Lauren’s VIRTUE

When you’re a creative it’s always good to have multiple creative skills. This is exactly what the multi talented Lauren Thomas has done with her life. She’s an artist of multiple mediums, a model, and a photographer. Her most recent endeavour has been the creation of her own magazine – a concept that began as a project for one of her classes initially but blossomed into a whole thing. I hit her up to discuss the magazine, her other creative pursuits and how she balances it all.

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As I previously stated, Lauren is a renaissance woman in her own right. She’s got pieces in the worlds of photography, illustration, and painting but says “I’d honestly have to choose photography as my favorite. Photography for me has such a strong impact for me (personally), and it’s the way that I can fully express myself as an artist. It’s also my favorite way to express what I want through my work. The process is also EXTREMELY rewarding. After all the setting up, picking compositions and angles, editing, etc, I always feel so proud of what comes out and what I’ve done. I’m the happiest doing it.” This love for photography is perhaps the most important aspect of the magazine as it is a very visual based experience for the reader. Lauren stated that the photoshoot for the magazine has actually been her favorite so far as it was “huge”. “Being able to photograph so many Black people at a time in so many different fits they put together themselves was a really fun experience.” It’s always worth celebrating when someone can excel behind the camera as well as in front of it and then is exactly what Lauren does. 

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Denver Dukes – photographed by Lauren.

In the Cinematic Universe of Black Creatives you’re bound to come across a few magazines. These magazines no matter how they’re executed often carry at least one shared theme: Black Excellence. Lauren’s magazine VIRTUE is no different and the name has a purpose much larger than it sounding cool. First, “virtue is defined as “behavior showing high moral standards”. She chose to title the magazine this “because VIRTUE’s focus is on the black (American) community, I thought it would be fitting. We as Black people are always considered to be making the wrong decisions whether that be through what we do, or the things we decide to wear, just because it’s different. My goal is to show that our culture is not the bottom of the barrel, and that it is in fact extremely beautiful.” It’s always a win for us when we are able to grace the cover of these multi million magazine corporations. And it’s even better when the cover story is done by a black journalist too. But when we literally create the magazine ourselves and showcase ourselves there’s nor room for an L. The magazine itself originally was actually a project Lauren had to do for her Photography Final (Exam). She described the process as “Very very stressful. but the best kind of stressful.” The process involved the “designing and editing that has to go into it, along with making sure the copies come out correctly as well as selecting the “names and photo ideas to actually designing the cover, layouts, and getting it officially made.” Since it was so involved she has decided to continue creating future issues on a regular basis. Out of all her projects this has been her most involved so far and in her eyes her most rewarding too. 

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Our Blackness is the focus of VIRTUE.

Like most black creatives Lauren takes her creative expression into everything she does including her clothes. If you follow her on Instagram you’re going to see her Outfit of the Day on her Story pretty much everyday. And these outfits are never just house clothes. She says her style has gone from “sporty, to super colorful, to wearing whatever I want to, but now I feel like it’s a very specific style that I can’t really name. Simple, but also not? I’m super into New York fashion…” She also cites her main fashion inspirations as “@koleendz and @wuzg00d on Instagram, Virgil Abloh, and my boyfriend who’s grown up in New York and is also extremely into fashion.” However, she has other inspirations when it comes to her work specifically and while it may seem unconventional to some, in the world of art it is practically commonplace. “My inspiration can come from absolutely ANYTHING. I can look at a box of cereal long enough and come up with a huge project idea that may OR may not have anything to do with the cereal. The idea can just come from the color scheme of the box.” 

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Pages from VIRTUE.

Having multiple creative lanes means having multiple obligations.This also comes with having multiple clients and some understand the concept that they are not the only client much better than others. Plus – as an artist she has projects she just wants to do for her own personal enjoyment too and as a student she has assignments that have a due date too. But – she manages to handle it all! “A lot of the time, I manage to fit my ideas within the project assignments (make things happen no matter what) just so I still have fun and do what I want while also having time for commissions. Now that I have the magazine to manage though, my regular commissions are closed until I get a really good grasp on things” Despite all this she is still open to collaborations though! 

Lauren has a diverse music palette naturally and says “I never have just one set person or two, but the people I listen to at the moment are Ari Lennox, Lucky Daye, Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, Summer Walker, Megan Thee Stallion, and DaBaby.” She also hopes to create a piece for Frank Ocean one day. With the type of talent she has it’s only a matter of time. 

Lauren says her number one goal as an artist is “…to be known for what I do. Not necessarily a celebrity, but just to be well known. I want to be a black female artist whose work shows up on huge banners and becomes an inspiration to the black community. I want to have the ability to create opportunities for other Black artists that don’t get the spotlight they deserve. I just want people to see that black girls got the juice too.”

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VIRTUEous Skies.

You can see all of Lauren’s art on her Instagram @yell.l0 and order your own copy of VIRTUE here right NOW! You can also follow the Instagram for the magazine: @virtuemagazinenow 

 

The 7 Wonders Of The Fashion World

For decades and decades, fashion has always been one of the artistic expressions that truly showed one’s personality. There have been people who have altered the industry with their vision, collections that shifted how we wear pieces, and so forth. I sat for awhile and thought of some fashion moments and people that were monumental in the fashion world — people I’ve looked up to starting my career in fashion, moments that made me glad I was in this industry, and people who your kids’ kids will know.

1. Michele Lamy

The iconic French fashion, designer, and art icon. With her famous black dipped fingers, rare jewelry pieces, and all gold grillz, Michèle Lamy isn’t hard to miss. As the muse and wife of designer Rick Owens, Lamy has been the fashion world’s best kept secret. Her unique style of clothing (mostly Rick Owens and RAF Simons pieces) is what makes her a stand out. Pairing streetwear with avant-garde to give off a “goth priestess” aesthetic. Since 1990, Lamy has been a working force behind many brands and people such as Rick Owens, Lamyworld, A$ap Rocky, and many more. Rocky has been quoted saying “Hardly anyone knows how important you have been behind the scenes for my career. You did not just design my album covers, you took me to art fairs and showed me the art world.” Seeing Lamy’s style for the first time had taken me aback since I first got wind of her back in ’08 when I started developing my career in fashion. She was so unique and confident — mixing menswear with women’s wear so effortlessly to make a new style of fashion. 

2. Andre Leon Talley

Former fashion editor at large at Vogue magazine, current close friend of Anna Wintour, and world renown fashion journalist Andre Leon Talley. Known for his open opinions on fashion and impeccable way of speaking and making women feel beautiful, ALT has been shifting the fashion industry since 1974. My first time connecting with ALT was via television on America’s Next Top Model where he was a judge for three cycles. As one of the few people back in the day to push designers to have more Black models in their shows, Talley always made it his mission to help advance our people in fashion — something we had very little of back in the day. For this reason, Mr. Talley will always be someone I thank because if it wasn’t for Black men like him, Black women like myself and the rest of the Glossē team wouldn’t be able to be here. 

3. Chanel 1983

The first Chanel show produced by the late Karl Lagerfeld and the collection that everyone remembers from Chanel. To this day, this collection seems to resurface in many ways in fast fashion. Prior to Lagerfeld coming to Chanel, the fashion house had a few mishaps in the design department — which made this collection all the more iconic. Pushing womenswear behind the limits of what society would allow, Coco Chanel and Lagerfeld evolved the fashion house into what we know it as today. Pantsuits, knee length skirts, shoulder pads, a-line dresses, two piece matching skirt and blazer set is what made this most recreated. Giving the modern woman a powerful yet sensual look is something Karl knew how to do perfectly. During my early 20’s, I created most of the looks during job interviews or even in everyday life to show my business woman side on a daily basis. 

5. Thierry Mugler

The love of my life, Mugler. The icon. The bar that everyone strives to meet in avant-garde fashion. Mugler is known for his bed the top, robotic, sensual, disproportionate style of designs. After leaving fashion in 2002, Mugler’s designs became untouchable and “locked in a vault”… unless your name is Beyoncé. In 2009, he worked with Queen Bey to create her costumes for her “I Am… World Tour”. After a few more quiet years, Mugler started making noise in the scene again once Cardi B wore his vintage designs to the 2019 Grammy’s and designed a new dress for Kim Kardashian. What drew ,e towards Mugler’s designs were the risqué shapes and how much they celebrated the women’s body. Making women to be other worldly, beautiful creatures in his costumes, he celebrated women’s sexuality in an artistic style that will continue to go down as a one of a kind fashion house.

5. Yeezy

Despite what the world is discussing about Kanye right now, I have to say, Yeezy came in and changed the fashion game — whether you want to admit it or not. How many people saw Yeezy season 1 come out and questioned their fashion taste? The slouching sweaters, oversized boots, intentional ripped holes in shirts, Yeezy had everyone going through a fashion frenzy but what we didn’t know was that he created the trend for all fashion houses for the next 4 years. Neutral colors, sweats paired with heels, body hugging/high waisted leggings and sweats for women. We made fun of Yeezy when it first came out because we were just exiting the era of tumblr where snapbacks was the main accessory. Over the years we came to realize that this era of “cozy” would last longer than expected and even begin to take over major fashion houses such as Rick Owens, RAF Simons, Chanel, Balenciaga; this trend also led to many dormant brands resurrecting like Champion, Fila, and Reebok. We all started dressing like 40 something year old white dads and haven’t looked back since.

6. The Met Gala

With hopes of being invited one day, I watch the Met Gala red carpet every year, as a matter of fact it’s a holiday in my house. Met Gala Monday is the time where every a-list celebrity pulls out… or is supposed to… their best haute couture looks to match the theme of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Costume Institute host a fundraising dinner. Held on the first Monday of May, the Met is home to many fashion formalities and faux pas. Until I walk those marvelous stairs to enter the event, I will join the rest of my peers in the judging room where we decide who has followed the theme this year and who let us down. The twitterverse has declared Rihanna as mother of the Met as she always is on theme and shocks the world with her red carpet look — specifically her 2016 mustard yellow Guo Pei dress. It’s fashion’s biggest single day in history. I mean, we all look forward to the Met Gala and those attending spend 6+ months preparing for it. So it’s safe to say this event will continue to be the leading fashion event for years to come. 

7. Anna Wintour

Last but not least, the woman who inspired my alias under and who inspired me to get into fashion journalism, Ms. Anna Wintour. Known as the editor in chief of Vogue, Wintour holds the titled for one of the biggest names in fashion. Her constant support for diversity and young designers has made Wintour the most respected woman in fashion. With her signature bob haircut and oversized dark sunglasses that she rarely removes, Wintour is THE reason Glossē exists now. Because her personality is so hardcore and demanding, people have speculated that Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada was supposed to be a loose adaptation of Wintour. Although those rumors were debunked, it’s still funny to watch Devil Wear Prada and imagine Miranda as Anna. Anna’s reign in Vogue has moved Vogue to be the most sought after magazine especially the September cover. While at Vogue has been a major change. From the models on the cover to the writers, Vogue has expanded on their pillar to make diversity a priority. As for Anna, I’d like to personally thank her for paving the way for other female editor in chiefs in fashion such as myself.

Most Wanted Trends: Winter 2020

Who would’ve ever thought 2020 would creep among us so quickly? And,  who would’ve ever thought the jurisdictions of fashion would reach far beyond the traditional guidelines of themes and forecasting? We are now entering into an era where practicality within the realm of ready to wear is no more. We are now in living in a space where dimensions collide within the fashion world — Avant Garde is becoming the new Street Style. The rules to what was once considered “fashionable” is now liberal. Individuals are free to roam the streets in garments that are androgynous, original and gives cosplay a new name. Wear what you want, but keep it bundled.. here are my favorite trends for Winter 2020: 

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Continue reading Most Wanted Trends: Winter 2020

Black Women And Fashion Takeover

Who doesn’t want to support black businesses? More specifically, who wouldn’t want to support black female owned boutiques? Here are five black female owned boutiques that you need to check out ASAP! They’re all different from one another and one might be the right fit for you.

1. Charley’s Closet

Via Instagram

Owner: Charley Moné York

Location: Online

Prices: $7.99–$42.00 (in “Apparel”)

Type: Night/Day Out

This online boutique’s owner is Charley Moné York. York’s vision, according to the Charley’s Closet website, “is to create a brand that is affordable, comfy, and chic.” York also stated, “Whether you’re going on a business trip or to a nightclub, Charley’s Closet has all of your clothing needs.” York began her boutique in college and has recently graduated. York’s online boutique features dresses, matching sets, pants, and more. The sizes offered in her clothing are small, medium, and large. The style of clothing provided is best for those who want to find clothes to wear to any event during the day or night––cookouts, clubs, bars, beaches…you name it!

Interested? You can check out Charley’s Closet here: https://shopcharleyscloset.com/

2. Curve Conscious

Via thecurvyfashionista.com    

Owner: Adrienne Ray

Location: Philadelphia/Online

Prices: $12–$18 (in “Tops)

Type: Plus Size/Thrift

The owner of this plus size resale boutique is Adrienne Ray. According to the Curve Conscious website, Ray created this boutique “after being frustrated for years with local consignment, resale and thrift shops for their lack of plus-size clothing options.” Ray’s mission for Curve Conscious was “to provide an exclusive space where plus-size women can feel safe and comfortable, while they shop and sell gently used items in great condition.” Ray’s boutique offers shoes, accessories, and clothing such as outerwear, skirts, and tops. Sizes of the clothes range from 12 to 28. Curve Conscious also provides private shopping sessions. This boutique is perfect for plus size women who need a little more body positivity in their life and who want to go thrift shopping while knowing they will definitely find clothing in their size. Curve Conscious is both in-store and online.

Interested? You can check out Curve Conscious here: https://www.curveconsciousphilly.com/

3. A.Z.R.I.E.L.

Via Instagram

Owner: Azrie’l Johnson

Location: Online

Prices: $25–$28

Type: Mom/Breastfeeding Positivity

This online boutique’s owner is Azrie’l Johnson. Johnson’s mission, according to the A.Z.R.I.E.L. website, is to create “a brand to support, educate, beautify, and encourage ALL women on their breastfeeding journey.” Johnson also stated, “I am passionate (zealous) about God, breastfeeding, helping mothers to feel beautiful, worthy, and enough.” Though the boutique is new and currently only offers a short sleeve V-neck T-shirt with “I Am Enough” written across its front, the sizes included for this tee range from small to 2X. This online boutique is for the mothers who want to feel confident in breastfeeding and feel beautiful as a mother.

Interested? You can check out A.Z.R.I.E.L. here: https://azriel.shop/

4. Matte

Via Instagram

Owner: Briana Shaneé Wilson

Location: Online

Prices: $65–$85 (in “The Caution Basics”)

Type: Form-Fitting/Daring

Matte Brand owner, Briana Shaneé Wilson — according to Fader, Wilson “launched MATTE, a brand with must-have basics, inspired by her love for clothing with minimal design, femininity and comfort,” after moving to New York City in search of starting a modeling career. Fader also stated that her brand has even “been worn by celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Karreuche and Draya.” Matte offers clothing in categories such as lace, fitness, and basics. Matte offers jumpsuits, bodysuits, matching sets, and more with sizes ranging from extra small to large. This online boutique is for those who enjoy form-fitting clothing and looks that will make you feel sexy.

Interested? You can check out Matte here: https://shopmatte.com/

5. Premme

Via Instagram

Owners: Gabi Gregg (Left) and Nicolette Mason (Right)

Location: Online

Prices: $25–$149 (in “Shop”)

Type: Plus Size/Fashion-Forward

This online boutique’s owners are Gabi Gregg, who is black, and Nicolette Mason. According to Premme’s website, “Premme was born out of a love of fashion and the recognition that the industry is still lacking when it comes to the wants and needs of plus size women.” The website also stated, “We believe babes of all sizes deserve bold, fashion-forward statement pieces without compromise.” Both Gregg and Mason have worked within the fashion industry as “fashion editors at InStyle and Marie Claire, design consultants and two of the first style bloggers…” Premme offers size guides on their website––one in centimeters, the other in inches. The sizes range from large to 6X, but in Premme sizes, a 0 is large and a 6 is a 6X. Premme also offers skirts, tops, jackets, and more. This online boutique is for plus size women who want to be trendy and express their personality through fashion.

Interested? You can check out Premme here: https://premme.us/

Different people have different needs and wants when it comes to fashion, including styles, sizes, budgets, and a meaningful mission from the brand they’re buying from. Hopefully, one of these black female owned boutiques meets all of your needs and wants. And while you’re at it, check out and support the black female owned boutiques near you!

Beyoncé Rocks Marine Serre From Head To Toe

Yesterday, Beyoncé blessed us with her classic triple posts of her at the playoff game in her hometown of Houston, Texas. Beyoncé’s court-side style is always up to par so it makes sense she would rock Marine Serre last night.

Marine Serre is an Parisian designer best known for her print, skin tight designs, and hardcore couture designs. Bey rocks her All Over Moon bodysuit with a MS belt at her waist and a long leather jacket. The whole outfit comes together as she accessorizes with vintage sunglasses and the MS Hardcore Couture bag.

Cardi B And Fashion Nova Release Collaborative Line

It comes with no surprise that the debutante Cardi B would eventually land a collab with retailer Fashion Nova.  The exclusive line launched today at midnight, and sold out soon after. The FN x Cardi line consists of 82 pieces that range from $12.99-$200.  As Cardi has previously expressed through various social media posts, she wanted to make the line have a luxury look, but at an affordable cost.

Cardi hosted a pre-launch event last night that had a guest list of other female rappers including City Girls, Saweetie, and Dream Doll. She took to her Instagram account to thank her fans for helping her break a record of quickest sold out items with  Fashion Nova.

You can see the collaboration line here.

A$ap Ferg Releases His New Traplord Collection

Earlier this week, A$ap Ferg, member of A$ap Mob, announced the release of his new Traplord collection.  

About five years ago, Ferg released his debut album Trap Lord with features from his mob member A$ap Rocky and the legendary Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. 

The Harlem native created a streetwear clothing line to coincide with his album; which seems like a likely duo since the “Shabba” rapper comes from a line of designers. In fact, his father ran a shop in Harlem where he printed tees for hip-hop icons Heavy D and Diddy. Before he ran his own store, Darryl Ferguson Sr. worked with the great Dapper Dan who was a pioneer that combined high fashion with hood fashion.

Ferg’s Traplord University collection will be made up of a variety of sweatsuits. With designs from a university’s track team and fall toned colors, the new line is perfect for the fall season. You can check out the full collection here.

Photos: Courtesy of @officialtraplord and @asapferg via Instagram  

Cardi B Collaborates With Reebok

On November 5th, Cardi B announced on her Instagram that she will now be the new face of Reebok!  

Cardi B and Reebok will be going into the archives to bring back the 90’s classic shoe, Aztrek. The shoe will run at a cost of $90.

Not much information has been released except that Cardi was the “ideal candidate” for this new partnership. 

We will keep you updated with more details. For now, check out the designs and apparel here

The Fashion World’s Best Decision: Farren On Self Care, Women, And Staying Authentic

Farren “Fucci”, a name you’ve heard surfacing the fashion industry. When he dropped his surprise Paper Magazine cover of Bella Hadid, the world knew they had to look out for Farren. With his iconic looks on Instagram to the way he stands up for women, Farren was someone we had to chat with.

Farren has had the dream career of every creative director/stylist: working with Rihanna and Bella Hadid. Starting off just posting sets from Polyvore, Farren always knew his path was to be in fashion. “My inspiration comes from how I would dress if I was them [the client]. I work with a lot of beautiful women who people would die to be. I just focus on executing a look but also executing a look that fits the girl I’m dressing. I try to dress everyone different”.

Since we were on the topic of women, we decided to ask why he chose to style women first. Usually, when entering the fashion industry, a lot of people don’t include women in their vision or even know how to dress them. Farren, on the other hand, came into the industry with women on his mind and he praises the liberated woman. The daring woman. “I’m more comfortable when I’m around women. I usually get anxiety and uncomfortable when I’m around men.” We sit and laugh for a bit because, listen, same!

When asked about his advice about staying authentic in the fashion industry, Farren left us with three keys – “Don’t get caught up, know your worth, and stand your ground. A lot of times there’s a lot of people who will have a lot of opinions but it’s you, the artist and your work at the end of the day”. During our conversation, Farren gives us a quick, but not detailed, look into his upcoming collection. We’ve been following his process on social media and from what we saw, let’s just say, We’ll be rocking the new Farren looks very soon.

As far as self care, Farren likes to stay to himself unless he absolutely has to go out. Minimal club and party activities. While the fashion life seems like glitter and gold, events like fashion week become work also. “Keeping a strong foundation of emotional and mental support like with your close friends. Protecting your energy.”

Keep up with Farren on his Instagram!

Lindsay Peoples Wagner, New Editor- In- Chief Of Teen Vogue

Lindsay Peoples Wagner, currently the fashion editor at New York Magazine and The Cut, will take the reins at Teen Vogue on October 18. In her new role, Peoples Wagner will oversee digital, social, video and events including the Teen Vogue Summit.

Wagner, a Buena Vista University grad, was an intern and assistant at Teen Vogue. “Lindsay is a gifted talent who can equally inspire and challenge her audiences,” said Anna Wintour, artistic director of Conde Nast publishing company and editor in chief of Vogue, in a statement. “She brings a sophistication and fresh perspective to the cultural moments and social themes that activate our Teen Vogue readers and we are very excited to have her back at Conde Nast.”

Even though she was journalism major in college, a career in fashion grew on her gradually.

“Since I was young I was very interested in fashion,” she said. “I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and she took me to a senior citizens center every single day and we would sew, crochet and knit so I just really naturally fell into it that way. I don’t think it was until I got to college that I thought I could make it into a career.”