Kris Cole; Self-Taught Fashion Designer Who Spoke Her Passion Into Existence

I’m from St. Louis where a lot of creatives are born. So many people with different gifts and talents. I got the opportunity to interview a fashion by the name of Kris Cole. She is a one-woman band and she is THE SHIT. Check out the interview I did with her on DELUX Mag.

Kris Cole is a self-taught fashion designer, who didn’t go to school for the physical aspect of designing. She was one of DELUX’s Emerging 30 under 30 last year. She could eye some of her measurements just by her instinct and she doesn’t follow trends. Kris believes that fashion is how you express yourself and a preference of how you chose to look. She’s had a passion for it since she was in 3rd grade and now her passion has became her reality. DELUX got the chance to sit down with her to talk more about her upbringing, inspirations and where she see her brand going.

DELUX: How would you define fashion?

Kris Cole: I would define fashion just being surrounded by how someone carries themselves and express themselves and with what they see that matches. Fashion isn’t about trends and keeping up with other people. It’s about how you feel and a preference of how you like to look.

DELUX: Being a designer, I know it can be tough starting out and it take practice and patience to put together the right pieces. What got you into designing?

Kris Cole: I started designing in the third grade. My aunt had a needle pack in a bag ang gave it to me. With that, I started to sew school pictures to fabric, and I use to cut my mom’s shower curtains and bed sheets up and make them into stuff. In the 3rd and 4th grade, I was making pencil skirts and all sorts of stuff. As I got older, I started to figure out fabrics. I used to go to the library to get books, and practice whatever crafts I saw in those and from there, I got into the garments. I used to make clothes for my teachers in high school and I started my business at 19 with prom dresses. It’s been almost 6 years that I’ve been designing full time, outside of my regular job.

DELUX: Since starting your business, have you always had a niche for designing gown or do you try whatever idea someone gives you?

Kris Cole: I design everything for women. I don’t do menswear, but I design everything for women whether it’s gowns, swimsuits, weddings, birthday occasions, two-piece clubwear; I just specialize in all forms of womenswear.

DELUX: During the off season of prom, are you still as busy with making dresses or is prom season your busiest time?

Kris Cole: So, prom season is the busiest time but it’s also the time where I invest more into my craft because I’m always designing. When I’m out of prom season, I’m still designing all the time for personal orders like birthdays, special occasions, wedding and things like that.

DELUX: Have you ever thought about designing and making shoes?

Kris Cole: I haven’t thought about actually designing a shoe, but I am about to start a Kris Cole Edition shoe, so that’s coming soon.

DELUX: That’s dope! So, how do you stay current with fashions trends. I know you said fashion isn’t about trends and it’s about expressing yourself but how do you stay current with what’s going on?

Check out her response and the rest of the interview HERE

Follow her on IG @KrisColeTheBrand

KV The Writer Talks Being An Artist and Laughing Through Heartbreak

I got the chance to interview a very talented artist from St. Louis with DELUX Magazine, whom I write for. Check out the interview below.

St. Louis artist KV Thompson, also known as KV The Writer, is more than just that. She sings, raps, writes her own music, and she’s even a published author. KV been writing since she was a kid and with that she’s perfected the skill.

KV’s recent project is about a guy breaking up with her at an ice cream shop. With her getting her heart broke, she channeled her hurt into her music, a full blown EP titled Love Sucks. DELUX was able to talk to her about her transparency, her talents and being an artist here in St. Louis.

DELUX: Being an artist comes with practice or it’s a natural thing. How do you start out singing?

KV: I honestly don’t consider myself a singer (lol.) I think of myself as a songwriter that tries to deliver songs the way I think they should be delivered. Sometimes that requires me to sing. Other times rap. I just try to bring songs to life the best way I can. My producer/engineer is the one that makes me into a singer.

DELUX: Were you hesitant on being so transparent about getting your heart broke?

KV: Not at all. I laugh at myself a lot, including when I get my heart broken. Of course, at the time, it wasn’t very funny, but after a while I would look back and laugh at myself about all the weird and ridiculous situations I found myself in.

DELUX: When dealing with getting your heart broke, did it change your perception on dating during these times versus 10 years ago?

KV: I can say 10 years ago I knew nothing about dating or what it meant to be your full self while in a partnership. 10 years from now I’m sure I’ll still be learning about how to form a romantic partnership with another person. I would say getting my heartbroken was a much needed lesson on love and attachment. It made me realize that we don’t own people, even the ones we love. People are free to walk out of your life for whatever reason. We have to appreciate the moments and seasons they are in our life, and don’t try to hold on to something past its time.

DELUX: How long have you been singing and who is the inspiration behind your sound?

KV: I started really developing the sound I have now about 2 years ago. I pushed my pen by writing songs every day for a whole year. During this time, I experimented a lot. I played around by writing songs for different genres, started practicing making melodies, and played with my voice a lot. I guess what inspires my sound is just being true to me. Whatever I feel like should come out, I do that.

DELUX: Your song “Crazy” is dope with you rapping and singing? There are only so many female artist that does that such as Nicki Minaj and even Lauryn Hill. With you having talent in both, would you consider yourself a singer, rapper or an artist overall?

Check out her response and the rest of the interview HERE

Make sure you follow her on IG @KVTheWriter

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Dannie B; A Man of Many Talents

Dannie B is artistically-inclined individual in every aspect, from songwriting, to playing instruments, and even his familiarity with videography. He considers himself a storyteller. I had the opportunity to sit down with him to learn more about his background.

 

Danii Gold: Being a man of many talents, how did you start off in all of your talents ?

Dannie B: It started in high school, I was a curious person. I just loved trying out different things. So during my senior year, Me and my friends would have rap battles every morning before school and one day I had this idea to record it. My mom had just got a digital camera and I decided to records the rap battles. Once I had the footage, I decided to edit it into a film. So that’s was the start of my video experience. And then I started getting into photography senior year as well when I wanted to take pictures for my senior memory book.

I actually began considering myself an artist in college when I started studying creative writing and so I had to transition to that from computer science. My counselor asked me why would I want to change my major and I’m thinking, “she’s supposed to be encouraging me to follow my dreams.” After I spoke with my parents, they said they trusted me to make my own decisions so that’s how I got into creative writing. Then my last semester at Flo Valley is when I got into the poetry club and started writing for the school newspaper and pretty much got into whatever writing that I could.

Photography came about when I interned at KDHX. I was a writing intern and pretty much a music journalist. My manager asked me for pictures one day instead of sending out separate photographers so I started taking a few pictures for articles. At the same time, I became further interested in photography by traveling and by meeting a group of black photographers at UMSL. Those experiences grew on me then I gradually transformed into a photographer.

My love for music comes from my childhood, I come from a family of musicians, my mother’s side was gospel singers. On my dad side, my grandfather was a gospel singer, then I had a uncle who was a touring musician and played with a bunch of major acts. Music was always there but it wasn’t until the middle of college when I had this spark to do it professionally! For a period of time, I did a mixture of poetry and guitar playing at open mics, then over the years I started playing for a couple of different bands and pretty much grew as a musician from there.  To sum it up, I had all these individual influences that sparked my curiosity to get me into doing all those different things. Originally, I wrote poetry to music and then I got the idea to become a songwriter. I wrote my first original song last fall.

Danii Gold: So do you play instruments as well?

Dannie B:Well, when I was in grade school I started off as a percussionist but when I actually got into music more seriously, I started playing the guitar, which is my main instrument. Then I went on to play bass and piano.

Danii Gold: Out of all of your talents, which one is your favorite one to do?

Dannie B: I kind of go through seasons. So for the past year I’ve been doing a lot of music and instrumentation with other people, and doing poetry. I’ve been kind of dormant with photography and haven’t done a lot of it in the past couple years but I am gradually getting back into it; every 3 to 6 months I go through a cycle with all my talents. But I spend the majority of my time on music so that’s my favorite right now.

Danii Gold: What do you like to write about when it comes to poetry and songwriting for instants love, feelings, etc?

Dannie BMy genre is love intimacy and romance so the vast majority of my work deals with that. Whether it’s the typical boy meets girl or being in a relationship and going through things or just teaching in general.

Danii Gold: While you were doing photography what kinds of images did you like to capture?

Dannie BWhen I first started off I did a lot of travel work. My big entry into photography started when I studied abroad in Amsterdam and that’s when I was fascinated by all the buildings and architecture and bicycles. So I got into travel photography, and when I went out of town somewhere, I would try to take pictures as much as possible. I did a lot of street photography, like walking downtown and seeing people as they are and things happening. Then I got into protest photography and was contracted with SEIU, Service Employee International Union in 2013, which was before Ferguson. So when Ferguson actually happened, I was doing a lot of protest photography and I knew a lot of people that were activists and organizers within it. What I learned with shooting protest, there is a flow to it.

Danii Gold: Do you have a favorite musician/someone who’s inspired you ?

Dannie B: Definitely there are all these different types of aspirations like as a guitar player, my favorite has been Chris Martin or Johnny Buckley from Coldplay. John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers, and even 70s soul like Earth Wind and Fire, Ohio Players and Heat Wave.

Favorite Photographer; I like Ami Vitalie, she’s a shooter for National Geographic and she focuses on pandas. When it comes to film, I am a huge Ava Duvernay fan. She’s my favorite right now. In terms of individual films, I am obsessed with Intersellar, it’s directed by Christopher Nolan and stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway.

Danii Gold: Do you consider yourself an artist or a creator?

Dannie BKind of a mixture of both but I do find myself more so an artist. I’ve come to that decision because I do work in marketing and PR and that’s a creative field and I’ve come to realize that a creative is someone who creates for the sole purpose of monetizing their work or their work being part of an advertisement. Whereas an artist there is something deeper and more meaningful and monetization isn’t the first thing that is on their mind. So I straddle the line, but I feel in spirit I’m definitely an artist.

Danii Gold: What are other talents that you still want to explore?

Dannie B: The next thing I would like to get into is acting. The idea of putting on a façade and playing a character is cool.

Danii Gold: What is end goal?

Dannie B: My end goal is to have a solid body of work or bodies of work long after I stop doing what I’m doing that can inspire and influence people. That is the main drive behind what I do is being an inspiration whether it be teaching something to people that didn’t know something or inspiring somebody to do something that I’ve done or that they want to do for themselves. So the end goal is creating something that I believe can be value to other people and give them hope and inspiration.

As far as projects go, Dannie B is working on a music project that he can place on a digital platform. He’s already done a written poetry project and a photography project so, he says this is one of the things he hasn’t done yet.

Make sure you follow him Instagram for music updates and when he’s performing at a local St. Louis spot. @DannieB224

10 Things You Learn in Your Late 20s

When you’re inching close to age 30, life kind of comes at you. Your body doesn’t function like it used to, you can’t stay out as late as you did when you were 21, you don’t like being around people, and you are late for almost everything (or you just don’t care about being late.) It really shows your age or even your growth.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned and still learning as I’m inching towards the 30 line:

 

Never Settle For Less

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Yes, we should never settle for less at any point in our life BUT when you are in your late teens/early 20’s, you have to take what you can get when it comes to jobs, cars, etc. But when you’re getting close to 30, ESPECIALLY BEING A MILLENNIAL, we don’t waste our time doing shit we don’t want to do.

Always Running Late

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Mannnn I use to be the most precise on-time person, then I was always the first person….on time…helping to set up something (ESPECIALLY A BABY SHOWER) LOL. Then, I started moving on my time. My biggest mishap is taking a nap before I gotta be somewhere, knowing good and well that I still gotta do my hair and make up. BUT, now I figure “I’m not going to be the only one late.” Unless it’s work, I’m usually running 10-20 minutes late. “I’ll get there when I get there.” 

 

Irritated By Loudness

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Look…I’m lowkey an old lady. Unless I’m at a club, bar, etc. I can’t unnecessary loudness. For example, folks being extra loud in a grocery store or gas station. Whew chile, all that is uncalled for, especially when folks are on the phone and it’s on speaker phone.

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Health is Wealth

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Your body will switch up on you quick! I’ve always been lucky enough to have a cute figure but within the last year and a half my weight has been sticking!!! Meaning, I have to actually workout and get active! Also, I’ve had three instances that I’ve thrown up catfish. Mind you, I love fish, but for some reason when I dine out and eat it, I get sick 5 hours later and throw it up! So of course, I have to either A) only eat home-cooked fish (because I don’t throw up from eating it.) or B) eliminate it completely. What we eat is important and how much of it we intake. If you eat a bunch of  fried foods, you should balance it out and only eat fried foods 2-3 days out of the week and/or substitute it with baked foods. I understand that there is bad in every food, chicken, beef, turkey, pork (I’ve given it up unfortunately), but we gotta learn to balance it all out. Folks are becoming vegans every day and I commend them but I ain’t at that point yet lol.

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Also, you can also tell the difference in your skin and body when you drink water. I’ve always drank water, but only like a bottle  a day (crazy right) but as I’ve gotten older, I drink it more because….WATER MATTERS! For the people who don’t drink water…you’re gross.

Just think, if your body shuts down, you can’t function, meaning you can’t make money, unless you can do it in your bed just sending emails and making phone calls. Other than that, you can’t do business if you always sick and not taking care of yourself.

Get Multiple Streams of Income.

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As a millennial, I’ve noticed we don’t follow the standard generation x and baby boomers of the world when it comes to working. They had one job, then retired and got a pension. NOW, people have a 9a-5p, 5p-9p and even a 9p-12a. We don’t believe in depending on just one stream of income. The way jobs are going out of business and laying people off (trust me, I know), you can’t depend on just one. We are also on this entrepreneur wave. Working for someone is okay but why not educate yourself and open your own business. Always be opened to that.

Patience

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Things aren’t going to happen when you expect it to. Follow your own pace. To piggy back off the last one, we have to be patient in our current job position until the next best thing comes along. When it comes to bringing in a second and third income, I’m sure you would want those incomes to replace your 9-5 and you could work for yourself, buuuut we gotta have patience. If we don’t want to settle for the regular 9-5 life then we gotta be patient, and not compare our situation to anyone else because everyone has went through it some kind of long process to get to their current success.

Communication 

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Texting is the devil. It should not be used for serious dialogue but instead short and sweet messages, “I’m on my way,” “Call me when you get the chance, I want to ask you..,” “Just checking on you,” those kind of messages. (This is what my cousin Vic says). And I’ve definitely gotten better with this is the past. Texting can be taken out of context. You never know the tone in which a person is saying something. I have a friend who is short with her messages because she either, doesn’t like to respond long, she’s busy or “that is just that.” But when we talk on the phone, it’s the complete opposite. When you get to your late 20’s you realize that phone communication is more intimate and personal versus texting. You typically text a person when you’re unavailable to talk on the phone. But there are times when you don’t feel like talking on the phone, so you prefer texting. Regardless of the situation, us late 20’s folks are getting better with talking on the phone versus texting all day (unless we are unavailable to talk.)

Start on Retirement Early

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As we get close to our 30’s, we gotta start on our retirement fund. The more we have saved, the earlier we can retire. There are different apps for that and even Roth funds and if you’re working for a company, there’s always 401k and other retirement plans. The last thing you need is to be 40 and only have $5000 saved, whew chile that would be tragic. So to sum it up….START SAVING.

It’s Okay to Be Alone

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It comes a time when you don’t feel like being bothered. I am guilty of looking at my phone ring if it is someone calling that I don’t feel like holding a long conversation with. Sometimes I go home and leave my TV off and read or just hop on social media. It’s okay to not want to deal with anyone (relationship wise too). It’s okay to want a detox from people. Who wants to be surrounded by people ALL THE TIME? NO ONE! It’s okay to have some along time.

Adulting Sucks!

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Don’t get me wrong…..it definitely has it’s perks. Coming and going as you please, making your own money, having your own car and crib; all that is good. The sucky part is paying these extra bill. Personal Property tax, Missouri Taxes, hospital bills, tickets, ALL DAT SUCKS! I’m sure it’s even worse when you have kids, like paying child care and unexpected hospital bills when the kiddos get sick. All in all adulting sucks and you realize that early on in your 20s but it still sucks when you get close to 30.

It is a blessing to make it to any age because tomorrow isn’t promised. When you make it through another decade, you realize a few things and these are thing and this list is what I’ve come to terms with.

What are some things you’ve realized in your 20s? Comment below and let me know.

 

Danii Gold out!!

 

 

 

David Gorden, a Traditional Writer and Comic

[DELUX Mag]

 

There are few black comic book writers and there are fewer here in St. Louis. One of them is David Gorden. He’s a writer and artist to comic books. His own creation, Kwame Hightower and the Man with No Name, is about a young kid named Kwame Hightower who is a 12-year old from St. Louis, but living in London, England.  Kwame is having a hard time adjusting to the new environment and on a trip to Buckingham Palace to learn more about Great Britain he ends up pulling Excalibur from the sacred stone, which automatically made him the King of England.  This sends him on a series of adventures all over the multiverse. 

It takes a creative mind to illustrate such a story and David is the guy to do so. As a kid, he read comics but in high school he became a natural storyteller and he already liked to draw and write so it only made sense for him to get into comics. David started taking comics more serious on a professional level in 1994, so you can say that he is a vet in the game, with over 25 years’ experience. What makes his drawings different from others is the fact that he is a more of a cartoonist and traditional drawer and less of a “realistic artist.” When It comes to using your imagination in drawing, David says, “

“In order to create fantastic worlds and relatable characters you have to draw on that imagination.  I sometimes bring in reimagined versions of characters I created as a kid to add to the experience.”

Since the race creators of comics was never broadcasted, David says he assumed they were all white until he came across a writer/artist by the name of Dwayne McDuffie in the late 1980’s. Dwayne was one of the most respected men in the comic industry. He wrote great comics and classic episodes of the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons. 

One of the perks of being a writer is that you can work remote. David says…

Click here to read the full story or DELUX Magazine.

http://deluxmag.com/david-gorden-a-traditional-drawer-who-still-uses-his-kid-imagination/

Are you still a comic book fan even though everything is digital these days? Comment below and let me know.

Danii Gold out ✌🏾✌🏾✌🏾

I Wasn’t A Fan, But It Makes Me Sad: RIP Nipsey Hussle

A week ago today, I was scrolling through YouTube and I came across a GQ video that featured Lauren London & Nipsey Hussle, a couple’s quiz. Since I like Lauren as an actress and Nipsey is a well-respected rapper, I decided to watch it. It was so cute, Lauren was her sassy self and Nipsey was so cool and calm and answered damn near every question correct, all but one six at least lol.

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To be honest, I’ve only listened to one Nipsey song, “Last Time That I Checc’d” and I like it, but I never listened to his whole album unfortunately. I do know that his first album Victory Lap was nominated for a Grammy this year. I do know that Nipsey was a man of the community. He’s from Crenshaw and Slauson, and he used to hustled so he could get money for his music. It worked and when he got the money, he gave back to the community that helped mold him. He invested into programs for children and even helped reconstruct a playground in his neighborhood of Crenshaw. He opened a clothing store, The Marathon Clothing, selling  apparel with the city Crenshaw on it. On top of that, he bought out some of the other businesses in the plaza that his business is in. It’s been told that he even hired local artists and others in the community to work at his store. 

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As far and his relationship goes, Nipsey and Lauren London kept their love life semi private. We would see the pictures and happy captions but never the negative, which is how it should be. They had a baby boy and kept him out of the spotlight. They recently gave us a glimpse of their relationship through GQ. 

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So with little or just enough information I have on this guy, why am I sad that he passed away? Why do I get teary-eyed when reading other artists’ post on social media mourning him? Why do I shed a tear for his lady Lauren London and his kids even tho I’ve never met them? Why do I sit and read all the stories people told about him? The answer to all that is because…it’s sad to see a young man who was praised and respected by many, get killed by his own kind. It’s sad to see a young man who was giving back to his community get killed in front of his business that he worked hard for. It’s sad to see a young man grow from the streets and flourish into a well-rounded individual. 

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I’ve lost someone close to me at a young age. He was 21 and my cousin; we grew up like siblings because that’s just how it was. I remember him from when he was in diapers and watched him grow and go off to college with me. He was killed by his own kind, some say it was someone that he knew. That was a hard time for me and it took me a year to stop crying about it whenever I brought his name up. It changed me, made me more paranoid. I couldn’t watch movies where people were violently killed and young. If I did, I would get emotional and cry. I’m better now, but I’m still a simp when it comes to those scenes lol. But he was into music and was a well-rounded cool, calm dude but sometimes your own people will hate on you. Maybe that’s why Nipsey’s death hit so close to home for me. 

All in all, I’m not going to act like I was a big Nipsey fan. I’m not going to fake it. Yes, I shoulda gave this man his flowers while he was here, but I didn’t. But…what I will do is respect his legacy. I am sad for his death because he didn’t deserve it. I will continue to pray for his family and hope that his killer gets that life sentence in prison.

What are your thoughts on Nipsey’s death? Comment below and let me know.

Danii Gold out!

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We Don’t Appreciate the NAACP Image Awards Enough

Over the weekend, the NAACP Awards celebrated it’s 50th year and per usual, people of color were recognized, from Maxine Walters and many more. Artists an Actors were awarded such as:

Chadwick Boseman for winning Outstanding Actor in a Film for “Black Panther”

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Taraji P Henson for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for the show Empire

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Anthony Anderson Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for the ABC Show Blackish

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Tracee Ellis Ross Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for the ABC Show Blackish

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Jay-Z received the President Award and Beyonce received the Entertainer of the Year Award.

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I think it is important for black award shows like this to be in a category of their own peers. I understand that being in a category with other peers of difference genres of music and different movie categories, that it is more important to win because you beat out a wider range of nominees, but “competing” against your own peers and being positively recognized for it is definitely a plus. I think that us as an audience and others as a creative should be more thankful and appreciative of these kind of awards.

Tell me your thoughts below!

Danii Gold out!