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If you live on the west side of Cleveland, Ohio, you may have seen my monthly fashion column in the Plain Press newspaper, where I write about fashion and style and cover local news stories. This month I am celebrating my one year anniversary writing for them and I recently received an email containing my very first write in "Ask A Stylist" question! With vacation packing on his mind, Oliver asks:
What is right and best to wear inside the hotel and inside the hotel suite?
We simply cannot talk about fashion and style in the late 80's and early 90's without mentioning the various boosting crews- most notable the LO-Lifes and all their off shoots. What is a boosting crew, who are the LO-Lifes and why were they such an important part of Black American style? Keep reading to find out...
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When it comes to fashion and style, men always seem to get the short end of the stick. They are either ignored, expected not to care too much about their appearance or are called on to participate in ridiculous trends (like last summer's romphim fiasco lol). But what about the guy who just wants to look clean, stylish and comfortable? I got you! Read on to see how it could all be so simple...
A Guide to Men's Bags
Listen, I'm tired of seeing grown ass men carrying the same tired book bag they have had since high school or college! I am tired! And if see one more flimsy nylon, faded logo drawstring knapsack straining across another guy's back I will scream... Now I know as a woman that handbags have been marketed to me and there has been the stigma of a man carrying a bag, or a murse, but times are changing and y'all need something to carry your stuff in just like we do. Step it up! I have come up with the ultimate guide to several different styles of men's bags with several shoppable options below:
*click the photos to shop
The Messenger Bag
Flat or vertical in construction- a messenger bag slings across the shoulder for easy travel and it fits a laptop, iPad, folders and whatever else you have to carry around. Stick to clean lines and avoid bright colors to keep it laid back and classic.
The Gym Bag
Perfect for men commuting from the gym to the office who want to work out before their business day starts. Look for a sleek design with compartments that will keep your shoes seperate from your lunch!
Now, I never said no to book bags and backpacks- but why not upgrade to more sophisticated, sturdier options? Depending on what you will use the bag for, go with breathable, wipeable fabrics, leather or suede finishes and outside compartments to up the style factor.
The modern version of the briefcase is not all sharp rectangular corners and hard shells like the ones from back in the day. The newer ones are fresher takes and made of soft leather or canvas and has interior pockets for organizing your things.
The Duffle Bag/Weekender
Travel in style with a duffle bag/weekender: business trips, a weekend get away, your girl's house... this bag is large enough for at least three outfits, toiletries and a pair of shoes. Swing over your shoulder or carry in your hands- this bag is perfect for travel!
The Dopp Kit
Equivalent to a woman's makeup bag and just as important, a dopp kit holds a man's grooming essentials and is compact enough to keep everything organized. It doesn't matter if you shave, have a Rick Ross beard, rockin' a baldy or a fro, braids or dreadlocs- whatever- this bag is the perfect addition to any man's sink.
The Garment Bag
Groom, best man, job interview, court date... whatever you use a suit for doesn't matter as long as it is in a garment bag! Keep it in the back of your closet for your expensive suits and other formal attire and pull it out when it is time to travel for business. This keeps everything from becoming a wrinkled mess in transition.
The Waist Bag
I know this is a little risque', but the waist bag/pouch is perfect for hands free traveling whether you are a tourist or just strolling through your own city. It allows easy access to cell phone, wallet, documents and anything else you may need on the go. You can go as simple or as trendy as you want with this one!
The Camera Bag
Last, but not least this bag is for all my photographer friends out there. You no longer have to carry a bulky awkward camera bag with you to shoots. Purchase a modern compact camera bag that includes padding for your camera, compartments for the battery, memory cards, lenses and any other extras. Have fun with a print or pattern or go with an inconspicuous black or gray model.
Ladies if you are over seeing the man in your life with that same TIRED bag that he has been carrying since high school- look out for him and purchase a new bag that fits his style, needs and lifestyle. But men don't hesitate to upgrade yourself! And if you need further help, don't hesitate to reach out and receive styling advice by emailing me.
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This past Sunday I attended Fashion Under the Big Top: the Greatest SEW on Earth produced by W. Vaughn Glover's Waki Wear Productions at the Embassy Suites at the Hilton in Independence, Ohio. There are fashion shows, and then there are fashion events- and this right here, this right here was a FASHION EVENT ok! A show within a show within a couple more shows lols. Guests arrived at 4:30 pm (most gloriously dressed in white with pops of color as requested on the invite) mingled with each other, browsed the vendors, enjoyed small bites and a cash bar before being ushered into their seats by Vaughn's dedicated staff.
Hosted by 2015's Plus Size People's Choice Model of the Year- the awesome Samantha Walker- who did a great job of keeping the crowd entertained and engaged in between the action packed and fast paced show. We were first treated to the Xalter Zaughn Collection, Vaughn's ready to wear line in his signature fabrics and distinct tailor made aesthetic. I live for Vaughn's shows cause he selects his male models carefully and believes in giving us women eye candy- very rare at fashion shows lol.
Fashion Under the Big Top was the perfect title for this production because there were a number of competitions and showcases under one roof. There was the "Three Ring Runway Competition" which featured the 19th annual Fashion Knockout Designer of the Year, the 1st annual "Queen of the Needle" crochet competition and the 1st annual "People's Choice" runway model competition. Not to mention a lit hair presentation by Sir Pooh, an encore showing of last year's Designer of the Year winner Gwen Hodges from Indianapolis, Indiana and special guest designer Fly Ty from Detroit, Michigan. I had to leave around the time for the little kids presentation, but I did manage to catch snippets and they were too cute!
The entertaining host and the crowd participation helped move the show- with the audience being able to vote for their favorite designers and models you could feel the crowd really getting into it. Usually for a show of this length and with an intermission, it can be too much for my short attention span to take, but there was never a dull moment and from the time the first model walked out, the runway was never empty- a pet peeve of mine.
I was so excited to attend this event. Not just because of the show itself, but because of what it means to our city. See Vaughn has been doing this for the past 26 years and he has helped bring recognition to independent designers from all over allowing them a place to showcase their talents. Cleveland, Akron, Indianapolis and Detroit designers and models represented in this show and they all received equal amounts of love from the crowd
"It is my purpose on earth to provide a venue for designers to showcase their gifts to the fashion world," Glover states. "I don't pursue my passion for the income, I pursue it for the outcome."
And that's so real...cause it seems like when it comes to fashion, the Midwest- Cleveland in particular is always passed over and not included in the dialogue. And it's even worse for urban/minority designers, but for close to three decades Waki Wear Productions has given talented designers a legitimate platform to showcase their work and win awesome awards, cash and prizes (he has had a deal with Baby Lock sewing machines and has awarded winning designers with pricey industrial sewing machines over the years).
For so much to be going on the production ran smoothly and even when I visited the models backstage there was a calm that is never usually present behind the scenes, which is how you know that the production itself was top notch. I mean yes there were last minute fittings and hair and makeup touch ups and small minute things, but there were no designers running around frantic trying to find out the order of the show, or trying to locate their clothes or models, no models looking for a misplaced high heel, or not understanding who they were walking for... no burning candles near highly flammable fabrics and weave lol.
After starting from the bottom as a show dresser, to styling scenes for my own runway shows and other's, and now gaining backstage access as a blogger, any Cleveland fashion show I attend is like a mini family reunion. I run into models I have worked with over the years, new faces that I've seen at other shows, hair stylists and makeup artists who make their rounds, as well as up and coming and established designers. Many fashion show guests become familiar faces too as they go from show to show supporting a model, designer or just the overall love of Cleveland fashion and style, and it's just a beautiful thing.
I ended up sitting close to Vaughn's family, including his sister and aunts who were clearly his biggest supporters and offered up hilarious commentary the whole time lol. One aunt told me that she has only missed one show in twenty something years and his sister made sure I was in a prime spot for taking my photos and videos lol, even bringing me back a plate of fruit after intermission as I chatted through the break. I had a blast and was amazed at the amount of talent in that room, everybody from the hair and makeup artists, to the models who WALKED that runway and especially the designers that dressed them. See for yourself in the video below and make sure to leave a comment!
*Designer of the Year Winner: Nelli Millard
*Model of the Year Winner: Martika Dabney
*Queen of the Needle Winner: Stephanie Morris Nunn
When we talk about those who put on for the city, you simply can't go too long before mentioning fashion show producer and self taught menswear designer W. Vaughn Glover- now in his 26th consecutive year of producing fashion shows through his Waki (pronounced Walkie, look at the logo!) Wear Productions in Cleveland, Ohio.
"Born a Steeler, raised a Brown!" Vaughn started out as a runway model and his love for the designer's original creations is what initially drew him into the actual production of the show and the rest is history. Read ahead to find out more about the man who has had Cleveland fashion shows on lock for close to three decades:
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT SO FAR?
My biggest accomplishment thus far has been relying on my faith to get me thru the past 26 years producing these events, even without my own residual income. I don't nor have I ever set out to produce these events just to make money. It is my purpose on earth to provide a venue for designers to showcase their gifts to the Fashion World. I don't pursue my passion for the income, I pursue it for the outcome. WWP is one of very few competitions held in the Midwest that has garnered the support of one of the industry's leading sewing machine manufacturers (Baby Lock) whom has donated over a 1/4 million dollars worth of machines to the winning designers.
WHO, IF ANYBODY, HAS REALLY HELPED YOU ALONG THE WAY?
The support of my staff, particularly those who volunteer their time to allow the show to transition, from the greeters/registration to the host/hostesses that seat the guests, these events could/would never take place without them. More importantly, without the support of the fashion community, friends and family who purchase the tickets that covers the show budget, we could not continue on. To them I humbly say "THANK YOU!"
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES AND WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
Sewing/designing has become my new hobby/passion. I created a line of primarily men's sweaters and wearable accessories, that are creative in style, yet practical to wear; The Xalter Zaughn Collection.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING OFF IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
Stay true to who you are, as a producer of shows or a designer of clothing. Establish your vison and remain focused on it. Be consistent and persistent. Yet never be afraid of change that is needed for growth and or longevity.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
My personal style is jeans/shirt or sweater, shoes or boots. I love wearable, comfortable clothing. Not a suit and tie type of guy by no means, lol!
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE OUTFIT GROWING UP?
Growing up I had a strong liking for sweat suits, yet particularly those that had style, detail and substance. Sweat suits are what started my fire for designing.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGNER?
My favorite Designer is the local yet internationally known, Michael Wilson. (I) always liked his ability to create garments that were conservative yet daring. And let's not forget, well made with a high standard of quality fabrics.
WHERE DO YOU SHOP?
I don't shop a lot, yet when I do- I shop for sales ANYWHERE where quality jeans, sweaters, shirts are ON SALE, lol!
WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU?
Next up is starting my 2017 Xalter Zaughn Collection. I have found a new passion outside of producing shows, and that is showing my collection as a designer in other shows. I began sewing just to be able to understand and have a greater respect for the craft of the designers I featured in my events. I can now say, after entering 2 designer's competitions and showcasing several times, I now know what it is truly like to stand in the shoes of a designer. This alone has given me a totally new and well rounded respect for those whom place their gifts in the eyes of the critique with no fear.
WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK?
Facebook: W Vaughn Glover
Website : www.fashiontko.com
You can catch me blogging at the "Fashion Under the Big Top: the Greatest Sew On Earth" on Sunday, August 17, 2016 at 6pm at the Embassy Suites by Hilton. Time is running out, but you can still purchase tickets here to see this extravagant production featuring a "Queen of the Needle" crochet/knit competition and the first annual "People's Choice" runway model competition, not to mention designer presentations and a hair presentation too! I mean I'm super excited about it lol! Make sure you like The House of Fly by Lady Silk on Facebook and follow @alltheflythings on Instagram for live updates, behind the scenes action and sneak peaks of the show!
About the Blog
The main goal of this blog is to connect my readers to everything dope, fresh and stylish- All the Fly Things.
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