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18th Century Fall Punk
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Comme des Garçons is hands down one of the best fashion designers that the world has gave us. Rei Kawakubo, who owns CDG, released her fall look during the spring fashion show with the look of "punks in the 18th century, which was a time of so many revolutions." Unfortunately, many critics found the look to be a disgrace to fashion, and not would put it under the name of 'fashion'. However, how is it not considered admirable, and fashionable just because it is different and unique?  Many of Rei Kawakubo's looks looked like a fabulous warrior off to battle wearing elaborate use out of black, white, blue, red, and pink fabrics. The only fabrics Kawakubo worked with were only brocade and silk. The distorted silhouettes shown through her new collection shares a past such as Marie Antoinette and her exaggeration fashion looks she provided for France in the 1700's. Through her collection you can connect to each piece, such as how certain part of her collection resemble warrior clothing from ancient times. The distorted silhouette used in Kawakubo's collection is not simply for the aesthetic of bringing out that hourglass silhouette, which is so common, skin showing. But this is the exact opposite, less skin showing. Kawakubo expressing her own mind to the fashion world is truly a revolution, like how she got this idea of 'punks in the 18th century'. This is Kawakubo's punk revolution. 

Dreadlocks. Just a Hairstyle or Does it Mean Something?
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Whenever I am out and about, running my errands and I see someone rocking some dreadlocks on top of their heads, I'm always awestruck and wonder if I could pull off such cool style (and mostly to just maintain my crazy curly mane of hair). Its cool, unique, and very versatile in how the dreadlocks are often times associated as someone who looks like a pretty 'chill' person. But recently, in Alabama, a black woman applied for a position with a processing company. She went in for an interview, wearing normal appropriate business attire but supposedly her hairstyle choice was not meeting the grooming policy standard of that company. This turned into a case in result banning standards in the grooming policy. The case claimed that racial discriminating a particular group of people and their choice of grooming and styling (You can read more about this story here).  

There's been a lot of conflict with the hairstyle like who is able to wear the style? Is it a negative style? So this got me wondering, what's the history behind dreadlocks? And why can't it be a hairstyle that is both a artistic expression, an appropriate grooming choice, or just a simply accepted hairstyle.  

Deity Shiva
Dreadlocks has appeared in many parts of the world throughout history and is believed to have originated in India (although  physical showing of the use of the hairstyle can be traced back to Ancient Egypt where evidence of the hairstyle was utilized ) and as a symbol of spiritual representation and a demonstration that our physical appearance are not important. 

Dreadlocks became popular in the 1930s with the Black Jamaican communities and the Rastafarian movement (in which the belief had the combination of Old Testament, African tribal culture, and Hindu tribal culture) and the followers called themselves "Dreads" as a respect to God.  When the Ras Tafari was crowned the emperor of Ethiopia and later forced into exile, many of his followers vowed not to cut their hair until he was released. 

Later Bob Marley, reggae artist, made the hairstyle even more popular and mainstream due to his music  and his following of the Rastafarianism. But because of his heavily use of marijuana the stigma of Black people wearing dreads and smoking marijuana, it became a not so pleasing to the majority of Western society. This can still be an unfortunate negative stereotype to black men and women who choose this hairstyle. 

The hairstyle is very versatile based off of its history and from those who wore the hairstyle. It can mean an expression of spiritual connection, a political statement, a fashion preference, or just simply a desired way to maintain your hair.
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The Folsom Street Fair is just a taste of what establishes San Francisco as one of the most liberal cities in the country. You can feel the excitement as you walk down the crowded streets. The city embraces the 'other', the ones that don't conform, the ones that stand out. Everyone is dressed up in black leather, chokers, chains, partying and celebrating their individuality within the ‘leather community’… everyone is there for a greater purpose, a movement. This street fair represents exactly what the Bay’s culture is about. It digs into the history of SF from post-world war two, until current day issues about LGBTQ rights and the emergence of kinky culture. Everyone manages to bring their own uniqueness to dressing up the leather. SEXUAL LIBERATION. WHIPPING. GAGGING. SPANKING. FREEDOM. ACCEPTANCE. KINKINESS. EXPRESSION. 

Here are some the styles people have rocked @ Folsom Street Fair over the years

INTERVIEW: New York Fashion Week Debut WE ARE MORTALS at Dapper Q
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Interview designer Anji Becker about her Los Angeles brand WE ARE MORTALS and her NYFW debut.

1. Just coming off your nyfw debut at Dapper Q how do you feel?

I feel spectacular! I feel like I've taken a step forward and accomplished another one of the goals I've had on my way to success. The brand is still quite new and I still have a lot of work ahead, but I'm making progress and getting recognition, which feels great.

2. What was the inspiration behind your collection?

Continuing with the idea of gender-free fashion, I went with the idea of fluidity and took my inspiration from dance. I used to study dance and just really love the art form, so for WE ARE MORTALS I've tried to collaborate with dancers a lot. Voguing is especially cool, since it originates from the gay ballroom scene at a time when the LGBT lifestyle was very 'underground'. It's important to me to incorporate art into my line, so I asked an Austrian illustrator that goes by the name "Flow" to sketch some vogue dancers for us, which I then had embroidered on some of the garments. I also worked with Brian Vu, a NY-based artist/graphic designer to create the graphic with the definition of the word 'fluid' that I found in the Merriam Webster dictionary. I think the two designs fit well together because dance is fluid and can unite people of all backgrounds through a universal language. I found a really good quote by a dancer named Isadora Duncan that says how dancers can "convert the body into a luminous fluidity, surrendering it to the inspiration of the soul." I think all people, dancers or not, can tap into their fluidity and see the beauty in not conforming to the gender binary and the gendered fashion industry that feeds into stereotypical gender roles.

3. Why did you want to show at nyfw at Dapper Q?

The DapperQ runway show was a perfect opportunity for us to debut this collection. I love that there is a message being delivered along with the clothing itself, one that aligns with the ideas I have about the direction I would like to see the apparel industry go in the future, and I also love that it takes place inside the amazing Brooklyn Museum! This movement that I've been lucky to be a part of with DapperQ is all about challenging the norms and asking the fashion industry and the public to rethink things when it comes to style and gender. It's always been very important to me to make sure my brand stands for something and communicates a forward-thinking view, so it's wonderful to find like-minded designers and work together to accomplish something. The experience of being in this show was so positive, with a real feeling of pride and mission when it comes to coming together to lead change. 

4. What was the process like getting ready for your show?

It was exhausting to get everything done in time. I was literally packing my suitcase an hour before leaving for the airport at 3am on no sleep at all, and then sewing last-minute details by hand in the Airbnb once I got to New York the night before the show. When found out I would be showing in New York I had nothing but ideas in my head, so I had to get the whole process done in about two months: sketching, sourcing materials, creating artwork for the prints, pattern-making, sample sewing... and of course organizing the details for the show like getting shoes for everyone, selecting runway music, and finding the right models and hair/makeup artists in New York. I'm sure many designers do this in less than two months, but since I don't really have a team yet it is quite challenging to get all of this done on my own!

5. What are your goals for We Are Mortals?

I want to make steady progress with the brand and eventually get to a point where it can be a sustainable, profitable career. In the very beginning there's no way to expect a ton of monetary success with something artistic like this because it takes time to build the brand identity and get exposure, but over this past year we've gotten some good press and created a brand with a strong message that I hope will attract investors. Once I have the ability to hire a team I think things will progress alot faster. In the beginning, though, it has been very important for me to take my time thinking through every aspect of the brand and making decisions myself so that it will be solid whenever I'm able to add employees. This year I want to focus on sales and would love to see some MORTALS designs on a big celebrity!

 All runway photos by Mariusz Michalak, Hannah Cohen, and Oscar Ouk"

Watch the runway show below!

Bip Burgers and Moochin Happy Socks
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Ever heard of Bip Bop? Bippping? And Yarrrr? Neither did I until I stumbled upon this gem of video. Take a look.

This quirky 90s influenced Pop beat is by Bip Ling, who started out as a DJ and Fashion Blogger in London, is now currently modeling for some pretty big campaigns in London, as well as being one the favorable faces of Forever 21. She's been blogging away since her teens, never fearless to show her odd and quirky personality online. Her blog is just full of in your face bright colors and a lot  of 'Bip' 'Bippin'  and 'Yarrrrr' on her site. Which are phrases she made up based off of her name and has attracted many viewers and followers thus growing her popularity. She has always been surrounded by creativity and fashion, thanks to her mother, Tanya Ling, who is an artist and fashion designer as well as a fashion illustrator. According to an interview with DailyMail, Bip's mom would tell her that "everyday was style day" which allowed her to be fearless and find her own and unique sense of style.

One of my favorite quote in DailyMail article Bip Ling outfit is described.She wore some cut-off shorts with high heel boots and then a very colorful scarf and a 'jockey cap' and she  described that she didn't want to look 'sexy' which was why she added the scarf and hat to her outfit. Probably one the most wisest and bravest thing I ever heard. Women, especially young girls, are so concerned about  their outer appearance 'fitting in' and keeping up with trends (especially fashion trends). And with social media being such a big influence in these girls lives they are more easily influenced in being sexy, is still something many ads portray women need to be--what kind of clothes will define that to make them sexy

Although it seems like there is no new materials posted on her original blog (other than her other song she put out back the past June called 'Bip Burger'). She's moved on to other outlets to let her followers and admirers keep up with what she's doing and thinking on various social media accounts including twitter, instagram, and snapchat, like the rest of the world. Recently, she came out with a merchandise product socks partnering with Happy Socks where her signature mooch character is imprinted on the socks and her simple phrases like 'bippin' 'cuz' and 'yar'. Hopefully we will get to seem more cool bippin stuff from her. 

240 Years of Style! : Cheers, San Francisco Pt. II
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As we continue our journey of analyzing the ‘style’ of the Bay, there are some influential 
historical factors to consider. First off, one of the most significant aspect of the bay, the Bay Bridge, which has been linking the cities of San Francisco and Oakland since 1933, standing as a rite of passage in both a literal and theoretical sense. This revolutionary bridge allowed for people to easily access the other side of the bay along with the ideas and trends that are prevalent there. The style of Oakland and San Francisco are simultaneously influencing one another.

This city has a long and vibrant history that leads back to 1776 when the Spanish missionaries first colonized in the Presidio of SF. La Misión de San Francisco de Asis is designated as the the city’s number one landmark. What’s known today as the Mission District carries a extensive and effervescent history. When you walk through the streets you can feel the culture represented through the clothing, elaborate murals, the vibrant colors of sarapes and the numerous taqueria stands around the city. Stores all around this district carry bright indigenous floral huipil tunics made of cotton ruffles and wool baja jackets. 

Later in the 1840-50s, Chinese laborers were recruited to build the railroads and work in the mines of San Francisco. Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act and thousands of Chinese immigrants were welcomed to the city. Since then the Chinese and people of other Eastern descent have marked there territory in the city. The traditional Chinese elderly can be found throughout the city practicing T’ai Chi and playing cards, while the mystical notes of the Erhu fill the streets. Sidewalk stalls filled with bokchoy, cabbage, cabbage, and ginger are easily accessible and add to the complex culture of the city. 

Last but not least, San Francisco is PERFECTLY geographically placed so that fog flows throughout the whole city. Interestingly enough, summertime is when the fog is at its peak. The city is surrounded by water from the West, North, and East. The hot air that rises from the Central Valley forces a rush of cold air and fog to rush through the city. But when you look at the city from outside it looks like its inside a cloud and you can’t help but feel like you're floating in the sky. The fog’s name is Karl and you can follow him on twitter here: to stay up to date. The weather here changes by the hour and varies from each neighborhood, so layers are a must! The steep streets of the city make a good pair of walking/running shoes necessary. Also, the majority of people here use public transport so a sturdy backpack makes it easier to carry everything you need for the day; food, laptops, jackets, speakers, etc. I HIGHLY recommend watching this short time-lapse of the fog just to understand the pure beauty of it.

It's nearly impossible to get into the depth of the incredible influential factors of this city, and this is just a taste, until next time.
Cheers, San Francisco. 

WATCH: Bill Cunningham New York
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A staff favourite here at Reflekt, Bill Cunningham New York follows New York cult figure and first streetstyle photographer Bill Cunningham as he captures the heart and soul of the Big Apple's fashion scene on and off the runways.

His effervescent smile and positive outlook on life is inspiring. I love his perspective that money is a prison from freedom and freedom to create. He is the pinnacle of anti-elitism and treats everyone with the same respect and his warm personality. From the old aristocrats of NY socialites to the clubkids hanging out in the lower east side. They are all his "kids" and he loves every single one of them for the individuality. 

The film is riddled with nuggets of wisdom such as "The best fashion show is on the street. Always has, always will be." and "Money is the cheapest thing you can have". After his tearful passing this year during NYFW all of the fashion photographers paid tribute to the father of the tent by wearing his signature blue jacket. Enjoy your day off and relax and unwind with good 'ole Bill and this feel good fashion film!

Chains and Dresses

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 “I just want to tell them wear what you want, like me, I don’t give a fuck.” - Young Thug

When you think of a male rapper, what image comes into your mind? Usually it is the oversized t shirts, saggy pants, some fresh kicks, and gold chains, actually lots of gold.  I'm sure a dress is not what you picture, or a rapper that wears feminine clothing at all. A rapper that loves to be dressed in women clothing seems almost taboo, or among many male celebrity stars. Slowly, this is changing. Rapper Young Thug, has released an album that has startled the rap community, with people in shock of him looking so elegant in a dress. Alessandro Trincone, the designer of Young Thug's outfit, found inspiration  by Japanese kimonos and Kosode trousers that  give the appearance of being a skirt. 

"The androgynous identity of my garments reinforces my belief of no-gender binaries between men and women", stated Trincone when asked about his Spring 2017 collection. This is a new meaning of masculinity, and is slowly destroying the traditional image that has lived on for ages. However, if you look at paintings from the past in the 1700's, men were often dressed more elegant than females. Thanks to men, high heels were born.  So is this trend of mens fashion slowly, but surely coming to a rise?  

Even Will Smith's son, Jaden Smith, is the new face of Louis Vuitton for his individualism. Jaden has been often criticized for being seen wearing dresses several of times, among with other outfits that he's been criticized for being too 'feminine'. Hopefully, among the future men will be comfortable with wearing whatever they want to wear, because fashion should only be worn to express yourself. 

NY Style Fashion Week with Dexter
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Reflekt What was your general take of this year's Style Fashion Week NYC?

Dexter It was a check off my bucket list, for sure. I have always wanted to show in NYC. I met a lot of amazing stylists and a couple celebrities I have respect for. It's funny, you never meet the people you think you will and the unexpected happens. I won't name names, but certain pop stars are more fun and wild than one would imagine. There's really a surprise around every corner.

Reflekt How did it feel to have such a large-scale presentation for Gazelle and the Hunter?

Dexter It felt really good to see it on a large runway. There is magic in a large, well done runway. It really inspired me to get home and start sewing again. I also need to shoot this collection in some fun editorials ASAP.

Reflekt Who was on your team for the show?

Dexter My manager Christine Sanford, Cheyne Hauk, Spencer Kohn, Antonio de Lucci, and my friend and co-star Brik Allen joined in to help. Then there was the amazing team from Style Fashion Week working their asses off. I really could not have done it without Christine Sanford. Kristina Schroeder is a model I know from home and she was beyond helpful at my show.

Reflekt Your runway percussionist was Kiran Gandhi, Feminist it-girl in the music world. How did this come about?

Dexter My manager procured that music meets fashion moment. Christine really understands art and artists. I'm lucky to have her. Kiran is a genius on the drums and she stands for a lot of things I believe in. Kiran is just really talented and it made my show feel more tangible and real. I look forward to working with her in the future. She is really easy going, but had a cool and strong style aesthetic. I really vibe with that and I get how she likes the light and I could have a lot of fun styling her. I try to balance between the light and the dark, so it's fun to let different artists pull me into their vibe.

Reflekt The makeup for the runway was very faithful to worlds you've begun in your editorials. Your use of natural materials as adornments reminded me of a couple of your editorials in particular. The looks made me feel as if I read the picture book, but then the movie was just as good as the book. What did it take to get things so exactly accurate?

Dexter I love making editorials come to life. It's always been a passion of mine. I went on a nature walk to find some materials. Others, I purchased at floral stores. You really have to have the right models to carry off the extreme looks. Model selection is a big part of pulling the editorials from the pages and making them walk down a real runway. I wanted a natural look. I wanted the eyebrows to look like they grew naturally, kind of like the growth on a log that had fallen down. This was also my time to play with color and make things a little lighter with world colors from mountain tribes and ceremonial rituals. I wanted to tap into the other side of what I love.

Catch Dexter on the new season of Project Runway, every Thursday evening starting on September 15th.