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Spring? S P R I N G I S J U S T A R O U N D T H E C O R N E R , S E E A L L T H E M U S T H A V E I T E M S C O M I N G U P T H I S S E A S O N


FLAME Editor-in-Chief  Karis Battle

Creative Director Contributing Photographer

Karis Battle Jason Prince

EDITORIAL OFFICE +1-704-412-2158  |   info@iloveflame.com

www.iloveflame.com

FLAME MAGAZINE |    2


WHY FIT IN, WHEN YOU WERE BORN TO STAND OUT?!


TABLE OF CONTENTS

06 07 11 24 26 30 30 46


UNLEASHING YOURÂ INNER GEM

MELANIE MARTY THE POPSTAR REVEALS WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO COME OUT TO HER PARENTS

PRECIOUS GIRL


UNLEASHING YOUR INNER GEM

EDITOR'S NOTE I’ve always struggled with finding somewhere to “fit in” slowly realizing I was always meant to stand out. As I got older, I appreciated the moments (big and small) where I stood out- those were the moments that counted. Some- one once said, “why fit in, when you were born to stand out?!” – this is now a mantra I chose to live by and so should you! FLAME is just the place for anyone struggling with the same thing. We aren’t here to put you in a box, we celebrate individuality and what makes you a unicorn. At FLAME we incorporate quality and versatility in fashion and the surrounding creative industry. The FLAME reader embraces fashion with an open heart and mind. One who’s style represents youth, sexiness, eccentricity, individuality and makes a statement- whether physically, emotionally, politically or socially. We do not stray away from bright colors, prints, or patterns and have found the perfect way to incorporate originality and style. The FLAME reader embraces fashion with an open heart and mind. We follow trends but are not afraid to set our own. We are edgy, chic, versatile, bold, fresh and young at heart. We showcase our talent, express individuality and inspire those around us. We connect with like-minded individuals who feel at home and express ourselves freely to those who need us, love us and/or aspire to be us. All while leaving a lasting impact on the fashion and creative industry. So welcome all my unique unicorns! We hope you enjoy!

~xo Karis FLAME MAGAZINE |    6


BEHIND THE LENS Meet Jason Prince, entrepreneur, photographer and videographer. We got a chance to catch up with Prince to ask him some questions about his photography/videography business and take a step behind the lens.


I am a family man from Durham, NC. Proud husband, and father of three children, two boys and one girl. Soon I will be welcoming a new baby boy. I love people, community and technology. I am passionate about using digital media to help others capture and tell their own personal and unique stories.

I do mostly event photography and weddings. Events are a great space to use the power of creativity and storytelling, to help my clients preserve memories, capture moments, and tell their own stories through digital media. I love capturing the candid and natural moments, in contrast to prompted studio work. I also love capturing the emotions of people as we celebrate, laugh, and even cry, making those experiences timeless.

The most challenging thing for me is controlling light. Lighting is very challenging to control, manipulate, and use. Light is also a thing of wonder and beauty. Unnderstanding exposure, color

balance, and mastering shadows and highlights, is always both exciting and frustrating. Nothing like those times when you look back at the photos and you nail a shot you were trying to get and the light I do about 6 events per month, and plays into the photo, giving you that perfect about 4 photo sessions. I would like to do more balance, and mastering shadows exposure and mood. and highlights, is always both exciting and frustrating. Nothing like those times I think of myself as photo ninja. I am great when you look back at the photos and at watching people and anticipating what’s you nail a shot you were trying to get and going to be a great photo. Watching for the light plays into the photo, giving you those smiles, those embraces, silly children, that perfect exposure and mood. etc. I love to be on the move, and look for different angles, whether it’s getting low, shooting through and around objects, I think of myself as photo ninja. I am climbing high, or just trying to find a new great at watching people and perspective, I am in constant pursuit of the anticipating what’s going to be a great shot that’s going to speak to and capture photo. Watching for those smiles, those the essence of what's going on around me. embraces, silly children, etc. I love to be on the move, and look for different angles, whether it’s getting low, shooting through and around objects, climbing high, or just trying to find a new perspective, I am in constant pursuit of the shot that’s going to speak to and capture the essence of what's going on around me.

“"The most important element of a photo is the humanity captured in it” ~ Jason Prince

FLAME MAGAZINE |    8


ALWAYS FEED YOUR PASSION AND LET IT SPEAK THROUGH EVERYTHING YOU DO.


On a day of shooting, I start by checking equipment, and dumping memory cards. Usually gather and load equipment well in advance of the event. I always try to arrive at events, and shoots an hour early. I use the hour to prepare, look around, Although the term "celebrity" is often intended to refer to famous individuals, it is also commonly used to refer to anyone who has had any moderate public attention in media, regardless of how well-known they are beyond their niche. Successful careers in setup, look at lighting, angles, and get a feel for the environment I am shooting in. After shooting, load up and return home. On non shooting days I spend a lot of time, editing, preparing social media posts, uploading photos, researching new techniques, and following up with potential new clients. I am really getting into the groove of having regular business. Not really scary, but I am also an ordained minister, and once I showed up to take photos and ended up having to perform the ceremony. I performed the wedding and then we did the whole thing over so I could take photos. That was truly a once in a lifetime experience. My proudest moments are when I walk in a client’s home or business and I see my photos on their wall. Seeing my photos on display in intimate and personal spaces is always cool. I also love when groups make me their official photographer. Building the ongoing relationships is always a joy. It speaks to my love for community. I get to become a part of the people I am serving. Always stay on the side of realistic. I don’t like photos that look fake or processed.

How many sessions do you do per month? I do about 6 events per month, and about 4 photo sessions. What do you enjoy most about your work? I enjoy the people. The raw, sincere emotions. The storytelling, when I am doing video. What is your best photography tip for aspiring photographers? Always feed your passion and let it speak through everything you do. Value people and relationships, and always see yourself as a servant. When I go to events, I am there to serve and blend in. The moment I step into a space or event, it's no longer about my brand but it's about making my client or my client’s brand stand out and be great. I shine by making others shine. Going back to passion though, I feel strongly that we should all fight fiercely to find the things we love and do that. If we can find that it’s much easier to give ourselves, focus our energy and be great. FLAME MAGAZINE |    10


NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

COLLECTION REVIEWS

I LOVE PRETTY


“Pretty” just took a whole new meaning. And we’re here for it! i love pretty SS 2020

Written by KARIS BATTLE Photo by  AREA Passion, Romance and Femininity. That’s exactly what I Love Pretty brought during there Spring/Summer 2020 NYFW debut show. The show exuding all of the elements the brand stands behind without missing a beat. Who isn’t all about a brand that supports a woman (man) dressing exactly how they wanted and supports independence and fearlessness? Opening with a silk loose fitted pink suit setting the mood. Femininity and edge met hand in hand. Some of the silhouettes included sheer and see through garments, structured metallic stripped jumpsuits, wide leg trousers, layered ruffled skirts, chain link dresses and accent bust line corsets. The music set the tone for the change in looks. The colors portrayed the story from start to finish. The pink tones seemed to help pull against the black to help tell the story of“Break[ing] Free.” The metallic, lights and whites transitioned from the darkness into finding yourself and “Soul Salvation.” And the “Transformation and Rebirth” was a touch of sunlight finally shining through with yellows, neons and greens. It truly felt like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The accessories and prints featured syringes and stopwatches. From Swarovski crystal bedazzled syringe clutches and earrings to mini glitter sunglasses. To up the edge, looks also came down the runway styled with chain and leather buckle garters and collars. “24Hours Online” silver plated belts and “Don’t Look At Me Like That” slogans on mesh bodysuits. And if that wasn’t “pretty” enough for you, check out the glitter chunky platform sneakers paired with most of the looks.


PASSION, ROMANCE & FEMININITY.


A syringe printed evening gown- sure why not? Chain linked dusters and dresses made powerful statements with feminine silhouettes. Caged corsets and portrait printed tees were mixed and matched with a variety of bottoms. Closing the show with a clear pearl beaded dress featuring a white high low tulle skirt. And oh of course, let’s not forget the bedazzled electrical tape like nipple cover and thigh high boots. The makeup was edgy with pops of color and crystals, just like the clothes.

Pretty just took a whole new meaning- jump on the boat, or get left behind. There were braids, straight hair, curly hair and even no hair- clearly not meant to be the focus of the show. Gone are the days where pretty meant delicate and refined. People felt confined to fit into this standard box set by God knows who. Today we’re taking ownership of mental health and depression, soul seeking and rebirth, and being free to find inner peace and happiness. Pretty just took a whole new meaning- jump on the boat, or get left behind.


NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

COLLECTION REVIEWS

AREA


FLAME MAGAZINE |    16


"Victorian inspired gold caged armor like accessories were over laser cut garments and simple silhouettes."


FLAME MAGAZINE |    19


NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

COLLECTION REVIEWS

SON JUNG WAN


Who Needs Accessories When There’s Oversize Polka Dots? son jung wan SS 2020

Written by KARIS BATTLE Photo by  AREA Polka dots. Stripes. Floral prints.. All in bold and vibrant colors. Paired with glitter bow platform heels. The looks were made for anyone looking to turn heads while walking down the street or runway. In true Son Jung Wan form, pretty and chic was found gracefully donning the runway during the Spring/Summer 2020 show. Models looked like angels with rays of sunlight scaling down length of their dresses. Waists were cinched with oversized bows, sharp tailoring and ruching. Dress, skirts and blazers with ombre and contrasting flowers resembled gardens. Some even with textures making the print come alive. Ultra feminine silk dresses draped in the shape of delicate flowers in pastels and pink metallics. Contrasting cutout rompers paired with matching flowy sleeve blazers. Sequins and accordion pleats were mixed in with evening wear and deep v-neck pantsuits. There were multicolor diagonal striped jumpsuits and dresses reminiscent of the 70s or rainbow swirl lollipops. Asymmetrical hems, mix and match prints combining polka dots and stripes, interesting crinkle textures, balloon cold shoulder sleeves, one shoulder and off the shoulder looks. The looks were modern with a touch of chic, skin was revealed in classy and interesting ways. The hair was like beach waves flowing in the wind and free and makeup was light and natural. No accessories, allowing focus to rest solely on the looks. Who needs makeup or accessories with an oversize polka dot baby doll dress? Thanks to Son Jung Wan- summer just got a little bit brighter.


"Ultra feminine silk dresses draped in the shape of delicate flowers in pastels and pink metallics."


BEHIND THE RUNWAY We got a chance to catch up with Cho after her NYFW Spring/Summer 2020 runway show to dig deeper into her inspiration behind hishercollection and more.


Describe your creative process for us. What steps do you take when you’re working through a project? I feast on desserts and pray for a few days to get myself into a spiritual place, and then I'll start getting ideas. One of my favorite things to do is to set aside time just to eat, pray and design. I always design multiple collections at the same time, which helps keep my collections consistent. I believe in slow fashion, and I intend all my designs to become classic investment pieces that will remain fashionable for at least a decade. Since you continued to be inspired by 1960s cinema, who is your past and present muse? Queen Elizabeth II, Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Princess Grace, Queen Rania of Jordan, Duchess of Cambridge. Were there any other aspects outside of 1960s cinema that inspired this particular collection? Jacqueline Kennedy, Princess Grace and vintage Givenchy suits.

Which look from you Spring/Summer 2020 collection was your favorite and why? I always use my favorite look as the 1st look. This look in particular, combined everything I'm passionate about. It's made with 100% linen, my favorite fabric for summer. It's pink, my favorite color. It's tailored in my signature CHOCHENG cut, which is based on traditional Savile Row tailoring -- only softer, more feminine, and using 100% natural material. It's accessorized with vegan handbag from Italy and vegan shoes from Spain. Most importantly, it is a happy look. Why is it important for you to use sustainable fabrics and what has been the biggest challenge in doing so? Sustainable and natural fabrics are more comfortable to wear -they are soft, supple and breathable. Sustainable and natural fabrics are more

One of my favorite things to do is to set aside time just to eat, pray and design. ~ Cho expensive and require a lot of handwork during production, but fortunately, I cater to a clientele who value comfort and craftsmanship above everything else. I am in the process of becoming a vegan brand and the main challenge is to steer my customer away from cashmere, which is considered a luxury status symbol. I currently use up cycled cashmere, which is a sustainable cruelty-free practice, but ideally, I'd like CHOCHENG to become a vegan-clothing brand in the near future. FLAME MAGAZINE |    25


Model Brenleigh Rigsbee Photographer Jason Prince Stylist & Producer Karis Battle Hair/Makeup Paul Mitchell


Right: Top /Skirt Karis Earrings/Belt Shein Gloves Amazon Left: Top/Skirt Karis Necklace Steve Madden Pendant Betsey Johnson Earrings Shein Gloves Amazon


Top/Tulle Skirt Karis Skirt Stylist Own Earrings Shein


Top/Socks/Shoes Stylist Own Dress Shein Skirt Karis


For as long as I can remember, NYFW was always a dream of mine since I was young as most others of us in the fashion industry. I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to sit where the Anna Wintour’s, Nina Garcia’s and Tim Gunn’s sat and enjoy that same experience. I’ve always loved and appreciated fashion shows and although I’m not into wearing the latest designer fashion- I have a great appreciation for designer fashion and trends. When I first began in fashion, I was so intrigued with attending fashion shows that I begin to manage and produce shows. I thoroughly enjoy the back of the house and producing such a grand event. Of course, being comfortable gaining experience in

the back of the house- I ended up being and end late, and most days, food (or stuck there. rest) was not involved. However- the pros definitely outweigh the cons- so don’t let So once I finally had the opportunity to anyone tell you otherwise. even be considered to attend NYFW- I ran with it! Now in my third season of Day 1 I literally stepped off the plane and attending. I’ve had the pleasure of headed straight to my first show. Thank attending numerous shows. goodness for having amazing friends that support you and pick you and your I was able to attend over 20 shows during luggage up from the airport. Day 1 is the NYFW Spring/Summer 2020 season. always the most exciting. You’re able to Now of course, as the saying goes “the get into the groove of being in such a grass is always greener on the other side.” special place and around other likeAttending shows is an amazing minded and industry professionals there experience that I wouldn’t trade for the to experience the same as you. Although world- but as with anything else, it’s not all like most others, I’m here to do a job glitz and glamour. My days begin early reporting and documenting what’s

coming next season, always super excited to see colleagues and friends that I’ve met in previous seasons and connect and meet new friends and business opportunities.

innovative, beautiful and representation because the show had a lot of looks that of my African heritage and culture. were representative of my personal style and aesthetic. I fell in love with the faux The Supima Design Competition was fur with bold graphic prints, bright colors probably one of my favorites of the day and lace. EDGII’s concept literally because it was a design competition describes me in “encourages girls to featuring fashion design students from believe in and express their inner self – Fashion schools across the states. I had The EDGII girl is confident, brave and the privilege of covering this show and independent and should be celebrated.” interviewing one of the contestants in the And come on, who seriously doesn’t show from Academy of Art University, want to be a Powerpuff Girl? Lihn La. Interviewing is one of my favorite things to do because I get a chance to Day 2 I was able to catch up with my meet the person behind the designs and friend and fellow journalist. It’s always get a bit more insight on who they are nice to have a friend to enjoy the shows and their inspiration behind the together- because since the days are so collection. One of the reasons I like seeing hectic and packed there is no extra time the designs from the Fashion schools is to see anyone if they’re not participating because these designs are always overly in NYFW. The day started with creative with no limitations. The simply Damowang’s “Multi-modal Expressiodesign for art purposes versus selling. nism of WU XIA in modern times” collection. The collection was full of heavy EDGII’s “The Powerpuff Girls” personal prints, bold colors and structured collection was also another fav of the day garments.

My first show of the day was Blancore’s debut collection, inspired by water. The collection was filled with sheer pastel. Next up was Dirty Pineapple who’s “Recycled Love” collection was layered with printed body part garments and nudes. Gender blending and androgynous garments, mix and match separates, oversize blazers and graphic hoodies were just some of the looks that came down the runway. Another one of the shows that I thoroughly enjoyed was Made in Africa featuring a collective of designers like Eliana Murargy and Maxhosa. I loved this show because the designs were


ATTENDING SHOWS IS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE THAT I WOULDN’T TRADE FOR THE WORLD


No Sesso’s, “I’d Rather Rescue Myself” collection, was the final show of the day. The collection told a story of a “superhero named Valentina and follows her as she saves the day, travels to the beach, runs her business, goes to parties, and has a day-today life that mirrors their own.” Day 3 was a pretty busy day. So of course, it was the day I had to have a wardrobe malfunction- we’ll get to that later. The day started with Taoray Wang, a collection full of “tailored suits in sheer mint greens, oversized sleeves with jewel embellishments, black lace, and monochromatic prints.” Next up was Son Jung Wan. I was super excited to see this season’s show as I miss it last season due to a time conflict with the previous show and not being able to make it on time. Yes, you will miss shows- it’s almost impossible to make every show given the time constraints, locations, traffic and just energy it takes to tackle NYFW alone. It was totally worth making Son Jung Wan a priority this season. The collection was full of bright colors, bold prints and had a luxurious feel.

Since we had a small break in between shows, we decided to take full advantage and grab brunch at Banter NYC. This was probably one of the few days I had a real meal. Yup- don’t plan to eat during NYFW unless you pack a lunch. Between standing in line waiting to get into a show (which is guaranteed to start late especially if it’s at Spring Studios) and running from venue to venue, there’s barely time to breath, much less eat. In true journalistic form, we stumbled upon Soho News International on the way back from brunch and of course had to have a quick photo-op inside the store surrounded by magazines galore. I Love Pretty had to be my favorite collection of the day. The brand and collection created such a statement down the runway- telling a story of finding inner peace and happiness. The collection spoke to my inner self and was beautiful. I always enjoy going to the Concept Korea shows due to being able to see an array of designers all with different aesthetics. It’s always so interesting to see these emerging desi-

This was the day I was finally able to catch one of the Fashion Gallery New York Fashion Week (FGNYFW) shows, the Designers Collective. This show featured designers Aakofii, D’Marsh Couture, House of Sadia, Magic & Melanin Designs and I had the privilege of being invited to Patrick de Padua Power by Ambitious. one of the NYFW talks hosted in Spring Studios during the week. This was Elf Sack was a collection inspired by the probably the highlight of the day Chinese zodiac. The garments featured mix because it was an intimate setting with and match items perfect for street style. NYFW Front Five panel. The panel included designers Jason Wu and Kym Ok, so here’s a quick story time on my Shui, models Halima Aden and Lily wardrobe malfunction. I had a break in Aldridge, actress Luna Blaise and E between my hectic day but decided to Entertainment host, Erin Lim. The talk head back towards Spring Studios since was insightful and offered a little bit of my last 3 shows were there. I noticed a detail into each of their lives and their small thread hanging from my beaded impact on the fashion industry. Jason cape, so what did I decide to do? Pull the Wu happens to be a designer who’s string of course. Beads literally began designs I thoroughly enjoy so it was falling on the floor of my Uber pool. I’m great to have such a moment to learn literally trying to tie two ends together, so more about him and his story. I also love the doors of diversity that Halima has my entire cape doesn’t come apart- in a opened. She is such an inspiration for so moving car with a little boy staring at me trying to figure out what I’m doing while many and being able to hear her story and views on the industry and I’m trying not to give him a show, he’s way just life in general was not only too young to see. Frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe my mood. I’m just insightful but empowering.

gners and what new innovative trends they are bringing to the conversation. Designers featured in Concept Korea’s show this season were LIE, IISE and Leyii all from Korea.

FLAME MAGAZINE |   33


hoping to have a solution by the time I get to my drop off on how I’m going to continue my day with no access to my suitcase. I get to my drop off- and immediately begin searching for a boutique or clothing store. Finally, I come across Mystique Boutique and run inside. I was so excited to find a top that not only worked with my outfit but looks almost identical to my hand beaded cape. Nope, NYFW wasn’t taking me out on this early. On to the next set of shows. The second half of the day was definitely one of my favorite days. First up was Area, a show I was crazy excited to be attending for the first time. The show was glamorous filled with Victorian, 80s and 90s vibes throughout. Looks featuring name logo matching looks, ruffled mini dresses, and millenarian puffy sleeve jackets. With shiny and colorful accessories to match. Chiara Boni La Petite Robe was literally a production. The show opened up with singing Queen of Hearts mom and daughter duo, Pat and Anna Cleveland, strutting down the runway commanding attention. The collection was a mix of evening gowns and maxi dresses with a cowgirl feel. Finally, Chromat ended the night. I love that Chromat is all about creating a new standard for fashion and what is deemed as acceptable or aspiration. This show as probably one of the most diverse shows I saw this season. The edgy swimwear line was full of different races sizes genders. Day 4 I was able to go to a few presentations and the Academy of art show. What I love about presentations is the relaxed feel and you’re able to and the explore the looks at your own freewill. Starting with, Hanh Merriman, a desert mountains Utah inspired collection. The collection was full of “comfortable yet chic, using strong lines, wide shapes, crisp whites, classic denim blues and gold color pallet.” Next up was the Academy of Art show. At this show, I was able to do what I love best and interview front row guests. It was also exhilarating to be among some of the journalist that inspire me like Suzy Menkes and Cathy Horyn. Just like the Supima show, I was happy to see innovative designs from the fashion students. Last up, was the Daily Front Row presentation. The Daily Front Row’s events are always a great time and a chance to mix and mingle with industry colleagues. It was also nice to be able to get up close and personal look of multiple collections and be able to touch and feel them versus just coming down the runway.


Day 5 shows consisted of Sandy Liang, Hogan McLaughlin and Chocheng. Sandy Liang’s debut show was full of neons mixed with neutrals, tulle and playful prints. Hogan McLaughlin’s collection as chic and feminine. With structured and mixed media garments, touches of leather and tailored silhouettes. Chocheng’s 1960’s movies inspired collection featured breezy monochrome and candy-striped looks with a mix of soft tailoring, shift dresses, crop jackets and minis. Day 6 I was able to see my first outside show. Cynthia Riley took over an alley with her Dr. Seuss themed runway. The show was full of child-like prints, color blocking, and flowy garments. The runway definitely put you in the mind of the places you’ll go with the resort wear silhouettes. Following up with the Bibhu Mohapatra show where I also was able to meet the designer, Bibhu Mohapatra, and have a quick chat with one of my favorite R&B singers Deborah Cox. Bibhu was also the mentor for the fashion student who participated in the Supima Design Competition. The show was full of elegant evening wear. Kim Shui’s collection used traditional Chinese style fabrics to create sexy, revealing and party-like garments. Liu Yong x Rishikensh ended my day with their street and punk style collections featuring bright colors, metallics, and graphic prints. Day 7, the last and final day, I was of course super tired and ready to call it a week but I had one last show to cover, Ryan Roche. The collection, opening with the designer’s daughter, Luella Roche and two best friends, Storey Littleton and Celia Babini singing a cover of the song Distance by Emily King. The collection was full of ready-to-wear cashmere knits and classic silhouettes. Although still feminine and full of romance, there was definitely a hint of menswear influence featured in the collection. From the oversized pants and puffy shoulder blazers to the tailored knee-length shorts. The collection was full of monochromatic looks from muted neutrals to soft blues and then finishing off with a vibrant cherry red. New York fashion week is always a great time from the shows, talks, mixing and mingling, after parties, street style photo-ops and just pure fashion. I’m always in awe of the new, fresh and innovative fashion that I get to see in addition to being in the same room as some of the people I grew up aspiring to be. It’s such a blessing, to say the least to be a part of such an exclusive, although now much more inclusive, group of people that inspire, empower and create a new tomorrow. FLAME MAGAZINE |    35


Model Diamond Divani Photographer Jason Prince Stylist & Producer Karis Battle Hair/Makeup Karis Battle


Top Forever21 Dress Shelby & Palmer Accessories Shein Gloves DooWay Shoes Shoe Republic


Top/Pants/Socks/Accessories Stylist Own Blazer JoS Bank Gloves Babeyond Shoes Karis


Top Forever21 Dress Amazon Gloves Fstrend Shoes Touch of Nina Accessories Stylist Own


Top/Pants/Accessories Shein Blazer J. R. Nites Shoes Karis


Just the other day, I was checking my emails and stumbled upon an email that grabbed my attention. “All NEW Goodiez Just Dropped,” the subject read. Now I was uber excited to see what new goodies had dropped, because I had been stalking this one pair of shoes and just praying, wishing and hoping they came back in stock. I clicked into the email and a bright guava dress instantly caught my eye. Although, the reason it caught my eye wasn’t because it was “New AF” as the email suggested, but because the dress looked very familiar. So of course, I immediately click into the email to confirm my thoughts. I begin browsing through the newly dropped collection eager to see more in hopes to see the designer I was familiar with attached to the line. Eagerness immediately turned to disappointment and to no surprise, I instead found items that were a clear knock off of the ones I expected to see. Not one, not two but the entire collection was poorly made replicas of one of my favorite Instagram designers, Oyemwen. This however wasn’t the first time this has happened and sad to say, I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Dollz Kill @dollzkill / via Email

Oyemwen @shopoyemwen / via Instagram.com FLAME MAGAZINE |    47


Accountability and research.It’s clear the designer they commissioned for the collection has a host of other unoriginal items they’ve “created” attached to their brand. Which just further proved and validated my point. Sometimes size doesn’t even matter. Smaller designers sometimes steal from other smaller designers as well, and just because they may have a larger following or platform- it makes it ok somehow. Last year, designer Iris Bonner of These Pink Lips called out another designer and Basketball Wives LA reality star, Angel Brinks of Angel Brinks Designs about copying her custom design made for Cardi B and selling a version of it in her online boutique. Sonique Saturday called Gucci out for stealing her "real/fake" bag design and brand Jeantrix blasted Alexander McQueen for stealing their entire aesthetic. These just name a few. Unfortunately the list goes on.

Where is the accountability? It's a shame these designers and brands feel its ok to steal instead of at minimum paying homage on where they received inspiration from or better yet commissioning the original artist/designer for a capsule collection to feature their work. Or, here’s a thought. Is it too difficult to be inspired and create your own version based on that inspiration? What a concept. On the flipside unlike these larger designers, who accept no accountability, I will credit Angel Brinks for not running from the callout and immediately addressing it admitting she purchased the item wholesale without knowledge. She instantly took the item down from her website and removed the promotion of the item. Kudos to her for attacking the issue head-on and hopefully using this as a lesson learned to be careful on where you're purchasing items from and how important it is to do your research.

Angel Brinks and These Pink Lips / @thespinklips / via Instagram.com


It seems these days that larger and more well known designers/brands lack creativity and believe they’re able to get away with stealing from smaller designers thinking no one will know. Well the jokes on them because just like them, these designers have built up a following and are well known in their own right and community and deserve to be treated as such. Just like Oyemwen, I knew instantly where the designs originated from, because I am apart of the community she has built. Like the saying goes, someone is always watching, so do the right thing.

So the question still remains, is copying still the highest form of flattery? I do believe that ship has sailed.

FLAME MAGAZINE |    49


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Profile for FLAME Magazine

FLAME Magazine Volume 1: Spring 2020  

Spring is HERE, see all the must-have items coming up this season!

FLAME Magazine Volume 1: Spring 2020  

Spring is HERE, see all the must-have items coming up this season!

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