Last semester, one of my required courses at Academy of Art University was “Fashion Styling”. For our final project we had to create an “Editorial Concept from 10 sources of inspiration (i.e., art, film, literature, style icon, etc.,) for publication.
One of the most challenging requirements was being restricted to local shops. I live in Los Angeles, California, so even on the chicest streets trends abound, and you have to use your “eye” judiciously. That being said, my area would never be called stylish, but somehow I had to make it work.
The first thing I did was look at my inspiration list:
African-Americano Inspiration List:
- Art: Charles White (Charles White at LACMA and the Soul of a Nation exhibit at Broad Museum).
- Film: If Beale Street Could Talk
- Literature (Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, by James Baldwin)
- Dance (Alvin Ailey’s Revelations)
- Style Icon (Nina Simone)
- Muse (Kiki Layne/Tish Rivers)
- Era (1960’s to Present)
- Designer (Pyer Moss)
- Premise: African-American style from the 1960’s to the present worn by a woman who works at a mainstream job, but wants to express her individuality with clothing and accessories representative of her culture.
African-Americano Mood Boards: Clothing and Accessories and Hair and Makeup:
For the final presentation I had to select five outfits that the instructor edited. Since this was my first time doing this type of project, I coordinated, modeled and photographed everything.
African-Americano Final Presentation:
When the semester was over, I registered for the Summer Reading Challenge at Mar Vista Library and read If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin for one of my listed books to read. One of the activities, for the challenge, was to write a review, so on June 23, I submitted one about the book which I’ve also included below.
If Beale Street Could Talk, by James Baldwin (Review Written by Victoria Moore for the Los Angeles Public Library on June 23, 2019):
James Baldwin’s 1974 book, If Beale Street Could Talk, is more than an urban love story between the two main characters, Clementine “Tish” Rivers and Alonso “Fonny” Hunt it’s also a social and political statement about race, socio-economics, and rape. Narrated by Tish, and set in Harlem, New York and Puerto Rico, the voice is distinctly Baldwin’s in all of his African-American activist fervor.
What makes this tale so compelling is the timeless crime that occurs and the effect it has on all those involved. For me the magic started when I saw the movie then read the book soon afterwards. Since then i’s been an inspiration, both stylistically and intellectually.
Rich enough to be mined for the “Editorial Concept” project I did for my Fashion Styling class at Academy of Art University last semester called African-Americano, If Beale Street Could Talk reminded me of the difficulties African-Americans have always faced. Eloquent, even poetic, with a rough street edge, this book remains an essential contribution to American literature.
Throughout my experience with African-Americano, I realized it’s not where you come from that makes you stylish, it’s what you do with it and in the doing you don’t make any apologies or ask for leniency from anyone.