“Look closely at the present you are constructing: It should look like the future you are dreaming.”
As we wrap up our five year birthday celebration, I’ve been racking my brain on the type of post I wanted to share. Clearly my love for shoes and being girl-next-door cute will never change, but over the last couple of years (and more so the last couple of months) my outlook on my style has changed.
These last 6 months have been a world-wind. Between getting married, traveling, and burying one of my childhood friends and an uncle, I’ve really been taking stock of my life—my choices, my personal brand, and my legacy. I love being married, and probably should have done it sooner. The friend who passed on was a beautiful soul and the people who came to celebrate her life were a testimony to the type of life she lived. My uncle was not so nice, and his home going service was a bucket of mixed emotions, scarcely populated by distant family members.
With so many powerful women taking center stage over the last couple of years like Michelle Obama, Angela Rye, Ava Duvernay and the young Ms. Tiffany Loftin, it makes me question myself. What have I contributed to this world? What am I doing to provide a boost to the generation behind me? How can I take all of this good Black Girl Magic, and be even more MAGICAL?
While I figure all of this out, my hair is changing, my since of style is bolder, and the expression of personal brand in my marketing career is become more defined. So here is what I know about myself: I’m a sassy, super smart brown girl that cares deeply about my family and wants to change the world (or at least the world that impacts me).
I know this is really heavy compared to my past posts that have been fun-loving and light-hearted. Well the good news is that I still love shoes, which is why I’m featuring these fabulous Tamara Mellon Suede Arizona Sandals in this post.
Like the changing of seasons, my personal style-guide is evolving. Just like this great finds, I’m a little bit of this, and a whole lot of that.
Thank you Cold Hard Fash for introducing me to so many creative souls. Over these last five years, you’ve been instrumental in helping me to Realize My Legacy.
“Creativity is your best makeup skill, don’t be afraid to experiment.”
I was first introduced to Natalie in 2015 when searching for a makeup artist to work on our first issue of CHF Magazine. When we met, I knew that she was perfect for helping create the vision for our first issue. Having experience in film and editorial makeup artistry gave her an elevated understanding of the craft. Over the years, we have worked on several projects together and she is my go-to artist in the Atlanta-area. I am honored to introduce you all to our second 2018 Honoree of The COLLECTIV, Natalie Nicole Johnson.
When did you first realize that you wanted a career in the makeup industry? Who or what inspired your passion for the industry?
I knew that I wanted a career in the makeup industry when I was about 25, but I loved makeup since I was a child. What inspired my passion for the industry is my love for transformations and seeing make up as a form of artwork.
What has been your experience with networking and support among makeup artists?
My experience has been very interesting…mostly good, some bad — especially in the film industry. You have people for you that really want you to succeed and you have those who want to see you fail.
For those that are not well versed in the industry, explain the difference (if any) in being a makeup artist in film or at an editorial level?
The difference between editorial and film is very significant. Editorial makeup artists use totally different makeup techniques depending on the look the creative director wants. Usually, editorial artists have more creative freedom. Film make up artists are responsible for creating the character in the script and being able to produce that look over and over again, keeping up and developing different looks based on the script.
"Mommy a la Mode"
Crystal Lariece | MUA Natalie Nicole Johnson
Pheauxtography.com | Urban Decay
Image | Pheauxtography/Blaire Deveraux via Natalie Nicole Johnson (Instagram)
BTS with The COLLECTIV Honoree, Monica Blaire | MUA - Natalie Nicole Johnson
"Marianna Gunther" Model
Image | via Natalie Nicole Johnson (Instagram)
Are these two areas in the makeup artistry world interchangeable, or are they commonly separate?
Transition into TV film from editorial is possible, but it’s a lot of readjusting and knowing the industry.
What is some advice that you would give to aspiring makeup artists?
Always work on your craft. Don’t take anything personally at all. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you create the opportunity.
“It is not where you start but how high you aim that matters for success.”
Every time that I think of how this came to be, I have to chuckle a little bit. I had no clue what I was getting myself into. This was never supposed to be. It was the furthest thing from what I ever wanted to do. I guess its true that the direction we set for ourselves is often far from where life ultimately leads.
WHO’S IDEA WAS IT ANYWAY?
As much as I’d love to take credit for the idea of creating a blog, it actually was the brainchild of a very dear friend, who was briefly acting as our brand manager. See, CHF was only an affiliate brand to a much larger parent entity, Credntial Group, LLC. My friend, Jessica Stehlik, suggested in passing that I should launch a a blog that was reflective of my “witty, tell it like it is” attitude that she so adores. Immediately, I rejected the idea completely…yet the concept haunted me every day after.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
The name, Cold Hard Fash has been the saving grace of this whole operation not being shut down years ago. LOL! Really. Every single time I’ve played with the idea of throwing the whole site away, I’d meet someone and they’d go on and on about how great a name it is. Lesson: Listen to your audience, they’ll always let you know when you’re on to something good.
WHO IS COLD HARD FASH?
Over the years, we have had many talented people be a part of the CHF team. Whether blogging, interning, manning our social media, or for moral support. We wouldn’t be much without those individuals who have contributed their talents to growing the brand.
We must recognize our current team who oversees everything that is CHF:
Founder + Editor-in-Chief
Ariel S. Allen
Co-Founder + Dir. Marketing
Director of Photography
Clifford L. Johnson
Graphic Design + Videography
WHAT’S NEXT FOR US?
There’s never a day when we are not thinking of how we can better serve our audience. In 2015, we introduced our first online editorial publication, CHF Magazine. Perfecting the vision for the magazine is a top-priority for the near future. We are working to make it a full print publication available by subscription by Winter 2020.
But our dreams don’t stop there! In 2019, we are gearing up for our first (of many) tech ventures that we believe will benefit creative entrepreneurs in the marketplace. Creating an exclusive opportunity for the game-changers of the beauty, fashion, art, and other entrepreneurial arenas to collaborate their talents for a greater good. Details on what’s cooking will be announced this Fall.
We look forward to sharing many more years of the growth of Cold Hard Fash. Please be sure to sign up to our newsletter to ensure that you never miss a thing!
Kalan Laws (Señor Guapo) is one of Houston’s top men’s style influencers and the first contributing bloggers to ColdHardFash.com. He debuted his men’s style series, Laws of Gentlelman Style (LGS), in 2013, so it was a no-brainer to invite him back to be a part of our 5th Birthday Celebration. Read on to check out his 5 Reasons why men should be versatile in their style regimen.
“Yaaaay” (with a sarcastic eye roll)!
You pull out your work outfit or uniform.
Crisp white broadcloth shirt with the perfect tie and hanky combination
Freshly laundered navy suit
Mirror shined cap toe oxfords
To be frank, you look like money!
Maybe you have a work shirt with a logo
Perfectly fitting khakis
And a pair of moccasins to die for.
Either way, you emanate success!
You’re a blue-collar brother
Coveralls and a pair of Coleman boots
Don’t forget your gloves!!
Wherever you work, you have a style. But, the thing about being a man of style is that people tend to peg you as what you wear. In fact, many gents succumb to this method of thinking themselves. I know some attorneys that don’t own a pair of denim. I also know some guys that work at the plant who wouldn’t be seen in a sport coat.
Most guys are built to look at things from a utility perspective. If it’s functional, they’ll invest in it. And if it can have more than one use, that’s even better. As a man, I agree, but as a man of style, I see limitations in that line of thinking. Sometimes the utility is the fact that the garment or outfit is strictly for stylish expression.
As gentlemen, we are not monolithic. We don’t do only one thing. Similarly, we don’t (or shouldn’t) wear only one look. Here are my 5 reasons why you should be able to code switch and have versatility in your wardrobe.
1. Shows that you’re a style aficionado.
The gent that can master multiple looks communicates that he is well versed in the elements of menswear. Being able to seamlessly transition from one aesthetic to another takes, intelligence, skill, and moxie Remember, style is an art form, be fearless and display your artistic prowess.
2. Communicates that you understand your environment.
Everywhere that we go, there is a “uniform” that is associated with that venue. Being out of uniform, just like at work, can get you in trouble. Knowing that the cinema is not a place for a 3-piece Havana Gray Suit from Suit Supply demonstrates that you know what to wear when. No one wants to waste an outfit or look like the outsider because you’re not in dress code.
Note: True style mavens know that you can be in uniform and still stylishly break the rules, so you don’t look like anyone else.
3. Helps to maintain the life of your garments.
Having options and choices means that you don’t wear out your clothes from over usage. If you’re a true minimalist, this may be a difficult pill to swallow. The less you sport your pieces, the less wear and tear they’ll have and they won’t have to be replaced as frequently.
4. Keeps it spicy.
Nothing is greater than hearing, “Wow, you look great”. By wearing the same look over, and over, (and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over — do you get the point?) you become predictable and people may become “immune to the dopeness of your aesthetic”. They will always know that you’re a man of style, but the wow factor may fade. Being able to code switch with your looks keeps everyone on their toes so that you never disappoint.
5. You want to control what people think about you.
Intentionality is key when planning your wardrobe. Again, you are not monolithic….none of us are. So being able to be street one day, Americana the next, and sprezzatura on another day indicates how you want to be seen, experienced, and treated. No one look is higher on the totem pole than the other. Instead, it’s all about how you feel.
So gents, say it with me: “We are not what we wear!” It’s simple. You may be an accountant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rock distressed biker denim with some hot Balenciaga runners. Conversely, you may be a maintenance professional, but you can sport your Indochino custom-made blazer whenever you feel the need to! Be versatile gents, and let know the world tell you who you are!
For some of us, the road to turning our creative passion into a business must be balanced with the mundane scene of corporate life. We’re often surrounded by bland office space, restrictive policies, and a lack style from most of our colleagues.
So, how do you avoid blending in and bring inspiration to those around you? Simply using color, print, and pattern in your wardrobe can make all the difference when bringing workwear and creativity together. I’ve selected the following six looks from the Spring 2018 runways to help you bring artistic flair to your day-to-day wardrobe this upcoming season.
Menswear in an office space can get boring rather quickly. Instead of a blazer, consider adding a leather shirt jacket as a creative staple to your office attire.
Who says suiting has to be stuffy? Cerruti 1881’s approach is one that I’d take a chance on. The relaxed fit of the suit mirrors atmosphere of the modern, creative workplace.
Ladies (and gentlemen), the floral printed suit is the best way to stand out from the world of beige and blandness that is most offices.
Never be afraid to play with pattern. Fendi’s play on stripes and plaids is genius. I’d say lose the tights for a perfect spring work look.
THIS SWEATER IS EVERYTHING!! Pairing it back to the oatmeal jacket and gray pant makes it the statement piece without being overpowering.
The bright, matching shirt and tie (formal camouflage, as I like to call it) stands out wonderfully under the dark suit.
Bustier or bandeau over a collared shirt — do you really need a reason? It’s a look I love. Make up a reason.
What is spring without the flowers? The addition of the tailored pant with the frilly dress makes this look less…frivolous, for the lack of a better word. Do it!
Rasheed first partnered with CHF as a contributing stylist in the preview issue of CHFQ. His connection with the brand’s founder started on the campus of Florida A&M University and has blossomed into a friendship that has span over a decade. Born in Manhattan, New York, it’s no surprise of the insurmountable talent and understanding he has of the fashion and style industry. The youngest of three, Rasheed continues to reside in his hometown of Atlanta, GA.