Style Stud: Lafayette Kanard

CaptureIf I remember any advice my Nana gave me, it was, “never wear a logo because a brand isn’t paying you to be a walking billboard.” From then on I avoided logos at all costs. Well … I did fall down the Abercrombie and Fitch rabbit hole for a brief period before college. I mean hey, we all makes mistakes.

I love a good t-shirt, but what makes me swoon even harder is a t-shirt that is not only original, but handmade with care and precision by a true artist. You can see why I was immediately drawn to local designer, Lafayette Kanard’s designs that Emily Goulet of Philly Mag’s Shoppist so immaculately raved about. After reading her article, I had to socially stalk him (which I did successfully, a-thank you) and get to know him more.

Please enjoy getting to know him as much as I did. He’s absolutely a Philly talent to keep your eye on.

What inspires you?

Life. My experiences, both struggle and success, mainly struggle though. Also, the people I love.

Describe your design aesthetic.

LEFT. Organic. Substance.

Tell me about your partnership with BelaShehu. How did it happen, how did you collaborate for the collection at Joan Shepp?

The collab with Bela and I was fate, very organic. We both worked with Craig Von Schroeder CEO/Founder of Commonwealth Proper a while back, but never crossed paths and formally met. Then one day while strolling through Rittenhouse I noticed her, called her name (startling her) and a few weeks later she invited me to the Ninobrand atelier. We vibed out, shared personal experiences, and connected. I remember telling her about a collection I was working on at the time called “LESS.” The conversation(s) & questions of “less is more,” “more is less,” came up and “LESS vs MORE” was birthed.

I never collaborated with Joan Shepp, (maybe something is in the works) but I have been blessed with product placement for KUSTOMS by LK in their retail space since October of 2013. I love Joan and Ellen, that’s family.

Capture3

Do you hand-paint all of your designs? What goes into hand-painting fabric?

YES! I hand-paint, and will continue to hand-paint every single piece that goes onto each garment. I am fusing art with fashion so when someone purchases my product they know that my hands actually created this art piece.

Hand-painting fabrics isn’t for everyone. There’s many different elements that goes into it. It takes 10,000 hours of tedious love/passion, precision, calculation, and vision. You also have to know what fabrics work well with paint(s) and which paint(s) work well with fabrics & textures.

How did you get the idea for “left” shirts? What does it mean?

By going LEFT, literally. After graduating, well technically graduating from Architecture + Design High School (CHAD) I took a year off instead of going straight to college. I then received pressure from my grandmother & others to go back to school. I completed a semester at CCP and then transferred to The Art Institute of Philadelphia. Majoring in Graphic Design, a goal at the time, I was in my drawing class and my teacher stopped the entire class one day during a live portrait and said, “Lafayette! Why do you keep coming to my class? Your drawings are amazing, clearly talented, you’re always stylish. Change your major to Fashion Design and don’t come back to my class.”

I left the class puzzled as hell, like what the fuck is she talking about! During my computer science class, it hit me, I had this feeling of her being right. A feeling I couldn’t explain. I walked out that boring C.S. class and never went back. I dropped out (very Kanye-esque). Of course my grandmother and others disagreed with my choice, they told me it wasn’t the “right” way of doing things, that if I didn’t obtain a degree I wouldn’t be successful in life (man were they wrong). I didn’t follow the typical, mediocre way of society’s “right way” to make it in life. I went “LEFT,” I followed GOD and followed my heart & that formula has been working every since. LEFT is my right, it means to follow GOD & follow your heart.

Capture4

What is your favorite t-shirt and why?

My favorite t-shirt would have to be my unreleased ‘L-K’ tee which will drop SS15. Reason being is because, not only does it represent my name, inspiration from one of my favorite brands, but even more because of a suggestion that my girlfriend’s brother gave me before he passed away from cancer back in November. May he rest peacefully knowing that I applied his advice.

Who is your favorite designer and why?

YOHJI YAMAMOTO and the cross collab with Adidas Y-3 ^_^ Why? Because he’s an O.G. & his attention to detail, simplicity and quality is spot on. The overall aesthetic of his draping, to his comfort back to the ninja-like inspiration of the Japanese culture. Also because not everyone can afford it nor knows too much about the brand. It’s not over saturated.

What is next for you? Where can people buy/view your other pieces?

Next… just have to wait and see. People can not only purchase my pieces from Joan Shepp located 1811 Chestnut St. Philadelphia PA. but also at The Geisha House in Old City, Philadelphia. I’ll have an e-commerce site launching in 2015. Stay updated by following my brand on Instagram: @kustomsbylk and my personal Instagram: @lafayettekanard

Any advice for aspiring Philly designers?

Follow your heart! Put your 10,000 hours in. Remain humble, work hard/smart, love what you do, do it with passion, do it with purpose!

Capture6

Defining My Spirit Animals

spirit-animal

Photo credit: http://smsouthnews.com/4935/southbuzz/whats-your-spirit-animal/

I’ve been talking a lot about spirit animals this week. What can I say, I find a buzz word and I beat it to death. What is a spirit animal, you ask? Well … Urban Dictionary defines it as:

A spirit animal or totem is meant to be a representation of the traits and skills that you are supposed to learn or have. Online, saying something or someone is your spirit animal is a statement that said person or thing is a representation of you or what you want to be.

Friend 1: “Did you see Misfits last night?”
Friend 2: “YES. Nathan Young is my spirit animal.”

In my line of work, career path, life in general, spirit animals are what keep me going. In fact, I think no matter what you do … cow herder, accountant, surgeon, designer, you need a spirit animal in order to help you grow. If I feel I’ve hit a brick wall, or don’t know what to do, where to go, what to write next … I hit up my spirit animals. And no it’s not a damn cat … okay maybe it SOMETIMES is a damn cat … but whatever, I love my cats, leave me alone! Ahhhhhhh :::runs away::::

So in an effort to invoke your spirit animals, I thought I would go ahead and share with you some of mine, just a few, you know, my mega spirit animals. It is so important to have role models, no matter what age, or just people who you find so intriguing and so bad ass that they make you want to explore new aspects of life. I encourage you to find your inner spirit animals and embrace them. Hell, give them props.

1. Patti Smith: I read her book Just Kids after graduating college when I was the definition of a lost puppy and it became one of my all-time favorite books. I wanted to go to NYC, but I didn’t, but I did. At that time, I was begging for inspiration or something to help me make sense of this “real world” which was incredibly overwhelming. I then dove head first into her music and poetry which was just as delicious. I found diving into someone’s life story can really make a difference on how you lead yours.

pattismith_paris_1969

2. Leandra Medine: Also known as the “Man Repeller.” Her blog is pure genius, and she is an evil genius. She turned fashion blogging on its face by not only writing intelligently, but opening people’s minds up to new designers and ways to wear clothes. She’s also a fucking hoot. When I need a creative spark or find myself banging my head against the wall due to writers block, I hit this bitch up (not in real life, I mean on her blog, but if she wants to be best friends, I’m totally into it. I’ll buy the first round. No wait, you can, you have an awesome book out and I don’t … tee hee?).

shoes-06570028-1024x679

3. Iris Apfel: No one does accessorizing better than her. No one. And as a total jewelry whore, I want to bow down at her feet in a non-creepy way. I dream to walk through my life as classically chic and stylish as her. It is rare to have a style that is yours and only yours, for when people copy it, they know it is an “Iris look.” One can only dream to have that style power.

iris9

4. Gwen Stefani: I’ve always been a No Doubt fan, not a super fan, but I would get down with some of their tunes. Don’t make fun of me, but I DO in fact watch the Voice, and kind of discovered how awesome she truly is through this season. I mean, I’ve always known she has had this amazing rock star power to her, but I never realized how effortlessly stylish and cool she is. You can tell she walks to the beat of her own drum, and that is something really valuable in this life. True, a new spirit animal to my repertoire, but a powerful one on the fashion front at that.

Gwen-Stefani-for-OPI

5. Tina Fey: I mean, do I need to say anything more? I don’t think I need to. I dream to one day have an ounce of talent in my pinky finger and be able to make the world laugh like she does, then goes back to her amazing NYC home to have her, somewhat, normal life. But she’s Tina f-ing Fey! Writing genius extraordinaire. AND she’s from Philly-ish. Philly rules! Cheesesteaks, Bobby Clark, Will Smith. Your town, SUCKS! Hey, if for some reason she wants to be my full-time mentor, I’m totally open to it.

article-1258318-086EFE36000005DC-684_468x623

Now let’s hear your spirit animals, people.

Drool With Me Now: Fall Fashion 2014

image1xxlOkay, I know we have a few more days until Labor Day, and I promised after bitching about the Polar Vortex last winter that I would do nothing but embrace every drop of sunshine and twirl in myriads of maxi skirts … but, yeah … I just made my first fall purchase. I couldn’t help it because I’m THAT ecstatic over summer getting the eff out of town. And yes, I truly intend to make out with said bag when he arrives at my doorstep, that is how much I adore him.

I’ve just had enough of sticky subways, makeup dripping down my face, and having to apply deodorant like three times a day, it’s unbecoming. And I want to punt my summer wardrobe. Listen, I’m not the girl who makes “mood boards” or “inspiration boards,” I have Pinterest for that shit. But the drool coming out of my mouth over fall fashion is excessive, to say the least. So I just had to share with you what I’ve been daydreaming about, right? Clearly.

1. Leather: Leather shoes, leather motorcycle jackets, leather shorts, leather underwear, leather all day err day (calm down, PETA, it will be faux or “hemp” leather … whatever is the politically correct way to rock leather)

11P10FBLK_normal2. New Over-The-Knee Boots: Oh yeah, they are still completely relevant and nothing brings me more joy than walking down the street in hooker boots “Pretty Woman” styley.

Capture

3. Capes: Ya gotta bring the drama every now and then, and quite frankly I’ve been lusting after them since Lupita dropped the Cape bomb at the Golden Globes last year.

Capture4. Fuuurrrrr: I already own a faux fur jacket … and that clearly was my gateway drug to more fur, because now all I want to do is add to my collection. And quite frankly the fur they showed during fashion week is on POINT (seriously PETA, settle, I couldn’t bare to skin my cat and wear her, so this, again, will be eco-friendly fur … chill)

30C01GBLK_normal5. Removing Color Completely: Not that I wear a lot of color to begin with, but I’m really going to make a conscious effort to only wear neutrals. Black, white, beige, maybe a camel. Then if I’m in dire need of color (yawn), I’ll throw in something like a merlot-colored tote bag or something.

2014-Black-White-Outfit-Combination-Ideas-136. Bucket Bag: I’ve been on the fence about these bad boys, as I couldn’t decide if this was a bad 80’s trend revamped or a classic staple. I’m still not quite sure, but anything stylish that I can carry my entire life in is something I want to take a spin in.

23015591_927. Chelsea Ankle Boots: Swoon. The boot game this season is fierce, and where to begin can seem overwhelming. Welp kids, you start here, with the classic Chelsea boot in black. God speed after that.

Capture8. Extreme turtlenecks: If the Farmers Almanack is right, this winter is going to be freaking cold. True … turtlenecks have been connected with prudes and squares in the past, but the dramatic thick turtle necks that I literally could hide in and hibernate is something I can get behind.

elle-12-fall-2014-trends-extreme-tutlenecks-h-lgn

9. Novelty Prints: I gave up ironic t-shirts years ago, even though I did own the typical “Everyone Loves an Irish Girl,” shirt. Yes, I’m sick of seeing the overly ironic “Celfie” shirts, but I kind of like what some designers are bringing to the table … especially under an over-sized mens blazer. Mmm scrumtilescent.

image2xxl

10. Textures: I’m very basic when it comes to fabric … I’m mostly a cotton gal. That “Fabric of our Lives” commercial should totally check out my closet, although I refuse to sing. But this season I want to dip my feet in the season of velvet, silk, satin, lace, and everything in between … hell, throw felt up in this piece.