The Come-Up

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Princess Nokia’s New York

· Music, The Come-Up · , , , , ,

New York City’s latest it-girl and hip hop’s newest darling, Princess Nokia (née Destiny Frasqueri) is back with another new release. With her double feature for “Bart Simpson” and “Green Line,” the rapper further pays homage to the Big Apple.

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MAKE AMERICA GAY AGAIN

· Inspiration, The Come-Up · , , , ,

text by Paul Pastore

All photos courtesy BCALLA

Even if you’re even the most casual follower of pop culture, you have probably seen BCALLA’s clothes. Brad Callahan, the labels namesake, has designed custom pieces and tour outfits for GAGA and Azealia Banks. He also designed the costumes for Miley Cyrus’ iconic performance that closed the 2015 VMA’s. But BCALLA’s genesis was in the New York’s Queer underground, costuming Brooklyn superstars like Juliana Huxtable, Luke Neocamp, Cakes Da Killa, and Pearl. Bcalla’s success has been driven by Callahan’s couture creations, which transform their wearers into otherworldly beings with spikes, fur, and airbrushed monster faces. He continues to dress queer icons like gay porn star Colby Keller in tandem with pop divas, positioning him at the vanguard of fashion. Phosphenes sat down with Callahan in his studio to discuss his relationship with Americana, the future of fashion, and his own inspiration.

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ET

· The Come-Up · , , ,

For spring/summer 2016, emerging talent Evin Tison takes us on an intergalactic, seductive journey through the complexity of the modern woman. Predominantly white with bursts of pastels, the garments make use of futuristic, space-age materials; semi-transparent latex coexists with iridescent PVC, while Tison creates one-of-a-kind fabrics by applying plastic to three-dimensional neoprene. The end result is an architectural, extraterrestrial aesthetic unlike anything on Earth, making a promising proposition for this new vision.

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Maria Borges and Ajak Deng photographed by Ed Singleton and styled by Solange Franklin for Models.com: "Africa Rising"

The Big Break

· The Come-Up, Thoughts, Travel & Culture · , , , ,

While many were upset by Valentino’s questionable attempt at a tribute to Africa, we can wonder how the intended “cultural exchange” would look if carried out by authentic African designers; there’s no denying the fact that coverage of the continent’s fashion scene has been pretty minimal. Well things are changing, as the global fashion map is broadening more and more each day.

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The Labels to Watch

· The Come-Up · , , , , , , ,

Sure, we all know about Dior, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and more. Even newer labels like Hood By Air and Telfar are on their way to becoming household names. But what about the many lesser-known brands out there? Whether based in fashion capitals like New York or London or in less-commonly explored locations like Nigeria, here’s a handful of designers and labels to keep an eye on.

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The Skins

· Music, The Come-Up · , , , ,

 

*Note: This story originally appears in the Fall 2014 issue of VRLX Mag. Find out more and get your copy here!


 

Sometimes it feels like we’re drowning in the sea of today’s music, and we could really use a breath of fresh air. Cue The Skins, the Brooklyn-based rock band that’s giving us some tunes to get hyped about.

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Denim Couture

· The Come-Up · , , ,

Denim is always everywhere, but it’s been especially big lately. A major trend at the spring 2015 menswear shows, and revolutionized by up-and-coming labels like Ximon Lee and Marques’ Almeida (who’s work can currently be seen on FKA twigs’ tour), the fabric has been getting a whole new twist lately, too. But now denim’s getting elevated even more thanks to London-based newcomer Faustine Steinmetz.

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On Our Radar: Aya Jones

· Models, The Come-Up · , , , , , ,

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Casting at the spring 2015 ready-to-wear shows was beyond atrocious, with too many whitewashed lineups of forgettable faces. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few standouts. Take, for example, Aya Jones N’Guessan.

Aya first grabbed our attention when she walked exclusively for Prada in Milan. Surprisingly one of the more impressive casts of the season (see Gemma, Malaika, Stam, Lara, Issa, and more), it would be easy for any new face to get lost in the mix. But that’s the thing: Aya’s not just another new face. With a virtually immaculate appearance, reminiscent of early 90s Naomi and a touch of FKA Twigs, this stunner is bringing real beauty back to the runways; no shade to any other models of the moment, but how often do we see a human being this beautiful?

Not surprisingly, her turn at Prada got a lot of other designers’ attention when Paris Fashion Week rolled around. The world was blessed to see Aya Jones at Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne, Maison Martin Margiela, Viktor & Rolf, Sacai, Giambattista Valli, Sonia Rykiel, Valentino, and Miu Miu (did we miss any?). To debut halfway through the show circuit and garner so much buzz is pretty impressive, so we can hope that big things are ahead for this gorgeous rookie.

Check out some more photos of Aya Jones N’Guessan below, and let us know what you think of this new face!

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Oppermann

· Men's, The Come-Up · , , ,

Sometimes it’s a lot harder than you’d think to find the perfect accessories, especially when it comes to menswear. Over-the-top styles make for great statement pieces, but what happened to a traditionally good bag?

Cue Oppermann, the London-based label that fuses luxury and practicality to create undeniably beautiful leather goods. Launched in 2012 by two Swedish brothers, Niklas and Mattis Oppermann, the brand shows the perfect combination of sleek Scandinavian minimalism and cutting-edge London style. And just when it seemed as if the perfect shapes, high-quality materials, and couture-like craftsmanship couldn’t get any better, Oppermann is also using a refreshing new retail model.

Launching this fall, set to make waves through 2015 and beyond, Oppermann will be one of Europe’s first online-only menswear labels. Retailers often mark up the cost of items by at least three times, and by distributing directly from the source, Oppermann offers their pristine products at astonishing prices. But don’t think a reasonable expense means lower quality; the brand is still all about getting better and better with each piece.

As with typical minimalism, the details are what truly make Oppermann’s items stand out. From bags to wallets to leather sleeves and document cases, everything is handmade in Italy, while all materials come from some of the finest European manufacturers. Take the brand’s latest collection, “Surfaces.” Featuring tumbled leather from Tärnsjö Garveri in Sweden, Italian vegetable-tanned leather trims, and zippers from Raccagni, Italy, the items are handcrafted in Naples, Italy to produce duality and versatility. In a nutshell, Oppermann is proving that the pricetag doesn’t have to match the elevated quality, putting the brand in line to be one of the hottest men’s luxury accessories labels.

Get in on the label’s Kickstarter campaign here, and check out some of the awesome items below!:

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All photos courtesy Oppermann London

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On Our Radar: Bhumika Arora

· Models, The Come-Up · , , , , ,

 

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When you get discovered based on your selfies, it’s safe to say you’ve got something special going on. That’s definitely the case when it comes to 22-year-old Delhi, India native, Bhumika Arora. A photographer discovered her social media photos and offered to help her develop her portfolio for free, which ultimately catapulted her onto some of Paris’ most prestigious runways; in case you missed her, Bhumika walked for names like Maxime Simoëns, Viktor & Rolf, and Dries Van Noten, putting her astonishingly beautiful face on the map.

We hope to see Bhumika Arora’s runway and editorial bookings quickly increase in the near future, as her look is different from that of the majority of her contemporaries. What’s even more exciting is seeing another stunning South Asian woman being represented in the fashion industry; with the push towards diversifying fashion, it’s important to finally recognize multifaceted beauty. Here’s to a successful career to Bhumika Arora!

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All photos via Models.com