See | Me: Pleiades

This past weekend I had the pleasure of being one of the models for designer Kaytee Papusza of Papusza Couture's video for her newest collection, Pleiades. Filming the video was the ever so talented and lovely Gemma Fleming of whom I met two years ago during Art Basel Miami while doing a performance piece for one of her conceptual ideas about hair. Me and one other model, Alaia at Major Models, shot 7 looks on Sunday and to summarize it without squeals of joy and excitement it was quite an existential experience. 

Kaytee's pieces are always crafted with the idea of sculpture and concept in mind rather than the model wearing them. As a model this can result in some painful pieces to wear but the garments are of such beauty and majestic-ness that one bears with the pain knowing that they are wearing a piece of intricately crafted fine art. Pain for fashion/art as they say. This particular collection was made with a myriad of materials primarily focusing on aluminum, clear plastic, wire with bead work and resin. 

Kaytee's pieces will be open to the public to view this Friday displayed by live models along with Gemma's magical alien video of the collection, Rosanna Scimeca's mind blowing sculptures and a series of performance pieces by Kaytee's models at the See | Me exhibition space at 26-19 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, New York. If you're in town I HIGHLY recommend you come check it out, it's an event you most definitely do not want to miss. 

Flyer and gif by Gemma Fleming

A Ranting Redhead

If you're a regular reader of this blog then you are probably already well aware of my love and slight obsession with the fashion line Jacked Fashion and the designer behind it. We've interviewed each other, collaborated on the editorial I'm Not From Around Here and now we have begun an ongoing working relationship with a series called A Ranting Redhead. Pretty much what happened was when Alaska and I were shooting together I went on one of my many rants about A$AP Rocky, the rap industry and it's entanglement with the fashion industry. Instead of thinking that I talk way to much and should keep my random thoughts to myself Alaska actually was inspired wanted to hear more later asking if I would be interested in doing a series featured on her blog where I can rant about any topic I want once a week. The only rule was that I had to be real. No playing safe, conservative, trying to not offend anyone bullshit; just be completely and utterly as real as possible about how I feel towards whatever. 

I have always tried to make sure that when I do bring up controversial topics on this blog that I not call out specific people or groups. My dad always said "Don't burn a bridge you haven't crossed yet" and that is essentially the very reason that I have kept my controversial opinions between friends. But now with the support of Alaska and Jacked Fashion I feel much more comfortable voicing these thoughts cyber-ly and am happy to share with you all my feature this week on the topic that got this whole thing started, rap and fashion. I hope you all enjoy and to see more of A Ranting Redhead or Jacked Fashion just click here. 

It started in the '90s when everyone in the rap industry began wearing Calvin Klein and it has only grown exponentially out of control since then. It seems to me that as soon as a rapper gets their moment in the spotlight they feel inclined to have to name drop the biggest designer labels of the moment. For example 'Tom Ford' by Jay-Z, 'Fashion Killa' by A$AP Rocky or 'Christian Dior Denim Flow' by Kanye West. Now my issue is not that these songs are being made by rappers but simply why do they feel the need to have to throw these designer names into their songs when most of the time these rappers do not come from this kind of lifestyle, they've only recently joined it.
We can go back to Harlem in the 1950's and justify this sort of consumerism with dandyism. Men and women would wear high quality suits, dresses, shoes and jewelry despite not actually being a part of the upper class based on their income and location. It was a way to say that even though I may not live with the upper class I still hold a high standard for myself and if I can't make that $ I'll at least look like I do. This act of dandyism is clearly still prevalent, just look at boys who are obsessed with their sneakers and snapback's or girls and their purses.

But when I saw A$AP's 'Fashion Killa' music video where him and Rihanna are walking through major designer stores trying on clothes and there is a break away moment at 3:06 where I'm assuming it's doing a flashback to A$AP before he was the superstar he is today and he is free-styling with friends on the street. No designer duds to be seen, just A$AP before fashion became such a major part of his persona. My mind was racking for reasons the director decided to include this scene in the video. It made no sense to the storyline and is not included in the original recording of Fashion Killa, so why????? Was this an attempt at making a subdued statement on what's happened to A$AP now that he is famous vs. who he was before the fame? How the fashion industry and it's bougie-ness been forced upon him so he can be successful?
I was talking to a friend about these thoughts and she quickly cut me off saying how she finds it completely ridiculous that these rappers name drop these designers, make songs dedicated to them but in reality the designers don't give two flying fucks. Their sales don't change just because Jay-Z made a song about Tom Ford because the people buying Tom Ford were buying it long before Jay-Z mentioned him and the people that now know Tom Ford's name because of that song are still oblivious to who exactly the man is and what he does. Hell, I know a friend who got asked if Tom Ford was a strand of weed because Jay-Z name dropped him. Smh......
Getting back to my point, designers aren't changing their campaign model types or the people they send down runways because they are now mentioned in a rap song, they are just getting free press and the rappers are only looking like one more sap in the industry. It would seem more beneficial for rappers to stop designer dropping and take that money to support the community they came from that they use to give them street cred as a hard core gangster rapper. Just a thought to ponder the next time you're jamming out in your car to 'Tom Ford'.

Your's Truly,
A Ranting Redhead

Disclaimer: I jam out to 'Fashion Killa' practically every day, I am only questioning the video direction, not the awesome-ness of the song.  

Self As Source

For the past 6-7 weeks I have been working on ways to present essentially what I am talking about here on the blog in a gallery so I can graduate in December with my fine art degree. At the end of last spring semester I presented to my school faculty my blog as my art work and although they liked the idea of the blog they did not like the idea of a blog in a gallery. For that reason I have been beating my head against a brick wall trying to come up with different installation ideas and this very intense collage you see below is what my latest creation is. 

To give you a brief outline of what is happening here in this installation I am creating an anthropological collection of found items, video and photo documentation of the synesthetic experiences that I have on a day to day basis that result in the way that I dress myself and ultimately create and express my identity. In today's culture every individual is like a walking collage or artwork of found items, similar to a contemporary art installation. Here I have created a contemporary art installation of random things in my room, pages from my sketchbook, magazine pages, jewelry, paint, flowers, so on and so forth that examines the understanding of my own identity that I expressed through my outfit on one particular day. Projected on top of this massive collage representing the inspiration and influences behind this one outfit is a video of me getting dressed in that exact same outfit.

This video is just one snippet of the installation as I was not able to get a steady shot of the full piece since I had forgotten to bring my tripod with me that day. I definitely feel like this is something you have to experience in person but I thought it would only be fair to share what I have been working on for school and graduation and would love to hear anyone's feedback if there is any to give. Other than the lack lusting video there are some close-up's of bits and pieces of the installation below. I hope you all enjoy.