The two words I would use to describe my life are travel and music. My life has been like an eclectic music video featuring scenes from Toronto, Jamaica, India, Thailand, and Japan.
I grew up living between Toronto and Kingston, Jamaica, and travelling whenever possible with my mother, a flight attendant and passionate globetrotter. When she took me to New Delhi, India when I was 13, I watched with fascination as she haggled with the shop keepers. The colours, textures, and grit of the city opened my eyes and flipped the ‘on’ switch to my creativity.
My personal style is highly influenced by my mother. I have a distinct memory of looking up at her in her long plaid skirt, leather boots, with her thick Sade-like hair in a long ponytail, and thinking she was wicked white hot cool and the most beautiful woman alive. I think of myself as a bohemian style chameleon. I like to try new things with the way I look, with the caveat that they be adventure-ready and comfortable. I’m frustrated with the retail experience, so lately my style has turned almost 90 per cent vintage. I love the experience of stepping into a quiet store and experiencing shopping with other people who love clothing as much as I do.
I currently moonlight as a freelance stylist, set designer, and art director. Beyond the high of simple aesthetic satisfaction, I have a passion for telling stories (my own and others’) along with an avid interest in fashion anthropology and the cultural identities. I find myself most inspired by nature’s textures (leaves, flowers, the patterns on the bark of trees), and the stories of fearless female adventurers.
This is my latest find. A well-respected author, journalist, photographer, and curator with several books under his belt, Ted Polhemus draws on his background in anthropology with a focus on body art and adornment, chronicling fashion trends for their deeper revelations on human nature. He’s a thought-provoking instigator and his writings keep me up at night.
From hip hop greats ‘The Roots’ and the creators of OkayPlayer comes OkayAfrica. This is a great resource for the latest news, fashions, trends and music coming out of the African continent and Diaspora. Check out the ‘Africa In Your Earbuds’ section for booty bumblin’ music.
A wicked NYC style blog, creators Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs are the kind of storytellers that keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next explosion of visual dialogue. Embodying a sophisticated approach to street trends, they elevate the sartorial journey to high art. We need more male role models like this.
All things patterned related—in nature, fashion and art. I am in awe of the haphazard patterns found in nature and the city and can easily spend time staring at broken pavement on the road, the texture of the bark on a tree, or peeling paint on the side of a building.
I’ll never forget the moment. I was strolling through the halls of Jackson Square Mall in Hamilton when I came upon HMV and decided to peruse the ‘world music’ section. My ears became astutely aware of a song slowly building in momentum and the lyrics blasted, “twist your head around, it’s all around you, all is full of love.” The song was like a warm hug from your favourite auntie. This is how Bjork met me. I have enormous respect for her as a musician, singer, performance artist, nature lover, and visual mystic. I like that she has maintained a child-like playfulness and fearlessness with her style.
text // Kaya-Marisa Meadows
photography // Laura Tuttle