniform to school, so I really couldn't express myself while in school. I used my job as a creative outlet. I loved going to work and wearing "normal" clothes. My career as stylist started out when I took a leap of faith and decided to become and entrepreneur. I set up several test shoots, built a bomb portfolio, and here I am!

How do you spot trends and draw inspiration for your clients?

I read magazines, watch/attend fashion shows, and keep up with trends on social media platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Styling is such a collaborative effort. What is it like to always with work with new models, photographers, and designers?

It's great! I've met some great individuals through projects. People in the fashion industry can be seen as uptight (and some people are), but there are some great people out there who are willing to work with you.

 What challenges do you face as a stylist?

I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to styling. I can spend days prepping for shoots.

On notable and enjoyable projects:

I've worked with a few small boutiques in the Orlando, FL area, but for the most part, I work directly with models, photographers, and personal styling clients. I think I do my best work under stress. I enjoy the impromptu shoots the most. I love bringing random props and clothing and creating looks on the spot.

Name the top 3 essentials every woman should have in her wardrobe?

I think every woman should have a great fitting pair of jeans, a black pair of heels, and a trendy hat for those bad hair days.

 Who are your favorite designers?

I'm currently in love with Balmain and LaQuan Smith.

What is your dream job?

I'd love to be a buyer for a company similar to NastyGal. Unfortunately, they recently filed for bankruptcy, but I love the brand and how effortless they make getting dressed seem.

On upcoming projects:

I'm currently focusing more on personal styling clients. I've been taking on a lot more male clients, and I'm excited about it! I love making people feel good about themselves!

What quote or motto do you live your life by?

"Take one step at a time."

I tend to “do the most”, so to get things done, I have to complete things one at a time.

For more on this artist, please visit and follow on social media @milordstyling

Robert "Max" Twitty


New York City, New York

At what age did you become fascinated with fashion?

When I was a kid, a lot of my influence came from my uncle and father. At the time, my uncle wasn't into suits, sportcoats, and dress shoes. He was into the sneakers, sweats, basketball jersey culture. He had a stylish way of putting together his outfits, and as a kid, I would always try to dress like him. My father was the opposite. He would mention Italian designers and had expensive taste. He wore suits often around me, so that is where I fell in love with the tailored culture. I had a good perspective and understanding of both sides of fashion which gave me a good balance. My mother, however, was the first person ever to buy me a sports jacket.

How would you define your personal style?

Timeless with a modern flare.

On memorable projects:

A good friend and I created a deck of playing cards that offers style advice called, "The Style Deck." The idea came from people asking “what items should I have in my closet,” “what do I wear with this,” and “how should this fit,” etc. To some, it is a collector's item, but you can play a game of spades with them as well.

What inspired you to create

While making the post-college transition into the "real world," I knew I had to start looking for jobs that would lead into a career. I informed myself on how garments should fit and what staple items a man should have from the top menswear magazines. The more I read, the more I would share that knowledge with my peers who were transitioning as well. I said to myself, "I should start a blog." I ran the idea past my father while he and I were smoking cigars and the next day Gents Among Men was born.

You are somewhat of a cigar aficionado. How did your love of cigars begin and how has it become a part of your lifestyle?

I can't take the title of an aficionado yet, but I do love smoking cigars. The love came from watching my father. He would have a setup where he would put on jazz, pour his favorite cognac and light his cigar of the night. We would talk all night or just watch movies while smoking his cigar. I thought that was some cool sh*t. Cigars have become an important part of my life due to the relationships I've been able to build with men and women of different races. I have had multi conversations with Russian business owners to Armenian gangsters. A cigar is a common denominator. It has no race or prejudices, and for a lot of people it breaks down social barriers and provides access to people they would never encounter in life.

What are the top essentials every man should have in his wardrobe?

If we are talking about a man who enjoys wearing suits or dressing up; an appropriately tailored navy or midnight blue suit, crisp white shirt, dark and light gray trousers. Cotton chinos and blue jeans for casual situations, and a brown pair of long wing lace-ups, loafers (tassels if you prefer), and I would throw in suede or leather Chelsea boots.

What are some of the challenges you face as a style maker?

When you or other people put you in a position of authority, you have to live up to that status. I am a VERY private person, so the challenge as a "style maker" is always making sure my outfit are right. Plus, my style and closet are becoming more minimalist, which means I might wear some of the same items/outfits over and over. That alone takes away the variety and the "what I wore today" experience. It is challenging but exciting at the same time it reduces the time and labor of figuring out what to put on every day. I rather use that energy towards something more productive.

Spring/Summer 2017 will be here before you know it. What are some trends men should look for as it gets warmer?

Dress comfortable, honestly. Warmer seasons are difficult. I keep my attire very lean during the warmer seasons. Spring is my favorite season. Spring allows me to be able to throw on a deconstructed blazer or suit without overheating. I think good investments would be lightweight suits, sports jackets, trousers, etc. A cotton/linen blend is an excellent choice. Pick up a few polo shirts, lightweight sweaters for casual nights out. I always tell people to chill out on the layering. It's too hot outside for all of that. Style, in my opinion, is being about looking good and feeling comfortable.

On upcoming projects:

I am working with a good friend on a plant based detergent to help kids fight Autism. I am very excited about this project because we are helping children around the world.

What is your dream job or project?

My dream job is to be in a position to help others feed and support their families. I don't want to limit myself to the possibilities of what a dream job can or should be. Of course, being your boss and getting paid for your craft and creativity is ideal, but if I come across a job or opportunity working for someone else but allows me to help others, then I am open to that as well.

 What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

"Plan your work, work your plan." - My grandmother

"Your character is everything...protect it with your life." - My mother

For more on this style maker, please visit and follow on social media @gentsamongmen

Je Suis Moi


Head Designer and Owner Jamie Hull

A luxury limited edition clothing brand that encapsulates individuality and unique style in every item.  Fashion is about having the confidence to be who you are.  We believe your identity is your fashion and can be interpreted in any way you make possible. All our items have been specifically designed to suit your idea of a trend whilst still reflecting a unique design known only as Je Suis Moi... I am me.

Je Suis Moi is an upcoming luxury menswear brand, offering key pieces for a limited time only. Each piece is carefully sourced and handmade in England making just 40 of each design. The brand aims to offer streetwear inspired items with a luxurious edge, designed to be layered with one another or worn separately to create a unique style. Je Suis Moi promises to deliver exclusive pieces for a reasonable price. Starting off with 5 specific designs the brand are currently well on their way with their follow on collections including their essentials range and of course SS/17. Keep your eyes on this brand, they do things differently.

For more information on this brand, please visit Je Suis Moi and follow on social media at @j_s_m__1

Zach Lopez


Dallas, Texas

At what age did you become fascinated with fashion? How did you get your start as a style maker?

I was 16 years old when I started to become fascinated with fashion on a deep level. I was exposed to a lot of high fashion brands very early from my older sister (who also happens to be into fashion design), and from there it took off! I got my start in the college I attended. Numerous classmates started asking for fashion advice based on my style and then that grew to make a name for myself.

How would you define your personal style?

I would describe my style as a consistent mix of grunge and class. As a musician, I love that classic rocker look with rips and holes, but then layering with some clean, solid neutral tones that give an upscale look at the same time.

How do you spot trends and draw inspiration?

I typically spot trends from many shopping adventures. I'll notice an article of clothing - say for example a bomber jacket - and then walk into three other stores that also have a similar bomber jacket; I know I've come across a trendy article of clothing. Instagram is another source where I pick up on trends; my "Explore" page is often filled with new brands and models all wearing similar clothes and then I realize what's classic and what's trendy.

 What challenges do you face (personal or professionally) as a style maker?

Some challenges I face are how to be original, relevant, and timeless simultaneously. I want my style to stand out but in a way that could be iconic, cutting edge, and remembered.

Name the top 3 essentials every man should have in his wardrobe?

Every man should have first, a solid pair brown leather lace up boots. It looks good dressed up, or casual, with almost any color of the top and jeans. Second, every man should have a nice fitted navy blue blazer in his wardrobe. It's an item that along with the boots, can be worn dressed up or casual, and just adds a finishing touch to personal style. Lastly, every man should have a solid color, neutral tone, oxford button down. This classic article of clothing can fit into numerous styles. It can be short sleeve or long sleeve, classic fit or slim fit, different colored buttons or matching colored buttons. It doesn't matter, you can layer or make the shirt the look of the outfit, and it's too good not to have in a man's wardrobe.

What have been some of your notable (and most enjoyable) projects?

Some of my most enjoyable projects have been styling for locals here in Dallas, Texas. From private events to concerts, it has been such a privilege. I thrive off of community, and I certainly push for supporting local businesses.

Do you believe some people can have "no style"? If so, what are the steps a person should take to create their personal style?

I do believe a person can have no style. Some steps that I strongly encourage anyone who may not feel as though they lack style is to first, find resources. Whether it's grabbing some style magazines or reading blogs from fashion influencers, you can expose yourself to brands, styles, and even trends quick. Second, I would recommend finding a style that you love, feel most comfortable and make it your own. Third, I would even find a friend who happens to have some style already and start the journey with them; some of the greatest changes I've made to my style have been done with others.

On upcoming projects:

I am currently working on my brand! It will be an upscale brand of casual and formal menswear. I plan to release a small collection in Fall/Winter 2017.

What is your dream job?

My dream job would be a stylist for a major artist or band. When I tour and perform at shows or even just attend a good concert, I first check out the artist's or band's outfits. And if I can style an artist or band that would be known and remembered for not only their music but style too, I would feel very accomplished!

 What quote or mantra do you live your life by?

 "I do what is hard so I can live an easy life, rather than do what is easy and always live a hard life" - Les Brown.

That is a quote that has not only kept me accountable but has pushed me to never neglect any season of life I may be in and affirm that the best is ahead of me not behind me.

For more on Zach, please follow on social at @zach_taylorr

Model Behavior

Race in the fashion industry has always been..." complex" to say the least. While the labels and experts have embraced models of all shades, from pale Europeans to bronze Brazilian beauties, black models are often seen relegated to "token status". Black models never, with single-digit exceptions in a decade, appear on the cover of major fashion magazines due to an assumption that if you have a black face on the cover, the magazine will not sell. The sentiment "one is enough" seems to have long permeated throughout the fashion world, but recently there appear to be strides in the right direction being made.

This year's New York Fashion Week boasted an almost 3% increase in the number of black models walking the runways from the previous year. From 6% in 2015 to the current 8.08%, we saw lines such Zac Posen, Diane von Furstenberg and others whose show has 30% or more models of colors.

Another highlight was the Black Models Matter bag sported by Indiana artist and designer, Ashley Chew, a play on the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement. It became a must have item and designers such as Posen have been seeing rocking the statement piece.

Beyond the Campbells, Dunns, Smalls, Banks and Beckford, there is a cast of emerging models of color who are making remarkable strides on the runway or in print. Here are some of our favorite up -and-comers:

Click photo for social media information. 


Syreeta C

Beltsville, MD

What sparked your interest in fashion?

Fashion is very much about self-expression for me. I can't say it was as much a specific moment that catalyzed my interest as much as it was a resource and outlet that always existed within me. As a child, I was quite reserved yet didn't necessarily wish to "blend in" so style was my voice. This is where my 'speak sans speech' tagline was born. The ability to relay my mood and convictions blossomed into an incredible passion. So, I usually describe it as fashion getting into me as opposed to me getting into fashion.

How would you describe Syreeta C as a label?


I never pick out my outfit the evening before because I can't predict how I'll feel the next morning. My style is expressive of where the day's journey is taking me - internally & externally. I take influences from the world around me that I relate to. I, as well as those who know me, have struggled to label my style within a genre and generally find amusement in trying to do so. That's a success in my eyes since I'm not a fan of boxes and labels.

How would you describe your personal style?

Since I specialize in custom garment creation, each design is new and different. I'm constantly collaborating with clients and thus growing in my craft. I learn from the challenges of constructing a variety of garments as well as working with different personalities. My work is unique in that it's a product and a service. Both sides have improved since the beginning and will continue to evolve.

What has been the most memorable response to your work?

Clients seek me when they have trouble finding mass-produced items that represent them. Many have spent hordes of time searching racks only to be left disappointed. They have ideas and preferences that I'm able to bring to life. I've had clients cry when they try on the final product. I've had clients who don't want to take their garments off. I've had clients who I've built lasting relationships with. All of these responses reinforce the importance and love for my craft.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a designer?

Timing, transition, and trust.

It's tough to discern a timeline for growth. When you're building from the ground up, there are a lot of unknowns. Of course, I wish to achieve success, but I understand that I need to build a solid foundation for it. There are a lot of small details that tangle with one another- from business regulations to streamlining the client-designer process to balancing personal and professional lifestyles. It's a lot to grasp. I also have to constantly remind myself to trust in this opportunity that I've been given and my role in the world. My journey is independent of others and faith is a driving force in it.

What are you most inspired by at this moment?


That may sound odd, but I'm in love with perseverance. I'm inspired by my clients who refuse to be limited to the trends and looks that manufacturers produce for them. I'm inspired by other artists and entrepreneurs who choose innovative thinking and creativity to propel progress instead of complacency. Currently, I'm especially inspired by those who are unwavering in their fight against racial injustice despite backlash. I'm very thoughtful about my unique role in this cause. All of this aids in reinforcing my purpose.

What's next for Syreeta C?

In the future, Syreeta C is looking forward to opening up a formal storefront and full-time venture. I am also committed to creating inclusive arts programming for youth in my community. This demographic has always held a special place in my heart and I've worked with them a great deal over the years. It's work that I find incredibly fulfilling. This type of philanthropy will bridge the gap between my professional and personal goals.

What advice would you give a new designer just starting out?


There will be wonderful moments and there will be exhaustion- find teaching points in all of them. There will be a lot of trial and error. Continue to learn and always remain humble. Accept the support of those around you and curate that group. This group is SO important. Saying 'no' is okay sometimes and helping others when you don't have a lot of resources yourself is also okay. Don't lose yourself or the pride in your work in the process.

What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

"Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real." - Tupac Shakur

For more information on this artist, please visit Syreeta C Fashions and follow on social media @syreetacfashions

AW 16/17 Trend - The Best Way to Wear Denim



Contributor Feature: Brandon Vaughn

Saying goodbye to summer is never easy, but fall offers true followers of fashion the opportunity to show a little panache when it comes to perfecting the seasonal look.

When it comes to fall fashion, denim is about as synonymous with the cooler season as the leaves that litter the ground. This fall, for both men and women, the sentiment regarding the foundational fabric seems to be a rather freeing one — anything goes.

From modern cuts to vintage vibes, embellished to distressed, the number of designer and fast-fashion options gives fans of the time-tested material a true chance to show their style and express themselves.

Whether covered in patches or paint splashes, be prepared to see plenty of men and women alike wearing embellished denim. Instead of just standout stitching and unique construction most designers showcased at the end of the last decade, expect to see emoji-esque patches, sequins, and even chenille block letters like you’d see on a letterman jacket. This fall, school’s in…and so is embellished denim.

While skinny jeans are expected to endure through the upcoming fall season, other unique cuts and shapes are the prime alternative. Denim jumpsuits, overalls, and baggier cut jeans reminiscent of ‘90s hip hop culture give both women and men more options to change up their look and rock a fresh trend…without feeling restricted. These options and silhouettes, available via brands like ASOS, Carharrt, and A.P.C., also give wearers a chance to customize and revolutionize their fall looks by adding pins, buttons, and other creative add-on’s for a dose of personality.

This fall, you can also muster up the nerve to rock colored denim on your own terms. Denim mainstay brand Levi’s offer a bevy of fits and styles in fall-forward colors. Embrace the colors of the season and go green, or orange, or burgundy even. Paired with subdued neutrals, not only can you wear colored denim, but you can echo the feel of the season each time you step out of the door.

We’ve seen a number of distressed denim trends through the years and, this fall, things are going a bit beyond those knee rips we saw so much last year. Expect to see more bleached denim and denim pieces featuring cut-outs, frays, and severe signs of wear. From DIY to designer, don’t be afraid to rock ripped hems, seams, and everything in between. After all, denim is supposed to be worn, isn’t it?

Too many trends to try? Don’t let the season limit you. Flex your limits and let them lead you into winter and beyond.


Brandon Vaughn is a Florida based writer/style blogger

Instagram: @brando_eklectik

Lamont Howard

Miami, Florida 

At what age did you become fascinated with fashion? How did you get your start as a style maker?

I was first exposed to fashion during my childhood by my mother, she would always make sure I was dressed in the flyest outfits; looking back at her old photos she was always pretty jiggy. Inspired by Kanye West's style all throughout high school, I won best dressed as a superlative my senior year and went into college with that momentum. Professionally, I got my first gig helping style for Russell Simmons' Argyleculture fashion show in 2012 at Macy's. It wasn't only just styling models and creating looks but it was about starting a dialogue and getting young men to present their best selves to the world -- this opportunity solidified my future in the men's fashion lane.

How would you define your personal style?

Polished yet vibrant, my style aesthetic reflects the city that I come from (Miami) as well as the places that I’ve traveled to that have influenced me.

How do you spot trends and draw inspiration?

It's really all just a feeling and being fully immersed in the culture. It's almost like a person knowing their body, you can feel your pulse, you can forecast a cold, and once you see a sign of change on the scene of style you can almost predict the next big thing. From that I take what feels right and incorporate it in my own personal wardrobe but I don't replicate the entire trend as a hypebeast would, just subtle hints of what's popping to compliment my own taste.

Name the top 3 essentials every man show have in his wardrobe?

I would say a pair of all white low-top sneakers -- these can be worn casually or even dressed up, also, a nice pair of shades, a classic style staple and a grey suit, for business or even for a nice evening cocktail.

Do you believe a person can have “no style”? If so, what are some steps a person should take to develop their personal style?

Yes because style is all about finding who you are as a person and being comfortable with that. If a person hasn't found themselves or isn't feeling certain that will show through their wardrobe, so first it takes confidence in establishing a wardrobe and the rest will follow. Style is how you visually translate the world around you. It’s exclusively how you feel and how you communicate your taste to the world.

What are some of the challenges do you face as a style maker?

In this social media driven society so much is determined by your influence and follower count. So far it's been extremely expensive investing into my craft, while most of my influencer friends are being flown out and getting paid to go these gigs I am funding my own trips, paying for everything that I've saved up for months. I know it's just a small challenge as of now because the influence will grow without a doubt and eventually I will be the one having those opportunities with hard work and patience.

On notable projects:

Definitely working with Russell Simmons, he was a light, dropped so many gems in conversation and was so open to input. People at his level sometimes can get very "Hollywood" on you and be closed to opening up to people, but he made it easy to assist him and granted me the opportunity to express freely.

On current/ upcoming projects:

Some collaboration in the works for clothing and many upcoming trips, Also, I will be premiering my very first art installation at The Void Miami on September 9th. Tickets can be purchased at

What quote or mantra do you live your life by?

Impact. Improve. Imprint.

 This means to inspire others, make the world and people around you better, and leave a legacy doing so. Always do things for the passion and not the popularity, keep curating the crafty content, the universe will set up what you put out to it. Stay consistent and positive.

For more information on this artist, please visit and follow on social media at @MrDeLaMont


Atlanta, GA

Interview with Brand Co Creator Kirsten Daniel

What inspired you to start the Ateaelle line?

My inspiration for Ateaelle derived from the lack of authentic representation around me. I realized that I'm usually the only native in most settings and the most well-known Atlanta influencers aren't even from Atlanta! There is so much beauty and rich history in Atlanta that is overlooked, I figured why not uses my love for fashion to display these messages.

How would you describe the Ateaelle brand aesthetic?

My staple tee: 'Somewhere between Bankhead & Buckhead" is EXACTLY how I would describe the brand aesthetic. There are some styles that speak to a general population and there are others that may not be understood if you aren't an Outkast fan or Goodie Mob fan.

Where do you draw your inspiration for the brand designs?

I draw inspiration from everywhere. I could be listening to an Old Jagged Edge song or riding down Godby Rd. whatever lingers in my mind, I try it out.

What does “OLD ATLANTA” mean to you?

Old Atlanta means so many things to me but it's the nostalgia of it all that inspired me to create the concept. Most vividly, riding through the city during FreakNic, hoping I'd one day get to experience that (lol), attending the [1996] Olympics was a phenomenal experience, going to Butler Street YMCA every summer which was in the Sweet Auburn Historic district. There were so many great memories that I had the pleasure of taking part in which have aided in the city's current development phase.

What are your thoughts on the current fashion culture in Atlanta?

Although we aren't yet recognized on the fashion scene, our music and influence pushes the culture forward internationally so while not quite on the front lines, we have a home team advantage : )

What had been the most difficult aspect of getting the brand off the ground and how did you overcome it?

The most difficult part has definitely been practicing patience. I have so many ideas and so much I want to do with the brand, I have to remember that it's a marathon, not a sprint. It's something that I have to remind myself of every day.

Who would you love to see wear the Ateaelle Brand?

Andre 3000, Big Boi, Julia Roberts, Monica, and Jasmine Guy (just to name a few)

What’s next for the line?

Being on the shelves at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport was my goal and it became a reality on 8/9/16 so I'm super excited about that. Next, Phillips Arena and the new Dome!

What quote or mantra do you live your life by?

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you" says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

For more information on this brand, please visit and follow on social media at @ateaelle