My sexual accessibility has never been up to me, and this was a crucial and painful epiphany to have. Content Warning: this essay mentions depression and instances of sexual coercion. It’s not that I haven’t been celibate before. As someone who lives in the gray area of the asexual and aromantic spectrums, I’ve gone long […]
Oakland Art Murmur: First Friday Fashion Favorites!
As some one whose neighborhood is taken over by the most colorful and eclectic group of humyns I have ever encountered in life every first Friday of the month, I can safely say that the fashion and photographic inspirations are endless – it’s as if for one glorious night Telegraph itself becomes a runway for Bay Areans to wear their voices upon!
I knew the most difficult part of writing this article, would be limiting the number of looks I featured – as literally hundreds of gorgeous souls clothed in whatever their bodies desired surrounded me, my body positive treasure hunt was on.
The following is a list of my absolute favorite looks of the night, which turned out to be attached to some very phenomenal, creative, artistic, brilliant, talented and truly radiant womyn. Thank you for inspiring my lens, my writer’s heart, and for stop-dropping-and-WERKING it! (composed in the order I personally photographed throughout the night…)
1. “Artista Trifecta”
I kickstarted my favorite looks with a trifecta of style in an impromptu photo shoot with these beauties: Mega Crawford (far left) artist participating in the Betti Ono gallery show, Michelle Saviet (middle) creative who utilizes found natural objects as a canvas, and Editor extraordinaire/Writer for Wear Your Voice, Monica Cadena. What I realize I love most about all three of their looks, is that they each took jeans to the next level by accessorizing in their own unique ways. From turquoise hair and a lunar phases tattoo, to an epic leather clutch, and everything in between (including those artsy side fanny-pack meet belt-type things I’m usually on the fence about and don’t know the name of, but get rocked most notably at Burning Man) – these womyn owned the art murmur…all with a strong dose of LOVE!
Ya’ll are giving me LIFE in this shoot, making me want to collaborate with more strong, diverse, creatives in the future – and reminding me that I need a new pair of sexy boots too!
2. “Fresh and Funky-Forward Soul”
I spotted this stunning humyn from across the room in the crowded gallery space, and it felt like fashion at first site – I knew I HAD to photograph this simple yet fresh look, and the intriguing person wearing it so well! Zakiya was gracious enough to step aside and pose for me, which is when I noticed her incredible shoes in even more detail – they remind me of ballet shoes and converse mixed together with different fabrics and some epic cut-outs; my favorite mix of flirtatious feminine with a harder edge (need to figure out where these were purchased and report back to ya’ll)!
3. “Updated Bohemian with a Twist”
I loved that Carolyn’s style gave me simple with edge (plus some rad crystal necklaces whose energy drew me in), and another dose of bad-ass boot envy (these were very unique in style and their dark green coloring) – not to mention a serious love for those tights! I also envisioned that this is a look that could seriously work for everybody’s different curves, because it so closely hugs them in the ultimate body positive statement! Carolyn who exuded positivity (and I was also told runs a soup kitchen out of her house with her roommates) was representing as Fashion Coordinator for her friend, Briget Campbell, the designer of “Ghetto Goldilocks,” whose men’s selections I featured in this photo. I adore this aesthetic which mixes many fabrics, prints, and textures – right-up my alley!…or should I say runway?
4. “Quintessential Classics”
I was SO ENAMORED with these gorgeous womyn’s looks that I fully passed them by and had to turn around in order to get their attention! I was first struck by their Vargas-esque style, which they totally OWNED from their perfected ‘dos complete with bright flowers down to their shoes; sparkly ballet flats and OG-style saddle shoes. I also loved how their dresses celebrated and hugged their curves boldly in two bright colors (I admittedly have a thing for turquoise), and they highlighted their creative tattoos.
5. “Passionate About Purple”
I couldn’t even make-up the story of how I met this violet-hued humyn it was too comical and classically Oakland – essentially, I had to approach her at a distance and remain professional, all whilst my friends and I were personally serenaded…loudly and off-key by a random guy! As someone whose longtime love of purple has certainly been inherited from her mother, I spotted the awesomeness of this completely adorable ensemble with a hard edge because of it’s color, and decided to photograph it because I, again, am a huge fan of mixing fabrics and hard/soft elements all in one look: lace plus leather is an all-time winning combo (throw in some matching hair, chucks, and Alex’s smile – and you can totally see why I featured this body positive babe)!
6. “Modernized Monochrome Chic-ness”
I came upon both Mannie (left) and Maddy (right) in a group of friends laughing and heading to the popular bar, Make Westing. Instantly, their unique looks popped out at me, but it wasn’t until now that I realized what these two different womyn have in common: they managed to not just pull-off, but totally KILL (in the best sense of the word), somewhat monochromed looks, by still making them seriously stand-out in a crowd due to amazing accessorizing and flawless bold lip color plus eye-liner combos. I love Mannie’s leather accented purse that break-up her look, as well as her booties; and I’m fairly obsessed with the perfect color of Maddy’s dress (hello it’s a shade of purple), which she represented in slightly different shades in both her purse and shoe choices (flats are forever my favorite), allowing her gold necklace serve as a bold statement piece.
6. “90’s Girl-Group Revived Realness”
This group instantly gave me “fashion girl gang” vibes, and I was drawn to their cohesive updated 90s-esque look as I walked past them waiting in line at a club uptown. Good thing the line was slow-moving because it gave me the perfect opportunity to take some photos and figure out what they were all about! Our first exchange said it all – Me: “Ya’ll are giving me some serious girl group realness.” Them in chorus: “That’s because we really are one!” It turns out, they are in fact a San Francisco based crew called The Good Girls – who describe themselves as, “Creative besties + professional sweethearts,” on their instagram account. I was especially thrilled to hear that artist Rachelle Louise was already a fan of our work here at WYV, as well as happy to connect with Fashion Stylist and Deisgner, Xela Gaerlan (pictured far left) who works with SF-based J.J. Mae’s Rainbeau, which is releasing a plus-size line of active wear soon that we talked about having me potentially model (yes please)!
7. “Werking it Brilliantly from Head to Toe.”
What can I say? If I had to choose an absolute favorite look of the night, this one would be it – I actually thought I was done with my list until I was introduced to this goddess, Tiara Chameleon, on the sidewalk and had to use the opportunity to feature her brilliance here! I can’t even choose one favorite part of the ensemble – the cape-let is literally everything to me, mostly due to the brilliant way it was used as an styling anchor for the whole look. Her handbag in this exact color is now at the top of a list of accessories I didn’t even know I needed (until I started writing for WYV)! I love every single accessory from the red sunnies to the chunky gold watch and large cuff…right up to the proud white streak of hair and down to her powerhouse peep-toes featuring a white pedicure – #SOMUCHYES – I looked further into her work and it turns out Tiara is the Founder, Stylist, and Curator of eighty4v, which is described on her instagram as being “a women’s curated vintage collection that embodies the essence of decades once lived in synthesis with the existing era; Style•Soul•Funk” (with her powerhouse style statements this makes soooo much sense)!
8. “Powerhouse Elegance”
Our beautifully brilliant WYV Founder, Ravneet Vohra, has a certain balance of powerhouse elegance that simply cannot be bought in stores. I believe it is part and parcel of the living out of her passion: for womyn of all shapes, colors, and sizes to be proudly wearing their voices daily! Ravneet does so here not only through her newly acquired and fabulously auburn-toned hair, but by weaving many bold elements into one cohesive look. She shows womyn that they too can rock their florals at night by adding a sparkly gold shoe, sophisticated denim jacket, with a dash of show-stopping accessories (such as her gold-cuff and show-stopping ring) and a large dose of exuding confidence!