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FASHION STEELE NYC 2016 Review

2016 The Year of Natural Hair I rocked my Afro

Essay: Making It in New York City by Nigel Isaiah, Freelance Writer & Editor

#BlackGirlMagic Interviews Yaminah Mayo Blogger & Model Al Malonga Fashion Stylist

Come Hell or High Water an Essay by Monroe Steele

BERMUDA Paradise is an hour away

PARIS FASHION WEEK How to get in and stay in

Designer To Watch Fatoumata Guirassy of Gueras Fatim FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

35 Instagrammers You Should Be Following 1


Fashion Steele NYC is a fashion and lifestyle website where Luxury, Thrift and High Street meet. Fashion Steele NYC 2016 Review Magazine is a look back on the best of 2016 from Paris Fashion Week to the beaches of Bermuda. This is the third issue of Fashion Steele NYC Magazine so make sure to check out 2015 and 2014 as well. TABLE OF CONTENTS Letter from The Editor 2016 The Year of Going Natural 4 PARIS FASHION WEEK 7 Trending Styles of 2016 11 Little Haiti in Miami Cover Story 13 Notable Collaborations 2016 15 Best Buys of 2016 18 #BLACKGIRLMAGIC Interviews 20 Yaminah Mayo Blogger & Model Al Malonga Fashion Stylist 24 35 Instagrammers to Follow 28 Designer To Watch: Gueras Fatim 31 Bermuda Paradise 32 The Best Beauty Products of 2016 36 Essay: Come Hell or High Water by Monroe S. 40 Favorite Blog Posts of 2016 47 Essay: Making It in NYC by Nigel Isaiah 50 A Guide to New York City 2016: Where to Stay, Eat, Shop & Party 52 How to plan the Perfect Vacation 56 Favorite Hair Care Products of 2016 59 EIC: Monroe Steele, Photographers: Nigel Isaiah, Rose Lazare, Mike Crew, Nate Grant, Jackie Barr, Tatyana Smirnova (Paris), Langre Edwards (Bermuda), Alex Oliva (Miami) FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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Letter from the Editor 2016 was a crazy year for me. It was definitely one of the worst in terms of love and relationships but one of the best in regards to traveling and work. Sometimes I think it really is impossible to have it all. When one area of my life is flourishing, undoubtedly there is an area that goes to shit (*cough Election cough*). This year was the year of travel and making professional gains in my career. I was able to go to Paris in September for Paris Fashion Week and just to visit my favorite city on earth. I also took a pretty amazing weekend trip to Bermuda which is now my go-to mini vacation spot. For my 32nd birthday I spent a few days in Miami laying pool side and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. This was also the year that I debuted my Afro in all its glory. I am quite pleased with my natural hair being that this is truly the first time for me seeing it in its natural state since I was a child. More on that later though. There are a few people I need to thank and I’m starting with my mom. She is such a stan for my blog and I appreciate all her Facebook collages and for her encouragement. I’d also like to thank Nigel Isaiah who has really looked out for me this year in regards to photography and just being an awesome friend. Thanks to everyone who contributed to Fashion Steele NYC this year as well as everyone who reads! Blogging is definitely dying in terms of people actually visiting your site and reading and commenting. Everything is so spread out across Instagram, Instastories and Snapchat. It’s really hard to be creative across so many platforms. You almost have to be a master of all to succeed but writing is where my passion lies, so Fashion Steele NYC is where you will always get the most authentic me. That is unless you follow me on Twitter! I can be a little more ratchet activated on that platform which is actually my favorite of all social media. I sincerely thank you all for reading and following along in this journey. I hope you enjoy this, The Third issue of Fashion Steele NYC Review Magazine! xx Monroe Steele

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2016 The Year of the Afro This year I debuted my afro. After spending 2 years rocking protective styles from Senegalese twists to my signature Havana Twists, and currently faux locks, I unleashed the afro. I was very nervous about it too. I didn’t really know how to care for my natural hair other than the stress it caused me to wash and detangle it between protective styles. Last year, after transitioning for 2 year, I finally cut off the last few inches of my permed hair and I felt immediately free. Detangling my hair was so much easier and the natural hair products from PR companies just poured in making my life much easier. I rocked my Afro for the first time at Curl Fest and I had a blast at the festival with a few friends. Deciding to “go natural” was one of the best decision’s I've ever made. Essentially I was just very curious to see what my hair looked like without any chemical processing. Would it be big and fluffy? Would it be so thick I couldn't run my fingers through it? What is my curl pattern? All of these things plagued me and I wanted answers. It also didn’t help that years of perms and using curling irons had damaged my hair beyond repair. Transitioning wasn’t so hard once I found the perfect protective style. Honestly I would have been at a total loss if it wasn’t for my hair therapist Amaany of Morkinks.com. She really helped me turn my hair around and I’ve seen my hair grow and strengthen at a rapid rate thanks to her. Whenever I’m in need of a protective style I only trust her hands to take care of my edges. It’s really imperative to find someone who listens to you when doing your hair.

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I’m convinced I was able to grow my hair so quickly thanks to her using the invisible technique when doing my Havana twists which enable me to moisturize my scalp directly 2-3 times a day with 100% Aloe Vera Juice and Jamaican Black Castor Oil sprays. She’s done amazing deep conditions on my hair with everything from rice water to yogurt and she whips it right up in her kitchen. If you’re in the New York City area make sure to check her out at Morkinks.com and use code: MorkinksH17 for 20% off your next protective style until January 31, 2017. The real test of debuting my afro was rocking it to work for the first time. I almost felt a little naked without so much hair on my head. Even though I love my Havana twists, I’d developed a few neck issues from wearing them straight for so many years. I felt light and new and unsure of myself. That first day to work with my afro went well. My coworkers loved my hair. I work as a physical therapist in a small private practice. I am the only black person working at my company. We employee a lot of Spanish speaking employees, being that we are based in Spanish speaking neighborhood and it’s necessary. All of my coworkers wanted to touch it. I mean I get it, it’s not everyday that someone with a fly afro is in such close proximity to someone who’d never felt an afro. So for 1 minute I let anyone who wanted to touch my hair, go for it. As long as they stayed on the outskirts and didn’t try to find their way to my scalp, it was all copacetic. The main comment I received after letting people touch my hair was that it was very soft. They really couldn’t understand how hair so soft could stand up. It was pretty hilarious. My boss who is Indian has seen both my natural hair as well as my Havana twists and he’s always sad when I go back to protective styling. Probably because he has to adjust my neck for me often when I wear protective hairstyles with a lot of hair. All in all being natural is a lifestyle and one I’m glad I can be apart of. There’s a certain connection when I make eye contact with another naturalista on the train. We all know the struggle of detangling and how wash day can affect weekend plans. I’ve only mastered the twist out but I’m looking forward to learning more about my hair.

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Code: MorkinksH17 for 20% Off at Morkinks.com until January 31, 2017 5


Top: Dezzal Skirt: Missoni Earrings: H&M Shoes: Proenza Schouler Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art Photographer: Rose Lazare

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PARIS FASHION WEEK How to Get in and Stay in Paris is always a good idea and Paris Fashion Week was nothing short of amazing. This time was a lot different being that I collaborated with 3 different hotels during my stay. I know it was a lot of moving around in a weeks time, but I’m grateful for the opportunity and the experience. I’m looking to take Fashion Steele NYC into a lifestyle brand in addition to fashion and travel is a huge part of my life and was a logical next step in regards to blogging. If you haven't had a chance to read my blog posts 6 Days in Paris Part 1 & Part 2, definitely check them out. In those two posts alone I document all of my Paris trip expenses from the plane ticket there to the snacks I purchased on the flight back to New York. It will give you a rough estimate of how to plan and budget your own trip to Paris. Getting into Paris Fashion Week is just like getting in to New York Fashion Week. You wait for the schedule to drop via Mode á Paris and then you email the PR representatives of the designers and brand’s who’s shows you’d like to attend. It’s even easier if you have a membership to Fashion GPS the site that launched for New York Fashion Week a few years back where you can request shows via GPS Radar. Send a quick email introducing yourself and your affiliation a month before the shows. Parisian PR firms love to send you a hard copy of your invitation so you have to know ahead of time where you are staying and your Parisian address to include in the email. Then you cross your fingers and wait. Invites usually arrive a week to a day before the show. Once you attend a show, you are pretty much on that email list for life and will get invites for every season. Since attending Paris Fashion Week in 2013, I get invites every season for most of the shows that I covet from Guy Laroche to Issey Miyake.

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Top: H&M Skirt: Stella Jean Shoes: Tibi Location: Tuileries Paris Photographer: Tatyana Smirnova FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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PARIS FASHION WEEK Cont. How to Get in and Stay in In comparison to New York Fashion Week, I’d say Paris Fashion Week is a breeze and a lot more fun! Shows are often held in historic venues, gardens and roof tops with spectacular city views. A show is a theatrical masterpiece not just music and models walking down the runway. It’s a totally difference experience from New York Fashion Week altogether and the major difference is a sense of loyalty. As long as you’re keeping in touch with Parisian PR firms and doing what you say you’re going to do, (ie. actually covering their designers with content), then you will always have a seat at the table. NYFW is not that way. One season you’re in and the next you are out. It’s very cut throat in New York and things are changing so much it’s difficult to get those coveted invites unless you’ve made a pretty big name for yourself in the industry or are writing/covering for a large publication. Milan Fashion Week is much like Paris. I haven't been since 2014 but every season I still get about 20 invites to shows. I’ll probably take advantage and attend next year and make my way through the Italian countryside for some much needed R&R while writing show

Where to Stay in Paris : Hotel Chavanel, Hotel Adele & Jules or Renaissance Republique Paris

reviews in a villa on a quiet desolate hill.

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Where to Shop: Le Reciproque for Vintage & Designer Goods Where to Eat: Chez Prune in Canal St. Martin

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Jacket: H&M Slip Dress: KES Bag: Uncommon Goods Shoes: Tibi Location: Paris Photography by Tatyana S.

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Favorite Trends of 2016 The Slip Dress The Slip Dress made a huge comeback this season starting on the AW16 runways from Alexander Wang to Narcisco Rodriguez. The 90s are back. Ever since I’ve saw Rihanna rocking a metallic slip dress with a pair of beat up chucks, I’ve needed one in my life. While planning my trip to Paris, I decided to invest in my very first slip dress by KES. It was one of two dresses that I brought for my entire Paris stay and I wore it multiple ways to show it’s versatility. I wore it to shop and to hang out and dine as well as for a night out. This dress worked so well for me I don't think I need to buy any more of them. For a Fall look I can wear it over a long sleeve white or grey turtle neck, thick socks and a pair of boots. The Choker Another 90s trend that made a huge comeback at least for the early part of 2016 was the choker. I feel like it died just as quickly as it started but the trend lasted long enough for me to invest in one velvet choker. I loved the look but it just wasn’t practical for me. I think I have an abnormally thick neck and those chokers made me feel hot and confined and well choked! But for the handful of times I rocked mine from Vanessa Mooney who makes incredible accessories, it really made the look.

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Top: American Apparel Skirt: Scervino Street Coat: Eileen Fisher Shoes: Alexander Wang Socks: Gucci Bag: Coach Location: Harlem Photography by Nigel I.

The Sock Trend Socks made a comeback this year as well and brands like Gucci took note. Although I’m not yet sold on the look it’s a nice way to carry your Summer sandals well into Fall and Winter.

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Little Haiti in Miami My First Editorial Shoot 


This year I checked something off my

background. When I discovered The Little

bucket list and did my first editorial shoot.

Farm House in the Little Haiti area of

I’ve always been interested in directing and

Miami, I knew it was the perfect location to

styling and when I went to Miami for my

shoot this incredible look. From the styling

32nd birthday it was the perfect

to the scouting I really loved how the

opportunity to put something amazing

editorial turned out. Not to mention I had a

together. In 2015, thanks to Moda Operandi

wonderful team from photographer Alex

I put a deposit down on this stunning raffia

Oliva to my good friend Alicia who helped

Stella Jean Skirt from her Spring/Summer

with directing and styling as well. The Little

2016 Collection which is still a favorite of

Farm House is a dream location and its

mine. I got this skirt specifically to wear for

colorful and authentic style fit perfectly and

my birthday. Stella Jean is an amazing

payed homage to Stella Jean and the Haitian

designer with a Haitian and Italian

influence in her clothing.


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Skirt: Tamara Mellon Shoes: Aquazzura Earrings: Vanessa Mooney Top: MLM Skirt: Stella Jean Earrings: Vintage Location: The Little Farm House Miami Photography by A. Oliva Photography

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Notable Collaborations of 2016 This year was definitely a year of travel with trips to Miami, Paris and Bermuda. I’ve worked with some pretty amazing brands the most notable being the hotel collaborations I did while in Paris. I’ve been striving to propel the Fashion Steele NYC brand into a lifestyle brand and travel is a huge part of that. I am very passionate about traveling and seeing the world and nothing inspires me more than a new place and a new environment. Paris is one of my favorite cities on earth. Usually when I visit Paris I’ve stayed in Airbnb’s but this trip I collaborated with 3 different hotels in 3 hot and up and coming areas of Paris to really experience all that Paris has to offer. I collaborated Hotel Chavantal, Hotel Adele & Jules and The Renaissance Republique Paris to accommodate me during my stay during Paris Fashion Week. I had a whirlwind of a time really seeing Paris this year and learning more about the different neighborhoods. Each hotel had a different feel and a different essence and I like that I am able to give really honest opinions and give travelers the real insight into a place. I actually really enjoy doing hotel reviews. It’s a great way for me to tap into some of my best writing. These hotel’s were super special from the intimate feel of Hotel Chavanel with the amazing cavelike breakfast nook, to the lovely midday tea time at Hotel Adele & Jules, to the sheer decadence of the built in rainfall shower at Renaissance Republique Paris.

A lovely room at Hotel Adele & Jules and their room service standard breakfast.

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Notable Collaborations of 2016 Cont. Finding hotels to collaborate with wasn’t an easy feat. The way to go for a newbie blogger with not such a large following is to research newer hotels that can use some coverage. Searching instagram is a wonderful way to find those new hotel openings as well as doing a quick google search. This works for any place not just in Paris. I also did a search of hotels that already worked with Fashion and Travel bloggers. Those hotels seem to be more receptive to collaborating. I reached out to over 20 hotels and was very fortunate to work with the 3 that I’d chosen. They were each very different and I loved things about all of them. What’s great is that each gave me a different perspective of Paris that I could provide to a wide range of my readers and those researching where to stay in Paris. It’s also imperative to separate yourself from the hotel coverage. Although I do love doing a good outfit of the day shoot at hotels and focusing on the clothing it’s important to keep the focus on the accommodations when collaborating with hotels. It’s a very nice break from fashion blogging although the more I review hotels the more interested I’m becoming in decor and architecture. Top Location Renaissance République Hotel, Bottom Location Hotel Chavanel Soaking Tub FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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Top: Gueras Fatim Denim: Rachel Comey Shoes: Tibi Earrings: Annie Costello Brown Location: Renaissance République Hotel Photography by Tatyana S. FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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Favorite Buys of 2016 I did a lot of shopping this year. Hell I do a lot of shopping every year but this year was all about investment shopping. I went big and trendy with accessories. For the first time in a long time I got back into wearing statement earrings. Statement earrings only really work with shorter hair and for the past two years I’ve been rocking a head full of long Marley twists. This summer I finally debuted my Afro and could get away with statement earrings. I pretty much went nuts buying and trying (courtesy of Rent The Runway) every earring I coveted. It all started with Annie Costello Brown who sells online as well as at brick and mortar store Clare V. in New York City. On a rainy day I made the trip to the store and then had the audacity to try them on and knew right then that they were going home with me. It kind of hurt my spirit and my pockets to pay well over $100 for a pair of earrings but I’m sure they will last forever and I love them. Next I then saw these amazing red fringe earrings by Katerina Makriyianna handmade in Greece and thought they were classics and also that they’d be perfect for my trip to Bermuda. In addition to buying tons and tons of pairs of statement earrings, I bought a slew of the same dress from The Line By K. The Line By K is a brand of sexy comfortable dresses started by fashion blogger Karla Deras. I can’t get enough of these dresses. They are quite literally the perfect dress and I know because I now own 3 of them and plan to add another before the year is up. The Gaby Dress has to be the most perfect vacation dress ever made.

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These No. 21 Mules were another favorite buy of 2016. I get so many compliments on them and I got them on sale! Hurry because they are currently on sale now at Net-APorter.

Dress: The Line by K Shoes: No. 21 Earrings: Annie Costello Brown Location: Harlem Photography by Nigel I.

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#BLACKGIRLMAGIC

INTERVIEWS

Yaminah Mayo aka Spicy Mayo I met Yaminah earlier this year at The Coffee Talk meet up by Vanessa Lundy of Vana Vain. She strutted in her luscious hair in a bun, face full of freckles and a lively personality and I knew we had to be friends. She may not know it but she has the thing that all It Girls have. The thing that makes you want to follow them, to know what they’re wearing, what they’re doing and what they have to say. Yaminah wears many different caps and can’t and wont be put in a box. She’s a model, writer, podcast creator and all around creative. Her website Spicy Mayo is bookmarked on my favorites. Following her on Twitter was one of the best things I did for myself in 2016. She is unapologetic and fearless in stating her thoughts and opinions. I found a kindred spirit during the election in her 140 characters. She eats twitter trolls for breakfast and every picture she posts on Instagram looks as if it belongs in a magazine ad for amazing hair and skincare products (and she has done both from Shea Moisture to Glossier). Furthermore she is a beautiful writer and that’s something I admire. Needless to say, she is ushering in a new generation of woke 20-somethings who are taking a bite out of The Big Apple and dropping #BlackGirlMagic all over this city. Monroe: What brought you to New York City? Yaminah: I was interning for Nurse Jackie on Showtime and I was Megabusing into NYC every week. I was sharing beds and sneaking into dorms just to be on set for 2 days. Eventually my mom was just like “Move to NYC, here’s a couple months rent…”. I originally moved to pursue design but now I have a blog and I love creating the graphics for it, so now I’m pursuing that. Monroe: How would you define your career at this point in your life? Yaminah: I’m somewhat of a multi-hyphenate. I’m a model, budding writer and graphic artist and social media political pundit. lol.

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#BlackGirlMagic Yaminah Mayo Model, Writer & Graphic Artist Monroe: What do you hope to accomplish in regards to your career? Yaminah: I eventually would like to be published in The Gentlewoman or Vogue. I would love to start programs that help black girls in my communities back home in San Francisco, Boston and in New York City. I would love to help push other black girls forward. Monroe: What was your proudest moment of 2016? Yaminah: Forgiving myself for not having it all together by 24. That I still have time and that I’m a lot further than I think I am. Work wise it was teaching myself Photoshop. It has changed my life. Monroe: What was a low point for you in 2016 and how did you get through it? Yaminah: A low point for me in 2016 was not being where I wanted to be financially. I had all these collaborations and features and yet I was still being lowballed when inquiries came my way. The way I got through it was by saying no. I’m grateful for the opportunity but I know my worth and my time is precious. Exposure doesn’t pay my rent. Monroe: What advice would you give someone looking to get into modeling, writing or any creative field in NYC? Yaminah: Just start. Teach yourself skills and hone your vision along the way. Also, network! It’s something that I’ve definitely been slacking on but you really do learn a lot by forcing yourself into different rooms and atmospheres.

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#BlackGirlMagic Yaminah Mayo Monroe: What are some of your favorite places that inspire you in NYC? Yaminah: I love Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The neighborhood, like most of Brooklyn is now gentrified but it was a major black artist hub in the 80’s & 90’s. Spike Lee, Lorna Simpson, Halle Berry etc., all arose out of that neighborhood. I love catching the subway down there and just walking around. I love Studio Museum of Harlem. It’s a fabulous museum that focuses on black artists and really nurtures them and it’s also run by the incomparable Thelma Golden so marvelous is as marvelous does! Monroe: What songs did you have on repeat in 2016? Yaminah: I can’t limit myself to songs when there are so many AMAZING albums that were released this year…and the end of 2015. Awaken, my Love/ Donald Glover, But You Can’t Use My Phone / Erykah Badu and A Seat at the Table / Solange. Monroe: What are some of your favorite publications to read? Yaminah: The GentlewomanIt allows women to be incredibly smart and fashionable. They are exclusive entities in the publication. The interviews are really in-depth and curious and that is something I love. I HATE run-of-themill answers. Lordt. I’m also inspired by Marjon Carlos’s article page on vogue.com. She has a way of turning the most seemingly mundane things into fashionable topics. It’s amazing. I really study and love her writing. Plus, SHE brought Gucci Mane to Vogue. #BlackExcellence. Monroe: What upcoming projects do you have in the works? Yaminah: I’m currently working on a new segment of my blog called Platform Poppin’ in response to Charlamagne the alleged God’s incredibly misinformed statement about black women not using their platforms to uplift each other. I will curate a new name each week whether it’s mainstream or obscure and give them whatever spotlight I can. Also Girl on the Glo Podcast will be back in 2017! Follow Yaminah @spicy.mayo and her blog Spicy Mayo FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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New York Coffee Talk Dumbo Brooklyn @vanavain, @afroista, @spicy.mayo @nimaford @wardrobebreakdown Photography by @watchthelens FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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Al Malonga, Fashion Stylist Location: Washington Square Park Photography by Rose Lazare

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#BlackGirlMagic Al Malonga Fashion Stylist Al is the kind of girl you see walking down the street and literally stop in your tracks and admire. Any time, any place, she radiates a certain je ne sais quoi, which is quite fitting since she came to New York from Paris 5 years ago. I met Al earlier this year through The Coffee Talk event by Vanessa Lundy of Vana Vain. Ever since meeting her, I was hooked. Following her instagram is a visual delight into the world of styling and into her personal quirky vintage fashions and lush travels. She rolls with a pretty impressive crowd of amazing and admirable women and she is kicking ass and taking names in her field for styling. She is the embodiment of style and staying true to yourself and your craft. It’s also worth mentioning that she rarely wears the same outfit twice and in that way is a true street style star. No outfit planning here kids, Al is the real deal. So one rainy afternoon in December, Al joined me in a light and airy Breather room in Washington Square to do one of her very first interviews (she hate’s doing interviews and rarely has the time). Monroe: So what brought you to New York City? Al: A change of scenery. I was living in Paris before and before that I was living in Cameroon. I’m biracial. I was born in Paris but when I was around 2 years old, my father wanted to go back to his country so we moved back to Cameroon until I was 15. Then in Paris I tried many things and had many different careers, but I always felt like it was a little too professionally conservative and that I needed to fit in a box. I wanted to see another place and what better place to be than New York. Monroe: How would you define your career & or profession? What all does it entail? Al: First and foremost I am a fashion stylist so I dress people with other peoples clothes. I either shop in stores or pull from designers. I pull the looks together and style them. I’m freelance so I do this for commercials, music videos, movies, album covers, photos, anything really. I also do closet makeovers for people, men and women.

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#BlackGirlMagic Al Malonga Al: So I dress people as a fashion stylist and then I moonlight as a costume designer. I actually build the costumes, so it’s a lot more of a craft. I’ve done 7 off broadway plays and I just did a short film where I did the costume designs as well. I can also say that I’m a style blogger but it’s mostly through my instagram. It’s what I’m wearing and mostly my behind the scenes working/styling as well as street style photography because I love that.

@wardrobebreakdown @mamacaxx

Monroe: What was a defining moment for you in 2016? Al: That’s a good question because I’m not really someone who keeps track of just the good moments. I’m really a live in the moment person. So when I do things I live in it fully, all the joy of things and all the bad of things. So I’m pretty sure I’ve felt that way at some point this year but overall what 2016 has brought to me is being a 100% freelancer this year without any other side job. That’s what 2016 has been for me which is amazing.

Monroe: What are some of your favorite places to shop in NYC or online? Al: I do not shop online. I’m very organic. I’m someone who needs to see and feel the clothes. I shop online for work but for me personality I’m a vintage and thrift addict. I’ve worked a lot with L Train Vintage and their different locations in Brooklyn are my favorite places to shop. Whether it’s Urban Jungle or No Relation they have great clothes and it’s a cool company. I’ve done partnerships and collaborations with them before.

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Monroe: What songs did you have on repeat this year? Al: A few and not especially current actually. I went to LA this summer and stayed with a friend and put her on to The Recipe by Kendrick Lamar and that has such an LA feel so we listened to him a lot this summer. And then there was a song I styled a music video for by Sinkane called Uh-huh. Sinkane is a singer from Sudan, so it’s that music that’s timeless. The concept for the video was 1960’s Africa high life. It has a little bit of funk and I just love that song. Monroe: What publications print or online are you reading? Al: Ok…zero. I am self made, self proclaimed so all of this happened because I was always doing this in my life and didn’t realize it could be a career. But never because I was looking up to or being influenced by. I do not read magazines. Life is inspiring. Everyone around me is inspiring. I believe that there is a difference between style and fashion and that fashion is somewhat of a dictatorship of this is the trend and this is what you have to follow, because this big brand says so. And that these are the colors and the fabrics to wear and I’m not interested in knowing that. All of these things are being taken off the street. You can buy fashion but style is different. Style is what you do with it. I’m not trying to find influence. I’m not trying to do what others are doing. I’m just being me when it comes to style and fashion. ~ On the A train uptown to Harlem after the interview, Al and I discussed the magnitude of being freelance and the dedication it takes especially being a stylist. She stressed that it continues to be a struggle but she’s glad she got rid of her fall back job and fall back plan and took the plunge to do something she loves. We should all be so brave but it’s not for the faint of heart. Follow Al @wardrobebreakdown FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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Go ahead and get your life on IG by following these amazing picks!

35 Instagrammers To Follow

@monroesteele Instagram Picks 1). @tamumcpherson Creative at All The Pretty Birds 2). @asiyami_gold Blogger, Visual Story Teller 3). @alex_elle Author 4). @lozamaleombho Designer & Artist 5). @thecurvynista Blogger with amazing sneakers and the cutest kid

@wardrobebreakdown Instagram Picks Art Director & Fashion Stylist 6). @mamacaxx Blogger & Explorer 7). @celmatique Style Blogger, Writer 8). @harowatch Fashion, Photos, Art 9). @sincane Musician 10). @findingpaola Creative, Designer

@spicy.mayo Instagram Picks Blogger, Model and Podcast Creator 11). @hannahfaith_ Photographer & DJ 12). @hellolaurenash Creative 13). @xosubrina Mom & Stylist 14). @micahschure Dancer 15). @museummammy Art Connoisseur

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@thecovetedk Instagram Picks Style Blogger at TheCovetedK.com 16). @freddieharrel UK Blogger 17). @fisayolonge Travel & Fashion Blogger 18). @tostos_ Style Blogger in London 19). @tiffanymbattle Fashion Blogger NYC 20). @cocobassey Fashion Blogger

@commecoco Instagram Picks Style Influencer and Photographer 21). @stylebyada Fashion Blogger 22). @musesuniform Paris Fashion Blogger 23). @ondiaj Content Creator 24). @londontallgirl UK Fashion Blogger 25). @kekecameron Seattle Blogger

@vanavain Instagram Picks Style Therapist and Fashion Stylist 26). @shionat Consultant and Editor 27). @lisafolawiyo Designer 28). @jan.quammie Fashion Director 29). @diamondmahone Styling & Profiling 30). @lifeinbeverlyheels Blogger & Lawyer

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Top & Pants Set: Gueras Fatim Shoes: Tibi Earrings: Annie Costello Brown Location: Tuileries Paris Photography by Tatyana S.

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Designer To Watch Fatoumata Guirassy of Gueras Fatim Before visiting Paris in September for Paris Fashion Week, I reached out to a new designer who’d I’d been following on Instagram Fatoumata Guirassy of Gueras Fatim. She is a beautiful young and talented designer with impeccable refined taste. Her instagram drew me in and I reached out to collaborate with her during PFW since she is based in Paris. I’m so happy she agreed to let me shoot in one of her amazing designs. Gueras Fatim was founded in 2015 and represents the woman who possesses physical, mental and spiritual strength. Guirassy is inspired by multicultural customs, vintage and streetwear. I had the pleasure of watching her (via Instastories), make a beautiful top for me the day before she delivered it to my hotel. She even hand stenciled the logo in fine ink before she sews it onto the garment. She is incredibly creative and hands on with her collections. I am involve with her aesthetic and she puts it all into her designs which are unique, earthy and perfect for the woman who loves exquisite pieces. Gueras Fatim is definitely a label to watch!

Art Direction & Styling Fatoumata Guirassy Model Nelly Brown Photography By Martin Lagardere

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Bermuda Paradise

Bathing Suit: 6 Shore Road by Pooja Hat: Brixton Location: Tobacco Bay, Bermuda Photography by Langre Edwards

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Bermuda Paradise The Perfect Vacation is an hour away I needed a getaway and I was always interested in Bermuda being that my fashion icon Shiona Turini is from Bermuda. I always looked at her beautiful instagram photos when she visited her home and dreamt of being there myself. So when JetBlue had a killer sale for roundtrip tickets from New York City to Bermuda for a little under $100, I was sold. Flying into Bermuda the island was breathtaking surrounded by the bluest and clearest waters I’d ever seen. I opted to stay in St. Georges, the old part of the island with it’s colorfully painted homes, narrow streets and stunning isolated beaches. There aren't many hotels on this part of the island and I wanted to live like a local, not a tourist, so we decided to stay at Aunt Nea’s Inn. Aunt Nea’s Inn is a huge yellow house with wooden floors and a large terrace wonderful for sitting with a cup of delicious coffee and watching the tiny frogs hop across the pathway leading to the house. I enjoyed the freshly cooked variety of muffins baked each morning and the freshly brewed coffee. We never made it to the other side of the island. St. Georges was everything we needed. It was a short walk to The Unfinished Church which is so beautiful even in its unfinished state. A short walk through the bush which in itself was beautiful, you walk down a hill to Tobacco Bay beach. This place is a small oasis that’s so breathtaking it’s hard to comprehend that it’s real. Sometimes standing on the tiny shores I felt as if I were in a postcard. A short walk past Tobacco Bay and you arrive at St. Catherine’s beach which I had the pleasure of visiting twice only to be the sole person there. The sand was pink and the water crystal clear.

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Bermuda Paradise Cont.

It was awing to be able to enjoy this pristine

loved every moment of Bermuda. It’s a

beach in total quiet. No people, no sounds

quick hour and some change flight from

except the ocean and the birds. I felt

New York City and that makes it a

completely calm and renewed. Off to the

wonderful weekend getaway. JetBlue is

right of the beach is an old jetty that was

really winning because I just booked my

rusted and rotting. I walked out to the edge

first 2017 trip to Cuba via another amazing

and sat on the rusted beams watching the

JetBlue sale. Next time I visit which will

schools of tiny silver fish swimming

definitely be some time in 2017, I would

beneath me and the crabs jumping from

love to do some boating, check out the

rock to rock. Of course the trip couldn’t be

crystal caves and check out Hamilton and

perfect. It rained nearly every moment of

the other side of the island. Be sure to check

daylight and we were caught in drenching

out Langre for all your photography needs

rains on more than one occasion but I still

in Bermuda. She’s amazing!

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Dress: Revolve Clothing Shoes: Derek Lam Earrings: Annie Costello Brown Location: The Unfinished Church Photography by Langre E. FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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Favorite Beauty Products of 2016
 2016 was the year of beauty and hair products. Since debuting my afro I have been happily receiving tons of new hair care products to try to tame my tresses. For some odd reason the universe is conspiring to turn me into a hair and beauty blogger. I have had mini collaborations with Pixi by Petra Beauty & Skin Products, ELF Cosmetics, Aveda, The Body Shop, Pur~lisse, Glossy Box, My Best Box, Essie Nail Polish and Essence Beauty Box. I seriously haven't had to buy any makeup or products almost all year. Except what I can’t live without! Favorite Exfoliators Body: Aveda Rosemary Mint Body Polish Exfoliant Face/Lips: The Body Shop Tea Tree 3 in 1 Wash, Scrub, Mask Face: Simple Sensitive Skin Exfoliating Wipes I am the exfoliating queen. it’s really important to exfoliate your legs before shaving. It’s also very important to exfoliate your special area before and a few days after that Brazilian wax to cut down on ingrown hairs. (Shout out to Marina at Dyanna Spa on 21st street for being so swift and awesome). Another place people often forget to exfoliate is the arm pit! Those pores can get so clogged with deodorant and can cause painful cysts. I also regularly exfoliate my face and lips, especially in the winter.

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Favorite Beauty Products of 2016 Favorite Serums Face: The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution, Pixi Glow Tonic and Pixi Glow Mist with Propolis & Argan Oil I all about a good serum. Nothing feels greater than indulging my face after a good exfoliation. The Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution is the truth. The packaging said it’d take a week to lighten dark marks and even my skin tone. I saw results in 3 days. Favorite Moisturizers Face: Pur~lisse Blue Lotus Balancing Moisturizer, Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream, Pixi Glowtion Day Dew Look, Asians are always first with the skin technology and it’s all a trickle down effect. I got a sample of Pur~lisse in a Glossy box and thank goodness Pur~lisse reached out and sent me full sized products because the sample was down to the wire. It’s like 10 cloth face masks in one product! The Moisturizer is my absolute favorite. Pixi by Petra is a brand that has been going strong for over 10+ years in London and finally launched in the US recently and all the skin care products were well worth the wait. Favorite Glow Up Makeup Highlighter: The Estee Edit Flash Illuminator (Night Light), NYC Ombre Blush (Nude To Me), Pixi by Petra Fairy Dust 2016 was all about the highlight and I didn’t know what I was missing until I received The Edit Estee Lauder Box chalk full of things to literally make me glow. The Flash illuminator is serious business. For a more subtle daily highlight the NYC Ombre Blush from my Essence Beauty Box does the trick. Lastly, for a little shimmer in the corners of your eyes or for a really blended cheek highlight, Pixi by Petra Fairy Dust is where it’s at.

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Favorite Beauty Products of 2016 Favorite Makeup Eyes: Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Angel Mascara, e.l.f. eyeliner and shadow stick Black/Smoke, RK by Kiss Go Brow Eyebrow Mascara, & Other Stories Eye Shadow Palette Skin: Covergirl Queen Matte Powder (Golden), Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage SC-6, Cover FX Natural Finish Foundation Lips: Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Walkyrie for a nude look, Mysterious Red for the perfect popping lip and Train Bleu for a dark badass lip lewk I am a die hard Nars fan. They really do a wonderful job with their Matte Lip Pencils. I’ve found a wonderful nude in Walkyrie and wear it just about everyday. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer is the best thing since sliced bread and well worth the bread you will spend on it. & Other Stories is not only an amazing place for well tailored clothing and leather goods, they also have a wide range of makeup, makeup brushes and scents and lotions. I am a huge fan of their simple eyeshadow palettes especially their Sateen Aubergine palette. I received the Maybelline Push Up Angel mascara while at the Maybelline x Milk Made New York Fashion Week Party and it has been in heavy rotation ever since. It gives me the perfect eyelashes and doesn’t clump them together. It beat out They’re Real Mascara but just barely.

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Rocking a Red Lip and the Perfect New Years Eve Dress Lip: Nars Mysterious Red Jacket: Dallin Chase Dress: Missguided Boots: Neiman Marcus Location: Washington Square Park Photography by Rose Lazare FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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Essay: Come Hell or High Water by Monroe Steele What I’ve learned in 2016 I didn't intend on actually writing something like this. I'm always worried and walking that thin line of being professional and being on brand that sometimes it's hard to just be authentic. People don't really want to hear or see the dirty parts of you. They want to see the new clothes and how I wore a skirt and what color looks good with this background. But they don't want to hear about you having a panic attack or how devastating a breakup was for you. But I’m going to give “They” or “You” the benefit of the doubt. I've been wanting to write about relationships and life in general for awhile but the platform I built at Fashion Steele NYC just didn't allow for it. I put myself in a fashion box and then I opened it up to lifestyle. Which opened me up to actually sharing about my life. It's frowned upon in this little blogging industry to stray too far from what your mission is or what you normally do. But this thing has been gnawing at me for so long I can hardly contain it. I figured this magazine and it being the 2016 review would be the perfect place to introduce an essay. Being that 2016 has been such a monumental year in history as well as in my journey to self actualization and growth. It's the morning after Christmas and we've just started our descent into New York on a one hour flight from North Carolina. I'm literally looking over blocks and blocks of huddled apartment buildings somewhere over Queens. But something happened on this plane ride that woke me up. Not literally, I was wide awake the entire flight but more so tuned me in to my existence and the beauty of the world. Today is a gloomy gray and groggy day and there is no sun. When we took off we had to fly through thick clouds of gray and white fog. Then all of a sudden the light from the Sun was bursting through the windows of the plane bouncing rays off everything and creating shadows everywhere. I could feel the warmth of the Sun radiating on my right cheek. You had to squint to look out of the windows it was so blindingly bright.

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And we were flying above an endless lake of clouds that went on and on forever but above was the Sun and bright blue skies. It was beautiful and although I've seen this sight more than a handful of times before, the first thing that came to my mind was that wow, God exists. Now I know there are non-believers and God could be many things for many different people. I'm just saying for me personally it was awing and awesome. I stared into the scene for about 5 minutes just taking in the magnificence of the universe and how I’m just a small almost insignificant part of it. But how we all are the stars and leading actors in our own lives. I looked up to see if anyone else was looking and there was an Indian lady with a small black jeweled dot between her eyebrows in front of me looking out too. She looked back at me between the space in the seats and we both smiled. A brief smile to signify that we both knew this was something to see. It saddened me that when I looked around further no one else had seemed to notice. The person next to me was not only reading but listening to music at the same damn time. I am an anxious person. I have a chronic tightness in my jaw that started when I was in Physical Therapy graduate school at NYU. It was so bad once I thought about seeing a dentist and that maybe I had actual jaw issues. It never dawned on me that is was stress related until a few months later. Graduate school was the first time I ever experienced real stress. The stress of living in a new city knowing not one soul. The stress of my financial aide not being enough to cover my room and board and having to find a part time job at Forever 21, while being in school and taking classes for up to 32 hours a week, sometimes more to have enough money to eat. The point is from then on, I know when I'm stressed just by the tightness in my jaw. It usually correlates with some tiny or major worry I have about something in the future. Or when I’m obsessing about how I could have done something differently in the past. I just know, when my jaw is tight, I am not fully present or living in the moment. This seemingly mundane thing, is what helps me tune into what’s really going on with me and how to get myself out of it. But sometimes, it relaxes on it’s own. And mostly during times when I’m actually really living in the present. Before we took off today it was slightly tight. I'm not sure why. I don't know what I was actually worried about. It wasn't the stress of flying. 


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I said my ritual prayer and let that go as I always do before the wheels go up. It was just there, tension, a tightness in my body that's just barely noticeable and only perceptible to me. But as soon as we burst through the gloom and I saw that beaming light and felt the warmth from the Sun on my face the tightness was gone and it stayed gone the entire flight. I was awed by the sight and I was inspired to start writing this. I felt renewed and creative and I wasn’t thinking about all the food I ate at Christmas or the schedule for work tomorrow. I was fully present in myself during that 40 minutes and I can count on both hands how many times this year, that feeling has happened. I spent the early part of 2016 recovering and relapsing and then recovering again from a breakup. I was a total fucking mess. I had met the man of my

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dreams, or at least who I thought had the potential to be that man. What I liked most about that relationship was the constant validation it gave me. He often told me I was beautiful and unlike any woman he had met. That was something that at that time I was desperate to hear. That faded away pretty quickly but I was always in search of getting that back. Our relationship changed into me making sure he was happy. It consumed me. I let other areas of my life slide into the abyss to make sure he was smiling, happy and whole while I slowly fell apart at the seams. I didn’t notice it, but a few friends did. He never asked me to do this for him, but I felt as his significant other it was my duty to fulfill all of his unmet emotional needs and he wasn’t happy. Not just with us, we were ok, he wasn’t happy in general. 


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It’s hard being with someone who can’t even take a compliment or doesn’t think that highly of themselves. But he wasn’t all to blame. I loved him but I was using him. I was using him to validate me and to be the future for me. Even though I never came right out and said it, I think he could feel the pressure. The pressure for him to be The One for me. The One who sweeps me off my feet and marries me and fathers my children. He could feel it and I think it scared him to death. That’s a lot to ask of someone especially someone who doesn’t love themselves, or really knows themselves or simply someone who isn’t ready. That relationship taught me two wonderful lessons. Firstly, that you can’t lose yourself in a relationship. The thing, that thing that drew a person to you in the first place is in the things you are and were already doing before they ever came along. Meeting a mate doesn’t make you whole, you should already be whole. Have your own shit going for you. Continue to do the things you love. Make time for your friends. Have a life outside of the life you have with your mate or you will be bored to tears. BORED TO TEARS with the monotony of a nonspontaneous and snore fest of a relationship. The second lesson took me a little longer to learn. Matter of factly, I didn’t quite learn it until just a few weeks ago. The lesson is: You can’t find or expect emotional validation in or from someone else. You can’t count on someone to fill whatever emotional void you have inside. You can’t hold one person responsible for your happiness. You can only do that for yourself. That’s entirely too much to ask of anyone outside yourself. I didn’t know that until I started dating the man I’m currently dating. Unlike the men I’ve dated previously this man is all action and no words. I was so used to hearing the words and being validated in previous relationships that I failed at building that within myself and required that from past spouses. I’ve been told plenty of times that a man loves me, or thinks I’m gorgeous and smart and blah blah blah only for them to turn around and do some dumb shit that breaks the trust in the relationship or just my heart. This man I'm currently dating shows up and shows the fuck out! Yet, he can’t find the words to say the things I want to hear (want..not need! :) ). And even if he could he probably wouldn’t. It’s possibly a culture thing. He let me know in advance he’s not very affectionate.

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He comes from a culture where he didn’t see his parents kiss or hear I Love You ’s too often. It had my mind reeling that he was so wonderful, that he could pick me up for dates and even come over super late one night when I was really sick but that he couldn’t verbally express that he thought I was beautiful or amazing or how he felt about me. But one thing this man is, is a great communicator when it’s time to communicate. We actually talked about this. He told me how he was raised, how words don't mean much to him, that he showed himself through actions. I told him how I was and how I process words and what words I needed to hear to validate the status of us. It was very eye opening. He finally just said: So you need me to tell you I like you in order for you to know? Even though you can already see that I do through my actions? You still need that validation? And it just hit me like a ton of bricks. He’d never asked anything of me and here I am asking him to fill me up. I felt shallow. The best I could come up with is that I don’t know why I need it I just do. It took a few hours after that conversation for me to understand that I can’t ask anyone to fill me up and I wouldn’t expect anyone to ask that of me. Now he knows his issues and is working on being a better version of himself as far as affection and such. So I needn't worry about that but even in the short time we’ve been dating just knowing him has helped me realize a big thing about myself that will only help me in the future no matter how things turn out between us. The times I’ve felt super present in my life are the times like today on that airplane, seeing something so extraordinary with the Sun resting on a Sea of Gloomy clouds. Another was during a hot and heavy make out session with the man I’m dating. There was a moment when we stopped kissing and just looked into each other eyes and I thought out loud that this would either be the best or the most devastating thing to happen to me. He almost took the words right out of my mouth. Another was during New York Fashion Week at a rooftop party overlooking the Hudson River. The music was flowing, I was good and tipsy. My friends were there and we were dancing the night away. There were two beams in the sky in the distance signifying 9/11 and the Twin Towers. The song that was playing was Say a Prayer for Me by Rufus Du Sol, and then fireworks went off over the Hudson river.

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It was magical and definitely one of the best nights of 2016 for me. Another was watching and old man read the paper across from me as I sat in front of the Eiffel Tower. Another moment was seeing Tobacco Bay Beach in Bermuda for the first time and how incredibly sensational it was to see it and experience it alone. Another was getting caught in the rain in Bermuda with my friend Alicia and running wildly through the streets looking for shelter and happening upon a house two men were updating. They graciously let us wait out the rain while we had a serendipitous conversation that I will never forget about love and life. I find that I’m most present and connected to myself when I’m traveling. I love being inspired by new places and being moved. So I’m making a conscious effort to travel so that I can begin to feel more alive more often. Until it become’s natural for me to live in the moments and live in the present and give my jaw a fucking break before it actually breaks. A lot of people have talked about self care and it really is important. Do the things that make you happy. For me it’s flowers in my living room, it’s finding a good book to read, it’s drinking a glass of red wine while dancing around my living room (I do this at least twice a week, usually to Soca music). Then’s there’s traveling, which is something I will never fall out of love with because it feels good to feel alive and inspired and present. And when I’m inspired, amazing things happen. Like, say, this essay. It also came out of a need to let people know that you can be 50 years old and not have your shit together. Having your shit together is NOT THE PURPOSE OF LIFE. You may as well just die if that’s the goal because it will always be just out of reach. For me, 2017 will be about being my happiest me and creating a rocking life for myself, come hell or high water. ~

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Top: Nicole Miller, Skirt: Gryphon New York, Purse: Vintage, Shoes: Tibi Location: Upper West Side Photography by Rose Lazare

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Favorite Posts of 2016 There were so many post from 2016 that I had a blast shooting, from the slip dress shoot in Paris to the nearly all the shoots I did in Bermuda. But since we’ve already covered those earlier I want to highlight some fun shoots I did right here at home in New York City. Rose reached out to me via social media to shoot with her and it turned out being one of my best shoots of the year. She is a wonderful photographer and always fun to shoot with. I’m really happy with how the styling turned out with this all monochrome look. I also got to pull out my favorite vintage bags that I got a few years ago at the Brooklyn Flea Market. I didn’t do a lot of thrifting and vintage shopping this year. I did visit The Current Affair Vintage Popup in Brooklyn this Spring and it was one of the best vintage shows I’ve ever attended. At that show I picked up these amazing vintage culottes that I adore. This shoot was done in the West Village on the perfect little street. It was a rainy day but I love how the photos came out. It was my first time shooting with Jackie Barr who is a super talented photographer that I found on instagram. In fact my photographers for Paris and Bermuda were both found on Instagram. It’s become a calling card for finding great places to stay, eat and shoot when I scout locations for vacations and outfit of the day photoshoots. For the writing alone I loved the posts: All of my Friends Are Getting Married, Swimwear The New Athleisure and Monogamy.

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My favorite posts seem to be ones when I shoot with friends like Jen of Comme Coco or Nigel Isaiah. It’s probably because they know me best and get the best shots out of me. Like this one Jen shot of me.

Top: Ekineyo, Skirt: Lush Rebel Shoes: Alexander Wang Location Harlem Photography by Jen Jean-Pierre

Top: Zara Skirt: Tamara Mellon Shoes: Brian Atwood Location: Harlem Photography by Nigel Isaiah FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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This was one of the first shoots I did rocking my afro and I love the styling. I worked with a new photographer Nate Grant who did a wonderful job. We knocked out 4 looks this day and I had a blast!

Top: Ekineyo, Skirt: Phillip Lim, Shoes: No. 21, Earrings: H&M Location: Harlem Photography by Nate

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Essay: Making It in Fashion in New York City Nigel Isaiah, Fashion Writer & Editor I still remember waking up & seeing that I received my income tax money in my bank account, and looking at my oversized calendar that hung over my bed and randomly picked May 24th, 2014. That was the day I picked to move to New York City and after traveling back and forth from my hometown Buffalo, New York to the Big Apple for every fashion week, market week, and events in between since 2012 I said to myself, "just move already." I called my friends who already lived in the city and got their approval to live with them. Then, within the next 24 hours starting with my mother, I told my family and friends that I was moving to the birthplace of the Harlem Shake to pursue my career in fashion! I gave myself six weeks --or the way I saw it, three paychecks-- to collect the startup money needed to pay rent until I found a job and on the 24th, I was on a plane with two suitcases and my dreams of becoming a fashion editor and heading to NYC. I spent the first six months jobless --I literally got a job days before I would have had to move back home. I was wearing the same clothes that all happened to be too big at the time because I was well into my process of losing 80 pounds. And with limited funds to pay for entertainment, I occupied my time with going to the gym, window shopping at Saks and Barney's, trying on clothes and shoes that I couldn't afford because I knew that’s where I'd be shopping once I got a job. I prayed a lot; the $1500 I saved to keep me afloat flew out of my account quick so I was on Jesus's mainline daily asking him to help me make it through another month. Nobody but God helped me get through that rough patch. Fast forward to today and my three-year mark of living in NYC is six months away and life is far from perfect. I still work overnights and pick up overtime to fund the dream. My credit card bills are staring at me like: ok and we're here now so what's up? There are times when I’m just looking at God thinking, I know your word says at the proper time I will reap a harvest if I do not give up and I know you see me still holding on so umm, what’s up? But I trust his word and have found my happiness with what I have. I’ve acquired two great bylines, attend the best shows at NYFW, I can afford to ball out on Chinese food when I get paid and still manage to take advantage of every Barney’s Warehouse sale in the process. Let go of your fear to step out on faith is my advice to anybody reading this because when you look back, you'll realize that was the easy part.

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Nigel Isaiah, Fashion writer and Editor wearing: Michael Kors Coat, Public School Denim and Pyer Moss Top at New York Fashion Week. Follow him @nigel_isaiah www.nigelisaiah.nyc

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Guide to New York City 2016 Where to Stay, Eat, Shop

The Ludlow Hotel

& Party STAY: New York City has so much to offer in terms of having a kick ass time! If you’re coming for a quick getaway or even a few weeks and want an authentic New York City experience then stay at The Ludlow in the Lower East Side to be close to the party scene and some of the best foods. The Ludlow is a sexy dimly lit haven with its

Prohibition Bakery: Delicious Alcoholic Mini Cupcakes for you and your homies LES Russ & Daughters: Bagel Heaven with every time of fish and cream cheese on the planet. Also delicious fresh dates! LES Milk Burger: The best damn burger EVER! Even Anthony Bourdain thinks so. E. Harlem Neapolitan Express: The best artisan pizza is New York! E. Harlem Raine’s Law Room: The perfect hidden sexy speakeasy with delicious cocktails. Union Square Bao Haus: Get your pork bun fix at this hiphop music playing staple. Get the Chairman Bao! 14th

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own Dirty French restaurant. Or you can cross the East River and stay in Brooklyn at the new William Vale Hotel which has the perfect view of the city and a killer rooftop. To get really authentic check out Boro Hotel in Long Island City for it’s minimalistic charm and instagram worthy decor.

EAT: There is no shortage of amazing and unique places to eat, drink and get a delicious dessert in NYC. My personal favorite is Prohibition Bakery with it’s amazing mini cupcakes with flavors ranging from the Dark & Stormy to Mulled Wine. For a romantic and decadent and dinner book a table at Hillstone.

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Guide to New York City 2016 Where to Stay, Eat, Shop & Party SHOP: There are tons of places to shop in New York City! My advice is to head down to Broadway in Soho between Prince and Spring street and go to town. My favorite brick and mortar store at the moment is & Other Stories. A wonderful store chalk full or amazing clothes and accessories as well as beauty products that just made its way to the states. They just did a major collaboration with Zana Bayne too, one of my favorite in making leather harnesses and products. If you’re here on a weekend definitely check out The Brooklyn Flea Market. For knick knacks take the A, D, or 1 Train to 59th Street and check out the underground shops dubbed The Turn Style. Shops range from a hat store, to a clothing store, various beauty stores including E.L.F. and all the artisan foods your heart desires.

PARTAAAAAAY: Partying in New York City is all about the Day Party on the weekends and the Afterwork Party on the weekdays. If you don’t brunch, get with the program because it’s usually where the most lituations occur. Get familiar with these: Henny Palooza, Rum Punch Brunch and any party thrown by Paul of 1 Life 2 Live Entertainment. I pretty much partied all Summer 16’ and I had a blast. So if you’re coming to town make sure to check out the schedule for these parties in advance and cop your tickets immediately. Or have a serious case of FOMO later. <- My fro was poppin’ :) FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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Top: Zara, Skirt: & Other Stories, Boots: Stella McCartney via The Real Real Location: Harlem Photography by Rose L.

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Dezzal coat, Rachel Comey Jeans, Derek Lam bag and shoes, AIKO Sweater Location: Harlem Photography by Rose L.

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How to plan the Perfect Vacation A quick lesson in getting it right I am the queen of vacation planning. It probably has something to do with the fact that I am extremely type A. I also usually have an aesthetic in mind whenever I plan a trip. I either want authentic, bohemian, stark and modern or just whatever I’m in a mood for creating and fulfilling during a vacation. I have a knack of not only finding fashion Steele’s but vacation steals as well, from cheap flights to gorgeous instagram worthy accommodations. Here are a few tips for planning the perfect vacation. Instagram Hashtags/Geo Locations Are Your Friend Anytime I plan to travel I always search the instagram hashtag for that place as well as photos of people who have geotagged that location. It can give you tons of insight into where to stay, eat, party and the sights you should see. For the instagram photographer in all of us it also gives us an excellent window into the most instagram worthy places to shoot. I’ve done this with every trip I’ve ever taken since instagram made it’s debut. I also have a folder on my phone of screenshots of all the places I long to visit. It makes the minute details of traveling a lot easier. It also serves as a wonderful place to find photographers. (I am aware lots of you reading are bloggers as well). Here are a few examples: #ParisPhotographer, #ParisPhotography (this is how I found my Parisian photographer and it worked for Bermuda too). Book Your Accommodations ASAP Before you even think of booking your flight, secure your dates and book your accommodations first. Especially during high season travel to places like Paris or Cuba. Flights will always be available, but accommodations can be a dime a dozen depending on where and when you’re traveling. My favorite sites are Mr. & Mrs. Smith and The Luxe Nomad for finding amazing locations to lodge (but be aware sometimes booking on the actual hotel website is cheaper). Airbnb.com is always an amazing option as well.

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Vernazza, Cinque Terre Italy

How to Plan the Perfect Vacation Cont. When it comes to vacation planning you can never be too far ahead. I have 4 trips planned for next year. I actually have a travel planner and work out all the dates so that they coincide with given vacation time from work, holidays and on weeks I get paid after all of my bills are paid for the month. It works better for me to travel after the 15th of any given month. I like to travel at least 4 times a year. This year I’ll be traveling in January, May, July and September. There is room for a quick and inexpensive weekend jaunt somewhere in there as well if JetBlue graces us with some bomb sale which they often do. Speaking of which, here comes the next tip. Stalk Airlines and Flight Websites My favorites are cheaptickets.com that works well for booking flight and lodging together for a big discount, justfly.com for hella cheap plane tickets, JetBlue.com especially during their 2 days sales and airfarespot.com for amazing discounted tickets to all the dreamiest places (think Thailand, Dubai, Iceland and Italy). It’s also worth it to set up price drop alerts on kayak.com. Google Flights is another great option for finding flights, although sometimes it will have you buy two 1-way tickets instead of a round trip ticket if it’s the cheapest option.

Just Do It Don’t sit around waiting to travel because you have no one to go with. You will sit at home wishing and hoping forever. Just plan it and go! If someone really wants to join, they will inquire. I had the best two solo weeks of my life in Paris in 2013. I spent a day in Italy alone as well and had a blast. There are always people to meet and things to do so don't be afraid to go it alone! Get out there and live a little!

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Dress: Boohoo.com, Shoes: Tibi, Earrings: H&M Location: Harlem Photography by Nigel Isaiah

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Favorite Hair Care Products of 2016 I have mastered the twist out and it’s pretty much the only thing I know how to do in regards to my hair! This summer I rocked the twist out and retwisted it every other day on dry hair and topped it with a satin bonnet so that it lasted a full week to 1.5 weeks before I needed to detangle/wash and do it all again. There are only a handful of products that I have to have to detangle, wash & condition and moisturize my hair. Detangling I love using Shea Moisture 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil after taking out my protective styling (braids, twists etc). There is always a little buildup at the root and slathering the strands in this oil helps to free the build up super easy! I also love using Eden Bodyworks All Natural Cleansing CoWash for detangling as well while in the shower. It works like a charm. Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter extra Moisture Detangler with Sea Kelp and Argan Oil is awesome as well. Washing/Conditioning I am one of those people who can’t just do a co-wash. I need the cleaning agents to really cleanse my scalp and get rid of buildup. I rarely ever do a co-wash unless I'm just plain tired. I rely on Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo and Restorative Conditioner. Moisturizing and Twist Outs My go-to for twist outs is Creme of Nature Argan Buttermilk Leave-In Hair Milk. I don’t need much to set my twist out and it turns out perfect and delicious smelling every time. To feed my scalp, I do a daily spray with a 50/50 Mix of 100% Aloe Vera Juice and Water combo with a few teaspoons of my favorite oil at the moment (Argan, Almond or Jamaican Black Castor). I also love Creme of Nature with Argan Oil Strength & Shine Leave-In Conditioner. Another favorite is Optimum ALMA Silkening Oil Mist for a little shine and the amazing smell.

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This was my favorite photo of 2016! Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also the very first shoot I did rocking my afro. Top: Thrifted, Pants: American Apparel, Shoes: Tibi Location: Harlem Photography by Nigel Isaiah

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Another favorite shoot from Miami rocking my signature Havana Twists. Dress: Phillip Lim, Earrings: Vanessa Mooney, Shoes: Aquazzura Location: Viceroy Miami Photography by A. Oliva FASHION STEELE NYC 2016

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Special Thanks This year has been a pretty productive year in terms of blogging and just trying to step my game up. There were certainly time’s I felt I wasn’t making any progress but after putting this magazine together I see that I made some pretty big strides and I’m aiming higher for 2017. There are some specific people I need to thank in regards to their contribution to this issue: Nigel Isaiah, Al Malonga & Yaminah Mayo thank you all for lending me essays and interviews and just being inspirational to me. Jennifer Jean-Pierre, you are the best thing since sliced bread, you’re my ace and I love you to pieces. Vanessa Lundy and Khalia Harrison thank you for being wonderful friends and for contributing to this issue. Thanks to all my talented photographers, Nigel Isaiah, Mike Crew of LOE, Tataya Smirnova, Langre Edwards, Nate Grant, Rose Lazare, Alex Oliva and Jackie Barr. Huge thanks to my Mom and my family, y'all always ride and stan for me and I love you all so much. Thanks Alicia, Sheena and Kenecia the magnificent 3! Thank you to everyone who reads as well. I appreciate you all so much! Stay tuned for 2017!

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Fashion Steele NYC 2016 Review Magazine  

Issue Three of Fashion Steele NYC Magazine chronicles the best of 2016 from the fashion and lifestyle website where Luxury, Thrift & High St...

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