Reflekt Muse: Rahn B.
In a beautiful New Orleanian shot gun house lives Rahn Broady. A teacher, chef, gardener, and artisan, he resides among his plants and herbs that seem to travel from his front yard to the rustic interior of his home. Organic branches extend from corners while vintage furniture and taxidermy line his walls. From interior design to the dinner plate, he infuses his urban cowboy/gardener aesthetic into all visual forms including his wardrobe. Attaching real bird feathers to his trousers, bespoke tailored pieces, and jewelry made of real bones around his neck, he is the embodiment of an 1849 miner, voodoo king, and railroad tramp. Read his style story in Issue º13 Family out now!
How was your family life?
I was born in Nashville while my father was in dental school. He was a high ranking officer in the Army, while my mother was a stay at home mom at the time. I have four siblings, one older brother, one younger brother, and a twin sister. We were pretty nomadic during my early years before settling in Missouri when I was five. I didn't grow up the usual, hyper expressive black family, but more so a stoic, quiet, and pretty unemotional home life. My mother was perhaps the most expressive, and also the one that I extracted my "social self" from. She has an immense amount of energy, and I often liken her to a cyborg that need little to no sleep to thrive...like myself. We grew up in a pretty intellectual household with a great deal of books, encyclopedias, and other media to keep us stimulated. My pop had his degree in Biology and Education, and my mother earned a degree in elementary education. They pushed us to get good grades, and encouraged us to be quite active and individual kids with very little boundaries or limitations. I played organized sports since the age of five, was involved in questionable and somewhat dangerous kid activities that molded me into an adult with continued curiosity and a growth mindset. My childhood has propelled me into a grown up that will never sever his ties with his "youth self".
What is your occupation?
I am a garden science instructor for the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans. I also run the 7th Ward (formally Bywater) Ice Cream Speakeasy. I am an artist, and I additionally serve on the board for the Urban Conservancy in New Orleans.
What is your style philosophy?
You wear what you feel, and what you feel should compliment your body and physiology. Personally, I live hard and the aspects of my life and my life activities define my style. I love slacks and I feel that I should be able to garden and go out dancing with the ability to wear those same slacks. My pop was so chill, that he could cut the grass or wash his car in a good pair of lightly colored slacks without getting a speck of dirt on them. We share that same trait.
Do you and your significant other dress the same?
There are times in which we compliment each other, but I think we have two individual styles. She is sharp, vintage, and crisp for the most part, even when she is slumming it.
Do you have a hand in how your daughters’ dress? Are they influenced by your style?
Both of my daughters have developed their own sense of style, and their individual styles have developed by my influence. Kaya (17), my oldest, started emulating my use of accessories when she was 11 or 12, then blossomed into a full on fashionista by 14. She has a strong sense of self when it comes to her expression within style, and is actually a force to be reckoned with. I look forward to her mature years. Nuri (13), my youngest, has been influenced by my push for her to become expressive within her own development, especially while in the shadows of a gorgeous older sister. Nuri is naturally Kawaii, and has learned to accent her natural cuteness while becoming a young woman. She used to crave to look less cute and more sophisticated, but I think she has accepted those almond eyes and girly chubby cheeks. Her style varies from post punk to Popsicle pop, and sometimes leans on the emo vamp side. I love it.
Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
Architectural and interior design aesthetic style is extremely important to me. I am naturally a flighty and airy person (triple Aquarius), and I have learned that unless I envelop myself around objects that connect me with the Earth, then I'd become an extremely unbalanced person. Rocks, driftwood, sand, bones, soil, fungus, lichen, and moss have been things that I've brought into my house and within my world since a very young age.
Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned?
I'm all about funky utility belts these days. Keeps stuff out of the pockets and prevents unwanted girth and bulge.
Is there anything political about the way you dress?
Not particularly, although I am against wearing anything that is not from the earth. It's simply a choice that agrees with my body type. I have a pretty heated core, and I need to be able to breathe.
Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically?
It was my transition from New York to San Francisco. I lived in Arizona for about six months after moving from Brooklyn. I chopped off my locks of 13 years before the transition, and started wearing clothes that accented my lean body, rather than wearing clothes that were slightly too large for me. I was separating from a long relationship and seeing other women that seemed to appreciate my svelte, strong body. It made me realize that I've been hiding a good deal of myself and it sparked a transition that motivated a move to S.F.
Do you feel your personal style reflects who you are?
Definitely. Many friends jokingly refer to my style as being somewhat of an urban cowboy and sometimes garden chic. They are both spot-on.
If there was one country or culture or era that had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
Miami beach late 60's, Brazil early 80's, or "Rockers" style Jamaica late 70's. Did you see "Rockers"? You could insert Rahn at any point.
Do you have a garment you feel sentimentally attached to?
Yes, my turquoise belt buckle, and a turquoise ring (that needs mending). They were both gifted to me by Southwestern friends, such selfless and thoughtful gifts from Farin and Hayley.
How do you think people react to how you dress?
People react pretty positively to how I dress. I remember shopping in a grocery store a few years back and feeling shitty for some reason, and a random woman carted past me and said, "Do you always dress this way?", with a smile. It immediately transformed my day. I realize that we are reflections of what we may want to receive in this world, and regardless of how superficial one's dress may seem, it's important for me to be the best representation of myself at any given point. I teach, and although my kids are required to wear uniforms, I see students popping their collars or rolling their pants up and a few really young ones even make cuffs out of card stock. I'm not sure if they are fully trying to imitate, but may be trying to find a way to represent themselves as individuals within the uniformed culture.
What is your advice or life mantra for Reflekt readers?
We have only one life as we know it as visible humans on this earth. We are individuals with individual modes of expression. That expression evolves as we grow, and is a gradual and specific flight towards constant change. Never settle to be anything but your ever-changing Self.