By KJ Philp, November 2015 Issue.
Style Stalkers, LLC is a monthly fashion blog that offers an array of services from makeovers and private modeling lessons to fashion show production and updates on international trends
The Phoenix-based blog was founded by Ketonya Bankston in 2011, and has grown into an operation that has been invited to produce a fashion show as part of Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco early next year.
According to its website, Style Stalkers prides itself in being created to “inspire the fashionably inclined along with those who want to be savvy or just don’t have the know how.”
So, Echo knew exactly who to turn to for insight on the emerging androgynous fashion trend. Echo caught up with Bankston between her trips to New York Fashion Week and Europe and here’s what she had to say.
Echo: Recap any of your observations – from the runway to local retail – of the recent re-emergence of androgynous fashion.
Bankston: Androgynous is a combination of both masculine and feminine qualities. Therefore, this term has long been used in the fashion industry to describe both clothing and models.
I know plenty of women who wear men’s clothing and I know plenty of men who wear women’s clothing. This doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you. Sometimes a woman can find better fashions in the men’s section and vice versa. Just remember, the key is to to personalize the fashion and make it your own style.
Echo:Our readers are all ages, all genders, all sexual preferences, etc.; in your words, who is this look/trend best suited for?
Bankston: This style is suited for anyone willing to take a chance and step out of the box. We were created as individuals and no two people are the same. It’s the same with fashion. Fashion is made in a variety of different styles, colors, shapes and forms. What this means is that we have choices, so make your choice ... You should get up each day and get dressed to please yourself before you please anyone else. Otherwise you’ll never be happy.
Echo: In what ways would you consider this trend a radical movement?
Bankston: In my opinion, a radical movement is something out of the norm that someone is willing to take a chance on. Once that chance is taken, it makes leaps and bounds across the board; meaning droves of others catch on and do the same thing. In a sense, now that they have seen someone else take this chance, they can feel comfortable in doing the same thing. A few examples would be men wearing women’s skinny jeans (before they were created for men) and the latest craze, for both women and men, of wearing gray hair.
Echo:If someone reading this is interested or inspired by this trend, what is the next advice you would give them?
Bankston: In fashion, you have to learn how to personalize it and make it your own style. That’s the difference between fashion and style. Style is much [more] personalized than the form of fashion that may be [considered] the trend. [Know the difference, and] you’ll be comfortable and pleased with the choices you’ve made, because you’ve personalized the fashion trend and made it your own. And NEVER go out and purchase everything you see on a mannequin.
Echo:Does this remind you of any other recent trends? How so?
Bankston: Absolutely, there was a designer who showcased an entire collection of men’s skirts on the runway at New York Fashion Week: Men. It was incredible, inspiring and very fashionable. If you think about it, men wore skirts for battle during the medieval times, so it’s nothing new! It’s just evolved. Fashion is a cycle and at some point or another, all things old will be reinvented and re-evolve.
Echo:Good point! Since all styles re-emerge at some point, do you see any trends re-emerging in new ways?
Bankston: A particular style that comes to mind when I think about androgyny and the 1980s is see-through shirts. We’re used to seeing women embrace this style of shirt. However, in recent years more designers have incorporated this style into their menswear designs. If man had worn this style of shirt back in the ‘80s, he’d have been talked about. Now a man can wear this type of shirt and it’s considered stylish. Let’s face it, this particular style is fun and fashionable.
We can’t forget the pantsuit. The women’s pantsuit was first introduced in the 1920s and evolved from there. In the 1960’s the women’s pantsuit became more wide spread. For instance in 1966, Yves Saint Laurent designed a women’s pantsuit to mimic a men’s tuxedo. It goes both ways.
Echo:What other advice do you have for our readers?
Bankston: Dare to be different and just be you! Clothes don’t make you who you are, the person wearing the clothing makes the clothing.
For more information on Style Stalkers, LLC, visit stylestalkersblog.com.