April 25, 2011

a.b.k Custom Leather Craft

I have a deep love for leather goods (hopefully you remember my interview with Tobi & Jason of Herds of the Fathers from back in November. Click here if you didn’t get to see it, it’s a must read!). Leather products are so timeless; they really add a certain amount of finesse to an outfit. Most of the leather products I own were purchased at vintage & thrift stores and the fact that they are still in working condition as old as they are just shows the quality and durability that this material has (and I think leather really becomes more beautiful and has more character as it ages). I came across a.b.k custom leather craft, a brand based out of Brooklyn, NY, while perusing the web a couple of weeks ago. My jaw almost hit the ground as I looked at the stunning bags, accessories, and shoes that this company makes, all of which are hand crafted by Ayla B. Kazakevich. Here are my favorite pieces..

These products are….a little bit above my budget at the moment but I guess that is the price you pay for really well-made goods, especially since they are made by hand. Check out the rest of their merchandise on their website by clicking here.

April 22, 2011

He's Got That Good Good: Spencer Edwards

I meant to do this post yesterday but I have been so swamped with school work this week. My finals will be coming up in the next couple weeks (the first week of May to be exact) so I will be spending a lot of quality with my lovely books at the lovely library. This means I probably won’t be able to post very much for the next 2 weeks, but I will try my best to do a few! Today’s style feature is one of the many awesome people I have had the privilege of connecting with in the blogging world. He is a very nice guy with a great sense of style and great taste in music (we are both big J Dilla fans)! Without further ado, here is.. 

Spencer Edwards from Montreal, Canada

How old are you?
22 years of age

What do you do?
I am a fashion student as well as a style blogger

What 3 words would you use to describe your style?
Timeless, Open, Structured

 Where are your favorite places to shop?
I'm a big fan of shopping at thrift stores and boutiques. I really couldn't remember the last time I stepped foot into mall and purchased much but when I do. I usually head to Club Monaco, Polo store, and Urban Outfitters.

What is the one article of clothing you couldn't live without?
That’s a hard one I really can't just pick one. There are 3 things that I really can't live without that I feel really define me: My bracelets, my hats, and my club masters. A day without those is complete mental madness.

Spencer is a master thrifter. When you check out his blog you will see all the amazing pieces he manages to come across at thrift and vintage stores. I appreciate the way he is able to incorporate these vintage items into his ensembles so seamlessly. Spencer used 3 interesting words to describe his style, but 2 of them really caught my attention: Open & structured. At first glance, these words seem to contradict each other but if you really look at Spencer’s clothing, his style really is open yet structured. The openness comes from the rich colors, various patterns, and overall eclectic nature of his style while the structure comes from the more classic pieces. All in all, I love the look. Thank you Spencer, you’ve got that good good!

Make sure you check out Spencer’s blog, Proprpostur, by clicking (here).

April 17, 2011

A Moment of Oroma-therapy

Power comes in many forms.
For some, power is the ability to control the actions of a multitude of people. Some feel that power is having great physical strength. Others believe that power is having superiority over your conglomerates. Yes, these are all examples of power. However, I feel that power goes beyond control, strength, and superiority. You see, there is power in thought. There is power in vision. There is power in acting upon that vision and transforming those thoughts into something tangible. Those individuals out in the world who take the initiative to act upon their dreams in order to achieve their vision are those who have influence.

Oroma Elewa has influence.

Oroma Elewa is the founder & director of Pop’Africana: a fashion, art & culture publication based out of New York City that’s dedicated to delivering a rejuvenated image of Africans worldwide. To call Pop’Africana just a magazine would be an understatement. To me, Pop’Africana is a movement: a movement towards a newly defined image of Africans. There is so much more to Africa than what you see on the news. The Africa I know is a wellspring of uninhibited creativity, effortless individuality, and raw talent. The Africa that birthed me is a melting pot of cultures so vibrant and so rich; its influence pours over the shores and makes its way across ocean waters to surrounding lands. Unfortunately, this is not the Africa you see in the media, but that is where Pop’Africana comes in. Sometimes it takes pieces of art, such as this magazine, to tear people’s eyes away from the often times grotesque images of Africa and its people that have become a representation of the continent and to see the beauty that lies within. Through fashion, art, and other cultural expressions, Oroma Elewa is leading an initiative that will forever change the way the world views Africa.

Q:   What inspired Pop’Africana?
A:   Pop'Africana came about out of necessity.
The initial idea of Pop’Africana was to create a publication that would help redefine the image of Africa and redirect opinions of the African. There was a certain mediocrity associated with things African that didn't sit well with me, that didn't fully represent our capabilities. This is not to say that I do not love my culture or history but it is important to show more. What's wonderful is that there is no longer need to explain or constantly stress the issue; the change I have been wishing for is already here. Young Africans are already forging individual identities and paths for themselves. There are so many talented designers, musicians, photographers filmmakers, writers, etc. who are doing wonderful jobs showing the world Africa's diversity and the creative capacities of Africans. Theirs, much like Pop'Africana, has a kind of quality of work that can be appreciated on a global scale. Their individualism is inspiring everyone and that’s what I always wanted to see.
So I would say that the continual inspiration for my project is the need to shelter and present these ideas.

Q:   What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the magazine industry as a writer or even an editor?
A:   I will advise you to have a clear vision and a strong point of view but understand that there's a constant flow of learning and unlearning.

Here are some photos from Issue 2 of Pop’Africana

Oroma’s passion is contagious to say the least. I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with her over skype a couple of months ago and within the 20+ minutes I spoke with her, I received a generous dosage of that passion. The love she has for her work is palpable. The words of encouragement she gave me that day concerning my blog and what I have done with it thus far are words I will not soon forget. She is truly one of the people that I hold in high regard and her work will be a continuous well of inspiration for me and many others hoping to follow in her footsteps someday. As a young woman of Nigerian descent, it means a lot to me to see other Nigerian women, such as Oroma, becoming so successful. Thank you for daring to live for something bigger than yourself, Oroma. You’ve got that good good.

Learn more about Oroma Elewa by viewing her incredible feature on Vogue Italia’s website (here).

Oroma's Twitter: @oromatherapy
Oroma's personal blog: www.oromatherapy.com
Pop'Africana: www.popafricana.com

April 14, 2011

That Good Good Music: J*DaVeY

If you have been searching for music that is fresh, innovative, and truly ahead of its time, you have come to the right place. J*DaVeY is a Los Angeles based duo comprised of vocalist Briana Cartwright a.k.a. Jack Davey (photoed below) & producer Brook D’Leau. Words that one can use to describe their genre include but are not limited to: pop fusion, funk, soul, & hip-hop. J*DaVeY is so unique; I have been listening to their music for quite some time and I think it’s even safe to say that no 2 of their songs sound the same. Brook D’Leau does a really good job at cooking up some tantalizingly hypnotic beats while Jack Davey’s beautifully enigmatic voice has a way of weaving itself so seamlessly throughout the tracks. This group’s sound is exuberant and smooth all at the same time. What’s not to love? Enjoy 5 of my favorite tracks below!

No More   |   Lazy Daze   |   You Are   |   Outta The Window   |   SLOOOW

Photo Credit: Kwesi Abbensetts

April 9, 2011

A Look Through My Lens, Part 3

I am really pleased with the consistently warm reception that A Look Through My Lens has been receiving. I want to extend my thanks once more to the 3 photographers I featured in A Look Through My Lens, Part 2: Rog Walker, King Texas, and Chris Charles. (And just a quick note to all the photographers who have contacted me, I am trying to do these features in order of when each of you contacted me so if your work has yet to be featured it is because there were some people who contacted me before you did.) I do plan on featuring everyone who contacted me so no worries! Today I have 3 immensely gifted photographers to present to you: Mambu Bayoh, Dana Shum & Brandon Hicks. As always, I have interviewed each photographer and their responses to the questions I asked accompany their photos. Enjoy!

As long as I can remember, I’ve always been a pretty visual person. So it’s only natural to think I’ve always somewhat been into photography. I really began appreciating it as an art at about 16 years old. It was in my first high school photo class, where I did a paper and presentation on a random photographer chosen out of a hat. I was in awe at his composition and the mood in his book “Into the West” and his fashion work was beyond beautiful. That photographer was Richard Avedon. I initially was drawn to the freezing of my memories or life events as evidence of existence. Time to me seemed of such essence that photography defied it. It defied time and death. People became immortalized in it.
I’m really not selective by genre or anything. I think a great photo is a great photo. You just know. It makes you stop or your eye stop. I remember the last time I was walking somewhere a few years ago and saw a painting in a window. It was like 3 am in the morning and I was just aimlessly walking. But I can tell you that I sat there and stared at the painting for over an hour amazed. Then I came back the next business day to feed that need. The painting was The Life of Marvin Gaye by Kadir Nelson. I’ve been hunting for a copy ever since. It was just good art like the way a good photo is. Freezing, emotional and draws you in.

My work is journalistic; I capture life as I know or see it. It is also laboring; it’s born out of love passion and inner struggle.
I love to capture people. The collective strength of humans is beyond amazing and the determination of an individual is prolific. I’ve been blessed to be on earth for a little amount of its history but I just want to document what I see and hear. To show the human strength, defeat, determination, culture, and resilience.

I use a working camera. If it can shoot I’ll take it. I’ll even use an oatmeal box to make a camera if I need to.  But I favor a more usable camera over a less efficient one.
The photographers I admire are Andrew Dosunmu, Boogie (amazing work), Chester Higgins, Annie Leibovitz & Gordon Parks.

I’ve been into photography for about two years. I've always loved photographs and art, so when I got a camera I thought I'd try my hand at it.
Since I still consider myself pretty new at this I would say that I haven't yet found my trademark style. Trying to find yourself in your art can be pretty tough sometimes, since you are still seeing different elements of yourself in everything around you and everything you shoot. I'm a people person so naturally I find myself focusing on people. But I take pictures of anything that catches my eye. The task is fine-tuning that eye.

Three words I would use to describe my photographic style are individuality, growth, beauty.
My favorite things to capture in photos are body, color, contour and always always always some love.

I use a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS. I'm actually looking to buy a new camera.  I love this camera though, it's not bulky or too heavy- so it is definitely something that I can take with me everywhere. As I continue to grow in this art and business I've found that it definitely does put a cap on my potential as a photographer. But the greatest thing about photography isn't the camera. A true photographer is able to make their audience see what they see with any camera really. It's more than just point and shoot and lights and gimmicks. This is truly the best part because it forces me to test my own creativity. It's almost reassuring in a way, because it makes me feel confident that I can make anything look like art.
The photographers that I look up to the most are Catherine Farquharson, Emmanuel Bobbie, Rodney Quarcoo, Steve Ababio, Teddy Dako, Thierry Le Goues, Andre Brito. I know this is a long list but I had to do it. Catherine Farquharson is a "documentographer". You should see the shots she gets. She does weddings, mostly. The idea of traveling the world and capturing the most precious and beautiful moments in people's lives is something I know I'm going to spend my life doing. Rodney Quarcoo, Steve Ababio and Teddy Dako are my mentors. Steve takes me on his shoots and I learn tons! Not just about photography, but also about the business aspect. Rodney and Teddy give me constructive criticism and teach me a lot about my camera and finding the art in my work. They are phenomenal photographers, so it is quite a blessing to have them coach me on. Immanuel Bobbie is crazy with his art. He is absolutely crazy. Have you seen his photos? I love the strength they convey. Thierry Le Goues is a fashion photographer, something that I can see myself doing and Andre Brito is a fine arts photographer. They capture a feeling, a sensuality in the simplest, most beautiful way. I look at their work and I say to myself, "I should be doing that...I should be doing more than that."

Photography was something I was always intrigued by. I started this out with just a hobby and things but didn't get real serious until maybe a couple years back.
I take ALL kinds of pictures. From everyday life to portraits, it's all love.

Three words I would use to define my photographic style? Hmmm...I'm really sitting here and can't come up with nothing but..electric, brandon, dope. haha
 My favorite things to capture in photos are things that happen in life; random things that you can't make up. For example, how often do you see an elephant in the street? Things like that.

I use a Canon but I've used Nikon before. I like the way this one fits versus my old camera.
Right now I'd probably say my photog homies are the photographers I admire the most. All of our styles are different and it's always nice to see what they have new to show. shutterjunkies.blogspot.com! :)

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