One of our favorite events, Oakland Art Murmur, rolled around again this past first Friday and our WYV team hit the streets of my neighborhood in search of our favorite fashion moments. We view the Art Murmur as a time for our Oakland community to come together to celebrate life and the strength of our city – one night where people from all walks of life, ethnicities, shapes, and sizes, come together and actively choose to share joy with one another. It is important to highlight, however, that of course gentrification is alive and well on the city streets of Oakland, which can create a mixed bag of intentions at times. To clarify, WYV isn’t interested in the type of people who attend art events to sip their wine and steep in their privilege – we are interested in the type of people who wear their voices proudly in solidarity of important topics – such as the collective we witnessed protesting in privileged spaces throughout the art walk in order to speak truth to the current Baltimore Riots and #blacklivesmatter movement as a whole; giving space and honor to their fallen brothers and sisters who have been loss to senseless acts of police violence. We are also interested in conceptualizing how people also wear their voices in the way they present themselves aesthetically – what people are wearing and the energy with which they wear it can often convey truths more powerfully than verbalized. For example, the majority of the womyn featured on this gorgeous list are womyn of color and Black womyn – showcasing the strength and beauty that resonates from inside out feels like one of the most powerful photographic experience I have had in awhile – beyond style, I see the soul of every powerful womyn I had the honor of witnessing expressing herself!
I would be remiss in excluding the very first act of self-loving beauty I saw when I stepped out my door to meet up with Monica and Ravneet – this little girl seriously was having a better time than most any adult that I saw before me. She had complete confidence and zero worries about any one else around her – I wish that every womyn could reach within her and tap back into this place of wild wonderment. After writing about and witnessing so much pain held around the #blacklivesmatter movement especially these past couple of weeks, it felt like a revolutionary radical act to see this little girl expressing such pure happiness in her freedom to dance!
Without further adieu, here is my list of absolute lovelies, from my many First Friday encounters – in chronological order of course!
I stopped in my tracks when I saw this Goddess supreme, Candice Cox, – creative genius behind CanDid Art Accessories (do yourself a favor and check her out here)! I am loving her mixed-printed tops and those pops of red color – not to mention her own radiant energy that ads to the ensemble. She is a perfect model for her own jewelry line – filled with so many beautiful accessories, I wouldn’t even be able to choose my favorite!
It was a beautiful thing to witness a local creative and artist, getting so much love! The table was constantly packed with excited purchasers – like this womyn featured above who returned because she just “had to have more of those amazing gold rings!”
With beauties like these, you can see why CanDid Art Accessories is so popular – as an avid fan of mixing textiles with pops of color, I am especially in love with the eloquent seamless way in which all the soulful accessories do this.
Do you think I could write an article about First Friday Fashion and not include WYV’s beloved Founder-in-Chief, Ravneet Vohra, and Senior Editor and Writer, Monica Cadena!? That, dear readers, would simply be impossible. These two fearless females wear their voices loud, proud, and on their cute team tanks (all while managing those happiest of hour drinks)!
I found these friends: Alanna (@lala_lanna Instagram), Chelsea (@Chechayy Instagram), and Adrianna (@adriannadela Instagram) inside the OG beer garden on Telegraph (not that fancy shmancy one closer to downtown) – they certainly stood out from the sadly drab crowd full of hipsters in flannels, with their understated yet updated classic fashions, and their fun-loving personalities shining through. We are especially loving those shoe choices – keep wearing those voices boldly, beauties!
I was so glad to have a serendipitous moment with this soul shiny and fashion-forward womyn, Regan (@rbb_original Instagram) – I had actually spotted her in the crowd earlier, but was unable to connect until I ran into her again later that evening – I knew it was a sign from the body positive goddesses that she should stop, drop, and pose for me – and oh how the lens loved her!
I think this might have been one of the most fun moments of the night – I seriously felt like I was having a 90s flashback daydream, and I couldn’t get enough of this group of womyn and their amazing attitudes!
Finally able to capture their energy still for a moment for this winning pose that reads, “come join our feminist girl gang – we challenge patriarchal norms daily!” However, quickly decided, their essences could be even better captured if I asked them to just move their bodies and dance!…so they did…
TOO MUCH CUTE for one photo – how can ya’ll make me feel so young and so old all in one moment!? (*reminder that paper bags can be your best friends too – especially when adorned with #WYV stickers!*) check out some of their adventures on their Instagrams: @Obamaphone_, @Babygirldee, @talesfromthacrypt
This double-trouble team of fashion perfection were giving me soul sister witchy vibes so fiercely that I was distracted enough to pull away from my new favorite girl gang long enough to photograph their smart stylings (side note: NEED that crop top, and my latest mission is to find it, because remembering to ask would have been too easy)! Somehow these looks also made me forget for a moment if I was on the streets of Brooklyn or Oakland, there were so many shades and textures of black being accented in all the right ways, it was hard for me to contain love coolly! Follow them on their Instagram accounts: @Wasteedit and @Jeffiedarling65.
This was another highlight of my night – this Queenly photo occurred about 2 minutes after I put my camera away and vowed to be done working for the night! It was a beautiful reminder that in the process of being inspired, I am never done working, and that is a beautiful thing when you are passionate about what you do! We met these radiant womyn surrounding an amazing body-positive clothing truck, most notably repping a t-shirt in front of a beautiful Black womyn with an afro proclaiming her love of her hair – it created a beautiful moment of connection between the womyn and Monica (that I notably was not a part of, but was honored to witness and share). Thank you for letting us be a part of your lives, even if for a small moment; this is the connection Wear Your Voice dreams are made of.
Of course, my list wouldn’t be complete without this Body Positive babe; artist Melissa Koziebrocki (check out her website here)! We literally locked eyes as we crossed paths on opposite sides of the street – I felt this thrilling fat babe radar going off in my mind and a palpable surge of joy as she waved at Sada and I (later saying she was excited to see us cute chubbies too)! I literally couldn’t let the moment pass, grabbed my business card, and chased after her in order to get her photo! Turns out she is a stellar artist who will be moving to the Bay soon – I can’t wait to collaborate further! Thank you for rounding out my first Friday Fashions with a body that resonates with mine!
(photo credit: Sada Reed)
With all the stop, drop, and modeling inspiration that happened this night, I couldn’t resist jumping in front of the lens myself (@somewhere_under_the_rainbow Instagram) to work it out!
Come find me next Art Murmur, June 5th – and let’s turn the Oakland streets into our Body Positive runway!