Liberty & Fashion For All Foundation

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I had the pleasure to attend this panel discussion that not only left me feeling educated but liberated as well. The panel discussed the recent “missteps” by luxury fashion houses (if you aren’t aware catch up here.)

The event took place at the Phillip Lim store in Soho, NYC. The room was filled with fashion industry professionals from brands all over, from retail to corporate employees. Brands as Ralph Lauren, CFDA, and Teen Vogue came to support and learn about diversity and cultural appropriation issues faced in fashion.

The idea that African American culture has great influence on the luxury fashion industry is clear. Why is it that the culture that influences the industry most, often gets culturally disrespected? Also, why is there no black luxury houses especially being that the black purchasing power is stronger than ever?

Dapper Dan shared with us his struggles of being underground and how Black Twitter played a significant role in bringing him back to the spot light. “We need to find out how we can reach luxury” said Dapper Dan. He continued that luxury is about symbolic meaning. He’s been traveling the world seeking artifacts with deep cultural connection that can inspire his designs.

Dapper Dan’s partnership with Gucci was also addressed as he planned to continue to work with the Italian fashion house to prevent future ”missteps” by helping them understand the black culture.

One question that remains is where do we go here?

There is no one single right answer. I believe the most effective would be African Americans focusing on connecting to their African heritage. In the DNA lies pride and identity. That identity has been lost due to the Atlantic Slave trade. African Americans must not stop searching where their family comes from. We seek pride and status when wearing European brands. The honest truth is, if you’re black you have no historical connection to these brands unless you are European. We connect the idea of wealth with these brands because it is real, they are wealthy. But, the influence that our culture plays on this industry is what’s being sold often. That needs to change.

I believe that black+ African history will lead the future and African American’s will finally touch the luxury level. It will begin with designers like Kanye West, Dapper Dan and Virgil Abloh who will open the gates for young designers by leaving historical legacies.

I look forward to the next event by the Fashion For All Foundation.

Please share with me your thoughts on ways to leverage the playing field.

-Armada

AMIRI FW18 PARIS

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The Amiri Fall/Winter'18 Show was hosted at the impressive Les Beaux-Arts de Paris. It was in the main hall and the floors were covered with aged Persian tapestries and framed with pink neon lights. The stage was covered in antique candelabra with hundreds of candles. It made for the most romantic but sinister setting. The band started playing and the show started. 

The first look set the tone for the rest of the collection... gold blasted ripped jeans, red and black striped tee with a waistcoat and long textured black coat, worn with faded gold ankle boots and layered chains. It is street wear, but luxe.

There were red velvet suits, metallic silver scrunched boots, check shirts and coats, embellished and distressed denim and lots of cool hardware details on the shoes. 

The ladies and mens collection featured oversized denim jackets and hoodies paired with super skinny denims. 

My favourite look of the day was the red drummer boy jacket with black and gold lurex ribbing, worn with a white tee, grey paint splattered denims and silver metallic sneakers.

-post written by Vasti

vastimcleod@gmail.com

 https://vastilovesparis.wordpress.com

Insta: @vastilovesparis

Posted on February 27, 2018 and filed under blog.

Lost & Found in Paris

(The Illusion)

I must admit, I feel it, Fear.

Fear of the unknown. 

Roaming the streets of Paris at 4 am by myself. 

It’s cold.

With no capital I have no where to stay 

No one to call

No where to go

I ask myself, where does this fear reside but within myself?

Therefore I am the creator 

So this means I can also be the destroyer of this idea called fear

 

(The destruction)

How can I truly be fearful here? It’s beautiful!

The monuments, statues and land marks are here with me.

I found myself in a situation where I can do nothing but be patient.

I can’t wait by sitting, so I draw and write.

There’s God within Art.

I can’t describe it any other way.

 

(The Reflection)

I understand no matter what the circumstance, I walk, stand, and sit with the Truth.

I needed to face myself in the dark, face the world in the dark.

To truly see who is who & what is what. 

I looked at a building that I assumed to be just a picture covering  undone construction.

I looked up to the moon and prayed asking to help me distinguish the truth from the false. 

I look again to the building, it became lit with lights.

The building was no allusion.

Jehovah is here with me.

4am in the dark sketch

4am in the dark sketch

Posted on December 16, 2016 and filed under paris, blog.

Poetry from the Artist🎨

I Have Dreams

I See Things

Sometimes I Doubt

Sometimes There’s No Stopping Me

Sometimes I Shoot My Dreams Down

Sometimes I See Them Through

Sometimes I Wonder What's Good Enough

Where it is & Why Does It Matter?

Sometimes I Act Like It’s All Good 

Then Take the Hit Because That’s What Men Do.

I Must Remember Life Exists Not Only Here but Everywhere.

I Need More Art in My Life

I Need To Create More Often

What’s a Good Night’s Sleep?

Just Something to get Me Through the Day?

What’s in it For Me?

“It” being reality

Does Life Exist or are we just Energy?

Posted on December 7, 2016 .

The musical Avant-Garde, Solange Knowles

Solange Knowles has always been a fashion icon in my book. Her new album "A Seat at the Table" is definitely worth the purchase, watch and listen. Her digital album shows colorful and breath taking imagery, truly displaying her talents as a visual artist and 21st century avant-garde. A true artist creates new emotion and invigorates an audience of multiple cultures. Solange did just that! She represents everything the new black girl is, a work of ART. Her visual works set the standard for the evolving multifaceted culture of today. 

View her two official videos Cranes in the Sky & Don't touch my Hair below. Both videos have been directed by Solange and her husband Alan Ferguson. These videos are pure inspiration. Solange is what happens when fashion, art, music, and the black culture coalesce, there is nothing like it! View her "A Seat at the Table" book here (a great piece to print out and place on your coffee table.) By all means please enjoy this cultural cerebral journey!

These photos are property of solangemusic.com

 

 

 

 

 

Public School Pizzeria 🍕

For PSNY it's all about the New York state of mind. They are currently the heartbeat of true New York Street Fashion. PSNY Teamed up with the NewEra and collaborated with the New York Yankees and the New York Mets for a small hat collection for a 2day pop up shop. I made a visit to the Pop up where the music in the air was Harlem's own Cam'ron Featuring Jay- Z 'Welcome to New York City' Hearing that song made me respect their movement even more lol.

It was was creatively placed at an old pizza joint (on 231 Bowery) to invigorate everyone's inner New Yorker. Pictures on the wall hung with icons as Stevie Wonder & Michael Jackson w/ fake autographs made out to the PSNY designer's Pizza place. Sophisticated and funny way to give it that home town feel, I loved it!

I got to speak with Dao Yi Chow, Designer at Public School also Creative Director of legendary brand DKNY. When asked to describe how he feels about his collaboration he replied "Happy, fortunate and it feels good to represent."  He seemed to be in a great place because his family was there to support him. During the pop up he sang Happy Birthday to his kid with a candle lit pizza. Dao- Yi Chow is a true dad and real man. Real dads make the most of the moments that matter most. Up most respect to him.

In New York, fashion is in the streets. People like to look good on the go but there's that don't f*** with me element when they dress. In a city congested with people, its hard to trust. The grimy attitude element is always placed into NY style. I thank Public School for keeping it all the way street on this one and getting Nas to model the hats, thats a huge endorsement! Make sure you all go visit the pop shop it's the last day! More info visit publicschoolnyc

Snapback $75 Dad HAT $65

Snapback $75 Dad HAT $65

Gucci Gucci Gucci!

What's Gucci my ninjas? What's happening today is that the streets are bigger than ever! You see Vogue aiming to broaden audience by seeking hip hop/ Rap moguls to give unique prospective on the Runway. In this case Gucci Mane on Gucci's SS17 collection. What ultimately is gained here (by Vogue) not only an extra audience but also terminology. Hip Hop is all about the lingo. Gucci Mane used the word "Hard" multiple times to describe his liking for Gucci's SS17 Runway Collection. To be in the in crowd you have to speak the lingo or at least know what Gucci Mane is talking about lol. The more languages you speak the more people you reach and if you can speak to the streets then you're something special. Get to know the lingo, it's all about the context.

What's also extremely cool at the moment is that the brand Gucci itself has taken a turn toward the streets. Allowing graffiti artist GucciGhost AKA @TroubleAndrew to use his works on Gucci bags, clothing, and even the New York City flagship store on 5th Avenue. This has to be a huge accomplishment for the Gucci Ghost especially being a street artist. He got to tag windows of a luxury fashion house's building on 5th ave in New York city and everyone gets to see. Wow! Salute to Trouble Andrew. Graffiti looks pretty funny next to the Trump Tower in this case "Luxury Graffiti."

Even more props to Alessandro Michele who is revamping the world of Gucci just as Tom Ford did. What's also capitalized on is the term Gucci itself that has evolved into ultimately meaning Good. And its been like that for some time but if you're just now getting hip then no worries. Now you are seeing it being referenced in fashion so you cant miss it. The term "LIFE IS GUCCI!" was created into a Snapchat Geo-filter at the Gucci store on 5th ave. Snapchat Geo filters are helping retail fight back against e-commerce bridging the techonology and retail experience.

What Gucci needed was something unique but in raw form. In today's fashion world of copying, Gucci did themselves a favor and put REAL on everything. This is an in your face there's only one Gucci and we're the like REAL GOOD type of thing.  I love it! This is trademarked Street Art and Street art is hard to be ignored.

Street art is a unique industry because its very close to home for everyone. Its grimy, rugged and the concrete walls bare unfiltered truths. This is a collaboration I am proud to see because it reminds me of the streets. The streets is where the culture is and Gucci is the culture. Salute to Strategic Art!

See more on Gucci.com 

HOW TO CURE YOUR RACISM!

picture credit to  ourcrowd.com

picture credit to ourcrowd.com

I've been living in France for the past 9 months and it has been the ultimate experience. It amazes me how Europe being so small (compared to the USA) can have so many extremely different cultures within a 2hour train ride. It makes one realize how petty the white vs black battle is in America. We see each other everyday, let's please let it go! The thing is, it's kind of hard to be "color racist" in the EU when people here can literally be from anywhere in the world. For instance, look at me, I'm from East Cleveland, Ohio what are the chances of me living in Grenoble, France? It makes one halt to his own ignorance because the world is HUGE and we don't know it all.

Being from the States, I take great pride in representing the hip hop culture, I receive great love by the way I talk, dress, and carry myself. I am unique, as we all are. One of my favorite books is by Warren Bennis "On Becoming a Leader"

In Chapter 4: Knowing the World, he discusses how

traveling is another kind of learning , it changes your perspective immediately, because it requires new and different responses from you.

He also discusses how you have to give yourself to the experience yet

if you lose perspective on yourself and your own roots, you have merely put on the garb of another culture. You need to keep your sense of difference!

What I learned from this is that the sense of self is extremely important, you learn who you are by the qualities you hold on to once everything around you is different.

I've been fully submerged in the European culture and have been very respectful to my fellow man. It wasn't until I went to Barcelona I experienced something within myself I never felt before, Racism. This my story...

My family and I just left a Booze Cruze boat ride on the mediterranean sea, I met a Gent from the UK named Danny, same age as I (25), he's currently living in Barcelona for work. After the boat ride Danny, my sister and I hung out, he showed us around Barcelona and introduced us to new friends. We were very appreciative of Danny's hospitality, he spoke to me of how Karma is real (even his girlfriend's name is Karma). The good you do to/ for others not only gets reciprocated but also spreads to the people others encounter, thus creating a chain reaction of positivity and great energy. I do believe Karma lies within initial kindness but even more so in the response to ignorance and bad energy. Upon saying goodbye, Danny showed us his tattoo on his right thigh of Charlie Chaplin, he told me to check out Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" speech. I took note of it in my iPhone then fetched a taxi to head to my hotel. 

Jumped in the cab, being the social butterfly I am, I always talk to cab drivers because they're people too lol. I proudly told the driver I was from the United States and asked where he was from, speaking robotic like english he replied "Pakistan" and continued to say "how we live, speak and dress is extremely different from the rest of the world." At that moment the energy shifted and I FELT IT, RACISM. I MYSELF WAS RACIST! I suddenly feared for my life inside that cab. Why? Why was I in fear? Why was I racist and this man who posed no threat to me? I was forced to be honest with myself, this feeling was coming from my own ignorance.

FEAR + IGNORANCE = RACISM.

The only knowledge I had of Pakistan was that of great terrorism and the groups of Taliban & Al Queda. Too much CNN and not enough real knowledge to accept his man as my brother. So I judged him from my own ignorance. In life, DEATH is the only sure thing. From the fear of death we fight, judge and kill to protect our beliefs and things we love most. In that cab ride I checked myself and realized it was ME, I was the problem. I was inside my own ignorance and needed to escape, I did and I realized that..

THE ONLY CURE TO RACISM IS KNOWLEDGE! ALONG WITH THE WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT DIFFERENCE, ALONG WITH THE WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE YOURSELF AND YOUR PERSPECTIVE. TO REALIZE YOU SUFFER/ HAVE SUFFERED FROM YOUR OWN IGNORANCE IN WHICH YOU NEED TO ESCAPE IMMEDIATELY! THEREFORE WHEN YOU BLINK & LOOK BACK AT THAT PERSON YOU CAN ACCEPT HIM AS MAN! NOT A CULTURE, NOT A COLOR, NOT A REP OF A STATE, COUNTRY OR REGION BUT A FELLOW MAN AND A FELLOW HUMAN BEING! 

Arrived at my hotel and thanked the man. I immediately watched the Charlie Chaplin speech and learned exactly how the way of man should be.

Peep the chain of events.

  1. I met Danny who gave me perspective
  2. My cab experience where I had to utilize perspective
  3. Watching Charlie Chaplin's speech where I gained even more perspective.

Perspective is growth! 

The brain is plastic, which means it has ability to change throughout life.

I woke up the next morning surfing the internet to conquer my ignorance by learning more about the life in Pakistan. Typed "Pakistan" in Google to find a series of headlines about a USA conducted Airstrike on Pakistan just hours before my search (see link here). I won't get into the details of the strike but to be short and simple, a terrorist leader was killed and Pakistan leaders say that the strike was a "Violation of Sovereignty" 

Hmmm.. I sat with myself and thought, maybe my real fear was paying for an act/s I didn't personally commit. Being American speaking to a man who could have lost a brother, mother or child under previous US fire that I had no knowledge of. His statement disturbed me, it startled my ignorance. This battle was all within self, it was all in my head. In life we must conquer ourselves, winning the inner battle to avoid the outer war.

As an American I apologize to the people of Pakistan who lost family and loved ones due to any way war or strike. I also apologize for placing judgment and ignorance where there should be knowledge along with kindness. Through technology and social media it has become extremely obvious that humans just want to be closer together. The global community is arising. Remember racism is a feeling and what we do with that feeling creates good & evil. Let's all choose peace and embrace our differences. I am American but..

I am not at war nor am I apart of any war or violent acts committed! I am a citizen of the world! I hope YOU are too!

I believe in a kind peaceful world, a world that we can all have success and love until we perish. In the words of Charlie Chaplin

"As long as men die, liberty will never perish"

 

 

The Perfect Stay- Barcelona

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Theres no better place to stay in Barcelona than at the H10 Art Gallery hotel! Talk about non stop inspiration. The minute you walk in you can feel the ambiance. 

My first thought was to call the lobby a gallery, my next was to call it a museum, then I gave up on trying to define it and let it be exactly what it is…. A work of art! This place will capture you entirely. 

In the lobby, contemporary furniture coalesce with its canvas counterparts, creating separate dimensions rather than areas to sit. Once you take a seat you become of that dimension, now you’re art too! 

If you’re like me then you’re constantly looking to be inspired rather than advertised to. I was very pleased to sit in a seating area with no raunchy magazines but books like Picasso To Basquiat and Miro’s Studio. The type of books that when you pick them up they’re hard to put down. But the second you put them down, you leave with something.... INSPIRATION! That’s what art does, that’s why I love it here. I am completely inspired.

Each floor is separately themed dedicated to artists we all love like Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon. My room was on the Francis Bacon level. There’s a mini pool on the rooftop where you can overlook the streets of Barcelona and a courtyard on the ground floor where the landscape is crafted to please the mind and sooth the soul.

The H10 is located in a relaxed area of Barcelona not too far from restaurants and main attractions like the La Sagarda Familla and the shopping strip of  Passeig de Gracia.

I recommend (4star)  H10 ART GALLERY during your stay in Barcelona! 

MY RATINGS! 

(1 unpleased - 5 extremely pleased)

Cleanliness - 5

Room quality - 5 (Amazing shower)

Wifi speed - 5

Staff - 5 (Bilingual & ready to help)

Views - 4 (Rooftop)

Food/ Bar - 

Distance from Attractions - 4

Chill Place - 5 (Very relaxed)

Business environment- 4 (accessible computers equipped with Microsoft Word, Excel and a printer)

 

 

 

Stood up at Pascal Millet!

Location: Paris Fashion Week AW16

Hey if you're like me then you were pretty excited to have a ticket to see the Pascal Millet show. Unfortunately receiving that ticket was a disappointment awaiting. Absolutely no one got into the show who had a standing ticket. Why have a standing invitation anyway if you aren't going to let anyone in. Maybe its the snobbery of fashion today. I wish I had that if I ain't front row I don't go mentality, but I still have faith in this industry. I still have faith that when I receive an invitation to go somewhere, that invitation hold up its end of the bargain. Not complaining though, I had more fun outside. Thanks to snapchat's cool Street Style tags I enjoyed myself. I went street style crazy! Check out the outside view of the Pascal Millet show ;)

Posted on March 15, 2016 and filed under paris.

London ShowRooms Paris AW16

Back again for another ThenandNowShop Javone Armada collaboration! During Paris Fashion Week the streets fill with creatives and fashion professionals.Every time the Brits come to Paris you’re sure to get the most revolutionary and fun designs. The AW16 season brings back 90’s punk. Designers like Ashley Williams deliver a rebellious yet harmonious collection. She showed me a glowing red turtleneck with checkered flag print across the chest. The sweater finishes in cable knit braiding from the chest down. I was moved by this piece especially by the fact it had matching pants! :) Using screen printed Tazers and beaming bright neons, Ashely Williams silhouette shapes the direction for Topshop’s NEWGEN. 

Mimi Wade of Fashion East is another highlight designer. She takes it back to prom with shoulder strings dresses reading “Devil Girl From Mars.” The 24 year old Central Saint Martins graduate speaks to the mean girls who love being mean. The Fashion East designer Richard Malone bathed retro like stripes in daytime brights. Channeling the likes of Royal Tenenbaums. 

AW16 season is one to take us back to the future. We see new cultures establishing from many ways and the London Show Rooms is where it all starts!

Big Shoutout and thanks to my videographer Michael Jones.  

 

 

The Louis Vuitton Playhouse

In a city filled with history, the 1year old Foundation Louis Vuitton is the newest monument of Paris .

Your breath is instantly taken away the second you rest your eyes upon this architectural masterpiece. Designed by American architect Frank Gehry, the building was built to resemble a large ship. He quotes that he sought to “design a magnificent vessel symbolizing the cultural calling of France.” 

The building itself is a visual experience. Natural light beams through the glass roofing and the wood pillars bend freely leaving you with only one question “how the hell did they do this?”   

What makes this museum unique is the freedom to roam about. This place made me realize I’ve always had a fear of going out the wrong door in museums thus setting off an alarm. Not here though, every door is an exit/ entrance. After viewing an exhibition you can walk outside onto the terrace to indulge in views of west Paris or daze in awe as you’re taken on a never ending architectural journey. 

I had a bite at the Le Frank restaurant, which offers french cuisine and glowing fish above above your head. Two words, Artistic Ambiance. There is beauty everywhere. Not a single dull moment inside or outside this building.

The bookstore is a treat as well! I would of bought a Louis Vuitton pencil but I didn’t want to make my classmates jealous when I returned to class Monday haha!

Before my visit to FLV, I only saw museums as preservations of physical culture, never as luxury. Indeed FLV is a luxury museum. I recommend all to experience when in Paris.

-Javoné Armada


London Showrooms Paris SS16

While in Paris during Fashion Week it was a must I visit the London Showrooms. The London Showrooms do an amazing job promoting the up and coming. The key word that always comes to mind is “innovation”. I knew I was in store for a treat. Though it’s very clear to see who the top designers are today, the London Showrooms give you a glimpse of who could possibly be the next hard hitting designer. Here are my top 3.

1. Faustian Steinmetz

Designer brands  Faustian Steinmetz who use the hands on approach by hand dying and weaving their own fabrics are clearly on the road to the top. Here’s my favourite piece from their SS16 line. instagram: @faustinesteinmetz      

website: www.faustinesteinmetz.com

2. Nico Panda

Another brand that caught my eye was NicoPanda. This was a collection with a romantic edge using mostly a pastel colour palette. It was where streetwear met the full time ballerina. Many of the pieces had ballerina-like ribbon hanging from the back of the jackets, back packs and shirts. This collection was so beautiful! instagram: @nicopanda designer's personal instagram: @nicolaformichetti

website: www.nicopanda.com

3. Maharishi

My final fav was definitely the Maharishi collection. This was initially a menswear brand that added a womens line to compliment their more feminine aspect. The brand is military inspired and takes actual military fabrics from all over the world and recycles them into the collection. They call it “up-cycling” which is the perfect term. Gotta love innovation! instagram: @maharishi website: www.maharishistore.com

 

Those were my top 3 but of course there are many more extremely talented emerging designers. For more info on London Showroom designers head to Londonshowrooms.co.uk

 

Posted on October 21, 2015 and filed under blog, paris.

Get the Job before getting the job!

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As you may know most job selections begin before the actual interview. You could be selected once your step foot through the door. Now of course experience will always come into effect, but lets not be counted out before you even step into the process. What I'm saying is don't be counted out because you didn't "look the part."

Research is most important! Research the lifestyle and culture of the company. See if your personal style/ lifestyle matches the culture of the brand. Companies look for candidates that can represent the brand on and off the clock. So be honest and ask yourself, Do you fit in? Chances are if you fit in, you're more likely to love your work.

If you can sell to a company that you are already apart of the lifestyle, then you've already become a top candidate. Step one is selling yourself! 

Next find out the actual dress code and dress accordingly. If you're interviewing for a retail company such as Buckle, it would make no sense to wear a suit because that isn't apart of their brand image. Companies like Lacoste, I recommend wearing a polo and slacks, why? Because if you look like you already work there, it shows you are putting yourself in the position to be successful in the company. Recruiters love hiring individuals with confidence and passion for the brand.

Brands such as Neiman Marcus, Brooks Brothers, Tiffany & Co., and Saks prefer a more traditional/ formal tailored look so black, gray, navy suit as shown. These suits are also great for corporate/ administrative positions.

More Business Casual and relaxed retailers such as Lacoste, Polo Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, and Banana Republic would prefer you to be more casual with looks like below..

If you have any questions or need assistance for interview attire please feel free to contact me via email. Thank you! 

Posted on October 2, 2015 .