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hen preparing for this issue I thought one thing, it had to be light and yet it had to be jam packed. How would my Creative Director and I go about making that happen? It wasn’t that we didn’t have the talent, quite the contrary, with Steven D. Hill coming back, and new comer ByronGeorge both bringing us fashion forward looks for fall, with “Pocket Lint Couture” and “White Out”, I knew we had something great in the works and there was nothing to worry about at all. Plus having Rachel Stewart grace our cover for her feature, “A Southern Jewel”, made things even better. We had a loose theme, anything fashion forward, and paired with our light page count, any kind of fashion that depended on being organic and good for the earth. That’s where our two Fashion Editors came into play by finding two labels, Calista and Brigid Catiis, which sell fashion for the conscious buyer. Then there’s Mae, of Natural Chica. Page 14 com, who celebrates everything natural when it comes to hair and styling on her blog. Finally we close with “A Potential Idea” from Dawn Oroko, an art editorial about a woman trying to find herself, which I think is a good message for the month, if not all year long, really.


While I thought that pulling off a mini issue would be a breeze, basing on the fact that we do 100 pages or more usually, I found that focusing content and getting the best out a feature is a challenge, but more than worth it in the end. Does this mean the end of an LSMAG 100+ page count? Of course not, you’ll have to stick around for part two of our big fashion issue due out next month to see that. Until then, add us on Facebook, follow our tweets on Twitter, and stay glamorous! - Angela Clay, Editor in Chief


: 04 EDITORIAL Steven D. Hill is back with a look at denim and couture

14 The duo behind label Calista A PERFECT PAIR:


“White Out” by ByronGeogre

STORY: 30 COVER A Southern Jewel - jeweler and artist Rachel Stewart

LOOK: 40 ABrigidGOOD Catiis is a label you need to get to know now

52 A BLOGGING BEAUTY: We sit down

with Mae, of

IDEA: 56 AArtistPOTENTIAL Dawn Okoro returns with a collection of her past artwork in a art editorial about finding yourself

LSMAG Angela Clay Editor in Chief

Creative Director Joseph Young Fashion Editor Arushi Khosla Fashion Editor Alexis J. Beauty Editor Sareta Gabriel Editor at Large Steven D. Hill Contributors ByronGeorge Dawn Okoro Traci Moore Clancy Mclain Randy A. Angeer Le Muah Ask Wendy Columnist Wendy Poindexter

Photographer: Stevin D. Hill Styling, Hair and Make-up: Traci Morore Talent: Clancy Mclain





By Arushi Khosla Photos courtesy of Calista

Designing a collection is definetly a more than one person job. The beauty of it is when two ideas make something everyone will love Brigitte Kum and Sofia Shannon, the creative heads behind Calista, pair their differing styles together to create a collection of some of the most wearable pieces around. Thanks to Brigitte, their line of unstructured dresses and tops is an ode to menswear and androgyny which remains the inspirational focal point in their vision behind the Calista label. While Brigitte is big on the edge, Calista co-designer, Sofia, veers towards the more feminine. The pair currently reside and work in New York City, and our Fashion Editor Arushi Khosla the scoop on just how the creative process behind their RTW line works.

LS: How did you two meet? B&S: We interned together at Three As Four. It was our first taste of the New York City fashion scene, really- it was a lot of fun! LS: In what way did your upbringing and your diverse backgrounds affect your design aesthetic? BK: I grew up in a very grounded, average, suburban setting. I can’t honestly say that my upbringing and childhood directly influenced my style. I think my style has always been intrinsically dictated by my curiosity of what is outside of the norm - the more colorful aspects of culture. I credit my mother for influencing my taste for high quality and value. SS: I grew up in a very creatively inclined and laidback environment in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My mother is an artist who remains a key influencer in my personal style and aesthetic. She is the absolute definition of casual elegance, but with a sharp twist. What I love deeply about my Argentine culture is how women have a special ability to look natural and effortlessly chic. It’s always super spontaneous and carefree. LS: What inspires you? Movies, TV, pop culture in general, bloggers, magazines, artists, celebrities? B&S: Like everyone else in today’s age, we consume copious amounts of media but we can’t say that a particular source has greatly inspired us. Our take on inspiration is that it comes from many

“Our take on inspiration is that it comes

from many sources - images, hip girls on the street, a trip to Uruguay, etc.- which are collected and rendered by the subconsciously and subtly translated into the lines of what we create.”

- Brigitte & Sofia

Winter 2010 looks from Calista’s newest line. Cover page and left: Jackie Lace Dress, $337.50. Above: Brigette Fur Qultied Jacket, $506 worn over Joan Lace Tank, $94.50. Make-up by Eliven Quiros with hair by Tara Jean.

Above: Marion Biker Jacket, $495, paired with Margot Lace tee, $121.50 and Lulu Fur Necklace, $112.50.

sources - images, hip girls on the street, a trip to Uruguay, etc.which are collected and rendered by the subconsciously and subtly translated into the lines of what we create. With that view in mind, inspiration is not something that is actively sought, but something that needs to be channeled because it is already present around you, in whichever form. LS: According to you are the three most stylish cities? B&S: We’re biased to our hometowns- New York, Buenos Aires and of course, Paris. LS: Where do you see Calista going in the future? B&S: We want to expand and reach more people, but we still will always stay consistent in designing for the Calista girl. We really try to stay in the moment and focus on one season at a time. LS: So who is the Calista girl? B&S: The Calista girl is intelligent, sexy and strong. Her curiosity about life makes her a natural traveler and explorer. She wants to experience the most best and most beautiful of what all is out there, whatever life has to offer. Her passion for music, art and philosophy impacts who she is as she evolves through time, but is never lost from the past; it is always with her; inventing and reinventing. She is the source of inspiration.

LS: Keeping that in mind, who are the top three women you’d like to see in your creations? B&S: We don’t have specific public figures or celebrities in mind. We prefer to see real women in our clothes. LS: What happens when the two of you have design ideas that are diametrically opposing? B&S: We have worked together for a while now and the reason we do what we do so well is because of our subtle differences in taste. We only agree about half the time, the other half we either let in small ideas from one side or meet in the middle. Meeting in the middle is where our creativity comes from because it is when both our imaginations come into play and form one piece collectively. You can find out more about Calista and shop for their pieces at : Above: Joan Lace Tank, $94.50. Left: Natalie wears a Jamie Gingham, also available in pink and hazel, $83. Inda Scallop mini, $225.

All Clothing by Calista Photographer: Yudi Ela Echevarria & Erika Hokanson Hair: Tara Jean Make-up: Eliven Quiros Model:Natalie Suarez, Photogenics LA

OUT Photographer: Randy A. Model: Angeer Hair: ByronGeorge Mua: Le Muah Fashion Styling & Concept Director: ByronGeorge

Photographer: Randy A. Model: Angeer Hair: ByronGeorge Mua: Le Muah Fashion Styling & Concept Director: ByronGeorge




By Angela Clay Photos Rachel Stewart and Chris Charles of Creative Silence



hen I found Miss Rachel Stewart I felt like she was the type of person who was approachable and would share her knowledge with anyone. I went back and researched other articles and blogs that have been written on her and one thing stuck out the most to me; she considered herself a “Country Girl”. This made me stop and think… most people think of country as cowboy boots, farms and hee hawing, but that wasn’t Rachel and further more it wasn’t how I saw myself. When I interviewed her and read various quotes she has made, it evoked many memories in me about how I saw myself as a country girl; living in rural Louisa County, Virginia and stepping out in the 90’s with my African print T-shirts and all of my black, yellow, green and red accessories. Though many thought that I and my friend were some kind of strange fruit we kept a twist to our style and that is exactly what Rachel does. Through her art, designing of new and eclectic jewelry, she keeps inspiring and bringing back those fond recollections of long ago. So from one bucolic girl to the next always stay country sweet but city fresh... I present Rachel Stewart.

LS: You are very talented and deeply involved with many artistic projects, could you tell us about some of them? RS: Right now, I am focusing on marketing and developing my jewelry line, I always consider myself a painter, and jewelry is just an extension of that. LS: I was thinking if I ever moved North Carolina would be high on the list. What is the art and fashion scene like where you are? RS: Well North Carolina is not known for being the trendiest place BUT we have a large underground art, fashion and music that have been gaining momentum over the past 10 years. Art is a very important part of North Carolina, and there is no shortage of galleries, museums and boutiques, all we need is a stronger representation of black women artists. LS: With technology on the rise do you feel that art galleries are dying and people are moving away from the traditional gathering? Does the internet have a negative or positive influence on art? RS: There are some things that will never go away, no matter how much technology is available. For instance the use of libraries and

{COVER} A collection of Rachel’s art. Below: SPACE GUMBO 5x6 ft. Left top: SMASHING ATOMS 4x5ft. Left below: HIDDEN GALAXY 5x6 ft.

paper books have declined over the years so has the need to travel to the great museums to see masterpieces. But there is always the need for the physical presence of art and artist because the computer screen can never evoke in you the feeling you get from seeing a great piece of art in person, great art evokes feelings and that can’t be duplicated on a screen or from a printer. The web has had a positive influence, how else could people know about artist like me? Or get the opportunity to purchase art with a click of a button? Or even get a chance to communicate with an artist you admire? LS: What are some of your future goals that you have in the works? RS: In the future I want a gallery of my own, it will be a gallery of music, art and photography, and unlike galleries that I’ve dealt with in the past, I won’t ask you where you have been seen, or who you’ve had a show wit. If your work is good, I wanna expose it, and I won’t take 30% of your money.

LS: Are you self taught when it comes to your art and jewelry making, or did you attend an educational institute? RS: I’m self taught in every way, I never got any formal training and I’m glad I didn’t, my work would not be what it is now, it may have been better or maybe worse…at least now It’s ALL ME…good or bad…lol, which is a good thing! LS: What has been your favorite project to date in your career? RS: The best thing I’ve done is donate a piece of art to the Works of Heart auction for AIDS research that takes place yearly in Raleigh NC, I donated one of my favorite pieces and I plan to be a part of it every year. LS: Did I leave anything out you feel is important? RS: Hmmm... if you have an idea, thought or inclination to do something, DO IT, don’t seek anybody’s permission or look for approval, the most famous women in the world NEVER did.

Find more info on Rachel Stewart online at :

See more Creative Silence at :




LOOK By Alexis J. Photos courtesy of Brigid Catiis


hen I hear “eco-friendly clothing,” the first thing that comes to my mind isn’t exactly stylish clothes – it’s more like drab, bleak clothes that only eco activists with zero fashion sense would wear. Which is why I was excited to learn about Brigid Catiis, every piece of clothing in her label is made from recycled, reclaimed or sustainable fabrics which means that each and every one of her gorgeous pieces is 100% green. Raissa Gerona, the talented designer behind all the fabulosity co-founded the label with her boyfriend Damien Sritapan(who is her business partner as well the Creative Director of the brand). The label is named after Raissa’s late grandmother who not only greatly influenced the designer but also taught her to follow her heart and her dreams which is what got her to where she is now. Launched in 2008, the label iaims to “Do Good.” In June 2009, they started using sustainable fabrics (which were made with natural and renewable fibers, without pesticides and didn’t require much land or energy to produce) that were locally made in Long Beach, California. And as if they aren’t already doing more than their bit for our environment, the label also donates 5% of its total earnings to non-profit organizations. I was lucky enough to have a chance to sit down and talk Raissa and here is an excerpt for your benefit.

Looks from the Brigid Catiis Fall line. Previous Page: STRIPED SKIRT, $68. TUXEDOED JACKET ,$102. RACERBACK TANK TOP $40. This Page: STRIPED TANK TOP,$48. LEATHERED SKIRT, $80.

LS: Why did you choose to be a designer, did you always want to? BC: I didn’t always want to be a designer, actually. I studied law in college and thought I was going to be a lawyer my whole life. Fashion really entered my life through vintage shopping and then I gradually started remaking vintage clothes and designing right after college. I chose to become a designer because it’s fulfilling.

scend seasons. I just want clients to feel like themselves in the pieces- confident, independent and know what they want. LS: How did you start in this industry? Do you have any formal training? BC: I started with vintage shopping then I became a vintage buyer for a store in NYC. I did this for about 1 1/2 years until I started my own business. I did not have any formal training.

LS: When did you come upon the realization that you’re fashion person, and essenLS: Do you think going to school for tially, a designer? designing and receiving formal BC: I think right after training is important to excel in college. Again, I began my Fashion really entered my the business later on? “journey” with fashion life through vintage shopping BC: That’s tough question simply through vintage and and then I gradually started because I don’t have formal thrift shipping. I became remaking vintage clothes and training and I’m still able to obsessed with it. Then, designing right after college. design. I think it’s helpful when I started to re-work I chose to become a designer because it teaches you the the pieces and make them basics as oppose to having because it’s fulfilling.” my own, that’s when I realto learn everything for your- Raissa Gerona ized that this was a job that self, which personally, I don’t I could really do. mind. In all honesty, I think that whether or not you go to LS: Is there a specific age group of fashschool, you can never be taught how to be ionable woman you are trying to cater? a designer, because that’s all personal, or BC: Not really, I mostly see women in their how to run your business. Both of these, early 20’s and 30’s wearing Brigid Catiis. to me, are instinctual.

LS: How would you describe your design aesthetic? Has changed it changed at all? BC: I think my aesthetic does change over time and grows from one season to the next. But at the end of the day, my aesthetic will always be fun and sexy, with prints included and wearable pieces that can tran-

LS: But do you think fashion is something that can be taught interested people? BS: Again, a yes and no answer. Yes, because you can be taught how to sew, make a pattern, etc. No because designing comes from within- not a teacher or a book. It’s your perception, that can never be learned.




BANDED DRESS, $85. Creative Director: Raissa Gerona Art Director: Erek Vinluan Producer: Damien Sritapan Photographer: Cel Jarvis Stylist: Kecia Clark for Celestine Agency Hair/Make-Up: Juanita Lyon for Celestine Agency Talent: Rachel Prescott at Vision Models

LS: If you had a mission statement that you been following, what would it be? BC: Just do it! I know it’s Nike’s slogan, but I use it all the time. You won’t know unless you just try and make it happen. I think half the battle is just convincing yourself to try something or to do something. After that, you’re committed. LS: What kind of woman do you thinkwould wear a Brigid Catiis piece? BC: A woman who’s smart, confident, independent, worldly, thoughtful and just knows herself and what she wants! LS: What has been the best part of being a designer throughout your carreer? BC: Designing. It’s super fun and even more fun when you see it on people! LS: What, according to you, has made the collections such a hit with people? BC: I think simply because it’s wearable and relatable, fun, fresh and fashionable. LS: What do you think makes Brigid Catiis different from other brands/labels? BC: Quite a few things. Firstly, we’re an eco-friendly company. We use vintage and organic materials. Secondly, we’re in tune with what our clients want. So, like them, we evolve, but always stay true to who we are. And lastly, we’re not afraid to use lots of prints and color! LS: Can you give our readers and insight into what a day in the life of a super busy, uber successful designer is like?

BC: No, I can’t! laughs I’m super busy, but not uber successful! But yes, my day is crazy. I get up at 6:30 am EVERYDAY. I start my day with coffee and emails. I then usually have to go to Downtown to get samples, fabrics, buttons, work on production, meet with stylists, work on the blog, and the list goes on and on. From 11-4, I’m literally running around. By 4:30, I’m home, shipping and writing final emails. I try to be done by 6:30, but that usually doesn’t happen! LS: Working in the fashion industry is pretty risky. One minute you’re in, the next minute you’re out. Did this have any effect on your choice to be a designer? BC: No. I think with all businesses and professions, you just have to be active, meaning, constantly working so that people are aware of who you are, actively growing the company so that you’re designs start to evolve, actively in the media, actively in good stores so people know where to find your stuff, etc. It’s a lot of work, but if it’s something you love, then it’s worth it. LS: Any parting words of advice for the novice designers reading? BC: YES! It is a lot, a lot, a lot of work to be a designer. Always remember the good ‘ole saying, you have to love what you do. It takes so much out of you and the only way you will continue to move forward, is if you truly love designing and fashion. Without it, it’s easy to give up.





By Angela Clay Photos courtesy of

At one time if you had dreadlocks, an afro, twist or braids no one in the corporate world would hire you. If you had the pleasure of getting hired you would have to adhere to the company policy of sleek and “well maintained� hairstyles. Yes, all of this is about hair! If a person was born with a birth defect people would be understanding. Now

if you speak about African American hair it becomes a touchy subject. What would happen if there was no Madame CJ Walker to create relaxers, then what? What if the straightening comb was unheard of? Naturally we would have to make do with our natural tresses. As the founder of naturalchica. com, Mae, runs a rapidly growing website that discusses everything about natural hair and beauty. She educates and encourages women who want to let go and liberate their strands. If you have been thinking about being a part of a growing movement read on and be encouraged to take the plunge. LS: What made you want to go natural? NC: My two younger sisters were my initial inspiration to make the journey towards having natural hair. They had started their own transitions to natural hair long before I did, and it was

amazing to see how healthy their hair looked once they stopped using relaxers. When I told some of my friends (who were natural) about my interest in going down that path, they were eager to share with me all of the wonderful resources online geared towards women like me who wanted to make the transition. I was so encouraged when I saw the beautifully diverse textures and styles that were abundant online and couldn’t wait for my own journey to begin! LS: Why do you think so many women are leaning that way right now? NC: This is a hard question to answer because in the many emails that I get through my site, you would be surprised at the plethora of reasons women give for going natural! For some, they believe relaxers are too expensive and want to save money by going natural. For others, they are purely curious about seeing their natural texture after not seeing it from the time they were little girls. However, the most recurring reason I see is that relaxers are damaging to their scalp and going natural is the only way they can save the hair on their head. Whatever their initial reasons were, in the end, many women express the empowerment they feel by embracing their natural tresses. LS: For me it was and has been an emotional journey why do you think it’s that way? NC: Until I went through the journey myself, it was hard for me to understand why a transition to natural hair could be such an emotional experience for many. One of the most

important lessons I learned in my experience is that you can’t allow what other people say and do, dictate how you view yourself. I can still remember many of the comments directed towards me, insinuating that I was more attractive with “long, pretty hair” and what was I thinking by chopping off all my hair leaving me with this “bush”. In the beginning, these comments hurt me to the core and really did a number to my self-esteem. At the same time, these remarks eventually also led me to realize that as long as I was happy and felt confident in my own decision, then it really didn’t matter what others had to say. This way of thinking permeated throughout other areas of my life and really helped to grow my confidence in who God made me to be and gave me the strong desire to help uplift others! LS: Tell us about your blog? NC: My blog,, began a little over a year ago as what I thought to be a simple way of documenting my transition to natural hair. I thought it would be great for me to keep track of my hair growth as sort of a “self-encouragement” tool throughout my journey. It honestly shocked me when people outside of my friends started reading my blog and would tell me that my posts had encouraged them to begin their own transitions. From that point, I decided that I wanted my site to be a place where people could find encouragement in their own journeys. The site is always evolving, but you


can always find stories of those who have recently gone natural or have been natural for years, profiles of businesses that cater to natural hair & natural products, as well as posts of inspiration and encouragement. I still chronicle my journey from time to time on the site, but my YouTube channel (Nikkimae2003) and Facebook Fan Page (NaturalChica) are places where I really keep up-to-date with that now.

With her blog Mae chronicles her life and hair styles, as well as opening the blog up to users to voice their own opinion about hair and fashion.

LS: What do you do in your free time? NC: Besides the blog, a lot of my energy goes into maintaining my YouTube channel (Nikkimae2003). My vlog acts as a partner to my blog where I can give visual demonstrations on how to care for natural hair. However, it also acts as a window to the other passions in my life, which include singing, photography and education. LS: The future for NC: I really consider it a blessing to see how much the site has grown over the past year and my main goal for the future of my site is that it will always be centered on providing useful information and encouragement to those who stop by! Check out Mae’s blog at: Naturalchica.comcom

click here to view Mae!





An art editorial and foreword by

Dawn Okoro

My artwork is about people watching and how lived experiences shape myself and those around me. “Potential Ideal” is a painted narrative about a young woman who is trying understand who she is, in a world that seems to be telling her who she should be. To create image sources for my paintings I photographed a model in my studio in some of her favorite outfits. I also staged poses of her holding counterfeit designer handbags. It is of great importance to this young woman that she attain the perception of glamour. One of the ways she tries to attain this perception is through the use of luxury items. Luxury items are a way to send and receive social signals. In many cases, they are used give the perception of having disposable income. For adults and teens brand names are a way to get into a circle. When I was in middle school, if you didn’t wear popular name brand jeans, you were a nobody. Most of us strive for individuality, but we end up becoming knockoffs of each other. Even though luxury items can get you into the circle, that perceived content is short lived. Eventually, a person’s true personality has to stand on its own.

View more of Dawn’s art at :

Liberating Style: Sept.2010 Mini Mag  

Starring Rachel Stewart!

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