This past Monday, VCU fashion design alumnus Donwan Harrell came to speak about the success of his businesses and brands that was open to the public. Calling himself a “shy worker bee”, Harrell talked about his work at Nike, creating his brand Akademiks and luxury denim line PRPS. After giving a brief overview of his work and his time at VCU, he opened the floor to questions.
Before Harrell even started at VCU, he was into reading comics and got into fashion by drawing comic book clothing. After graduating from VCU, Harrell started working at Nike and moved his way up to one of the highest positions as a top designer for Nike. Moving into urban wear by starting his own brand Akademiks, Harrell started dressing famous hip-hop artists and other famous faces. He was a fore runner to urban wear and started the trends. Then, after selling Akademiks, he started his high end denim line, PRPS. He was tired of “fast food fashion” and started researching unique ways to manufacture denim. PRPS denim is made on pre-World War II looms that create a distinct and different weave in the denim. He plans on expanding PRPS and creating a collaborative line with Tom Ford.
When later questioned about what advice he would give to students Harrell said:
Be super competitive and have a vision
Being a successful part of the fashion world is 70% training and 30% instinct.
You have to be talented and super savvy while being able to communicate your idea
In order to get the job you want, you have to always be thinking ahead and make businesses feel that you are brining something to them. Have an angle.
left to right: Marc Jacobs, J. Crew, Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney photo credit
Menswear is taking over the runways this fall in designer collections such as Marc Jacobs and Dolce & Gabanna. What makes menswear so intriguing is the fact that men don’t have as many articles of clothing to choose from in comparison to women, means men must pay attention to every detail.
Street style fashion photographers, such as Tommy Ton, capture men’s enchanting and detailed looks. These inspiring pictures of fashionable men are what drive the menswear trend. Playing with patterns, attention to detail, and combining basic masculine pieces and feminine elegance are what make this trend fun and easy to achieve. Whether you go for the tomboy look or the trendy approach, the androgyny trend is diverse and incorporates different elements. The variety of possibilities makes menswear easy to incorporate with your own personal style and make it entirely your own. Here are a few menswear inspired outfit ideas.
A simple yet polished approach to this trend can include a pair of tailored chinos and loafers. These two pieces are balanced out with girly sequins on a sweater top. Add a clutch to keep this outfit simple yet trendy. This look is great for going to class or a midday coffee date.
The boyfriend blazer is the perfect example of how the fashion world has encouraging women to experiment with androgyny. Find a blazer that is fitted and accentuates your womanly curves; this basic article can add an expected element to any outfit. This outfit plays with the idea of hard and soft as well as masculine and feminine. The pink, ladylike dress is contrasted with the masculine blazer and lace-up oxford heels.
Borrow men’s use of suspenders and make it girly by trying it with a pencil skirt. Wear it with a pussy bow blouse and for some color add a pair of burnt orange platform heels – a great color for this fall. Wear classic jewelry like this cocktail ring and dangle earrings and you’ll be ready for a classy date.
For a more casual look, layer a textured sweater over a patterned button-up. Layering is the perfect way to look great and still enjoy the fall weather. The boyfriend jeans add a laid-back feel to the outfit, but accessorize with some stacked bracelets to keep it ladylike. This outfit is perfect for those lazy fall days.