Moving Break

Taking a 20-minute break from packing up my stuff to give a quick update,

So in the past 5 months I had the pleasure of being drowned in final exams, a thesis, and life so to sum up, this cool thing happened:

That’s Master Adaobi to YOU!

So what’s next? Good question! All I know is that I’m ready to spearhead my career in the fashion/beauty industry and I don’t care how I go about it.

Another update: I’ve collaborated with an up-and-coming website called Shopary a spinoff of Shopify, and modeled a few of their products for their store. Here is one photo from the shoot:

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Excited to share with you guys more on this blog now that free time is…well a little bit more accessible. Stay Tuned…

xx

-A

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Little Red.

Greetings!

It has been a while since I last posted but I can assure you that lots of wonderful things have happened.

Including the fact that I have learned how to use InDesign as a tool! Granted that my skills are still rudimentary,  I still want to showcase them to you. I took some of the last photos and inputted them into a mock cd album booklet.

I am no song writer so pay no mind to the lyrics!

I’ve been really attracted to the color red this winter for some reason–even though the colder months are usually about muted neutral colors. But this wouldn’t be the first time that I break so-called “fashion” guidelines.

Enjoy!

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DMO (Digitally Modified Organisms)

Oh, hello it’s been a while!

Excited to share with you hands down one of my favorite shoots to date!

Whenever Karlo and I get together, every shoot is better than the last and I love the constant progression! Our conversation went something like this:

Me: I’m thinking, late 80s-90s, vintage, pixelated, analog feel….

Karlo: Say no more fam.

On a more serious note, I’ve been really thinking lately about the contrived, fabricated nature of social media especially when it comes to Instagram. Always touted as a highlight reel, somehow when we scroll through the explore pages of fabulous bodies, beautiful faces, and clear skin, we still get jealous, angry, and depressed about ourselves because we don’t look like Instagram models (you hear how crazy that sounds?)

Instagram is like a mythical dimension where people are always happy, photogenic, really fit, clear skinned, and teeth gratingly successful. To put it bluntly, sometimes it’s just fake news. For this shoot, I intentionally decided what I wanted you all to see. I thought about what photos I wanted, conveyed the type of editing I wanted, curated the photos, and slapped it up on the media space.

And while I love to produce impeccable work, you and I both have to realize that the image of me serving a look is like 10% of my life. 90% of the time, my head is buried in a book, writing a paper, with a bonnet neatly wrapped around my head to protect these curls. But for some reason, we aren’t inclined to think about that first.

My favorite aspect about this shoot is the fact that angles are manipulated to make it seem like I am larger than life– ethereal almost. And these shots were done purposefully because I want to remind you that if you stood in front of me during the shot, I’d look just as normal as you–maybe even a little funny.  There were plenty of passerbys that day giving me quizzical stares while I contorted my body to get a good photo. But the end result looks effortless! In the same way, behind those amazing selfies on Instagram is a killer filter and studio lights that are approximately the same cost of a Verizon cell phone bill. Meaning it’s not as expensive as you think (the studio lights, not the bill, lol) and ANYBODY can get their hands on equipment to make their content look extremely editorial.

If you’re anything like me, I don’t spend my time comparing myself to celebrities. They are on a different wavelength altogether, and I don’t think the issue really lies there–at least when it comes to Instagram. I think the issue is that everyday people like you and me now have the ability to appear untouchable, and we compare/judge ourselves on a harder curve because of it. I haven’t quite found a solution to stop that, except for not spending copious amounts of time on social media. And maybe, that’s just what we have to do.

However, this is not a post condemning the highlight reel itself. I understand the concept of wanting to put your best work, rather than the vulnerable parts of your life out there to the public. You can have a reel, so long as you don’t perpetuate or present it as authentic, real life. It doesn’t do anybody, including you, any good.

Shot & Edited By: Karlo Morcilla

Styling & Creative Direction: Me

*Clothes are thrifted. Boots are from Zara*

xx

-A

Mismatch It!

“Uh, you sure this matches?” my sister eyed my outfit suspiciously before we went out to snap some shots of it.

Instantly, I was propelled back to my 8 year old self–remembering the feeling I had when my 3rd grade classmates would ask the same question while examining my blue jeans and rainbow turtleneck disdainfully. (Mind you, now I know that such an outfit is a bit outlandish, even for me, but this anecdote goes to show you that fashion risks, no matter how terrible they may be, pave the way for one to eventually unearth their own signature style.)

Despite my slight hesitation to my sister’s comment, I promptly decided I didn’t care.

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This turtleneck was taken straight out of my mother’s early 90s closet as you could probably tell. I immediately fell in love with the candy striped pattern of the top, knowing that this piece alone could make the most mundane looking outfit whimsical and somewhat eccentric. A common remark I hear from people is that they don’t know what looks good, or how to make their style more defined. My advice is this: Stop scrolling through the monochromatic, selfie ridden, #OOTD laden Instagram newsfeeds for one second, go to your closet, pick up one piece of clothing, and think of at least 5 ways you could creatively wear it.

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The purple scarf was an added touch. An interesting touch, gifted to me by a good friend (Hi Rachel!)

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That’s my secret. Funnily enough, when my mind is bombarded by a bunch of images of other people’s styles, I lose inspiration. It’s usually when I just take an extra five minutes in the morning to stare into the cluttered abyss that is my closet, that I finally figure out something. My motto has always been and always will be that I would rather look like a crazy fool, than a basic Betty. California has a million north face wearing, ugg boot kickin’, pumpkin spice latte holding folks out here. Who has the time? Let me add to the discourse of clothing choices, by giving you something to double take at–even if it’s a doubtful double take.

xx

-A

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Lolita

I am so excited to share with you the photoshoot that I did with my two subjects Santino Lojero and Jei Raby. I’m so used to being in front of the camera, so when they asked me to get behind it–I jumped at the chance!

Styling was directed by Santino, the lovely Blasian with the aviator glasses, and combined with a bit of my creative direction/input, we were able capture their outfits + aesthetic to the fullest extent. Jei, despite not having much experience in the creative realm, was still able to bring a level of class and regality while shooting.

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yellow

It’s retro. The color palette is slightly on the ’80s neon kitschy side, but only in the best way possible.

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This is editorial material I’d use if I wrote a feature story on a native LA electro-pop/indie band.

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My favorite part about photography + fashion is that you can capture culture visually. Fashion signifies cultural markers within  society and often exhibits moods through color combinations and textures. Good photography can convey those things timelessly. Looking at these photos evokes a nostalgic feeling within me. Does it do the same for you?

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Pretty proud of this collaboration! If you’re ever down to collab drop a message!

Edited by: Adaobi Ugoagu

xx

-A

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#OOTD: Don’t Touch My Hair

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie articulated in a BBC interview that hair, particularly a black woman’s hair, is political. (PLEASE WATCH THIS BRILLIANT INTERVIEW).

“Is it?” the interviewer responded incredulously, waiting for her to explain her statement further. She pointed out that the way she chooses to style her hair inevitably gives off unintended statements. For example, she may wear her hair out in an afro because she’s tired of styling it and wants to wear it out freely. In turn, others will see her ‘fro and may coin her as a “sistah” or a “vegetarian” or  “soulful” when it reality, she just wants to give her follicles a break. (As you can imagine, snap-assumptions of this sort can be detrimental for black women when seeking employment. But that is another post for the future). I want to go as far as saying that because black hair is so political in nature, the common response for outsiders is to demand for explanations!

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I say this from experience. I walked into my friend’s birthday party a week ago with my new hairdo and upon sitting down, I was immediately DRILLED on questions about how my hair was done, if it was all my hair, and how long it took. In that atmosphere of loud music, dim lights, and alcoholic beverages, I didn’t fully comprehend the impudence of the situation. I didn’t realize how bad it was until a few hours later when a friend of mine came up to me and told me that she loved my new hair, but she wanted to tell me this privately because she understood how the unwelcome attention could lead to me publicly defending the authenticity of my hair right on the spot. Another friend overheard her comment and added that “I was so patient” with the girls that greeted me with prying queries within the minute of my arrival to the gathering.

Which by the way, for those of you that don’t know, if the first thing out ya mouth is “Is it yours???” to a black woman, STOP. Well-intentioned or not, that’s a micro-aggression and it is extremely degrading. Please, a simple compliment will surely suffice.

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Since then,  I’ve been hit with a few more unwanted (and a few wanted) opinions on my hair and it has bothered me simply because of the fact that there are so many! This is not to talk of the content of their opinions. Pero, Who. Asked. You?

Do wavy-haired brunettes get the same unbridled speculation on their hairstyles as well? That was the question that darted through my mind when I went through the previous week–somewhat reluctant to go into social situations for fear of being bombarded with another person’s “assessments.” When I first viewed Adichie’s interview a month ago, I ruminated on the assumptions that she spoke of–not really knowing that her declaration would bring me into a higher level of consciousness, making me more aware of the social dynamics took place that night and many other instances before that.  What a curious world to be in as a black woman.

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Solange’s song Don’t Touch My Hair has also resonated with me for this very reason. Her statement, “Don’t touch my hair” establishes boundaries in terms of physical touch, but I want to add to that conversation by also establishing a boundary around how one speaks about and responds to black women’s hair choices/styles. It is my and many other black women’s “crowns.” It is our personal space and no one has the right to challenge our authenticity, or forcibly digest dispensable judgements. We got to respect that boundary for black women, period.

Comment or message me below if any part of this post resonated with you, if you had an experience similar to mine, or if you learned something vital. Love to hear some thoughts!

Top: Gifted by Modupe Alabi

Shoes: Adidas Originals Superstars

xx

-A

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more opinions. lol.

Downtown Pomona

If you asked me 5 years ago, I believed that growing up in Pomona made for somewhat of a mundane and unexciting teenager life. For the most part, what made the city was the people I went to high school with and the drama club that I was a part of (YES! I was a proud thespian back in the day!). But once I graduated and all my friends from here fizzled out with the exception of 1 or 2, the city continued to be as mundane as I remembered it to be.

This is my first time in 3 years that I have spent an extended amount of time back in Pomona, so I’ve been trying to make the most of it by rediscovering small spots in the city that make for a mini adventure. So my friend Sam and I ventured to downtown Pomona and found some really cool spots to take photos at. Take a gander.

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My style for the summer is simple: keep it simple. It’s too dang hot here in the valley and while I love the winter months to layer my clothing, that is simply not an option. I stumbled upon this denim dress at Goodwill a month ago and I snatched it so fast, the cashier felt the woosh! from all the way across the store. It’s a timeless piece, very in trend right now, and what even makes me happier about it, is the fact that it was only $10. You KNOW Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters will try to steal your $40 to make you buy a denim dress. Again, take my advice and give up fast fashion!

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Also, my dusty pink mules have been an absolute lifesaver since I purchased them (before my permanent decision of course). It’s such a beautiful accent to any outfit with it’s light color and square toed shaped. In addition, it’s so easy to slip on off. Anything that is hassle free, I’m a fan. You can check them out here.

-A

xx

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Ethics + Aesthetics

Two posts in one day! Woo, I’m on a roll here. But I felt the need to explain a few things.

For one, I am changing the way that I view fashion and how I want to use this platform that is called my blog. Aside from styling being a hobby, I want to become more intentional about the messages I send, since I am a “fashion blogger”. I don’t want to be the messenger of over-consumption, unsustainable habits, and unreal, manicured depictions of who I am.

So what does this mean for my blog? Not sure yet. But as I go along, the ideas will keep coming to me. I’m learning to trust the process.

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For one, I have a resolution that I silently made many months ago, but was afraid to publicly come out and have my audience hold me accountable. And that is to no longer being a shopper of fast fashion retailers. I watched a documentary called The True Cost and I was really challenged to think about my spending habits and what sort of industry I am supplanting. As a believer of Christ, my views are that people are made in the image of God and therefore deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. From what I could understand in the documentary, my cravings for a new pair of shoes from Zara, directly affected the lifestyles of a many poor citizens in Bangladesh and other countries these suppliers outsource to. So if anyone knows a bit about this interesting journey with Christ, you know that “dying to your flesh” is a major key alert. And I had to implement it in this area of my life so that I can learn to built more sustainable habits when it comes to purchasing apparel.

Hows it been going? So far, so good. I’ve been an avid thrifter since high school so it’s not as difficult. Although, I’m little nervous about how I’m going to be shopping for shoes, not a fan of used shoes…but luckily I already have 20 pairs to juggle and style around. What would be really wonderful is if you guys could comment below or message me with amazing thrift stores in LA. Now that Depop and Poshmark will be my only “online” stores I will be shopping at, I need some in-person stores to balance it all out!

xx

-A

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Afropunk

 

Afropunk: Afro-punk (sometimes spelled Afro-Punk, Afropunk or AfroPunk) refers to the participation of African Americans and other black people in the punk and alternative music cultures. Afro-punks make up a minority in the North American punk scene (via Wikipedia)

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When I first stumbled across this word, it was like, FINALLY. A word that best encapsulates my personality, my style, and my interests! Embarrassingly enough, I used to be that black girl that attempted to volumize the crown of my hair in order to resemble a Scene Kid. But that was never meant to be with 4c curl pattern. I was the black girl that listened to The Used, Taking Back Sunday, and Fall Out Boy. I was the black girl who was incredibly uncomfortable with my musical tastes being sniffed out by a fellow black person who would shoot me a quizzical look because what I listened to was, “white music”. If I wasn’t popping to Laffy Taffy or whinin’ to a T-pain ballad, I didn’t qualify as black enough.

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BUT my oh my how the times have changed and how pleased I am with the change. Realizing that there is a community of black people who hold the same interests as me makes me happy enough to hug every stranger I see (and that says alot coming from an introverted city girl). It’s just so refreshing! It’s not just that they are black people who like punk/rock/indie, they are a group of melanated people who love those genres while also embracing  and remaining true to the the black/African aesthetic. That means Afros and septum piercings. Dashikis and studded black biker boots. Head wraps and velvet chokers. This is one of the main reasons why I view fashion as more than just pretty clothing. I have the ability to take a political stance through what I wear. I have the ability to preface you on what I’m going to be about before you even speak to me. I can defy your preconceived notions about whatever you think about Blacks, Africans, labels, music etc etc. I take this form of communication quite seriously.

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As I grow well into my 20s, I’ve grown to embrace my coily texture, African American history, and African ancestry in the social and musical arena. I’ve just learned to stay affirmed in my black identity as a whole. I’ve come to accept that I can love Afrobeats, Hip Hop and Indie Rock all at the same time. I’ve learned to enjoy the flexibility of knowing how to Azonto pretty decently in one space and headbanging to a Foo Fighters jig in another. I’m not a black person who likes “white music” nor am I a black person that only likes Hip-Hop, I am a multi-faceted black woman who simply likes what I like. I have no need to conform for I have been uniquely and fearfully made.

 

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10

xx

-A

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P.S. They have an Afropunk Fest in Paris and NY, lets cross our fingers for an LA one!