seattle photographer

It's a Vibe

I got to spend six beautiful days back home in Seattle this Thanksgiving and I'm so excited to finally share some of my adventures!

I wanted to take advantage of the warmer weather and beautiful backdrops so I set out to set up some photo shoots. Originally I reached out to Alisha hoping she could do my hair for a project- this photographer turned hairstylist is someone I've worked with in the past. Alisha started out taking photos four years ago and then found herself doing hair (she's really good at it). Sadly she wasn't available with all these salon bookings, but she mentioned setting up a photo adventure of our own.

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A date with Alisha was set and I took to Pinterest to get some inspiration and get a mood board together.

I don't believe in changing who  you are in a sense, but I do think that trying to fit in is something we as humans naturally try to do. What am I talking about?...my style. Living in Alaska, being a hipster: ripped jeans, beanies, felt hats, Docs; these are not what you'd see a lot of around town. I decided it was only right to go all out for this street style shoot in a place that is accepting of my fashion sense.

As I looked through the many images on Pinterest, I came to the conclusion that a male model could add something- but who? I don't work with other people often unless it's in a styled bridal shoot setting; it was so much fun working with Hunter. It was his first time behind a camera, but I sure hope not his last!

Scroll down to check out all of the looks from that day! Fingers crossed and keep an eye out, you may just see Alisha and I working together again this fall during NYFW.

Till next time lovely people.

I think I aim for a sort of androgyny. It sort of tones down some of my more masculine features...But overall I have never felt very masculine or feminine which allows me to feel free to play around with the clothes that I wear.
— Hunter Long

To the Motherland

I can't remember if I've ever shared the first place I ever called home, so this post is dedicated to Africa. Though I moved at the age of 4; Tanzania is where I was born and therefore will always hold a special place in my heart.

My collaboration with Sarauniya- an Africana inspired clothing line which is based in New York City and made in Ghana has been one for the books. It's been awhile since I've felt so at home, while being away. The story behind this look: my parents took a trip back to Tanzania summer '16 and brought me back various items, one of which was the fabric that I styled to be the headpiece in this look.

I was 19 years old, a freshman in college, no capital, no entrepreneurial experience, and no formal education in business. It’s been a quite a journey and I’m humbled at how far I’ve come.
— Hadiza

I love supporting companies that take the time to design and hand-make each item. The founder, Hadiza, is living in NYC where she sketches new collections and sends them back to Ghana to be made. The reason for this system is to make jobs in Ghana for women in hopes of improving their social and economic status.

So if you need some African print in your life be sure to check out Sarauniya!

Photographer: Stephen Klise

Shop Local

Do you know where your clothes come from? That may sound like an odd question, but take a second to really think about the answer. If you answered a store name I want you to think a little deeper, before the clothes reach the rack how did they come to be?

This is not a post to judge or talk down to anyone, but more to inform. I myself shop at name brand stores, but it is something I work to change as much as possible every year. Part of that whole less is more, quality over quantity-update wardrobe kick I'm on.

Dress: $95

Melanie is a Seattle local designer who creates all of her pieces by hand. Yes, people still do that. Melanie, founder of Klad Apparel spends up to eight hours a day creating one piece of clothing by hand. Some items may take a little less or a little more time depending on the design.

A few posts ago I made a comment about Zara being one of my new places to shop. In my mind it was an upgrade from Forever21 quality, but in reality they are all the same. U.K. magazine Daily Mail did a piece on Zara in 2013 after a lawsuit was brought against the company. Employees were found working 12 hour days, and only making between $147 to $272 a month. How does that add up?

Think about the pay rate of the person who made this dress from Zara, and the cost of the dress. Now I want you to think about the cost of the material, time spent creating the pieces with prices listed from Klad Apparel- all of a sudden shopping local seems like a very reasonable option.

Dress: $85

Huffington Post did an interview in 2013 with TS Designs about manufacturing and the ins and outs of the clothing business. Based in North Carolina, TS Designs pays their employees $15 an hour- according to the Institute of Global Labor and Human Rights, an average factory worker in Bangladesh makes $0.21 an hour. Let those facts sink in for just a second. This pay rate difference is the reason TS Designs produces less clothes, but is able to keep their brand state side. Ridiculously low pay, child labor, and workers from impoverished countries are being used to create multi-billion dollar companies.

If you think this only happens overseas, you are wrong. Before I started writing this post I did a lot of reading and came across two articles by Huffington Post and Business Insider on Forever21 that changed how I looked at the company and their clothes. Before a lawsuit in 2001 many of Forever21s clothes were being made in LA, where employees complained they were being paid CENTS per item they made. Cents- I couldn't believe it, however after reading countless interviews and lawsuits, I came to the realization that this is a real problem. Little pay, unsafe, and unfair work conditions are a reality for many people who work for many different companies.

So the next time you go shopping, think of where your clothes come from and consider shopping local. I know I will.

Photographer: Angela Carlyle/ Makeup: Sable Desiree/ Hair: Shontia Delpin/ Stylist: Frilancy Makungu/ Jewlery: Lembas/ Clothing: Klad Apparel