Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Fitted Gallery - Best in Westchester

A lot of heads aren't up on what goes on in Westchester county.  Be well aware:

New Rochelle, Mount Vernon and Yonkers go HARD!

The good folks at The Fitted Gallery in New Roc are the ambassadors of street fashion in Westchester.  When people think urban boutiques, they usually think of SOHO.  We get it in further north, too!  This boutique is exposing the Westchester community to brands like Mighty Healthy, Mishka, Fully Laced, etc. and doing it with incredible style and flare.

I dropped by today to take some photos of the spot and showcase some of their best fitted caps.  If you're up in the 914 area, you MUST come check them out.  I'll be working with them in the future on some dope events so keep it locked right here for updates on the happenings.













The Fitted Gallery
357-A North Ave.
New Rochelle, NY 10801
(914) 355-4926

Friday, January 22, 2010

Interview: Chay$ the Great @ MoMA

Today, I caught up with Chay$ the Great at the Museum of Modern Art.  I got to sit her down and ask her about all of the interesting things that she's doing on her path through the world of fashion design.  I got some great responses, some really good photos (more on that after the interview) and took in some phenomenal art work.  The Tim Burton exhibit is super dope so if you haven't seen it yet, definitely try to allot some time to go see it.  You won't be disappointed.  Without further ado....

RF: First of all, thank you for allowing me the time to sit and talk with you.  I know you have a lot going on.  The moment I met you I knew there was something very interesting about you.  So, I thought to myself, "I have to lock this girl down for an interview."  I'm just going to ask you some questions about what you're doing, what you're planning for the future and where you're going with Chay$ the Great designs.

RF: Tell me a little bit about yourself.  Where are you from?  What's your educational background?  What are your general professional and non-professional interests.

C$: Well, my name is Chay.  I'm originally from the suburbs of Washington D.C and Maryland.  I grew up in a fairly creative household.  My mother, she did hair and used to make a lot of our clothes growing up because we didn't have a lot of money.  So, instead of buying designer stuff, my Mom would say, "It's really easy.  I'll just go get a pattern and make the same thing in any pattern, color or fabric that you want." I spent a lot of time in fabric stores as a kid.  Also, my Grandmother was a huge "thrifter".  She was really good with her money.  People would think that she spent a whole lot of money on her clothes, but she didn't.  She was just really good at "thrifting" and finding really amazing items.  That was a big part of my childhood.

RF: After that?

C$: I decided to go to school.  I was going to major in e-commerce and web design.  I ended up changing my major to fashion merchandising because that was my thing.  I grew up with it in my house.  I started designing when I was in high school.  My friends and I had our own clothing line.  It was basically us just deconstructing  things that we already had.  It was a way for us to express our individuality.  Growing up in the suburbs everyone pretty much looks the same.  Everyone shops at the (same) mall.  All the houses look the same.  We were trying to assert our individuality through our look.  That's where I got started.  Then I went to Philadelphia University.  I majored in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing.  (After finishing there) I moved to New York and I worked in the corporate side of the fashion industry for a (while).  It was a good experience.  It allowed me to see exactly what I wanted to do in this industry (as well as) what I didn't want to do.  I didn't last longer than 6 months! (Laughs) I was working for Macy's and I was like, "Oh, my God!  I'm working in a little cubicle.  This just isn't me."  I tried so hard to get fired.  I used to do the craziest shit with my hair and wear crazy shit to work.  At that time they were all about diversity so they would not fire me.  They didn't want to get sued. (Laughs)

RF: So how did you get out?

C$: I ended up quitting.  I started designing and I've been doing freelance styling ever since.  I had a stint with H&M where I was doing visual merchandising and windows, which also plays into the installations that I do as art.  I have a clothing line where I specialize in custom designs.  I'll (make) a couple different styles and allow my customers to have those styles in a fabric and color of their choice.  Once again, it's all about individuality.  There's so much out there that's mass produced.  I do a lot of 1 offs and limited runs of things.  For me right now, (since) I don't have any investors or anything, everything comes out of my pocket.   (Doing it that way) is easier for me and it's something that I (truly) believe in.

RF: What about your styling work?

C$: Yeah, I work on commercials, TV and movies.  I've been working on commercials more because it allows more freedom and (pays) better money. (Laughs)  I'm hoping that this recession ends soon so I can get more commercial work.  Sometimes I'll have 2 months in between jobs....

RF: Then it's what to do next, right?

C$: Yep.

RF: We met through a mutual friend.  She said that your worked with her on a project in Japan.  What was that project and how did it come about?

C$: I was introduced to Daisha through twitter, actually. (Laughs) So random!  I was telling everyone that I know that I was going to Japan.  I asked that if anyone knew someone there to let me know because I wanted to meet people there and see how people were living (there) and make as many contacts as I possibly could.  My friend, Tasty Quiche, who lives in New York said, "Oh, you have to meet Daisha!  She's dope!"  So we were introduced that way.  When I got (to Japan), we ended up hanging out and we just got along so well.  She was working on the first annual Japan Music Week.  That was great because I got be V.I.P. just hanging out with Daisha.  She was doing a showcase event and asked me if I'd style her.  I said, "Of course I'll style you!  I'll even make you something."  I took a corset that she already had and funked it up and I made her a skirt to go with it.  Then she asked me if I wanted to vend at her event.  She said she really loved my stuff and she thought it would be a great opportunity for me.  I happened to have brought some of my clothes with me because there were some pieces that I had been trying to sell in the US that people didn't get, I guess.  So I took a couple of bags of clothes to see if I could sell them.  Just to see what would happen.  On that one night, I sold about half of what I had.  It was a real eye-opener for me.

RF: Any plans to go back to Japan?

C$: Yeah, I'm actually trying to go back in March for fashion week.  I want to assess the situation there and see if I would like to show there in the future.  It's interesting though; a lot of Japanese people that I know don't really mess with fashion week.  I guess it's the same as here in NY.  People don't really bother with NY fashion week unless they are in the industry.

RF: It's so funny.  Japanese fashion trends have become so popular here but their whole fashion aesthetic is based on the fact that they don't really have one.  It's just, "I like this. I like this. I like this." and they put them all together.

RF: What does fashion mean to you?

C$: Fashion is such a broad term.  People (generally) think it just applies to clothes but it applies to everything.  It applies to interior design, cars; I think it's anything that we consume.  I always here the argument about fashion versus style and vice versa.  I think it's ludicrous.  There's so much overlapping.  You may have your own style but you were things that are in trend or fashionable, as some say.  I do it.  I wear stuff that I make, I wear vintage stuff that's "out there" and I usually wear shoes that are in trend.  Everybody mixes, matches and melds to (create) their own style.

RF: How would you define NY fashion?

C$:  In general, it's really difficult to determine different regions' styles because of the internet.  For example, I'll got to Maryland and I'll see kids pulling off styles from Japan or New York or Paris or London.  Every place has its own idiosyncratic differences but, for the most part, everyone is starting to be on the same wavelength trend and fashion wise.  On the whole, I think New York fashion could be more edgy.  I think people have gotten too caught up with labels and trends and being consumers.  I would love it if more people pushed the envelope.

RF: What was the first article of clothing that you ever designed?

C$: I believe it was in high school.  I made a shirt out of a cut up t-shirt and safety pins.  It was really dope.  Back then everybody was into that shit.  Well, not everybody but a lot of people were into the punk aesthetic back then.  I should do some of that again, actually.

RF: How long does it usually take you to construct a piece?

C$: It depends on the piece.  If it's a more complicated piece, it could take a week.  If it's less complicated I can do it in a day.

RF: Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing.

C$: The general process? (Laughs) I'm still refining that process.  I'm trying to be more disciplined and actually sketch it first and conceptualize it, fabric swatching, pattern making and then making the garment.  Before, I was just doing it for fun; just for me.  Now I'm doing it for customers.  I have to go through it in the proper manner so there are no fit issues, etc.

RF: Who are some of your favorite designers?

C$: Alexander McQueen is definitely on top of the list.  His shoe game this season is just...(crazy)!  I'm like, "Who do you think you are?" (Laughs) He's amazing.  I also like Comme de Garcons.

RF: How do you select your fabrics and materials and what are your favorites?

C$: You know, it depends on what I'm going to make.  Often times I just wander around the garment district and if I see some cool shit I'll just pick it up.  Even if I don't have anything to make at the time.  I might have it for months and then all of a sudden I'll remember that I have it and I can make what I conceptualized out of the fabric.  I really want to start using more non-traditional fabrics.  I've mainly been using Lycra because I've been making a lot of leggings.  I want to try using plastics and even metal.

RF: What matters to you most as a designer?

C$: What matter to me most is that I like it.  Then, that someone else likes it.  If I like it and someone else likes it then someone will buy it.  Also, that I make the best product I can make.  The best quality and the best design.

RF: How do you define your personal style?

C$: I describe myself as electric and eclectic.  A friend of mine added afronaut and afterfuture.

RF: Afronaut is dope as shit!  You have to make that a t-shirt and I will be first on line for 10 prints.

The Speed of Life

New York will kill you.  Literally and/or figuratively.

I spent about 8 years living overseas.  Japan to be specific.  That in and of itself is pretty mind altering but I went there as a "kid" and I developed into a man.   There are so many lessons and ideas that I learned in my time there as I sought to discover who I am.  Many trials and tribulations I endured that further shaped my approach to life and my character.  Rather than get into an autobiography, I'll focus on a key theme:

The Speed of Life

I learned to live life slowly in Japan.  The culture is much about steady pace and ceremony.  A nice slow bath beats a standing shower any day of the week.  Hot springs, making and drinking green tea, yakiniku, etc.  It's all about the experience.  Connecting with whatever thing it is you're doing.  Even in Tokyo where it's a notoriously busy and stressful work environment, there's always time to slow down.  Even the busiest of Tokyo business professionals slow it down after work with coworkers to have a drink (too much even) and chat.  Then it's back home for a soak, a home cooked meal and off to bed.

In stark contrast, big city living in the US is a sprint to one's grave.  Especially here in New York City.  Hustle and bustle, get up and go, every minute of every day or perish.  For many, it's just that excitement that is attractive about New York.  For me, it's become a headache and heartache.  I've come to the realization that New York is for the rich and/or the single.

Long story short, it's imperative that one take care of one's mental health in this city.   You can live your dreams here or be consumed and doomed by them.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wu-Tang vs. The Beatles - Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers

This get's the official Rox Fontaine seal of approval!  This is a collection of Wu classics stripped to acapellas and remixed to a whole bunch of chopped to bits Beatles samples.  Presented by Tom Caruana, this is SUPER dope material on every layer.  I've never heard of him but his production is top notch and these samples are bonkers.  It's not just mashed together with no real artistry or focus.  This is music that still compliments the dirty lo-fi sound that the Wu became famous for.  You need to download this now and transfer it to your MP3 player of choice immediately.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Hunt Continues - Week 3

Still no word on the 2010 Nike Black History month shoe.  I've been poking around and asking questions and I've heard nothing.  Not even so much as word that Nike will be making them at all.  I highly doubt that they'll be skipping a model this year.  So, I must continue to snoop anxiously until some sort of news breaks.

To tide you over for another week, here is the 3rd installment.  For 2007, they broke away from the AF1 and went to an Air Max 90 instead.  It was a great change of pace and they added a lot more symbolism to this shoe as it is based on the the theme "The Underground Railroad".  There's a map of the routes on the insoles and a few quilt patterns used to add detail.  Great use of color on this shoe and they truly are a conversation piece.



Method Man, Ghostface and Raekwon - "Our Dreams"

Meth, GFK and Rae have decided they want to do a spin-off group without using the Wu-Tang Clan name.  They've already started working on a new album but they haven't decided on a name yet.  They posted a message on MySpace requesting that people text their own ideas for the group name.  Whoever the lucky fan is that suggests the name that they choose will be featured in the album's liner notes.  Pretty damn dope if you ask me.  I expect this album to be F-I-R-E!  Click the link below to listen to the first released cut from the album.

Method Man, Ghostface and Raekwon, “Our Dreams” MP3

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Download and Donate for Haiti

So many great charity efforts out there supporting the survivors of the earthquake disaster in Haiti.  This one of my personal favorites as music is so inspirational.  Click on the widget below to download a free compilation of unreleased music from artists Hoobastank, Lupe Fiasco, Alanis Morrisette, Kenna, Mike Shinoda and more.  There are 10 songs in all and you can download whether you can afford to donate or not. 


The Science of a Champagne Bottle

I love champagne.  My close friends know this well and now you do too.  My current favorite is Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.  I'm fanatical about it probably to a fault.  I used to be all about Dom Perignon but once I tasted Veuve, it was over in a hurry.  Plus, I couldn't find vintage 1998 so regularly anymore and that started to annoy me.

While I knew the champagne bottle was shaped the way it is for it's specific purpose, a few of these points I did not know.  I thought I'd share it with you so you can impress someone the next time you have champagne.

The Cork - Usually larger than corks used to seal wine, champagne corks are made in two parts: the bottom (inside the bottle) is a natural cork composite while the top (outside the bottle) is a mix of cork bits glued together. Corks are straight when first put into the bottle then swell when removed, creating the famous mushroom shape.

The Wire Cage
- The first champagne bottles used string to restrain the cork, but in 1844 Adolphe Jacquesson invented the metal cage system we still use today.

The Foil
- Foil was needed to deter rats and other pests from nibbling on the cork. Now it's a decorative and traditional part of the champagne experience.

The Rim
- It's there strictly to serve as an anchor for the wire cage.

The Glass - The glass in champagne bottles is much thicker than that in wine bottles due to the pressure, which can be upwards of 70-100 pounds per square inch. The very first champagne bottles were not as thick and strong as they are today and bottles (especially when kept in volume in champagne cellars) were considered somewhat dangerous as they regularly exploded.

The Indentation
- The indentation in the bottom of the bottle isn't a sneaky way of serving less champagne per bottle, but instead a means of keeping the pressure from building up near the bottom. Also called the punt or 'kick-up,' it helps redistribute the pressure to keep the bottle from exploding.


Game Rebellion EP Release Party (Pics)

The Game Rebellion EP release party was off the chains!  I nodded my head, I danced, I thrashed, I moshed, I took pics and I had a blast.  Picked up "Sounds Like A Riot" with the purchase of my ticket.  If you're sick of the same ol' same ol', you need to pick this up.

The show opened up with Donnis performing 3 songs.  Check his myspace to download his 10.Deep mixtape and check out the songs he performed last night. I actually first heard of Donnis back when I was living in Japan.  He put his first disc out independently over there and we have a very good mutual friend.  I put them back in contact so that was a beautiful thing.  He took off a little early as he had to prep for a XXL photo shoot.  Look for him in the upcoming issue.


After Donnis' 3 songs the show went into overdrive.  Kidz in the Hall came on and did several songs from "The In Crowd".  I picked up a copy for $10.00 bucks as it's a dope ass album and $5.00 of the purchase was being donated to YELE.  They really gave a great performance and shut the place down when they performed "Drivin' Down The Block (Low End Theory)".  Their label mate Buckshot came through but I didn't get a chance to get a pic of him as I was all into the show.



Game Rebellion premiered the video for "Blind" and then the place went into a frenzy!  The mosh pit started up and fists, elbows and bodies altogether were all over the place.  Their set was just amazing.  Netic is a truly skilled MC and he kept us hanging on every word on every song.  Looking at the album credits, he's damn near solely responsible for "Sounds Like A Riot". 




I have a bunch more photos and some really great shots to post up but I may have lost them.  I was jumping around with my cam a few times and probably destroyed some data doing it.

I think this is dope.



Monday, January 18, 2010

Heatrocks for Haiti

As we all know, there is a calamity of gigantic proportions happening just 700 miles from the United States. This earthquake has left tens of thousands of people dead and many more injured and homeless waiting for aid.

The original "Heatrocks for Charity" campaign came about after Katrina. The folks at, a record collecting/hip-hop message board got together and auctioned off all kinds of rare records, the proceeds of which went to charities doing work around the disaster. In total they managed to raise over $100,000 for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. They hope to recreate such magic to help our dear neighbors in Haiti.  

Head over to Soulstrut for the record auctions.  If you're a fan of vinyl, you'll find some incredibly rare records up and it's all for a good cause.  Shout out to Team L.A.R.K. member Richard for the heads up. He has an auction up for a rare groove instrumental record called "Express Rising".


Afro-Punk x Converse


Limited to just 50 pairs, this release was a special treat for fans of Afro-Punk bands.  I'm breaking them out for the first time tonight to hit the Game Rebellion EP release party.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Biddy Early's/Hudson Terrace

One a.k.a. Henry the Handsome Hero

I made my trek downtown last night with some friends to meet up with my boy One who's visiting from L.A.  He was making stops throughout the day and night and we caught up with him at Biddy Early's.  The meeting was brief as he had to get up early in the a.m. to meet another group of friends before he heads back to the west coast on Monday.  It was great to see him again.  Safe travels, Homie!

Beer Pong Heaven

We hung out a Biddy's and had a few drinks and appetizers as we waited for out entire party to show up.  Once everyone was together, we all headed to a rooftop party at Hudson Terrace.  It was my first time visiting and I was thoroughly impressed with the venue.  I can imagine how dope it would be in the summer.  The entire roof of the spot opens and closes.  When we walked in, the place was packed.  The music was pumping (supplied by DJ AQ) and everyone was having a good time.

My crew...




Judy Jane (l.) and Lindy Poppet (r.)


Riddle Fontaine

 Last, but not least...