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Event Recap: Welcome to The Wake Up

On April 21st, 2017, D.C. was officially “awakened,” with the launch of Meet the Curator (MTC), a new D.C. based athleisure and lifestyle brand aimed to encourage people to curate their lives how they see fit. The “Wake Up” serves as a symbolic representation of what made one take a leap of faith to go after their goals and dreams (i.e. what they pursue in their awakening of self).

The brainchild of founder, Kevin Nmah, “Meet the Curator” desired to create a brand that focused on people curating their lives how they see fit. In addition, he wanted to develop a line promoting originality and personal investment. Featuring primarily tees and hats, the MTC apparel is printed with taglines like “real > cool,” “get dat doe,” and “pay yourself first.”

The first 70 guests of the event received a Journal from the MTC team, to encourage them to write down their dreams/goals, and there was an entire wall dedicated for guests to share how they are currently (or would like to) curate their future.

“I wanted people to actually WAKE UP, WRITE DOWN THEIR DREAMS, and WORK like hell until they’ve achieved their goal.” – Kevin Nmah, Founder

The launch was showcased through a party at Bourbon restaurant, located in Adams Morgan (2321 18th St NW, Washington, DC, VA 20009, and featured music from DJ Brannu.

Check out some moments from the event:

 

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BLKGOLD by Distinctly Creative

How does one define “Black Gold”? Well, there are many ways, but the core of the term stems from the magic and artistry exclusively existing within the Black Culture. It’s an art form that can’t be duplicated, or replicated, unless you have first-hand experienced the trials and tribulations of not just being black, but a black artist. It’s this magic that inspired the creation of the “BLKGOLD” brand – an online marketplace to help harness and encourage those who make this magic come to life through their creations.

BLKGOLD, a counterpart to the Distinctly Creative online community, celebrates black creatives and the black community by providing a centralized place for artists and visionaries to share their work with the world. After noticing somewhat of a lack of pride many black creatives had for their products (due to modest, lack of sales, etc.), founder Morgan Davis wanted to create an online community where individuals can see the fruits of their labor, and feel proud of themselves.

“…as a [black person] you should feel proud of your craft and what you’re doing. I felt that the need to create a genuine platform where people can see the worth of black people was necessary and essential during this time in history…in addition, it’s important to invest in one another and help each other be successful.” – Morgan Davis, Founder of BLKGOLD and Distinctly Creative.

On the BLKGOLD site, consumers can find everything from clothing and jewelry to magazine and artwork curated by black creatives. The clothing section features pieces from DC locals like “Digging Her Roots” and “Fearless Fashions,” who offer custom women’s wear and custom pieces inspired by the prints and culture of Africa. There is also “Taylor Made Designs,” created by Mikki Taylor, who designed unique tunics inspired by music legend Prince.

There are also artists like Leontyne – of Adorned4qweenz and Purple3y3art – and RAMCreates who develop prints and artwork, and newly added books and magazines like “Our Black Book” developed by the  Society of Young Revolutionaries (SOYR) that offers articles on being success and highlights different businesses.

“…the goal is to give [artists, designers, and authors] a chance to sell. BLKGOLD provides a platform beyond just letting people ‘do event’. It lets them directly sell their products; which is great whether you are just now building your brand, or already have a solid following and looking to expand.” – Morgan Davis

As previously mentioned, BLKGOLD was born because of the recognized success of the Distinctly Creative brand. Distinctly Creative focuses on a variety of designers, and outside of the industry that people normally think about with the creative space (provide social and professional development platforms and opportunities for DMV based platforms and aboard. Distinctly Creative is an art collective whose mission is to give a diverse, holistic, and collaborative representation of the DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) creative scene — and beyond, through a wide array of social and professional development opportunities.

Since its launch they’ve hosted various art showcases/happy hours, a summer marketplace, the DMV Black Creatives Directory, the Black Creatives Matter line, the #blackcreativemagic contest, and the month long Black Renaissance series. As the BLKGOLD brand continues to grow, the Distinctly creative brand will soon be opening a co-work space in the spring of 2018, serving as a brick-and-mortar for BLKGOLD vendors, while focusing on providing resources to help growing professionals, by offering consulting services and space for events.

Be sure to start tuned for more information on BLKGOLD’s brick-n-mortar in Brookland, this summer (June – August 2017).

 

Here is the list of the current vendors (you can also view the full list + profiles here):

  • Adorned4qweenz + Purple3y3art
    • By Leontyne Williams
  • Art by Chevy
    • By Chevelle Taylor
  • Crochet Kingpin
    • By Dwayne Lawson-Brown
  • Diggin Her Roots
    • By Leeand Diggs
  • Fearless Threads
    • By Naima Dozier
  • Gerri L. Beatty Collection
    • By Gerri L. Beatty
  • Good Thoughts Tea Company
    • By Ebone Richardson
  • Jaine Was Here
    • By Jamie Isaac
  • Jamila Madyun Collection
    • By Jamila Madyun
  • Mikki Taylor | Taylor Made Designs
    • By Mikki Taylor
  • November Noir
    • By Christina Spence
  • RAM Creates
    • By Rashad Muhammad
  • RisingChar Studio
    • By Charlene Polite-Corley
  • Society of Young Revolutionaries (SOYR)
  • Styled For You
    • By Katorra Enoch-Longshore
  • The O Factory
    • By Oni Jordan
  • Wires by PQ
    • By Paquilla Jones
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How To: Be Single (Because it Doesn’t Have to Suck)

Disclaimer: If you’re not interested in a serious relationship, this article isn’t for you.

Now that I have your attention, let me begin by saying, I don’t believe that being single is the worst thing in the world. In fact, it can be great depending on your stage in life. Second, as you read this please do not judge me.

Not too long ago I was the “bitter friend” that men warn their girl about. I wasn’t the bitter friend to the extent portrayed in black film, but a more subtle version. You know, the one who’s been hurt one too many times, so in an effort to prevent her friend from experiencing that same disappointment makes it her duty to point out when her girl’s man “ain’t no good” and it’s time to just “leave that boy alone”. I’m sorry guys, but every woman needs a bitter friend…it helps give a different perspective (i.e. creates balance). Thankfully I’ve grown. I’m no longer the bitter one. In fact, going into this New Year I’m actually excited to be single – or at the most, I’m content.

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Step 1: Embrace Being Single

Different seasons are meant to bring different lessons and help us grow in some way. Going through a “season of singleness” is a great time to really focus on your goals, reflect on what you want in life and in a partner, and strengthen the relationships you already have.

Being single is not a death sentence or a punishment; once you get that through your head, it won’t suck as much.

Step 2: Just Say No to the “No Goods”

2016, relationship-wise, was a bust for me.  Why? Because I attract “no-goods”. Those who have no empathy for people’s time and/or don’t want commitment, and/or want a side chick, and/or want a regular booty call, and/or got me all the way [insert four letter word rhyming with ducked] up. I can keep going, but for the sake of this post I’ll leave there. Now, a “no good” are those who are simply just that…no good. No good for a serious relationship because they “aren’t looking for that right now,” no good because they “don’t believe in titles,” etc. We’ve all experienced a “no good”. Getting back on track, 2016 brought an overwhelming amount of “no goods” into my personal space. So many, that going into 2017 I’ve made a personal promise to myself that I’d rather be single and happy than deal with a “no good” and be confused/frustrated/disappointed.

It’s not hard to identify a “no good.” They will tell you and give you signs in a very short amount of time. These signs are called “red flags” and you need to listen to them because as previously mentioned “no goods” are simply that…no good.

Step 2.5: Date With Purpose

We live in a time where people don’t date with purpose anymore. They date to date. If you want a serious relationship, you need to approach dating like you would approach a job opportunity. When you are looking for a new job, you search through available options, click the one that interests you, read through the requirements and expectations to see if it’s a good fit, apply, followed by the interview process. You see how this relates to dating? If not, let me break it down. When you find someone you are interested in, you feel them out, see if they’re a good fit, and then you apply for that “wifey/zaddy” position. Stop just dating someone because it’s “cuffing season” or (ladies) because you’re hungry. Stop it. It’s a waste of your precious time that you could be using elsewhere.

Step 3: Write Down Your Goals & Execute

What are your hobbies or things you’d like to accomplish in this next year? Instead of “finding someone”, why not explore your gift(s) and get some stuff done? You can’t force the universe to deliver your perfect mate to your front door. Stop obsessing over finding your soul mate and find yourself. Tap into your talents and use them to help better the world and those around you.

Step 4: Pray for Contentment

Pray to your higher power for contentment during your season of singleness. When you start getting anxious for affection, you’ll see yourself contemplating reaching out to “no goods” and old flings. Stay away from the “no goods” at all cost, they just aren’t worth it. Plus, they’re annoying.

When you experience moments of frustration from being by yourself, use that time to remember that there is someone out there for everyone and your person will come when the time is right.

 

Step 5: Stop Obsessing and Let the Universe do its Thing

As I said before, there is someone out there for everyone; stop worrying yourself. If you are single, take it as a blessing and opportunity to get yourself in order for when that person does come along, and you both flourish together.

Relax, do you, and let the universe do the work.

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4 Winter Coats Every Girl and Guy Must Have

After I experienced my first winter in DC, I am an advocate for having multiple types of coats. You may think you can easily get away with one or two good coats during the winter season, but realistically you’ll need different types depending on the occasion (and weather). If at this point you’re thinking something along the lines of, “Who has money to just be throwing out for coats?!?”, I get it. Good coats are not only hard to find, but they can also be pricey. Thankfully, there are options out there and to help you to pick pieces that you feel are worth the investment, I did some research and put together a list of the top four coats that every man and woman should have in their closet.

A Trench Coat

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Every “must-have” winter list will have a trench coat on it.  It’s an essential transitional piece that can easily take you from fall to winter. When it comes to a trench, stick with a neutral color (black, camel, navy, and gray) because even though surprising colors and patterns are fun, this is going to be a jacket you want to withstand the test of time (and short lived trends).

SHOPPING ON A BUDGET:

SPLURGE A LITTLE:

 

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Spotlight: New Book Release “We Hold These Truths” by DC Native David Mitchell

Released just days before the conclusion of this past election – and the official end of the Obama era – We Hold These Truths(WHTT) by D.C.’s own David Mitchell couldn’t have come at a better time.  As an African American woman, I will never forget the emotions I felt when “Senator Obama” was officially declared “President Obama”. I will always remember the look of pride and pure happiness on the faces of my family, the videos of cheering crowds across the world, and the excitement felt even in my little apartment as I watched the results with my college roommate.  WHTT dives deeper into the emotions felt during and after that historic election, by telling the story of Al Carpenter, a young African-American Ivy League law school grad, who learns – while experiencing his own trials and triumphs – that despite one’s college degrees and accolades, not all Americans are into “hope” and “change” as they claimed to be in 2008.


I’m sure I couldn’t come close to describing the novel as well the author himself, so I sat down with David to learn more about the novel and the inspiration behind it.

Author David Mitchell

 

(DC) What’s your story? What was your childhood and professional career like?

(DM) I grew up in Washington, D.C. where I was raised by a single mom. Last week, at the book release event for my debut novel, We Hold These Truths, someone asked my mother to share her secret for raising a successful young black man in Washington, D.C. Her answer was, “I cooked him a hot breakfast every morning.” I guess the little things can go a long way.

I attended public schools through eighth grade, when my mother decided I needed a “different” experience. I spent grades nine through twelve at Gonzaga College High School. I always tell people I became a man during my time at Gonzaga. I think the Jesuits are just really skilled at teaching young men how to do the right things, and cultivating in them a sense of compassion for the needy and a habit of taking affirmative action to help others.

I graduated from Yale College in ’04 with a degree in History, and after spending two years working as a paralegal in D.C., I moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to begin studies at Harvard Law School. After graduation in June 2009, I moved to North Carolina to serve as deputy campaign manager on a U.S. Senate campaign. I didn’t know it at the time, but that experience would prove to be the most important of my life—and provide the inspiration for We Hold These Truths.

When our campaign wrapped up in May (we lost in the primary race), and after a well-earned summer vacation, I moved to New York and joined the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. I spent three years at Cravath representing investment banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Credit Suisse in securities and banking transactions involving insanely complicated credit facilities (I’m not bragging here, but rather explaining why I have so little pigmentation left in my hair).

Longing to be closer to family, I returned to D.C. in September 2013 and joined the securities law practice at Dechert LLP. One year later, I left Dechert to pursue my passion for writing—specifically, to finish We Hold These Truths.

Who in your life encouraged you to write?

Interesting question. There was no specific person who encouraged me to write, but my DYNAMIC second grade teacher, Mrs. Wright, would frequently remind me—yes, at age 8—that I had a voice, and that as a consequence, I had a responsibility to use my voice to help others. I made a pledge to her, renewed frequently over the years, to find a way to use my voice to help those whose needs don’t always make it to the bargaining table. We Hold These Truths is my way of not only speaking truth to power on behalf of those who aren’t always heard, but also—and I argue more importantly—I’m explaining to America’s most marginalized citizens how they can use their collective voice and vision to dictate political outcomes that will inure to their long-term benefit. I hope Mrs. Wright is proud of me. I can still hear her voice. What a woman—which leads me to an important lesson I’ve learned in my 34 years on this earth: Women are doers. Men are fond of rhetoric and speechmaking, but very little gets done when there aren’t women in the room. Believe me.

What was the inspiration behind We Hold These Truths? Did you get the idea from a personal experience?

We Hold These Truths grew out of and was inspired by my work as a senior aide and deputy campaign manager on a US Senate campaign in North Carolina in 2010. Within our campaign, we thought of the 2010 election cycle as a critical opportunity to test what we called the “Obama Thesis”: the proposition that Barack Obama’s election had permanently changed the American sociopolitical landscape. In particular, we sought to test the extent to which Obama’s election changed the way people of all races (and in particular, whites) thought about black and brown candidates, and their viability. At the time, there was a sense among folks in certain progressive circles that if talented minority candidates campaigned hard, they could now win elected offices that had previously fallen within the exclusive purview of the their white, often male counterparts.

As it turns out, this was not the case. Post-racial, America was not. The explanation is complex, though I’ve attempted to state it plainly in the pages of We Hold These Truths. You’ll have to buy the book to learn how our campaign played out, but I will say this: I see We Hold These Truths as an articulation of the political missteps that led to the election of Donald J. Trump as America’s 45th president. And I’ll say this too. Despite popular opinion to the contrary, Trump’s success wasn’t just the consequence of racist dog whistling to working class white Americans. In my view, the Democratic Party’s failures over the last several decades, from the national level down to the state and local levels, did far more to land Trump at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Intrigued? Good. Now go buy the book!

How long did it take you to write We Hold These Truths and what kept you motivated along the way?

I started writing We Hold These Truths immediately after we lost the primary election on May 4, 2010. I finished the book—that is, before the professional editors got their hands on it—on October 3, 2015. You know, people often ask me what motivated me to keep going. I quit my job (and with it, my sizable six-figure salary) to finish this book, and I did it without hesitation. I guess I just had, and still have, an unflinching belief in the importance of the story I had to tell. I know there are people who need to hear this story, folks who need someone to articulate how we got into this political mess and also chart a way forward. That was and remains far more important to me than the number of zeros on my bank statement. Ultimately, I was motivated by the belief that we are still capable of forging a politics that reflects the best of our character as Americans, and which gives voice to the needs of everyone; a belief that America could finally guarantee the one thing our nation’s founding documents and ethos promise every singe American: an opportunity to succeed.  

How do you think this generation and the next will be impacted by your words?

If you look back in our country’s history, young people have always been at the forefront of any major movement calling for a change to the status quo. They are the arbiters and auditors of change. Of course, I can’t predict what young people will do with my words. My hope is that We Hold These Truths will open up a new world for them, one where the possibilities for social, economic, and political progress are endless because they’ve learned how “the game” is played. I also hope this book instills a sense of fearlessness in the hearts and minds of all those who read it. We really can achieve anything—electing a black president was proof of how potent we are together when we set our minds to something. But we’ve got to stay committed to doing the work required to deliver change, and that’s hard work. Really hard work—work that in hindsight it seems we weren’t really prepared to carry out in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s 2008 election.

As I speak with younger millennials today, I hear an apathy in their voices; a sense that political involvement is futile because politicians aren’t listening to them. Many of them have come to the troubling conclusion that they ought not waste time engaging a system that doesn’t care about them. While I agree that our democratic system, and the corporate party apparatus that rules it, doesn’t give much thought to them outside of election season, I disagree with their response, because failing to engage the system guarantees precisely the outcome that’s ripping our democracy apart: a lack of accountability from our political parties and politicians. We’ve simply got to engage the process, recruit and elect progressive candidates, and then hold them accountable once they’re in office—in short, make them earn our votes. If we fail to do that, is it any surprise that so-called “progressive” candidates do nothing for us once they’re in office? Demand more, and get more.  

What’s your favorite element of your book (a favorite chapter, a favorite character, etc.)?

While We Hold These Truths is, properly speaking, a piece of historical political fiction, the plot also develops around the protagonist’s struggle with transitioning out of adolescence and into manhood. This element was especially fun to weave into the tale. There’s no real way to separate the coming-of-age narrative from the larger political narrative. They are one. I think readers will chuckle, and sometimes cringe, as Al Carpenter navigates his way through the thorny politics of complex relationships—both professional and personal.

If you only had one sentence to capture a new reader what would you tell them about the book?

We Hold These Truths tells the tale of how America squandered a golden opportunity to deliver the change made possible by the hope of 2008, but it also explains—with what is at times heartbreaking candor—how we can ensure we never repeat this devastating mistake again.

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Inside Unkle Scooty’s World

If you live in DC and haven’t heard of Kevin ‘Unkle Scooty’ Hallums, more than likely you’re new in town. I actually met Hallums for the first time during my interview with LeGreg Harrison for our feature on The Museum. When I was first asked if I was interested in speaking with Scooty, I agreed since I was already there. I hadn’t heard of him or knew who he was; but within moment of him walking into the room, his presence made me think, “okay, maybe he’s a big deal.”

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My premonition was correct. As an entrepreneur, emcee of the cities largest and only Urban Earth Day festival, founder of Premium Co., Unkle Scooty is a household name within the Urban Community of Washington D.C. He is a walking testament of how a vision and dream can take you from a local D.C kid, to a businessman and local public figure.

The name ‘Scooty’ was always Hallums’ nickname, until a friend added ‘Unkle’ and the rest is history. Growing up in D.C during the 80s and early 90s the city was still labeled the “Murder Capital”, Scooty described the presence of drugs, violence, and poverty as everyday life. This upbringing not only helped him develop a business mindset, but served as motivation to become more than a businessman, but a businessman with his own entities.

“[Growing up in D.C. back in the 90’s] can take you in so many directions and can play at so many emotions. [As I started to] get deep into business, I realized that it’s very much like being in the street. If you can survive and overcome all those things, then business should be second nature and life in general is seen through a different scope.” – KH

Although he’s fairly new the entrepreneurial life, Unkle Scooty has always been heavily involved in the community. Combining his passions for working in creative fields and preserving the culture of D.C., Kevin served as a full-time administrator at a local District school and hosted the George Washington University radio show, Funkadelic Freestyle , before concentrating on building his own brands.

 In the 2000s, Hallums devised a plan to work with, and create events that targeted the unique millennial community within the city; Rock Creek Social Club was one of the first ventures produced from this vision. Since inception, the Club has worked with some of the top brands in the lifestyle and entertainment arena including: Crown Royal, BET, Soul Cycle, the W Hotel, Reebok and more.  A brainchild between Hallums and his business partner Jerome Baker III, RCSC is a full service creative and lifestyle organization responsible for some of the city’s most famous events including: The Grilled Cheese Social, F.A.M.E., and Broccoli City Festival. All these events plus the countless others under the organization work together to unite the city by celebrating individual differences and similarities in respect to fashion, art, music, and entertainment. Since the Club’s initial creation several years ago, it continues to remain one of D.C.’s top creative and lifestyle brands. In addition, it continues to develop events and activities catering to many communities overlooked in the city. From the hipster kid with dirty vans and a bike lock in their pocket, to the guy in a suit who works on The Hill, Scooty (along with Rock Creek Social Club) prides himself on creating things any Washingtonian can enjoy and relate to.

“One thing about the [Grilled Cheese Social] is that it’s for everyone.  Anyone can enjoy it. There’s no VIP, no dress-code, and no judgment.  That’s why people love it.”  

Premium Co., a men’s clothing brand,  is another project Scooty is involved in.  The brand offers unique pieces currently on shelves in some of the hottest retailers out right now like the DOPE shop of Los Angeles and Monumental, based in Richmond, Virginia. Premium Co. has been featured on CBS WUSA 9’s D.C weekday morning show Great Day Washington, Complex Magazine, The Washingtonian, Northern Virginia Magazine, and the Washington Business Journal. The brand’s pop-up events at Union Market have always been a continuous hit receiving attention from What Do I Wear, Guest of Guest, and The Fab Empire.

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“Premium Co was started in 2011 by my partners Tyler Hundley and Davin Gentry. I joined the team in 2013 originally as help for sales & marketing. Premium was transitioning from jewelry to men’s essential clothing company. Being that they were starting a new chapter in the company’s story, it was almost perfect timing for me. Within the first 2 months we were traveling the country planting seeds that would build an amazing network. After a year I would become managing partner.”

While both Rock Creek Social Club and Premium Co. are booming, Scooty is best known for hosting the Broccoli City Festival. He has hosted the event since its birth four years ago, sharing the stage with Erykah Badu, Big KRIT, Future, Camron, Jhene Aiko, and many other artists who have graced the Broccoli City stage. As the popularity of the festival grows, so does the brand that is “Unkle Scooty”.  

“Other than Trillectro, there were no other festivals in D.C. that catered specifically to Millennials or had a message behind it.  So, when we were approached by Broccoli City to host a music festival [Rock Creek Social] was all for it.  We felt as though an event like this was needed in the city.  If you think about it, D.C. is a major city…but not a lot of people think of it as a major attraction spot.  [Broccoli City Festival] provided a means for people to finally see D.C. as an all-around dope place to be.”

Scooty makes sure to keep in mind he has younger kids looking up to him. Inspiring the next generation continues to be one of his top priorities. He regularly speaks on school panels and is always around to lend an ear and share advice to young students. When asked what advice he would give to someone looking to make it in the city and/or start their own business Hallums said:

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“Respect, honesty, credibility, and loyalty will carry you a long way (in D.C) [it] is a melting pot. Almost like a baby NYC as it pertains to culture. So many people from so many different places all over the world migrate to our city every single day. Accepting these people and being open to change makes us better individuals because growth comes from experience and exposure.”

 

Keep up with Unkle Scooty –

Social Media @unklescooty

Rock Creek Social Club
Premium Co
Grilled Cheese Social
Broccoli City Festival

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The Museum DC

Written By Derika Crowley

The root of the word museum is “muse” – a term that refers to a source of inspiration for an artist. The Museum DC (located at 2014 Rhode Island Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20018) serves as a muse for the city of Washington, DC. A source of inspiration for The District, and entertainment for the creatives, artists, and unique individuals who walk through its doors.

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The Museum creates an environment of inspiration from the cherry-wood stained floors, the street art and graffiti strategically illustrated across the walls of the store, and various dimensions and textures featured in each aspect from the furniture to the overall aesthetic of the gallery.

“There’s nothing like the gallery we have. It’s a place for creatives and free thinkers. Not only is it inspirational just being here and seeing [what we have available], but also being able to see native Washingtonians that were born and raised below the poverty line actually have brick and mortar store and being able to gain success from it, is inspiration in itself.”Le’Greg Harrison, Owner of The Museum

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Le’Greg ‘G’ Harrison is no stranger to breaking the mold of social expectations. It’s only right that the new ‘one stop shop’ for fashion and art possess a similar vibe. Prior to founding The Museum, LeGreg worked aimlessly to build a notable reputation for himself in the entertainment and fashion industry. Mostly known for his work with DC-native and hip hop sensation Wale, in addition to the hit series “The Game” and various other ventures.

From his work with celebrities and industry contacts, Harrison was able to bring in entrepreneur Karen Civil, to host an exclusive book signing for her book Be You and Live Civil: Unlocking Your Potential & Living Your Purpose at The Museum within the first few weeks of the store’s grand opening.

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“[Karen Civil’s] presence was very important here because she hasn’t done a book signing in DC or Maryland. So for [The Museum] to be the first stop and we hadn’t even been open for two weeks was great. She is the epitome of revolting. The store represents her strength and personality as well so her presence was vital in the beginning”.

Simply put, The Museum is for the established and aspiring art enthusiasts and fashion gurus. Those who have an open mind and a genuine interest in the many elements associated with fashion and art alike, will appreciate the story, products, and mission associated with DC’s newest staple.

“If you’re feeling uninspired or want to reconnect with creativity while purchasing premium goods, The Museum DC is the place for you.”

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Maketto DC: More Than What Meets the Eye

Written By Derika Crowley    

Maketto isn’t just a coffee shop with a clothing shop in the front, or vice versa. It’s an oasis where everyone is welcomed, accepted, and encouraged to share their story and explore their interests. The communal marketplace is DC’s newest staple and is proud of the fact that they don’t follow a set agenda with their business concept. Strategically placed on the H Street strip due to the area’s historical reputation of housing the new and innovative in terms of fashion, food and business in general, Maketto is a pure example of a store with a twist and a little bit more.

The idea was originated by a group of individuals who were rising stars (both locally and nationally) in their respected fields, that wanted to create an establishment where food and fashion mesh to transform into a common concept within the Washington D.C. area.

“What we’re doing is making things a little bit more attainable and accessible. Growing up [in DC] all my life, with the exception of when I went to school, if you were a male that wanted to cook that wasn’t necessarily the coolest thing. If you were a male that wanted to get into clothes that wasn’t necessarily the coolest thing. If you [were a male who] wanted to bake, again, that wasn’t necessarily the coolest thing. Now, those things are kind of cool. And now it’s okay to do them. But, it took some people to take some darts there for a long time. [Included with that] If you were an artist, you didn’t have a job [to some]. Whereas now that’s cool again. And we want to make sure those people are taken care of. For everything that we do, there is someone else younger who’s going to do it better, and we want people to know it’s okay to do what you do.”

– Dominick Adams, Head of Retail at Maketto

It’s the energy of the customers that set the tone, style, and overall vibe. That energy refers to the will to explore, discover, and learn. It’s this energy that allows for Maketto to be much more than a restaurant or store, but a place where people can host a variety of events and come together. Similar to fashion, there isn’t one set story; the story is up to interpretation. For example, if one loves the Maketto for the Cambodian inspired cuisine that’s what they’ll go for. While, if one is into the fashion element, they’ll view Maketto as a place to discover unique pieces or hold a pop-up shop. Although the definition is subjective, the end product is dictated by how a certain individual perceives it.

“From a fashion perspective. DC was very ‘unsung hero’ in that regard. Meaning people in DC always had a style and an opinion on things. What we’re doing is, from a retail end, is showing that a retailer can actually have style. What I mean by that is years ago you would go to one shop for one look, you would go to another shop for certain items, you may even need to go out of state [in some instances]. Here, we’re more so saying there is a way to put together multiple looks from a style perspective without having to reinvent yourself…that’s what I’m most proud of with the fashion program [at Maketto]. Everyone can exhibit style.”

Photo Cred: Bobby Spero

Photo Cred: Bobby Spero

One thing Maketto prides itself with is not cutting corners. This in essence is how they successfully combine food with fashion. For the food element, all items are outsourced from the best sources, same goes with the available fashion pieces (all obtained from the best brands and locations including Paris and New York). The retail portion of Maketto is a beautiful curation of international footwear, clothing, and accessories from brands including: DURKL, Human Made, Stone Island, and more.

 

“The community created [the style]. We just provided a venue and the right things to trigger an action. And that’s what I would want people to know the most.”

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I Hate Clubs Now! Less Clubs, More Bars: Millennials Changing Lifestyle

I hate clubs now. I absolutely hate them. Now, if you would have caught me about six years ago, fresh on the college scene, I would never have said this. At that time clubs were exciting. I got to wear high heels, meet “older” (and older to me at this age was 21 – 23) men, and wear little dresses that would have probably made my father question what I ACTUALLY went to college for. Now however, I dread the idea of having to stand in my heels in more than 20 minutes. I feel like I’m wasting my time getting cute for guys who either a.) want to sleep with me and probably won’t ever speak to me again, b.) might be interested in me, but I will probably never talk to again or c.) are actually be nice. But if we are keeping it honest here, any form of relationship that blossoms from the club will probably be short-lived.

I sound like a cynic, I know. But, in all seriousness, the whole ordeal of a “girls night out” that involves “hitting the club” has become painfully cliché. Ladies, we all know the scenario…you spend about an hour or so getting ready, put on your sexiest outfit, and then try and finagle your way to the front of the line by stroking some promoter or security guard’s ego. If you’re having a really lucky night, they might pay for your drinks when you get inside. More often than not, these guys are not your type, but who cares. That is one less thing that you have to pay for!  I won’t lie, I’ve done it.  At some point in time I actually found it fun, but now every time I go a club I have a moment when I wonder, “why couldn’t we have gone to a bar instead?”

As it turns out, lots of people are shying away from the club scene and embracing the benefits of good ol’ fashioned interpersonal communication that one can find at any local bar or lounge. Bars are great because you can wear what you want, drink what you want, and hang out with people you actually like!

Here’s a grand list of reasons people prefer bars over clubs:

  1. You can actually have a conversation We’re in a time when everyone is trying to network, genuinely let loose with friends, or find their next “bae.” Unlike the club, there’s actually a chance you could meet someone in a bar. Contrary to popular belief and pop culture movies, it’s actually very difficult to find love in the club.
  2. Grinding is kept to a minimum Grinding is common in clubs. Don’t get me wrong, I love to twerk from time to time with my friends. Keyword: friends. Not sweaty men I don’t know, but FRIENDS. At the bar, there’s no pressure to dance with anyone but your girls.
  3. You can drink what you want, when you want Some days you want a cocktail, some days you want a beer, and some days you just need some wine. At bars, the options are limitless.
  4. There is no hierarchy There is no segregation of those who are “VIP” and those who are not. We are all one. We are ALL equal.
  5. You don’t spend stupid money How many clubs have you been to that offer drink specials? Yeah… point proven.
  6. There is no desperation and violation There is no waiting in line for hours, no pat-downs, and no checking purses before entry. Who has time for that?
  7. You can wear whatever you want Whether you want to wear a dress or jeans, you’ll never feel out of place.
  8. Your night doesn’t start at midnight No one really goes to the club before midnight. For a person like me who needs at least 6 – 8 hours of sleep, this can be problematic. Not only does it mess up your sleeping pattern, but it also cuts down the amount of time you actually enjoy being out. Bars and clubs close at the same time, so if you want to start your night as early as 6 or 7, you have that option.
  9. Bars aren’t sexist Girls don’t have to wear little to no clothing, and guys can get it in without paying a “guys-only” cover charge.
  10. You can sit down without spending a grand If nothing I’ve said has convinced you that bars are #winning, Let this final reason put everything in perspective.  A typical table at a club can cost anywhere from $500 – $1,000 dollars. At a bar, you can sit anywhere that’s open…FREE OF CHARGE!

Clearly (in my opinion), bars are winning here – especially in DC. But, I can’t speak for everyone. I’m sure there are plenty of people who still prefer the club and your traditional “turn up.” It all comes down to two things, what’s your personal preference, and who’s your circle of friends. Now that I’ve given you my theory on why more people are ditching the club and flocking to bars, I ask, what are your thoughts?

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5 DC Based Designers You Must Know

Fashion isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of DC, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the District has evolved into an area known for more than just politics and government. While the city still needs a little more time before reaching the level of New York or Paris, there are local designers and visionaries who are working hard to break the stereotype about DC not being a place a place for fashion.

This week’s five featured designers are each unique to their personal style and have created brands reflecting their individuality. Ranging from girly to urban, they represent the diversity of the city to the fullest.

  1. District of Clothing (@district_of_clothing): The motivation behind the District of Clothing is more so a movement than just your typical fashion brand. Inspired by the ambitious and influential, designer Dionna Dorsey created a fashion line to appeal the doers and the ambitious. The line features t-shirts and hoodies labeled with “DC Dope”, “DC Doer”, and “Le District”. Simple in design, the pieces can be incorporated into any style, for any occasion, whether the office, school, or a networking event. Long story short, it’s perfect for those in DC who are always grinding and working on their next step.
  1. Denada Design (@denadadesign): An emerging accessory line, DeNada specializes in handmade knits for women and men. The line’s founder, Virginia Blanca Arrisueño had a vision to blend contemporary styles with ethic elements to offer stylish – yet, high quality merchandise. Inspired by the culture and the traditions of her Peruvian heritage, Arrisueño continually works alongside skilled artisans in Perú to create DeNada’s growing collection. She’s been featured in Refinery29 DC, Capital File Magazine, and New York Magazine, showcasing her unique accessories and chic style. You can also check out her Instagram page, featuring her designs on local DC bloggers and influencers (it also showcases her really cool studio).
  1. Hoodlvm | 90’s Clothing (@hoodlvm): CEO and designer, Deontre Hancock, takes pride in being a self-taught menswear designer. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Hancock makes all of his products. Just one glance through his Instagram page, and you can instantly see the 90’s influences. He brings back many of the old fashion classics beloved in the 90’s including experimental textures, loose fits, and bold prints. But, what makes him interesting is the reason behind the name. On the Hoodlvm website, Deontre states he and his brand “[stand] for something different. [They’re] rebels, [they] go against what’s supposedly be right. Like a Hoodlum who’s always breaking the law, stirring up things and not looking to be your average individual.” Pretty dope right?
  1. Talisa Michelle (@talisamichelle): Since 2011, she has expanded from five dresses to a full lifestyle brand consisting of women’s – casual, evening, and swimwear, girls, mens, and pets wear. What makes Talisa’s designs are unique because they appeal to both young and more mature audiences by offering timeless, versatile, and sexy designs.

“I design for the woman who is sexy yet powerful, traditional but not afraid to take bold risks, and most importantly, the woman who knows who she is and understands exactly what she wants. This is the woman who wants and deserves to look good.”- Talisa (from RawArtist.org)

talisamichelle

  1. Wes Woods (@originalcrackage): Self-proclaimed as the “Stripe King,” Woods brand “Original Crackage” is all about black and white stripes, lines, abstract shapes, and color blocking. The brand pulls in inspiration from modern technology and the city lifestyle for casual urban wear that makes a statement. Look through Woods’ social media, it’s clear complex geometric patterns on simple pieces (like a T-shirt) are his signature. What makes this brand really cool, is that the same design is never made again, so each customer receives something exclusive, original, and unique.

original crackage

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