Every day for the past six months has been a blessing; I’ve met some amazing creatives with whom I’ve developed friendships with. What’s even more amazing is that I have reconnected with people that I already knew, but this time on a deeper, more creative and artistic platform. The spirit of art and creativity is real, and I am grateful as to be a part of that realm.
With that being said, my college friend from many years ago asked me to be a feature in her online natural hair magazine called “Natural Hollywood.” Jennifer Lord has been an avid supporter of Style Stamped since its inception, which means a lot to me because all of what makes Style Stamped work has not been easy. She appreciates the concept of Style Stamped and we have been in constant communication for the past six months regarding each other’s businesses; having full support of each other’s passion, vision, and dreams as it relates to our artistic purpose. I wrote a post about her within the first few weeks of starting Style Stamped because I wanted my readers to know that there is someone out here bridging the gap between natural hair and good fashion. Therefore, I was honored to be the feature of her Natural Hollywood Winter publication, entitled “The Natural New Yorker” released on February 27, 2014. Together we brain stormed a theme and the concept was mutual; New York.
New York is who I am and have always been. I am a New Yorker so the thought of being on location in my city brought me chills. All I could think of was a wedding dress. I wanted to show my feelings for the city and show how much I’m married to it; how much I appreciate it and how much of it is who I am. I told Jenn I wanted to be on the Brooklyn Bridge in a wedding dress and blue lipstick. All she responded with was “wow…that sounds hot. Whatever your vision is I know it will be dope.” I didn’t have a wedding dress nor did I know where to purchase an affordable one for a shoot. But like all of my wardrobe stylist thoughts, I could see what I wanted in my mind before I got the pieces for the look in my hand. I wanted the dress to be an exaggerated Cinderella-like skirt and a long train. Where was I going to get that from? As blessings would have it, I told my mom my vision and she said to me , “Why don’t you use my dress?” My parents got married almost 40 years ago in August, 1974. After the wedding my grandmother had the dress sealed and it had not been opened in 39 years. I remember as a kid we were allowed to look at the huge box but not touch it. They told me if I touched the dress it would turn yellow, although there was no real way for me to touch it because it was sealed air-tight. My mom drove six hours to bring me the dress and said “use it.” I didn’t know what the dress looked like or if it would even fit. I had to really think twice about using this important piece just for a photo shoot. I cracked the box open tried the dress on the night before I left to go to NY. I looked in the mirror and saw the look I’d envisioned coming to life. The dress was special since it came from my mother, who wore it to marry my father. That gave me even more motivation to produce good work. ♥ That is just a snipit of the emotions this shoot, the collaboration, and the joy the past six months has brought in the life of myself, Yana B.
The shoot was amazing. I was freezing for 8 hours and the hair was so heavy I couldn’t hold my neck up but it was great. I did my own makeup, and Jenn did my hair in and out of the car. I changed in the car and around some buildings. It was a thrill ride. It worked. I had several looks that each went with the shoot location, and all of the pieces were pulled from my personal wardrobe. There were vintage and contemporary pieces blended together. The meatpacking district suggested mature/edgy European look – wool knickers, lace top, and cropped bolero and red moto gloves that I found at a second hand shop. Suede brown Brian Atwood booties were on my feet. The subway look had me in a denim shirt, African print bow-tie, sequins mini skirt, graphic muscle tee and Air Force Ones (Uptowns) sneakers. Times Square and Fashion Avenue had me in a gold sequins dress, plaid shirt, and North Face puffer vest. I wore throwback timberland boots and Keisha Cole for Steve Madden graffiti print pumps, respectively. Jenn did my hair according to my outfits. There was not a lot of back and forth with the looks, I did all of the wardrobe and she did all of the hair. We trusted each others abilities to do what we do best. In speaking of “the best”, we would not have the visual product that we have if it wasn’t for Mr. Mike Young. I’ve known Mike for many years, he married my “big sister” Kenya about 15 years ago and I knew he had a passion for photography. This was his first high fashion shoot, and the results of the photos speak for themselves. He turned our collaboration into art work fit for any magazine stand.