fashion

How model Halima Aden empowers by being true to herself

Halima Aden on the cover of CR Fashion Book

Model Halima Aden is giving black Muslim girls the visibility they deserve. Dec. 24, she tweeted out how she’s achieved success without sacrificing who she is.

“You can walk the red carpet, walk in fashion shows, and still be a cover girl while remaining true to yourself!” she wrote online, along with posting several of her high fashion covers for Allure, Vogue Arabia, Grazia, and CR Fashion Book.

Born in a Kenyan UN refugee camp to Somali parents fleeing their home country in the early 1990s and relocating with her family to Minnesota when she was seven, Aden has always paved the way for more inclusion and diversity in beauty and fashion. When she competed in the 2016 Miss Minnesota USA pageant, she was the first contestant in America to compete while wearing a hijab. She’s also the first Muslim model to dress conservatively and wear a hijab while working.

“To understand the importance of representation you have to ask people who’ve never felt like they were represented fairly,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “For me, anytime I saw somebody who dressed like me in a movie, the character was someone oppressed. There was a narrative to it that didn’t match mine. Same thing with the news. Every time I saw somebody who looked like me, chances were they were doing something bad. Now, I get to represent my community to the majority.”

Read more of her story at the Harper’s Bazaar link above.

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Get the “Finesse” look with these popular ’90s brands

Bruno Mars and Cardi B have changed the game with their In Living Color tribute video for the “Finesse” remix. Yes, I’m gonna be that bold and write such a claim, solely on the fact that the video made it concrete that ’90s fashion is here to stay. ’90s fashion has been havinng a resurgence for a couple of years now, and between 2017 and 2018, late ’80s and early ’90s fashion have become an even stronger “cool kid” calling card, especially since brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Nauticaa are making tons of money with their vintage or vintage-leaning lines, like Tommy Jeans, Fila Heritage, and Reebok Classic and Nautica’s Lil Yachty collection, which brings back themes of ’90s Nautica. It’s either highly ironic or highly masterful that Bruno’s 24K Magic plays right into this trend.

So how can you get the look? Well, one way is to scour your local thrift stores and/or garages. Another way is to get ’90s-esque fashion from affordable (or at least “reasonable”) stores like Forever 21, Zara, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, etc. However, if you’re looking to go completely authentic while buying brand new clothes (and you have some expendable dollars to spend), here are some clothing choices from choice brands that were huge in the ’90s, but now use their ’90s cred to make boutique items.

One of the breakout fashion stars of the “Finesse” music video is Cardi B’s multicolored bomber jacket. It’s hard to tell if it’s actually vintage or if it’s of today, but regardless, it brings back tons of ’90s memories.

One of the ’90s brands that was big on multicolored jackets was Cross Colours. Believe it or not, Cross Colours is still in existence, making awesome jackets and shirts. Take for instance this colorblocked hooded jacket. 

This jacket immediately takes you back to the early ’90s, which was not only big on bright colors, but also Afrocentrism. It’s more evident in some of Cross Colours’ other jackets, but this one also carries the same themes of Afrocentrism, with the emphasis on red, black, and green, the colors of the Pan-African flag.

Throughout the ’90s, particularly the mid-’90s, stripes were big. Striped hoodies in particular seemed really big. I couldn’t tell you why stripes were so popular, but they were; perhaps it’s because it seemed more modern than the deconstructivist/’80s art deco patterns that were slowly fading out. Stripes are a lot more streamlined than the busier patterns of earlier years, and maybe that hint of futurism poked at the burgeoning world of the internet. I don’t know, but it’s a theory.

In any case, the quintessential striped hoodie is showcased in rare form on Bruno as he exudes swagger and, yes, finesse, as the leader of this music video.

I feel like I’m a bit too young to remember Karl Kani as a name brand–the self-proclaimed “Originator of Urban Fashion” was established in 1989, one year after I was born–but that name was huge in the ’90s nonetheless, and judging by what the brand currently has for sale, it would seem that one of their specialties was the striped hoodie.

This hoodie, the Marcy Ave. Rugby Hoodie, has all of the things you want in a striped hoodie. It’s got bright colors, tons of interest, and it’s got short sleeves, perfect for that layered look Bruno is rocking in the above screenshot.

I wish hats could come back in style. One of the things I miss from the ’90s is the plethora of hats people wore on a semi-daily basis. The most popular proponent of ’90s hats was the titular character of Blossom, but hats were everywhere and on everyone, even on puppets–remember Jody from The Puzzle Place? She was a huge hat person. (The prime combo in the ’90s was the sun hat-flowery vest-long skirt combo. So much fabric, but it looked so cool.)

Between bucket hats, sun hats, baseball caps and all other manner of hats, there’s no way you can really go wrong when compiling a ’90s wardrobe. For this post, however, we’re focusing on the multicolored baseball cap, as shown on one of these dancers below.

Karl Kani comes correct again with their multicolored baseball cap, aptly called the “’90s Hat.”

This hat is pretty self-explanatory. It’s multicolored, it’s bright, it’s bold, and it screams ’90s. What more can you ask for?

The next component of quintessential ’90s fashion is mom jeans. I don’t know if they were called “mom jeans” back in the day–I just remember them as “jeans.” These jeans were not just popular with moms–they were popular for all women, even young teens. Just take a look at the fashion on the covers of The Babysitters Club books. They’re all wearing mom jeans.

Nowadays, mom jeans are coming back with a vengeance. Check out the stylish mom jeans on this dancer below.

Luckily for us, Jordache, the preeminent fashion jean brand, is still making mom jeans along with their more modern cuts.

The “Cheryl” High Waisted Mom Skinny Jeans are part of Jordache’s vintage line, and these pants give you everything you were asking for in a classic mom jean. It’s stone washed with a tapered leg, it’s got the classic high waist, and it looks like it’s just on this side of “cute.” It seems like the best mom jeans are just on the border between “cute and fashionable” and “horribly ill-fitting.” Just my opinion, anyways.

The last element of ’90s fashion I’m discussing in this post are the puffy sneakers. For some reason, sneakers are the mos vivid memories I have of ’90s fashion outside of all the Disney stuff I loved as a kid and the fashion tragedies I was subjected to (to this day, I hate stirrup pants). Perhaps it was because I was so connected to Michael Jordan’s career, like so many kids my age were, but I distinctly recall when the Air Jordans came out and the subsequent hype surrounding those shoes. Preceding that was the hype surrounding the Reebok Pump shoes. To this day, I still want both a pair of Air Jordans and Reebok Pumps. I still could get both, but I don’t feel like shelling out the money for it.

In any case, puffy, chunky sneakers were all the rage back in the day. Case in point–Bruno and his crew’s sneakers.

There are many routes you can go with ’90s sneakers–you can go to Nike, Fila, Reebok, and several other brands to get that right ’90s look. I chose to go with Reebok, since Reeboks had been my sneaker of choice in childhood (or, rather, my parents’ sneaker of choice for me.)

The Men’s Classics EX-O-FIT Clean Hi S and the Women’s Classics Freestyle Hi has that ’90s look down. To me, these sneakers are unisex, since a foot’s a foot. Also, Reebok tends to give the men’s sneakers more of a classic ’90s look, whereas the women’s side focuses more on fashion colors (too much more, I think). But regardless of which way you go, Reebok knows that its audience loves the early ’90s silhouette that made the brand famous, and it keeps that silhouette going, even in some of their more modern shoes.

After you get your ’90s wardrobe down, all you got to do is get some gold doorknockers or a chunky gold necklace, and you’ll be dripping in finesse, too.

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Meet Shukri Lawrence, queer Palestinian clothing designer who’s challenging Middle Eastern stereotypes

Shukri Lawrence’s story should inspire all of us to live our truths to the fullest. The 18-year-old queer Palestinian artist and designer is expressing his full self amid conservative mindsets and Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just a fraction of that kind of adversity would be enough to break some. But Lawrence has perservered and has created a clothing brand, tRASHY CLOTHING, that seems like it would be right up M.I.A.’s street. If you look at how he’s presented his clothing on his site–which features photography with a collage aesthetic–plus the critiques of excess and material wealth woven into his designs, you’d wonder how long it will take before someone like M.I.A.–who is always about post-post-modern kitsch and art school sensibilities–wears some of his pieces.

Matthew Whitehouse interviewed Lawrence for I-D. Here are three big moments from the interview.

On growing up in Israeli-occupied Palestine, including his family telling him to tell strangers they were Jordanian for safety:

“I only understood the significance of all of tthat when I grew older, experiencing the conflict daily. You can feel the tension fear, and pain in the air of Jerusalem. I try every day to stay away from trouble because I know I will regret the outcome.”

On how he keeps the willpower to keep creating and being himself amid danger::

“As long as you surround yourself with people that inspire you to keep going then you’re safe. In terms of societal expectations within my community, it’s hard to express myself freely in public because I live in a conservative place. This is where the internet comes in as a safe place for me to express myself with no censorship.”

His life goal::

“I’m trying to showcase the hidden, the misrepresented and the creatives of the Middle East. We aren’t all war and terror, we have a lot to say, we have experiences and stories to share, cultures to celebrate and most importantly an ambition for life.

⚡️ SIKE SIKE BABY ⚡️ @taniageorgedesigns ⚡️

A post shared by SHUKRI LAWRENCE (@wifirider) on

Read the full interview at I-D.

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