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Spring / Summer 2018


M Editor-In-Chief Miranda Jackson

Creative Director Chloe Jones

Fashion Editor

Photo Editor

Lifestyle Editor

Kara Brown

Heather Kim

Brogan Gerhart

Fashion Writers

Antoninette Biafore Lifestyle Writers Pearl Mak


Rakeb Teklehiwot

Copy Editor Asia Hester

Alyson Trager

Social Media Editor Soyoung Choi

Samantha Subin Brooke Giles


Sydney Wess

Chyna Sequeria Jay-R San Luis Nicole Gordon


Contents 4



Letter From the Editor

Summer in the City

Antoninette’s Atelier: Soft Spring



Blossoming Bloggers

Cover Story




D.C. Music Venue

To Bloom or To Boom

Travel Guide


Spring finally blossomed in Seoul, South Korea, where I am currently studying abroad. I arrived here in late-January, during one of the harshest winters Korea has ever seen. I honestly thought I’d never see flora again, but now the campus and streets are lined with cherry blossoms and everything feels at balance. Over the last four months, between classes and adventures, I fell in love with the word “serendipity.” It defines the moments in life that occur by chance in a happy and wondrous way. In Korea nothing feels predestined for me, as though all of the positivity I felt here came to me by simply being where I needed to be when I needed to be. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Korea taught me the art of slow living, of letting things come to me without plan or anticipation. Korea forced me to step outside of myself, to see how I divide my days and actually enjoy the time I’m given. I have never felt more comfortable in my day-to-day life than I do here. It made me realize I’ve never felt real balance before now. That’s new and confusing for me. But I am grateful for this city. I’m grateful for the kindness of the people, who don’t owe me the English sentences they struggle to say to me. I’m grateful for the traditions and customs, which still don’t make much sense to me but embrace me as though this too is my home. This city didn’t owe me its warmth, but it gave it extended it to me anyway. I want everyone to know who reads this that I am happy, to an extent that there are no words for. This is the state of being that I hope everyone I know and love gets to feel one day. I hope serendipity finds you soon, and that you welcome it with open arms, just like me. Sincerely,

Letter From the Editor 4 | LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Miranda Jackson, Editor-In-Chief

Summer in the City Photographed by: Rakeb Teklehiwot



Antoninette’s Atelier: Soft Summer By: Antoninette Biafore

Summer fashion is an odd dichotomy of the same-old floral stitches we know and the new sportier, refreshing trends that surface post-fashion weeks. Let the sun serve as inpsiration for the warm tones and cool fabrics that you grab from your wardrobe this season.





Blossoming Bloggers:

The Successful Fashion Blogs You Should Be Following This Spring By: Kara Brown

District Dress Up @districtdressup After completing her undergraduate degree from Loyola University down in New Orleans, Abbey Brandon dove head first into a career of fashion, politics, and digital media. She is the founder of District Dress Up, located in the heart of Washington, D.C., which has been featured in Glamour Magazine, The New York Times, and Lucky Magazine. She puts an edgy twist on classical looks, revealing that you can still be a #girlboss even with a wardrobe full of your fashion favorites. Not only can you get fabulous fashion tips from her website, but by following her Instagram, @districtdressup, you can also see what Abbey is up to living lavishly as an active woman in the city.

Claire Ashley @ claireashleybeauty Recently engaged and located in the DMV, Claire Ashley was gifted with not only a simply chic sense of style, but also with the ability to create unique and elegant makeup looks. Claire originally started on YouTube and built up her following and networks. She has had major opportunities with companies such as L’oreal and now is a TLC Beautyme host on YouTube! You can watch her blogging sessions by checking out her YouTube channel. She posts new content weekly, so you’ll always have a new glamorous look to try out!

Desirée Venn Frederic @xodvf Desiree is a fashion icon on Instagram with over 20k followers on top of being a successful young entrepreneur, but life wasn’t always as fabulous for Desiree. When she was seven years old, she immigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone, planning to pursue a degree in medicine. In 2013, she was convicted as a criminal for her immigration and was told she could no longer attend school. With her overwhelming willpower, she fought through all of these obstacles and now currently serves as a fashion blogger, artist, and the co-founder and chief creative officer of “Combing Cotton Co.,” which offers a variety of services from art direction through wardrobe styling. Desiree definitely has the passion for fashion and ambition to conquer whatever she sets her mind to.


District Sparkle @DistrictSparkle Looking for new style tips to ramp up your wardrobe and wouldn’t mind getting a few other career and beauty tips on the side? Well have no fear, founder of @DistrictSparkle is here! I am obsessed with Meghan this Spring, not only for her modern-sleek sense of style, but also for our noteworthy beauty and career tips she posts on her blog! Meghan is an incredibly hard worker, considering herself as a 9am-9pm worker, and a 24/7 feminist. After she finished at her 9-5 job as a Department of State contractor, she spends the rest of her evenings working on her blog. She is determined to prove that life is all about “dressing well for the job you have and killing the game in the process.”

Krystin Hargrove @krystinhargrove I am absolutely LOVING Krystin’s “Be Loud, Be You” vibe. She is a successful entrepreneur and all about freedom of expression, and to say the least, she is doing it best. Building herself from the ground up, she has taken her love for fashion not only into the blogging world, but she also has turned her passion into a business. She offers closet cleaning, personal shopping and styling, and interior consulting services to those in her DC community. Krystin is also the creator of her own baby brand called “Harp Noelle” as well as a the creator of her podcast series, “Be Loud, Be You.” She shows how you can be a woman who can be both a loving mother and an ambitious, driven woman.


spirited dauntless imaginative By: Miranda Jackson

A scroll through Rohini Manickam’s Instagram will make you want to quit your job, pack a van, and drive cross country to sit around a bonfire, wrapped in blankets under a Cali desert sunset. Every picture the lifestyle photographer frames encompasses the perfect balance of soft and sharp. Her eye for the perfect formula for a photo made her into one of the biggest influencers in the Washington-metropolitan area. Almost a year out of college, Manickam is now back in the Maryland area, capturing moments the way she started while at school in Detroit. We met on a rainy day in a coffee shop in D.C. to discuss how she grew her platform, what brand work is like, and what she’s up to when not holding a camera.



“I loved Detroit. I loved the city and was so inspired by it.”

MJ: So what brought you to D.C.? RM: Well I was brought up in Maryland, and I still live in Germantown. I just come to D.C. for fun and to shoot. A lot of my friends are here. MJ: What’s your favorite of D.C.?

Rohini Manickam: I was born and brought up in Germantown, Maryland. I went to school in Detroit, Michigan at Wayne State. I went there for the past four years. I went to undergrad there, and just graduated this past May, so now I’ve moved back home.

RM: The creative culture here. When I first started photography it was in Detroit, Michigan. Things are really different over there. There aren’t as many opportunities, I guess. It’s still an up and coming scene. But here the creative culture is so huge. I go to a lot of marketing and brand events for restaurant openings and things of that nature and I meet different people every time. It’s like, “Wait, I thought I already knew all of the bloggers and photographers.” But it’s just this never-ending network of creatives, and they’re all so welcoming.

MJ: Congratulations! What was your degree in?

MJ: Where do you like to photograph in D.C.?

RM: Biology.

RM: My favorite spots [include] the courtyard in the Portrait Gallery. I love that one. I always love shooting in DuPont, because even if you walk just 100 feet, the scene looks completely different. And the storefronts are so unique. It almost doesn’t feel like D.C. It has a very Euro feel, and I love that. Embassy Row, too.

Miranda Jackson: Where are you from?

MJ: How does that match up with what you’re doing now? Do you use it in any way? RM: I would say those two parts of my life are pretty separate, disjointed. One path of my life is science. I’m currently in the post-grad program at NIH, so I’m pursuing that. But I consider photography kind of a hobby. I do it entirely for fun. I do brand deals occasionally and make money through it occasionally, but it will always be for fun. Something just to get my creative juices flowing and destress. I love editing. It’s just something that calms me. MJ: I’ve found most photographers eventually fall in love with that process.

The thing about shooting is that I don’t really like having a go-to spot. Because I like having the next thing. I never want to reshoot the same area. I want to keep exploring. So I have favorites in terms of spaces I really admire in terms of architecture, like at the Portrait Gallery. But in terms of shooting, I can’t really say I have a favorite because my favorite is always going to be the next thing I get excited about. MJ: Where do you want to explore next?

RM: Yeah! With me, I love shooting, I love editing. It’s when it comes to actually posting on Instagram that I become kind of lazy. It’s like I already did the fun part.

RM: The Wharf.

MJ: So what is your day job? RM: The post-grad program at NIH is a full-time job. I work at the drug development unit of the neurology science translational center. I guess could call me a post-grad fellow. So my project is kind of screening drugs and small molecular compounds that can treat the neurologically degenerative effects of HIV.

RM: The thing about shooting is that I do it when I’m already out with friends and having fun. So a lot of the time I don’t go out [specifically] to shoot and take photos. It’s like I’m already doing things and I see something I love and I have to whip out my camera to take a picture. And that’s my favorite part about shooting, when it feels organiz and I don’t go out of my way. I like just living my life and then being struck by inspiration.

MJ: Is there something you’re working towards right now? RM: Just treating HIV fundamentally.

MJ: Why do you do photography? What attracted you to it in the first place?

MJ: Would you shoot down there or go for fun?


RM: I like the stories you can tell with it. And the fact that when people see something you create it can instantly evoke a mood or feeling within [them]. I like how the possibilities are endless. When I first started photography I was super in to minimalism. I wanted everything to be white. A couple years later, my style is completely different, and these days I feel more inspired by light and textures, and I’m not afraid of color. MJ: What’s your favorite photography project or photo from 2017? RM: [In 2017], I was lucky enough to work with some really amazing brands that I never thought was possible for me. The biggest ones were just for this past holiday season. I worked with Lauren Ralph Lauren and Aerie. I worked with La Colombe, which was really exciting because they’re D.C. local and I pop into their coffee shops all the time. It’s one of those brands that it’s just such a “me” brand where I feel really connected to the project. MJ: What’s been your favorite collaboration then? RM: That’s hard. There were so many I was excited about but


they’re for such different things. I feel like every other photo [on my Instagram] is a collab, because I do so much brand work these days. In terms of my favorite collaboration, considering the brand and my experience working with them, it would probably have to be Lauren Ralph Lauren. I’ve never worked with a brand that was so professional and efficient and great at communication. Sometimes brands can be hard to work with, because they have such a specific vision of what they want out of it. It’s the best experience when a brand gives you full creative control and puts their trust in you as a creator because they know what to expect from your past. That doesn’t happen that often. I think the best collaborations are when I work with a brand that I actually don’t know about before they reach out to me. I love when collaborations introduce me to something that I love so much that it becomes a part of my everyday life. There’s been a few skincare brands like that, like OZNaturals. They really changed my skincare routine. Even though they’re a small start-up brand, they do amazing work.

It feels more authentic when I’m able to say I love the product that I work on. MJ: How does photography feed into your passion for fashion? RM: I think I would call myself a photographer before I call myself a fashion blogger. Even though I post outfit pictures of myself, I would say I composed almost everyone of them. So the person who’s taking my photo, whether it’s a friend or another photographer or even my mom, I tell them the vision of the framing, how I want it to be shot, where to stand. I think some photographers really appreciate that because I already know what I want and it’s very specific. But it can also be annoying because I’m very picky and want exactly what I see in my mind. I don’t think I would call myself exceptionally stylish or fashionable. I love anything comfortable and cozy. Those are two things I’m not willing to give up just for fashion. I think that shows in the outfits I post. Most of them are very simple. They’re always things that regular people would wear day-today. So when I post these fashion photos, it’s not just to document

the outfit, it’s to document the scene and capture a moment. My outfit posts aren’t just outfits. It’s not about that. It’s not about me. It’s about where I am, what I’m seeing. MJ: Who or what inspires you most? RM: I’m most inspired by textures. I’m inspired by the movement of fabric. So when I first started doing fashion posts, I’d be very stationary [in the photo]. But I’ve moved away from that. In the photos I’m now walking or something. I want there to be movement in the fabric. MJ: Is there a particular fabric that when you see it in movement makes you want to photograph it? RM: Anything crepey, or with folds. My favorite thing is a really chunky sweater. So like when you’re just cozy and can see the folds in the fabric--the way light hits it and the shadows [appear] in the folds--I love that. It adds depth and an additional element to a photo. Even having a folded up blanket in a lifestyle photo just adds such a nice element of coziness and another texture that’s interesting. MJ: What’s your favorite thing in your closet?


RM: Probably my Daniel Wellington, the one with the black face. I wear it every day. It’s one of those watches that’s perfectly petite. It’s stylish, it’s fashionable, but it’s not clunky. I wear gloves 80 percent of my day at work, so I want to be comfortable. I don’t have to sacrifice that with this watch. MJ: So Instagram is your main platform. How did you grow that platform? RM: To be completely honest, I think I’ve had a very unique experience with Instagram and growing my platform. If anything, my growth has declined. The reason why I made my Instagram profile was the year I started college in Detroit was the same summer that Detroit filed bankruptcy. It was a really interesting time for that city. I heard a lot of terrible things in the news about Detroit. All of my family and friends were like “I can’t believe you’re moving to that city.”

to like 50,000 in a span of a few weeks, because that’s just the influx of attention your account is getting. I became one of the biggest influencers in Detroit almost instantly because people just weren’t doing lifestyle photography in Detroit at the time. It gave me that leg up. It was kind of hard freshman year being that person always taking photos to post, but this gave me a lot of validation to keep going. MJ: Has Instagram ever caused you any problems now that it’s become a much more saturated platform? RM: Recently, I’ve definitely felt less inspired by it. I still shoot and edit all the time, but I don’t post nearly as much as the content I’m actually creating. Because once I get to that stage I kind of lose my interest almost. It’s changed so much since I started. MJ: What benefits does the platform have for you?

When I moved there... it was like any big city, you have to be careful. But I loved Detroit. I loved the city and was so inspired by it. The problem was, at that time, the Detroit photography scene was really caught up in this trend of photographing abandoned buildings. There was just this culture of what they called “Ruin Porn.”

RM: It’s still a large source of inspiration for me. When I first started, I was doing fairly colorful lifestyle photography of Detroit. And then it went to minimalism, which I’m sure was inspired by Michigan winters. How cold and dead and white it is. Now I’m inspired by a lot of content creators on the platform.

It was cool to be go find abandoned buildings to break into and take awesome pictures at. That’s what people did, and I was horrified. Because they were feeding into this horrible reputation. People are seeing these things online about Detroit, but if you just check across the street there’s this great store that I go to all the time. Why aren’t you taking pictures of that? Why aren’t you promoting their business and what’s actually here and thriving?

MJ: Who are your favorites? RM: [Erica Choi] (@eggcanvas) has been one of my favorites since the beginning. She was one of the people that I followed five years ago. She was doing [photography] in New York and I was like “Wait, I can do that in Detroit.” She was a huge inspiration to me.

I was really frustrated by that disconnect of the creative culture not celebrating the life in Detroit. So I started Instagram to become a lifestyle photographer as someone who’s having a great life in Detroit, someone who is supporting small businesses and being inspired by the spaces that are thriving.

RM: When I hear “blossom” it makes me think of a transitional period. You’re not really a flower, you’re growing and changing and becoming something greater.

MJ: This edition’s theme is “blossom.” What does that word mean to you?

MJ: What advice do you have for people in 2018? One year later, in my sophomore year, I was at like 800 followers. Out of nowhere, I received an email from Instagram saying “You’ve been chosen to be an Instagram suggested user.” The way that works is it’s a two week process where they promote your account. They don’t do it anymore. That’s kind of why I’m here, because it helped me jump up

RM: Stay authentic, but it’s okay to change. To blossom, if you will.


D.C. Concert Venue Guide

By: Sydney Weis

Established in 1993, the Black Cat is one of the older D.C. venues in operation that caters specifically to smaller acts. However, the Black Cat has hosted countless several artists that have achieved great fame such as The Killers, The White Stripes and Ke$ha.

Though the Rock & Roll Hotel isn’t an actual hotel, it’s no stranger to rock and roll. This iconic D.C. hotspot opened in 2006 and has something for everyone: underground alternative artists, electronic dance DJ sets and plenty of food, rooftop bar included.

Even The Foo Fighters performed a pop-up show there in 2014, thanks to co-owner Dave Grohl (who just so happens to be the group’s front man).

With a capacity of 400, The Rock & Roll Hotel is located on H Street NE, an area that’s recently become an artsy haven among the more serious D.C. political scene.

The venue’s main stage room has a capacity of 700 and is styled with retro black-and-white tiles and old pinball machines. The room’s bold, unique atmosphere definitely lines up with the eccentric yet entertaining indie, alternative and rock acts that come through the place.

Some believe that the club is haunted, as the venue’s previous function was a funeral home. There have also been reports of mysterious slamming of bathroom doors and encounters with spirits themselves.

Pros: Long-standing venue with a killer reputation for putting on great shows, good variety of acts, and accessible via Metro. Cons: Black Cat is old school -- cash only.

Ghosts or no ghosts, the Rock & Roll Hotel is a lively D.C. venue that provides a dynamic concert experience with some of the best underground acts in the alternative music scene. Pros: Diverse genres of shows, close-up experience, and you get to party with ghosts. Cons: A bit of a walk away from the closest metro stop, Union Station.

28 | MUSIC


Songbyrd, established in 2015, is the newest venue on the list. It does not provide the same high-energy nightclub experience that many other D.C. venues are known for either.

“UHall” is all about producing the best live electronic dance music experience. If you’re looking for high-energy performances with superb audio quality to match, look no further than this DJ-owned venue.

Located in Adams Morgan, Songbyrd is a functioning café, restaurant, live music venue and record shop all in one. The main floor houses the record store, restaurant and café while the venue is in a space downstairs. The acts tend to be more suited for a café: jazzy, ambient and laid-back, which makes for a unique live music/ dining experience.

The space may be relatively small with a capacity of about 500, but it is known for its top-of-the-line sound system that is sure to keep everyone dancing all night long.

Pros: It’s every millenial’s dream: a café and a cozy, casual venue Cons: The sound can be distorted at times due to a slightly deficient sound system. The downstairs area is not considerably ventilated so it can get pretty hot on a crowded evening.

As its name indicates, UHall is located on U Street, just a short, one-block stroll away from the U Street/Cardozo Metro station, so there are plenty of places to eat around the venue before a show. Pros: Best and most powerful sound system in D.C.. Top electronic acts performing at a smaller venue. Cons: UHall focuses primarily on DJ sets and electronic dance music. If this isn’t your thing, you may want to look into other venues.


s o l l B ssom lora m o o f o l l B aTolBlossom s B o r o ss l f om Blo a ss r o o l l B als f oom r l o B l f m ss o l B o o l B om s B l a ss r o o m l B osso fl om Spring is all about growth and rebirth, both in our landscape and in our music. Check out these up-and-coming artists who are “In Bloom” this spring season.

“Glitter & Gold” - Barnes Courtney “Pleaser” - Wallows “Cool” - Zack Villere “Circus Show” - Keyon Harrold, Gary Clark Jr. “She Said” - Sundara Karma “Lotto in Reverse” - Alex Lahey “watch”- Eillie Eilish “Mausoleum” - Raffery “Lil Thing” - Knox Fortune “Felicity” - The Night Café “The Feeling when You Walk Away” - Yves Tumor “Gatekeeper” - Jessie Reyez “Black Smoke Rising” - Greta Van Fleet “Best Friends” - grandson “Why Do You Feel So Down” - Declan McKenna “Television Romance” - Pale Waves “How Can I Compete” - The Magic Gang

By: Sydney Weiss

30 | MUSIC

r s o l s l l a f a r r m lo lo f f To Boom ss m o m o l o Blo B m l s o a l r a loss flo m B o m ss o m l s o l B a ss r o l m f o s m l o o l a B lor loss lor f ls B f m ra oom m There comes a time in every woman’s life when she comes into her own. A moment when she allows herself to be free, but still in control. A moment when she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to ask for it. These songs capture that liberating moment when a woman lets her voice be heard, an energy every woman should feel in spring.

“Woman”- Kesha “Can’t Hold Us Down” - Christina Aguilera ft. Lil Kim “Control” - Janet Jackson “I Can’t Get No, Satisfaction” - Britney Spears “Don’t Touch My Hair” - Solange “Primadonna”- Marina and The Diamonds “Sit Still, Look Pretty” - Daya “ScheiBe” - Lady Gaga “Hey Ladies” - Destiny’s Child “None of Your Business” - Salt-N-Pepa “Jason’s Song” - Ariana Grande “I’m Every Woman” - Whitney Houston By: Brooke Giles


Executive explorations


Oaxaca MEXICO By: Heather Kim

This past winter I had the chance to study abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico! Going into this experience, I had hit a low point in my photography career, not remembering why exactly I decided to pursue this passion for a lifetime. Coming out of it, I came to a realization. It was around day six. My fellow peers and I had just finished our first projects, which was interacting and documenting a particular family in Oaxaca. The silences caused by our language barriers were nothing compared to the laughter, shared smiles and love we felt between this family and us. When it was time for us to leave that family, we drove away and waved back to them until they were nothing but specks in the distance. A vibrant pink sunset filled the sky, its colors so heavy that they almost seemed to drip onto the landscape, and I knew then that a part of my heart had been left in Oaxaca forever. I wrote down that day, “this is why I do photography. To observe the hearts and hands of those that I encounter.” And I hope to hold this true until I can hold a camera no longer.

Una parte de mi corazón Los Mercados de Oaxaca - Markets around Oaxaca selling everything from livestock to dried pig skin to dried grasshoppers to balls of cheese. Really, anything you wanted. La Familia – We spent three days with this family. Originally pushed out of their town because of religious prejudice, they have been living in Oaxaca for about 10 years now. Abuela made the best tortillas I have ever had. Capindo – A school in Oaxaca specifically for students with down syndrome. Never in my life had I smiled for such a long period of time. The love was tangible in this space.


Barcelona + Madrid SPAIN

By: Chloe Jones

Edificio Metrópolis, Madrid

Casa Batllo, Barcelona La Sagrada Família, Barcelona 34 | TRAVEL

Seoul KORE A

By: Miranda Jackson

A slow spring finally flowered in Seoul. I left a toxic job right before the cherry blossoms bloomed, and that felt incredibly serendipitous. With Mondays and Wednesdays now practically void of responsibilities, my roommate and I take those days to appreciate the moments in the city when the sky is clear of pollution and the rain doesn’t leave yellow dust all over us. These days I’m practicing the art of slow living. In Seoul, time just moves differently for me.



Union Station By: Pearl Mak

From buses to Boston to trains downtown, Union Station has everything a D.C. commuter needs to get just about anywhere. Taking up a whole city block, the massive station splits about half of its space with transportation services and half of it with retail.

five-dollar candy shots, which all look like whimsical treats. You must try the caramel macchiato martini, American honey cocktail or the ocean blue cocktail. Union Station allows you to take in its grandiose architecture with its newly remodeled arched ceilings and monument-styled design while letting you shop around.

Don’t want to go anywhere? Located just blocks away from the lively H Street corridor and a seven-minute walk away from the U.S. Botanic Garden, Union Station is a For that reason, the station is also a beacon for photoggreat place to rest your feet while others around you bustle raphers looking for a beautiful shot of D.C. architecture. to their next destination. The three enormous arches in the front of the building gives a regal ambience to the building structure, and the The station offers many stores and dining areas such as light in the lobby is so bright and clean against the marbleUniqlo, H&M and Shake Shack. It ranges from Walgreens ized flooring. It’s also a great place for a clean background to Ladurée, offering you flexibility in how much you want for outfit photos. to spend. Driving to Union Station is generally not simple and parkA personal favorite spot in the station is Sugar Factory, ing can be a real pain. Taking the red line metro into the a bright and colorful candy store with a built-in bar. It station is a less headache-inducing alternative. From the certainly stands out from the other stores and gives a nos- metro it is super easy to find the docking garage for all of talgic ambiance when you step in to see candy dispensers, the buses going out of town as well as the Amtrak trains glass jars overflowing with candy and lollipops bigger than upstairs. Because the station is fully indoors you can go your face. anytime of the day—rain or shine—and still have a great food and shopping experience. Sugar Factory’s happy hour goes from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. They serve six-dollar cocktails (17 dollars originally) and


M Magazine Spring/Summer 2018  

Welcome to the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of the fashion and culture publication, M Magazine!

M Magazine Spring/Summer 2018  

Welcome to the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of the fashion and culture publication, M Magazine!