Marina Ali

THIS BUDDING DESIGNER IS PUTTING THE DANDY BACK IN THE HOOD

Marina Ali

In Hood Dandy, I definitely wanted to convey beauty in what others find unappealing. To make something beautiful out of what others would find unattractive

Drunk Magazine recently did a photo shoot with designer, Katiuscia Gregoire. After the shoot, I sat down with the Florida native to learn about her personal style and fashion politics. Keep reading to hear about her innovative new collection, Hood Dandy.

 

Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Katiuscia. I'm a recent graduate from Parsons School of Design. I'm originally from Miami Beach, Florida. I absolutely love where I'm from. Miami is such a vibrant city and is definitely a big influence on how I see colors and patterns in my own designs. 

 

When did you realize you wanted to pursue fashion? 

I think I always knew that I wanted to pursue a creative career. I always said I would either be a fashion designer or actress. One big influence that led me to pursue fashion is my mother. She always has custom outfits made to attend church. She just has such impeccable style. To grow up around others with a dress to impress mentality, looking fresh despite their social or economic circumstances, is so inspiring. 

 

How did you make your dream of being a designer into a reality? 

I decided to attend Design and Architecture Senior High in Miami to study fashion design and that's when I really knew that I would continue on this path. From there, I attended Parsons and just recently graduated. I spent my final school year creating Hood Dandy, which focuses on a topic near and dear to my heart. 

 

Where do you find inspiration for your designs? 

I find inspiration on issues that matter to me. For me, it's usually about women, the roles we play in society, and how we are objectified. For Hood Dandy, I decided to take a look into men, more specifically black men. Just like women, I felt like black men also face heavy issues in society. 

There's an awesome quote by Bryant Keith Alexander. “The Black male body is polemical. It is a site of public and private contestation; competing investments in lack masculinity that are historical and localized affecting notions of intellect and character, as well as virility and fertility. The diversity that exists within the character of the Black man is not acknowledged, hence he is relegated to a stereotypically pathologized position, in which any variation might be constructed as inauthentic or not being real, passing for something that he is not." 

Sadly, this stands very true in today's society and I wanted to comment on that. I believe images contribute greatly to perception. We see too many negatives images and stereotypes of the black man. Hood Dandy is an all-gender collection focused on creating new imagery inspired by black masculinity. 

 

What ideas do you want to convey through your designs? 

In Hood Dandy, I definitely wanted to convey beauty in what others find unappealing. To make something beautiful out of what others would find unattractive, Hood Dandy merges the look of a carefree stylish black man in the 70’s, and the stereotypical tropes in black fashion during the late 80’s and early 90’s hip-hop scene (baggy garments, durags and chain). 

The aim of the collection is to provide a provocative counter to stereotypical representations and physical objectification of black male identities. This collection is to represent the unrepresented; thus, introducing a new meaning of masculinity, far from the traditional imagery society has carried through time. If more images, in this case through fashion, are produced exhibiting alternate sides to black masculinity, away from the stereotyped and fetishized clichés, we will begin in achieving a passage of awareness and begin the path to a more socially-conscious worldview.

 

What advice do you have to aspiring fashion designers out there? 

Do what you need to do to produce your best work, even if that means not doing things how others expect you too.

 

Do you have any other interesting ventures or fashion projects you’d like to tell us about? 

I'm definitely going to continue working on Hood Dandy. I also have some cool knit accessories coming soon! So look out for that.

 

What are your social media links so people can look you up? 

Follow me on Instagram.

 

Check out Katiuscia’s website and her full Hood Dandy collection. Also, scroll down for the KatiusciaxDrunk Magazine photoshoot!

 

CREDITS

Models: Seun Olukanni, Kemi Olukanni

Photographer: Sarah Charlie Benjamin

Make up: Noel Jacoboni

Stylist: Christina Campagna

All clothes by Katiuscia Gregoire.

 

Marina Ali is a student, writer, poet, and blue lipstick enthusiast. She is a staff writer for Brown Girl Magazine, the features editor for Drunk Magazine, and the social media manager for TMO Media. When she’s not writing or studying for classes, you can find her picnicking in pastoral East Texas, crafting for her sorority sisters, or making food.