Rakeem x Frida Kahlo

Part 1

 
 

At the beginning of the year, I proposed a concept to my photographer cousin Rakeem.  He had proclaimed this year to be "The Year of the Crop Top" and his objective was to shoot a lot self portraits wearing crop tops.  I immediately got inspired by his idea.

Being a black gay photographer, he uses his art to push against the normalcies of the black male culture and gay culture while still working on his self appreciation.  There's so many levels to him, it makes me so proud.

Anyway, at the beginning of "The Year of the Crop Top" I wanted to take part in it.

I created a concept inspired by his push at the gender specific clothing and Frida Kahlo, who also challenged gender roles.  My idea was to make a few looks that incorporated crop tops, Frida and her iconic flowers for some interesting editorial shots.  I text Rakeem about it as soon as I had my rough sketches done and he was down to do it.

No surprise, it didn't happen.  When I came up with the idea, I was in my first trimester and thought that I could still run the world.  Sewing gave me headaches and made me feel nauseous, I was tired and eventually I forgot about it.  As I was working my blog schedule, I figured it would be good to go back and finish this idea in a more manageable way.

Now I don't really have the time to sew but I can sketch...

Still playing with gender roles, I wanted to design a few gender neutral neutral looks.  It's definitely a first in my book.  I used the almighty Pinterest to look up gender neutral clothing and created this concept board.

From there, I went to designing.  [Boss mom moment: I did these sketches standing up while holding Ava in one arm and drawing with the opposite hand.  Yea, I did that!]

This is where I am now.  If you want to see behind the scenes exclusives of my work process or get updates on any project, sign up for my weekly newsletter right below.

 

Part 2

September 7, 2016

Kudos to me for actually finishing something that I said I would!

With this project, I really had to push myself out of my comfort zone.  Pushing the gender norms in something I've never tried.  Well, something I've never tried for men.  I'm pretty set on "This is for a man" and "A man definitely shouldn't wear that."  So when I was coming up with designs, I had to force myself not revert to the common shirt and pants combo but I also didn't want to lose myself in experiment.  I'm proud of what I came up with.

Look 1

Black and white striped linen tunic w/ black and white 3D flower appliques.

Shoes: Dr. Martens Vegan 1460

Look 2

Burnt orange pleated wool cape w/ long oatmeal jersey turtleneck and denim jeans.

Shoes: Dr. Martens 1460 Nappa (Womens)

Look 3

Knit black wool sweater with Frida Kahlo knit graphic and burnt orange asymetrical skort.

Shoes: Dr. Martens 1460 Nappa (Womens)

 Rakeem-Cunningham-Frida-Kahlo