wornmagazine washington, dc
never out of season
worn magazine.spring/summer 2010 4
WORNOUT Highlighting original Washington style.
Worn Magazine is a DC born publication intended to bring greater awareness of DC fashion and art to the District and the nation. It is our mission to advocate the importance of style and art in the community by producing a magazine that encourages readers to use both as a means of creativity and self-expression. We believe these mediums have the ability to showcase what people have in common, rather than what divides them. By partnering with local artists and promoting local businesses, we strive to make DC a more art and style-conscious city with a wider acceptance of various forms of personal creativity. Check us out behind the scenes at www.WORNMAGAZINE.com
BLACK BLOOMS Featuring clothing from Redeem, Treasury, and REALM jewelry by Jesse Walker .
DECOY SAYS, “DARN.” Alicia Cosnahan, better known as the street artist DECOY, dishes on street art and her place within it.
COLOR CONTAGION The men of Golden Means are powerless over clothing from DURKL’s Spring line and footwear from Palace 5ive.
MARVIN MEN Sheldon Scott and Lukas Smith compare ideas on creativity, fashion, and the future of the DC arts community.
Worn Magazine is funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
WORDS Dutch Derringer breaks down style and fashion, a la mode Française.
out Leslie Blodgett lives along the H Street corridor and wears many hats at a non-profit near Eastern Market. This hat, however, was discovered at the Salvation Army on H Street. The dress was a by-product of a free clothing exchange the females in her community have adopted as a seasonal tradition. Christylez Bacon (left) is a progressive Hiphop artist from Southeast DC. He graduated from Duke Ellington School of the Arts and was nominated for a Grammy this year. We spotted him entering a consignment shop on Connecticut Ave. in Dupont Circle.
Jonathan Harris is renowned for making some of DCâ€™s most inventive and delicious cocktails at The Gibson on 14th Street. We stopped him for a picture on the way to Sunday brunch at the Tabard Inn.
Photography & Styling by Nicole Aguirre Make up: Maricarmen Hinojosa
Photography & Styling by Nicole Aguirre
Kai-aakman sleeveless wrap vest, Feral Child mesh long leggings at REDEEM, Vintage hat. Opposite page: Vintage Blazer at TREASURY, Love Brigade Dream dress at REDEEM, necklace REALM at realmjewlelry.com
Vintage hat, vintage skirt at TREASURY, bra by Victoriaâ€™s Secret, Steel Waterfall necklace by REALM at realmjewelry.com, Next page: Kaiaakmann Zip Up Vest and Coolotte shorts, REALM necklace at REDEEM.
Interview by dutch derringer
DEC O Y I S O N E O F T H E M O S T P R O M I N E N T artists in DC’s
street scene, and one of its very few women. A self-styled “ninja,” she’s never to be seen without a very red hoodie on her back and AllStars on her feet, and wherever she is, she got there on her fixed-gear cycle. She’s badass. DECOY, however, doesn’t fit the stereotype of the street-artist as rebellious urban tough: she grew up with Joan Baez rather than Public Enemy and she’s drawn as much to folk-art as graffiti. So, despite the violently inverted shadow-play of ‘Eat Your Heart Out,’ the sado-masochistic irony of ‘You Kill Me,’ and the soon to be iconic bellicosity of ‘Rihanna,’ you should know that DECOY is a peach. She’s just plain . . . nice. For example, when you say, “damn,” DECOY says, “darn.”
In the traditional hip-hop model, the street artist’s career begins with a tag and everything else flows from there. The act of spraypainting on a public wall is usually an illegal one. Here, more than in hiphop’s three other branches, the nearly universal use of monikers and nicknames serves a practical function: monikers make street artists anonymous, thereby protecting them from the legal consequences of their actions. Hip-hop conservatives, hearkening back to Wild Style’s still-hilarious culture-clashing of gallery owners and subway bombers, argue that it is precisely the subversive illegality of street art that secures its authenticity as an alternative art form. The transformation of Alicia Cosnahan, starving artist, into DECOY, nocturnal graffitrix, suggests that a different, richer perspective on street art is possible. By her account, she began as an artist with too many paintings and nowhere to show them. “These huge canvases were just sitting in my apartment,” she explains, “and I didn’t know where to begin (to find an audience for them). I just wanted people to see them, you know? So I built these stand-alone frames and prepared to put them on the street.” Her first street project never actually hit the pavement, as some of the pieces found gallery placements and, from there, buyers. The act of planning an unsupervised street ‘exhibition,’ however, implies that a crucial step had been taken. Alicia had decided and believed that it was more important that her work be seen than that it be protected, with all that entails. With all due respect to Fab 5 Freddy, what allowed Alicia to become DECOY wasn’t her willingness to do illegal things. In her case, it was her belief that the value of her art inheres in its accessibility and visibility rather than its materiality and scarcity. From an art-historical perspective, this type of thinking is revolutionary. To get an idea of this, consider the following: DECOY relishes the fact that people “change” the public work of her and her friends. She relates a story of one such “change,” thus: “someone pasted up a cool image of two people boxing. At some point, someone else came along and ripped half of it down. By a
Table of contents and back cover illustrations by DECOY.
Photography by Joshua Yospyn
trick of perspective, the resulting image appeared to be two people hugging.” This is a charmingly ironic turn of events, unarguably, but what would we say if the same “change” had been administered to one of Raphael’s nudes? Considering, further, that a street ‘display’ may include the dispersal of 100 repetitions of the same image, the shift from gallery to alley is seismic.
The aesthetic revaluation put into play by street art has a similarly resounding impact on the art world’s murkiest and most skeleton-riddled closet: the problem of ownership. Consideration of the many careers made out of both the forgery and authentication of art is enough to show that the possession of art has meant an awful lot to an awful lot of people, and so for an awfully long time. Here, again, Decoy offers a refreshingly novel perspective.
“Let’s say,” she offers, “that someone pasted a piece up on a chain-link fence. If somebody else wanted it bad enough, they could cut the fence around it and take it home. I think that’s cool. I mean, I know I like it when my work is ‘collected’ in that way. You have to really want something if you’re going to put that kind of work into getting it, and maybe someone can’t afford to buy art, should that stop them from having it?” Art dealers, feel free to shift in your seats. . . On the subject of ownership, what about the people that own the walls where street artists work? Is there a subversive thrill in breaking the law for art? “It’s not fun if you’re scared,” she replies, “and that’s one of the reasons I prefer to paste rather than paint. I’m not really destroying anything.” And what about that hypothetical fence? “Hey, in that case, you’re the vandal, not me.”
DECOY in her Northwest DC apartment showing her skateboard illustrated by Owel.
DECOY’s apartment in Northwest DC doubles as a studio space and art collection. On her bag sits a piece made of tape by the artist Mark Jenkins.
Photography & Styling by Nicole Aguirre
durkl spring collection/palace 5ive shoes
MARVIN MEN Photography by Joshua Yospyn
YOU MAY NOT KNOW THEIR NAMES but you probably know who Sheldon Scott and Lukas Smith are. They are two of the super-stylish gents at Restaurant Marvin, which is generally recognized as the style hub of the U Street corridor. Beyond their contributions in the realm of style, they are also plugged into the DC arts scene. Sheldon, when not managing Marvin, is a performance artist, actor, and monologuist. Lukas, in addition to being a reviver of the classic cocktail, is also a writer on etiquette, art, style, and a budding accessories designer. Our Laura Masterson met them at Marvin to discuss their views on DCâ€™s art scene, where it is, and where itâ€™s going. The conversation began, naturally, with style.
stuff. The fact that we’re called upon to do a bit more means we reach out to each other and we are going to be a closer knit community of disparately interested, creative people. Lukas, you’re a writer and currently in the beginning stages of a new project. Can you tell us about it?
How would you describe your own personal style? SS: Respect and admiration for the male form. Accentuating what the male body has to offer. LS: I’m the opposite, comparatively conservative. I’m drawing very heavily on the 60s and 70s. My major style influence is my grandfather. He was a fairly conservatively dressed southern gentleman. Always wearing his hat to leave the house. Wore a suit jacket everyday, didn’t take his tie off until he got home, and I suppose that’s a major influence. What is your most treasured article of clothing? SS: My eyewear. I would say that’s pretty much my most treasured piece. I go shopping once or twice a year and I pick up a piece every now and then. LS: The thing that draws attention to what you’re wearing is going to be something special. I usually wear some sort of firearm. I didn’t actually realize how country I am until I moved up here. What is your view on the current DC creative renaissance and what do you think is driving it? SS: It’s just getting to a point where people are proud to be a part of D.C. It’s a city that is all itself. And I think people are starting to embrace that. It’s starting to really strengthen the community and I think when that happens you start to build the infrastructure. I got tremendous support in my own creative interests and I feel like that’s just going to continue. Things like this magazine, new cafes, and new ways of putting out art are going to be supported by the people because we have that certain pride and investment in our city. I spent my first four years here in DC as a psychotherapist and I just felt that there was something more. I felt that I had a different role in it. I started studying acting. I was kind of a cliche, acting and waiting tables part time. That’s how I ended up working here at restaurant Marvin. Even if I wasn’t so deeply involved with it, I would have been deeply involved with it in another way because I feel like this place is like a crossroads of sorts. So many different people together
in the same room for the same purpose and out of that blossom so many different relationships. Some people call me the restaurant manager here but it’s more like a cultural curator. LS: I couldn’t agree with him more. I come from Athens, Georgia, which is a fairly cliquish town. That’s one thing that I really appreciate about DC. I feel like there is a sense that something new is building. Everybody is willing to talk about what they’re doing and support everyone else. You can have in a room not just a wide variety of social self-identifications, racial and cultural backgrounds, age groups and sexualities, and everybody just talks. Nobody is looking down their nose at anyone else. Our Tweed ride was a really beautiful example of the real diversity of the DC creative community. I was really proud to be a part of that. There’s a way in which being a cultural ambassador for DC, which I really consider Sheldon to be, is a vital role. I do agree that the fact that we’re still carving out our identity means that now is a really good time to be part of a group that’s working toward a common goal: to have a real and vibrant artistic community in DC. LM: What do you think is missing or lacking in this city creatively, if anything? SS: I think there’s definitely room for growth. I think we’re very much in our infancy. We have to commit ourselves to going above and beyond. We’re going to have to create that infrastructure. We’re going to have to lay the groundwork for people to come behind us. Is there a deficiency? Yes. But is it a deficiency that we can overcome? Absolutely. The first step is starting to appreciate the great talent that comes out of this city. LS: It’s not what’s missing, it’s what’s yet to be done. Precisely because that infrastructure doesn’t exist you have a tremendous amount of artistic talent working in the restaurant business. That’s one of the reasons why Marvin makes sense as a place to ask about. You have these talented people working here because we can’t go get an internship at a big magazine. Everyone is building their own websites, working on their own blogs, and collaborating. ReadySetDC had a huge success, Dandies and Quaintrelles is doing really cool
LS: A group of my close friends and I are building a website. It’s going to be a collection of writings, and we’re going to talk about etiquette and style. The core writers are all Southerners. We feel like the Southern voice is an important voice to have in this discussion. I personally think you find more gentlemen down there just living their daily lives then you find anywhere else. Not that the South is some monolithic block, I mean obviously it has its issues, but in the better areas it’s a good way to find people with a clear idea about how to live that is beautiful. We hope to reflect that. Also, our clothing line is starting off small. We’re just going to make pocket squares and ties, but were trying to do everything within DC and work with local craftspeople and all local designers. If you could invite any living person to dinner and cocktails at Marvin, who would it be? SS: Jeffrey Wright. He is probably one of the most interesting and engaging actors out there because he has such range. He has a way of playing all of his characters with intelligence. I would like to have a conversation with him about what it is that I’m trying to do. LS: Glenn O’Brien, because what I’m trying to do is similar to him but a little bit vague. I can’t imagine how to make a career out of it, but he managed to build a career just knowing eventually successful artists before they were successful, supporting them, and promoting them. We love Glenn O’Brien. He was in the scene just writing, picking up jobs, whatever it took. Now he’s the style guy for GQ, which is perhaps the least interesting thing he’s ever done, but it gives him a lot of exposure and he’s comfortable. He can afford to have his clothes made the way he wants to and I really like the way he looks. I like what he talks about. I like who he is. What are you reading at the moment, are there any magazines or quarterlies that you subscribe to? LS: I’ll confess I don’t actually want to know right now what anyone else is doing. I don’t actually follow fashion. I just really don’t want to be influenced at this point. I don’t read any of the fashion magazines. I
really don’t know most of the big designers. There are only so many things in my life that I can know about that are beyond my reach. I’m a big fan of wine and all the wine I want to drink I can scarcely afford, so I can’t start throwing clothes in the mix too. I’ll read Worn Magazine of course. What I’m reading right now is the transcript to this interview. SS: I am very much into the periodicals right now. All that I can say is most of them are foreign. I like the Japanese magazines. The same energy that goes into women’s fashion you don’t get to see in American publications in respect to men’s fashion, but if you pick up some of those foreign publications you see the intensity of men’s fashion there and that’s good to see. Do you have any tattoos and do they play a role in your personal style? SS: I do have tattoos. They are fraternity brands that I got my freshman year in 1995. I have two on this arm and two on my chest. They do have tremendous significance and I still have no regrets. It was a rite of passage for me. I grew up in a single parent home, I didnt have a father figure to latch on to, and here I was in college and surrounded myself with this band of brothers who I’m still in close contact with to this day. I’m godfather to many of their children and we speak on a regular basis. LS: I have a few tattoos. My mother is a tattoo artist. When I was a kid, I was living in this tiny town in Kansas and my parents were totally inked up. When I first moved up here, I felt my Southern-ness tug on me a little bit harder, so on my first birthday here I went and got a tattoo of the state of Georgia on my inner bicep with a star over the small beautiful town of Athens and an insignificant dot over Atlanta. So that was the first one. Then as a sideline, in a former life in Athens, I was pursuing the early stages of a career as an academic. One of the things that I had an affinity for was Greek philosophy. There is an old Greek thable about a guy who’s shipwrecked in the Mediterranean in the 5th century BCE. He’s really worried for his life and he comes across a geometry lesson drawn into the sand. He derives from this fact that the men who live inland are civilized and it’s safe to go in there. Part of the confraternity were trying to develop as The Golden Means is a notion that it’s hard to figure out what’s up and what’s down, so a little bit of guidance is healthy. Therefore, our emblem is derived of various geometrical forms so that people can know that being shipwrecked in a sea of cultural decadence there are civilized people here and it’s safe to share your ideas. So I have a triangle a circle and a square tattoo.
Interview by Laura Masterson
“Resist the Life Unlived.”
by Dutch Derringer
Nicole Aguirre Editor & Creative Director
N THE EYES (AND MOUTHS AND EARS) OF MANY, STYLE
and fashion are things so different that a discussion of their mutual distinctness is not only possible but warranted — to say nothing of any vital points of intersection. A bit of digging into the words themselves, if not into the domains to which they supposedly refer, suggests something else. For example, one may as well say, “in the style of the French” as, “in the French fashion.” Here, ‘style’ and ‘fashion’ refer past the fact that a thing is done and onto the fact that a thing is done just so; in this case, the way the French do it. No one will dispute that the French are quite, well, French, and that everything a Frenchman might do, from haberdashery to omelet-craft, is going to bear the hallmarks of being French. Now, whether or not you think you like the French, which, frankly, you should, you can learn something valuable from them: they confidently are who the are, and they prize excellence. As such, everything they do bears the traces of their – and no one else – having done it, and if they do change, it shall tend to be for the better. Describing something as being done a la mode française, therefore, is invariably to pay it a compliment. So, I recommend overcoming the tension of style and fashion in the French manner: consider everything about you – from the tilt of your hat to your preferred summer fabric, from stock turns-of-phrase to selective silences, from social approach to romantic exit, from strut to poised lean – let all of these things at every moment express always what you are and what you are not. Make your life something you do rather than something you have; make it something done your way, whilst respecting the reasonable wants of others, and you shall never fail to fulfill the highest aim of style/fashion: you shall be beautiful. The most important question is never, “what to wear?” Rather it is, “who am I that shall wear it?” Once you’ve sorted this, everything else falls into place. Eyes shall trail, tongues shall wag, and at least this bit of your life shall be yours.
The most important question is never, “what to wear?” Rather it is, “who am I that shall wear it?”
Joshua Yospyn Head of Photography Dutch Derringer Copy Editor & Columnist Laura Masterson Interviews Alina Alvarez Design
Nicole would like to thank: The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Photo Dept. at US News & World Report, Sheldon Scott and the staff at Restaurant Marvin, Merin Guthrie and Emma Fisher at CuDC, Maximo Aguirre, Maricarmen Hinojosa, Alicia Cosnahan, Natalie Goins, Lori Parkerson, Cathy Chung, Jordan Culberson, Jesse Walker, DURKL, Palace 5ive, Adrian Parsons, William Edward Marsh, Jonathan Guyer, Scott Permar, Matthew Beck, and L.B.S. for love, care, and home-cooked meals. Josh would like to thank: Penn Camera on 18th Street, Inventor of the Mamiya RZ system, Kodak Portra, Cult of Frank Van Riper, Venus the cat, most of all Nicole, for giving me this opportunity.
Behind the scenes at WORNMAGAZINE.com