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  • Shemoi's Big Move

    In order to accomplish a great feat, sacrifice is needed. Whether it’s dedicating an ample amount of time to perfect a craft or cutting certain individuals off from your inner circle, a subtraction of some sort is necessary to enhance the chances of accomplishing a mission.  Shemoi Gidden did just that.

    The 22-year-old Lensman departed from his comfort zone of NYC to soar with the stars in Los Angeles.  Shemoi’s move may sound a bit cliché, but his rapid success is truly something to behold.  In less than a year of living on the west coast, the Portland, Jamaica native has already photographed more celebs than all of the Paparazzis’ in SoHo combined! From snapping Instagram’s hottest sensations to multi-talented celebrities like Keke Palmer, Shemoi is well on his way to possibly become La-La Land’s very own version of Mario Testino.

    I recently sat down with the thriving shutterbug to talk about his life in NYC, love for photography, the motivation behind his major relocation and find out exactly how he befriended all of these celebs.

    FRENDY: Man, I am extremely proud of you. Your success thus far is not a big surprise to me because I saw something special in you ever since we first met at BAPE. How are you taking all of this in?

    SHEMOI: Well, I’m taking it in pretty well. I’m basically speaking things into existence and then living them shortly after. If I tell myself that I’m going to be the greatest at what I do, believe it and have the drive for it, then it’s going to fall into place and eventually happen.

    FRENDY: I totally agree with you. When we initially got acquainted 4 years ago, you clearly expressed your passion for taking photos. When did your love for photography actually begin?

    SHEMOI: I fell in love with photography when I came across a famous photographer named 13th Witness on Instagram around 2012. I fell in love with his work because he had an uncanny method of capturing a photo in a way that it draws your attention to every detail.  He inspired me so creatively and I realized that shooting photos isn't just about capturing an image, it’s about giving that image a certain character and lifestyle to it .

    FRENDY: What was the first camera you started shooting with?

    SHEMOI: I started off with a Canon t2i. After making some good money I ended up getting a Canon 7D.  I hated that one so I saved up to buy a Canon 5d mark III.  Now I shoot with a Canon 5d mark III, mark II, Sony a7s for video and the big boy himself a Canon 1dx mark II.

    FRENDY: Are there any specific features you look for when purchasing a camera?

    SHEMOI: Basically full frame and fps for video. You need both for everything.

    FRENDY: You’re originally from Jamaica and I know how skeptical Caribbean parents can be when their child has an urge to go down the “risky” creative path.  Did you receive any sort of criticism from your parents about your dream to become a professional photographer?

    SHEMOI: Oh, my mom didn’t take me serious one bit!  I tried my best to show her that my career choice can take me places, but she wouldn't budge. It only took for me to pack up my things, leave the house and move to state where I was completely alone for her to see that I mean business.

    FRENDY: Much respect for taking that bold step. When did you move out West?

    SHEMOI: I moved out on January 1st, 2017. I literally did a “new year, new me“ at the time and I only told 3 people I was leaving.  My mom was included in the 3.

    FRENDY: Yeah, I had no clue you left for California until I saw you consistently take new pics in a sunny, palm tree-filled setting *Laughs*.  Did you have any connections in LA prior to moving there?

    SHEMOI: Yeah, I felt like I went to the wrong state all my life . LA is where I should of been years ago because I wasn’t happy at all in New York to be honest.  I wasn’t around people that were willing to take risk or ambitious like how I am. It was the biggest turnoff to me about NYC.

    I met people in the year of 2015 that kept on telling me to move to LA until i was just like, fuck it, it won't hurt.

    FRENDY: Those people were New Yorkers or Californians?

    SHEMOI: Californians.

    FRENDY: So since moving to New York at the tender age of 6, you felt like you didn’t belong there?

    SHEMOI: Well, at the time growing up I didn’t know my worth until my high school days.

    I never knew I was going to move to LA but people just said that I belonged in LA all this time because of how happy I’ve been since I moved here.

    FRENDY:  I’m guessing you didn’t leave any real friends behind in New York?

    SHEMOI: It's not about having real friends. I had to figure myself out not just as a person, but also a businessman.  I needed to make sure that I’m on the right path and if someone was my friend they would understand why I moved and look it as motivation. This world is tough and I’m all about helping people, but I can’t help people when I need to help my self. All I want in life is to be killing it and look over to the side and see my brothers killing it. And as harsh as this may sound I have to go by my word that I can't be around you if you’re not driven by anything, because that can bring me down. The last thing I want in my life is to impede my development.

    FRENDY: What do you love about LA (besides the babes, of course)?

    SHEMOI: Man what is there not to love about LA , opportunities is just in arms reach , it only took me a month to meet people that were already on, like really on. All it takes here is for you to just meet one person that believes in you, and wants to help you with your aspirations and dreams.

    FRENDY: What sets of events occurred that allowed you to work with so many Instagram stars and celebs?

    SHEMOI: I was introduced to a man named Eric Galen, who is the one guy that believed in me to start it all. He's very well connected, and a lot of his clients are the biggest influencers and celebrities I wouldn't even dream of meeting but he makes it all happen.

    FRENDY: Do you remember your very first shoot in LA?

    SHEMOI: Yeah man, I could never forget that! Before moving to LA I was prepping myself to shoot for Zanerobe, and I thought it was a good idea to change the scenery and go out to the desert . We brought out jeeps, drones, real katanas, etcs we did a lot that day.

    FRENDY: Who is your favorite subject to shoot thus far?

    SHEMOI: I don't have a favorite subject to shoot -- I think it's better to say I like to capture the lifestyle of a subject. I feel like my photos tell you a lot about the person I shoot just on the way how I center the person in the image to focus the viewer's eyes, giving the intimacy of the subject and the viewer.

    FRENDY: I saw that you just came back from the first weekend of Coachella 2017.  Did you go for work or leisure?

    SHEMOI: Ah man! Coachella, Coachella, Coachella I look forward to that weekend for so many reasons.   It's mainly for the connection aspect of it and you also get to meet some of this biggest artist that kills the game on a more personal level.  Plus you get to make money depending on your profession.

    FRENDY: How long are you planning on living in the City of Angels?

    SHEMOI: LA is my home now, I can't see myself living in New York anymore.  If you fly first class on a regular basis, would you go back to flying coach? I definitely won't!

    FRENDY: Without photography, where do you think you would be in life?

    SHEMOI: I'll prolly be lost!  Still in school, hating life and going by the same routine for a long period.

    FRENDY: What can we expect from you in the near future?

    SHEMOI:  It's for me to know and you to find out brother. *Laughs*

  • Justin's Vision

    I was fortunate enough to become friends with the exceptional photographer Justin Amoafo, right before his ascension into elite lensman status. Justin was only 15 years old when we initially met but his tremendously poised demeanor and go-getter mentality positioned him light years ahead of his peers.

    Born and raised in Queens, New York by Ghanaian parents, the multi-talented visionary was instilled with an immense value for education.  As a matter of fact, at the age of 11 Justin suggested that he should attend boarding school. “I was always an outcast and wanted to expand my horizons, experience a new environment,” says Amoafo. With his parent’s approval and a lucrative scholarship, the young adventurer was enrolled at the prestigious Eagle Brook in Western Massachusetts. 

    Justin was one of only six black kids in the entire institution but the statistic didn’t cast a shadow of fear on his pursuit of enlightenment. Amoafo was so in awe with the refreshing scenery at his new abode, he decided to freeze it all in time.  Using his roommate’s state-of-the-art camera, Justin began to take pictures of the beautiful landscape surrounding Eagle Brook.  Since then, photography instantly became Amoafo’s primary focus. He started posting photos on Flickr, which ultimately led him to gain fans across the world.

    Immediately following boarding school, Justin attended Brooklyn Tech HS with an increased passion for snapping.  After a year of saving up lunch money, the bright-eyed shutterbug was able to purchase his very first camera, the Canon t2i. Mastering the art of Flickr, Amoafo leveled up to Tumblr, where he garnered even more admirers.

    Justin is currently attending NYU Shanghai with a major in Interactive Media arts and Business but that isn’t stopping him one bit from putting work in behind the lens.

    FRENDY: What compelled you to study abroad after high school?

    JUSTIN: As a kid, I always dreamt of traveling the world. After a summer abroad in high school, I made it my business to take advantage of every opportunity to see a new place. Naturally, I had to pursue college options outside of the USA.

    FRENDY: Is it difficult for you to find a balance between schoolwork and photography?  Are you able to find steady shooting gigs in Shanghai?

    JUSTIN:  One of the most difficult things for humans in general is maintaining a balance. Whenever you find yourself in that comfortable place, life switches up your situation. Thankfully, my major at school and my real life career/hobbies are intertwined, so usually it’s not too difficult.

    Work in Shanghai has been steady, thankfully. People here show a lot of love. When they see you doing great work, they’ll always go out of their way to help you get gigs. As usual, staying hungry & seeking out opportunities is also a great way to close gigs.

    FRENDY: You’re one of my favorite people to follow on Snapchat due the display of your worldly adventures. Are your travels for leisure or work?

    JUSTIN: Both. Living internationally already makes it much easier to pick up clients that require me to travel or have an opportunity abroad. I’m always itching to travel regardless, so most of my free weekends and ‘vacations’ are spent visiting a new city.

    FRENDY: How did the relationship with your muse Sira P Kante come about?

    JUSTIN: *Laughs* She’s definitely my muse. A modern day Naomi Campbell.  Sira and I met through one of my good friends. We met up for a test shoot one day in Summer 2016 and the rest is history.

    FRENDY: I admire your effortless ability to network with the industry’s finest. I noticed that you’ve been shooting superstar musicians and promising actors who are from the motherland. What set of events lead to such astounding opportunities?

    JUSTIN: Every connection I’ve made, both business & personal has been organic. I never force relationships, but I’m definitely not above a cold email or intro. That being said, the world is smaller than we all think. It’s so often you want to work with someone and a friend (or friend of a friend) can make the connection for you. Organic networking is the best, especially when you’re already social.

    FRENDY: What are the top 3 pictures you’ve ever taken?

    JUSTIN: I don’t think I have 3 strict top favorites but here are some that I like -

    FRENDY: Are you planning to take your creative talents into new heights?

    JUSTIN: I’m always striving to be my best self. Photography is one of my passions, but by no means is it my only means of expression. I am working on expressing myself fully, with no filters or limitations. We’re in the era of the multidimensional artist and I think that’s so great. Everyone should be able to create with no filter.

  • Not Your Average Hypebeast

    Those who follow Aaron LiawAarons_World ) on Instagram are fully aware of his lavish lifestyle and ultimate group of close friends, which consists of Levi, Kai and the forever seemingly-annoyed Angelo Nitsopoulos. Although much is known of Aaron, whom I previously featured on the blog, and the Bent Lee bros, Nits is somewhat of the odd man out.

    With a quick scroll down his gram, one can instantly get a sense of Ang’s expensive taste but there has to be more to him right?  Other than the quick cameos on his clique’s hilarious insta stories and vlogs, not much is revealed about the sporty Toronto, Ontario native. Well, that’s why I’m here.

    Let’s take a look into the real world of Angelo and find out about his immense love for hockey, fledging business, spending habits and why he looks so damn pissed all the time.   Peep my exclusive interview with him below:

    FRENDY:  I must say it’s quite incredible to witness how close you are with Aaron and the gang.  Nowadays, not many can proclaim they are tight with even a handful of people.  How did you meet them?

    ANG:  *Laughs* Yeah its pretty wild that three Asians and a Greek/Macedonian can hang out daily. So, I met the guys during the winter of 2014.  As I sat in my basement watching hockey while simultaneously creeping on Instagram, I saw a 5’3 140Lbs Aaron doing stick handling moves on the ice pretending he was Sidney Crosby. I thought to myself ok that's different, but then started to take in all the gear he had and wondered who he actually was. At the time, Levi and Aaron had a men's hockey team called The Trillers and a buddy of mine told me I should go play with them. So I hit up Levi and said if you ever need players let me know. A week later I was playing my first game with them. I walked into the dressing room, turned to my left and saw the “5’3” kid who said to me, “ Here sit here Angelo”. As if I had never been in a hockey dressing room in my life. Levi was sitting across from me, looking like a pro MMA fighter flooded with tats (I was a bit intimidated).

    My first game with them was amazing!  I scored three goals.  After that Aaron was like ok “you can play with us,” like it was some sort of accomplishment for me. As we were changing in the locker room I hear someone on the team say to Aaron, “YOU GOT BALMAINS IN THAT HOCKEY BAG BRO ” and that’s what got me thinking ok I need to learn about what the hell they are doing/ talking about because I had no idea what any of these brand names were back then.  I saw Aarons Instagram and figured to myself that “Balmains” must be what he wears.

    So throughout our hockey team that's how myself Aaron and Levi hung out. Kai never played hockey at all so he was never around the rink unless he was pretending to coach us. I would always hear stories about him though. I met Kai on our (Aaron, Levi, Kai) first trip to NYC and boy what a story/trip that was.  That's when my passion for fashion really began and I instantly switched my look. Happy I met them though, I never had any siblings so they taught me a lot about things. When I was 18-19 they took me on some crazy experiences that most kids don't get to do, so they are kind of like older brothers in a way for the most part.

    FRENDY:  That’s a pretty epic story. I assumed you knew them for way longer than 3 years.  What was your “look” before your fashion awakening?

    ANG:  Yeah, I mean friendship grows pretty quick when you hang out as often as we do. OMG, my look I don't even want to talk about *Laughs*. To be honest I didn't even have a look. I guess I could say it was the “hockey style.” Long hair, sperry boat shoes, golf shorts and a V-neck t-shirt, which makes me cringe thinking about it. I didn't even really take fashion seriously; I would wear sweatpants every day, whatever shirt I found in my room and just went about my day. I was too focused on my hockey career at the time and didn't care how I dressed outside the rink. I knew what Yeezys were and what not but never had a clue on how to get them or even knew they were so limited. But to say the least, my look was terrible *Laughs*.

    Looking back at what I wore then compared to now is like a two year old messing up all his toys when he is pissed off.  That's the best way to look at it. Its funny thinking back at it, I would get so excited to wear these pants that don’t even fit right or shoes that don’t even go with the fit and thinking “wow this is sick,” when it's really god awful.

    FRENDY:  Aw man, I needed that good laugh. Do you remember your very first fire fit?

    ANG:  I do remember it actually, but I wouldn't say it was fire. I would say my first favorite fire fit is my Supreme patchwork outfit with my Red Octobers *Laughs*. I was so happy when I got the sweat suit in the mail. Most will say it's ugly but half the world tried to buy it and failed miserably.  That Aside, it really is a crazy piece. The hoodie and pants are both hand-made with different patches. Most don't understand that, they just see a “grandma-like table cloth” because they don't understand it. The Red Octobers were worn just so I could be over the top.  Shout out to Mike at 'On The Arm' in Vegas who plugged me with it too. My favorite thing is wearing either full tracksuits or full sweatsuits as you can probably tell.  I don't really care what people think, I don't buy clothes for people I buy them for me.

    FRENDY:  Going back to what you stated earlier, the great impression you left on Aaron due to your hockey playing skills eventually paved the way to a solid brotherhood.  How long have you been playing Hockey? Was it your goal to turn pro growing up?

    ANG: *Laughs* Aaron was impressed to say the least, I guess most people on Instagram don't follow me for hockey, I never post anything related to it. I started skating at around three years old and started playing hockey at four, which is really young. I've played for 17 years and counting and won't ever stop playing for fun. It’s every kids dream and goal to play in the NHL.  I went to PEAC, which was a private hockey school. All we did was skate, train four hours a day and screw around in class. I kid you not, a teacher quit because we “stressed her out” too much.

    Our team was unstoppable, our first line was, Ho Sang, Mcdavid, Subbans and so many more it was hilarious.  We didn't lose all year and wasn't allowed in tournaments. I was talented but as I got older I slowly lost interest in the game and at 18 decided to stop playing competitively. I will say though I don't regret any of it, hockey taught me a lot about certain things in life.  Most of my best friends play in the NHL so it's cool to see them succeed and because of that I still get to be apart of the game somehow.

    Once you play hockey and are born into the hockey world you never really get away from it. Hockey gets my mind off things when I can't find a piece of clothing that I want *Laughs*. I never would have thought when I was 15 that at 19 I would be addicted to fashion. Thank the guys for that one.

    FRENDY:  Here comes the million-dollar question: when you’re not copping the finest threads or slithering on the ice, what is it that you do for a living to remain so fresh?

    ANG:  *Laughs* Yeah the million-dollar question that people are soooooo curious to know. Never really understood why people have to ask that nonstop. From now on I'm just going to say “yeah, I won the lottery in grade 6, kept it quiet though.” But yeah, myself, Aaron, Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavalier, Savas, and Simon (which are Tristan's close friends) own ProLocker together.

    FRENDY:  Can you tell me more about ProLocker? Aaron mentioned it during my sit down with him.

    ANG:  Of course, the easiest way I can map it out for you, without giving too many features away since we are launching very soon, is to say that it's a platform where we show what players use on and off the court/field/ice. Furthermore, we also provide info on where you can buy that exact equipment model around the world and different places to get it. That's the basis of it but there are loads of features besides that. I don't want to give too much away but we are excited for it. Check us out at Prolocker.com!

    FRENDY:  Sounds amazing, I'm sure you guys can’t wait to launch it. When will that happen?

    ANG:  Yeah we are really excited about it, in a perfect world we want to launch in the next month or so but we are all still fine-tuning the site. Plus we are gathering content prior to release but you can pre subscribe to the site now and follow us on Instagram ( @Prolocker ) to find out more.

    FRENDY:  I sincerely hope your followers will stop asking about what you do for a living now. Doubt it though. Since we got that out the way, let's explore your closet. What are some your favorite brands right now?

    ANG: Yeah, they probably won’t to be honest *laughs*. My favorite brands...well obviously you can tell I like Supreme. I also have other labels in my closet, people think I’m a hypebeast and just wear one particular brand.  I have a lot of Saint Laurent; their jackets I own are my favorite pieces. The detail on them and the way they look is crazy! I also have Haider Ackermann items that I like a lot, wouldn’t say its my favorite brand though. Bape obviously, I had a crazy Bape phase where I was just copping from them non stop but I kind of got sick of it. Stone Island is really comfy to wear; I got a bunch of that. I honestly have most brands you can think of. I just hate when people say “Nits you’re a hypebeast.”

    My take on that is at the end of the day most people in fashion, besides the people creating, are hypebeasts in their own special way. Just because I have a Supreme item that everyone wants I automatically get identified as a “hypebeast.”  It’s ok in my opinion if someone buys a piece of clothing that an artist or influencer may have worn first.  Unfortunately, most consider that as being “hype”.

    When you see someone wear a piece that you like, why not buy it for yourself? Nothing wrong with that at all but most people get mad and call it hype. I don't know, maybe they’re just jealous. Either they don't have access, have a plug to get an exclusive item or simply just can't afford it, which is totally understandable! I feel blessed that I am able to purchase things I like and have never been the type to bring someone else down because they can’t get something.  I'm not going to lie and pretend I don't like things that are hyped, there's a meaning behind it. Most of Supreme’s prized pieces have some sort of unique backstory, which is another reason why that brand is so strong.  At the end of the day, people call me a hypebeast but deep down inside they all wish they were able to cop what I got.

    FRENDY:  Which sneakers are in your constant rotation?

    ANG:  I wear APLs all the time. Shout out to Adam and Ryan! Jordans for sure, bred 1’s, royal 1’s, all the 1’s really.  I used to wear Yeezys a lot but its getting saturated in the market now. I try to stay away from wearing them all the time.  If I get a pair early, I’ll throw them on.  I really like my Nike Presto x Acronym kicks, they’re extremely comfy and their colorways.   Last but not least, my Air Max 98 ’s. I never really got in to the Adidas NMD wave.

    FRENDY:  Who do you feel has the best style in the entertainment industry right now?

    ANG:  A$AP Rocky.  I respect him because he barely wears what’s “in."  The guy literally flies to Japan to buy brands nobody knows about so you have to respect that.  He started so many trends it’s insane!  He is always ahead of the game and steps outside the box.

    FRENDY:  On one of your recent insta stories, I saw you were putting your followers on to alot of rising brands. How often are you researching for potential new gear?

    ANG: Yes I was, people don't understand that I’m young and got into this just a few years ago.  Most of them will say I am a “culture vulture” but I am the furthest thing from that. So for those reading just know I spend hours daily looking at what's up and coming in fashion. I will literally sit on my computer and log on to Japanese sites that aren’t even written in English and Google translate it to read articles on what's next. 

    If we want to talk about Supreme culture, I literally learned about each season, each piece and so on. Till this day I am researching meanings behind their pieces. So no, I did not just see Supreme and decided to hop on buying stuff for fun.  I put the effort into learning about it, which most do not do. That's what a culture vulture does, buys stuff to say they have it and not know anything about the brand’s ethos. I hate that. Daily, I am always looking for new stuff to get and new brands that people don’t know about. Aaron will always we call me and say, “let me guess researching?” I enjoy doing it.  It’s fun to learn about upcoming stuff and their origins.

    FRENDY:  Since your passion for fashion runs deep, did you ever think about fully diving into the industry with your own brand or investing in one that you really believe in?

    ANG:  No, probably not.  I am to busy with ProLocker and other stuff. I rather support brands by buying their clothes, never really thought about creating my own but who knows maybe I could do it.   I definitely put the time into researching about it.

    FRENDY:  You have the money, cars and clothes but is there a special lady out there you’re sharing it all with?

    ANG:  *Laughs* Well I definitely don't have it all.  There are way more important things in life than money, cars and clothes. In terms of special ladies, I am single but have a one on the radar. Once you get a girl, “you have to put her in designer,” as Future says. The guys always make fun of me though by always saying “Nits brings the tings to Fring’s”.

    FRENDY:  That’s hilarious.  Well I’m sure there are tons of tings who are willing kick it for a day...or couple of months.  Since you’re always in the latest gear, is it a requirement for them to have a sense of style or it doesn’t really matter?

    ANG:  * Laughs* Actually yes I if I were to date a girl I would want her to be into fashion like I am. She doesn't have to wear the latest stuff but definitely needs her own sense of style 100%. It’s always cool to have a girl that can relate to what you like. At the end of the day though it's not everything! But yes I would prefer it.

    FRENDY:  For sure, it’s all about being on the same frequency. Man, it was a pleasure having this conversation. Looking forward to see what you and the fellas will get into next.  One more thing I need to know before we end though, if you were stranded on a desert island what three things would you bring?

    ANG:  Likewise! If I were stranded on an island the three things I would bring is a boat to get off the island, food, and a laptop with 4G so I can stay up to date with gear.  Stay Woke!

  • Beauty Behind the Garments

    A few months back, I deleted my old Tumblr account and decided to start things fresh with my newly found “Frendy Vibes ” flow.  While skimming through various pages on the popular social networking site, I would regularly stumble upon numerous photographs of a uniquely striking female.  Ok, most of you are probably thinking, “Duh! its Tumblr, tons of hot girls are scattered on there,” but this particular fashionista was extremely consistent with her stylish aesthetic. 

    Remaining true to my investigative nature, I tracked down the beauty to find out who she really is behind the meticulous garments.  Check out my exclusive sit-down with her below:

    Frendy:  Pardon my ignorance, but I honestly thought “Maki Rolls ” was your real name at first.  What is the meaning behind your Instagram handle?

    Alice:  *Laughs* Alot of people call me Maki and the worst part is I respond to it! My name is Alice. Everything was taken so I had to come up with something different. I remember sitting on my bed last September thinking I love sushi, and I guess “Maki Rolls” just came to my mind. A lot of people don't know what a Maki Roll is (which surprises me every time,) but it's actually just the round sushi pieces that are wrapped in seaweed.

    Frendy: Where are you originally from? And how was life growing up there?

    Alice:  I was born in Yancheng, China. It's a city two hours south of Shanghai. I moved to Toronto, Canada when I was 6 and then New Hampshire, USA a year later.  I barely remember anything from life in China and Canada, so I just say that I grew up in Nashua. I lived there from the age of 7-15, and then moved to Europe (Oslo, Norway) from 15-present. 

    Life in Nashua was pretty normal (at least to the onlooker.) Living the whole American dream with a house, dog and a fence in a nice neighborhood. I was the biggest nerd and had perfect grades in school. My personal and private life was a whole different story though.

    Frendy: Did your love of fashion come about at an early age?

    Alice:  I've always really liked clothes since I can remember. I didn't start being "stylish" until I moved to Oslo and I definitely never thought of taking a career path in fashion until earlier this year actually.  I was taking courses for my Masters in Finance thinking I was going to be an investment banker.  One day, I just realized that I'm actually a creative person and wanted to work with clothes, so I immediately quit Masters school.

    Frendy:  What did your parents think when you stopped going to school for your Masters degree?

    Alice: They were pretty shocked at first, but at the same time both my mom and stepdad have been a bit of adventurers themselves when they were young. They've gone out and explored the world before they settled anywhere. And that's what I'm doing. So they get it. 

    Frendy: For those who are not aware, what is your occupation?

    Alice:  Right now, I'm working as a consultant for a brand based in LA, in both brand management and creative direction. I also do freelance styling. Most would also say I'm a blogger, but since I don't have a blog, I guess I'm an Instagram influencer.

    Frendy: Can you recall your first big break in the fashion world?

    Alice: What I'm doing now is my first big opportunity I would say. Building a brand together with someone, having a load of responsibilities. It gives me real experience in all aspects of the field.

    Frendy: Have you faced any sort of discrimination as a female in such booming industry?

    Alice:  No, I actually feel that being a female in the streetwear scene dominated by dudes makes you stand out more. I've never worked with streetwear, I just wear it a lot and have a lot of friends in the scene.

    Frendy: You recently moved to LA. Was it work-related or simply because you desired a change of scenery?

    Alice:  I’m here for a few months first and see what’s up. It was both work-related and because I needed a change. I fell in love with LA during my first visit in October and had to come back!

    Frendy: Public transportation is certainly not effective in Los Angeles as it is here in New York, are you able to maneuver in your new home without great hassle?

    Alice:  Oh yeah, definitely. People don't use public transportation here-ubers are super cheap, and usually for work meetings I get picked up in the morning so that's not a hassle at all. I live in West Hollywood so it's a five minute drive to everything.

    Frendy: You have an incredible, natural sense of style.  Do you undergo an intricate process to choose the perfect outfit?

    Alice:  Not at all…I just put on whatever I feel goes together. People probably think I spend hours picking out my outfits but I really spend 10 minutes max.

    Frendy: Your knowledge of the fashion industry is equally impressive as your striking look.  How important is it for someone to know the backstory of a particular label or fashion house?

    Alice:  To be honest, I know very little about any particular label or designer. I feel that lot of people who have been in fashion for a while (especially high fashion,) and have gone to fashion school know every single detail and history about designers. They take it very seriously.  I just haven't been in the industry long enough to really "care" yet.

    Frendy: What are some of your favorite brands right now?   And what exactly makes you so fond of them?

    Alice:  My favorite is Gosha Rubchinskiy, simply because the brand provides quality garments that are worth every penny.  Also, everything about the line is dope af, from the aesthetics to the models.

    Y Project, Alyx Studios, G.V.G.V, Enfants Riches Deprimés are up there too. For me to like a brand, I need to be captivated by the way it is presented. It's not even about the design of each piece but the whole brand universe.

    Frendy: Music and fashion go hand in hand. What sounds inspire you the most?

    Alice:  I wouldn't say I'm inspired by music like that...but either Travis Scott's new album and The Weeknd's new album Starboy, is literally on repeat all day.

    Frendy: I’m asking this question on behalf of all the fellas out there: do you have a particular type? Is it necessary for him to be a ‘fashion head’ in order to gain your undivided attention?

    Alice:  No, I don't have a particular type, but I do like someone who can intellectually stimulate, challenge and inspire me. I would want someone that "gets it," and I feel very few do.

    Yes, he would need to have good style to have my attention *laughs* I would prefer someone who wasn't fully submerged in the fashion scene just because it's already such a small world, and I want to learn different aspects of life from someone.

    Frendy: What would you like to say to all the girls who are trying to work in the fashion field, but have absolutely no clue of how to get their feet wet?

    Alice:  I get this question almost every day in my email and dm. People think there is only that one "correct" way, but there are countless options. There are so many degrees and backgrounds you can take: Marketing/PR, architecture, graphic design, business, art, design. 90% of people in fashion never even went to fashion school.

    Also, put yourself out there! Instagram is a GREAT tool for showcasing your work or just sense of style/mood boards. Like they say, “Instagram is the new CV.”

    Frendy: One last question, which do you prefer: Skittles or Starburst?

    Alice:  SKITTLESSSSS.

    Follow Alice on instagram here.

  • Aaron's World

    BAPE NYC served as a medium to encounter so many incredible people.  From iconic entertainers and fashion gods to multi-millionaire businessmen, the second floor of the ‘Busy Workshop’ was my personal space for meeting sessions with them all.

    I’ve had several moments of forgetfulness when dealing with certain past acquaintances. In some cases, my attentive silence during a conversation was just my way of trying to figure out who I was actually speaking to (no offense, of course).

    Aaron Liaw is surely not on my list of Forgettables.  The stylish Canadian has been a loyal BAPE customer ever since my Omarion braid days.  A year before my departure from Nigo’s former fashion empire, Aaron stopped by the shop to cash out (per usual). That was my first time seeing him in ages, so we definitely reminisced and since then remained in contact through social media.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover he had quite a strong following on the Internet.

    Aaron’s nonchalant showing of his splendid lifestyle online prompted me to have a sit-down with him to dig a little deeper into his wonderful world.  There’s always more than meets the eye, so this will be a perfect chance to really understand the man behind the grandeur. Enjoy!

    FRENDY: Alot of people may know you strictly from Instagram where your flex fits and lavish lifestyle are on full display. What are some of the biggest misconceptions about you?

    Aaron: One of the biggest misconceptions about me is that I only buy and like "expensive" things. That is 100% false. I am a resourceful and smart shopper. Rarely do I ever buy things at retail, and if I do pay retail; chances are I sell some things that I don't wear anymore to help make closet space. I never just go blow money for no reason. I'm not the type of person to buy something just to flex on Instagram and then end up selling it the day after. If you scroll all the way down on my Instagram to the first few photos, you will see that I've been wearing and copping fresh shit from the start. I'm not new to the streetwear/fashion culture. I've been on ISS since 2007 and did not suddenly start buying gear since Instagram started. I actually kind of hate this new Instagram hypebeast culture because I know over 90% of these guys you see "flexing" don't know shit about the history of sneaker/streetwear game and just started buying because they can get some likes. If you notice on my pics, I never tag brands or use hashtags. That shit is wack and just shows you how bad these people care about getting more followers & likes from the shoes or clothes that they are wearing. You can smell the corniness of people through the iPhone screen from their 20 hashtags and 15 tags. 

    FRENDY: Which part of Canada are you from exactly?

    Aaron: I'm from Toronto, Canada. 6ix side let it fly.

    FRENDY: What was your childhood like there?

    Aaron: My childhood was sports 24/7. I played competitive AAA hockey from 9 till I was 14. Then I changed to competitive tennis from 14 to 18. I was playing a lot of tournaments and was training almost every day. Balancing school, sports, and work was hard for me because the hours were insane. I remember having to bring my tennis bag with me into Champs Sports on some days because I didn't have time to go home. I would go straight from the tennis courts to the mall and clock in for my shift. Champs taught me a lot about time management though.

    FRENDY: The last time I saw you at my old workplace you were with a couple of friends, 2 of which included the famous Bent-Lee brothers. How long have you known them for?

    Aaron: I've known the Bent-Lee brothers since I was 14. We all played tennis growing up so we would see each other at tournaments all the time. Me and Kai have had some crazy battles throughout our OTA (Ontario Tennis Association) careers. A lot of broken rackets and questionable calls happened. We also all went to the same high school together, Vaughan Road Academy. To be 100% honest with you, Kai was the first person that influenced me in the sneaker game. He would always show up with a brand new pair of Nike SB's. He was on that shit early during the pink box era. 

    FRENDY: Can you tell me about Fring’s?

    Aaron: Fring's is that place in Toronto where you can get an amazing meal and feel like you're somewhere else in the world. The vibe of the restaurant is like no other in our city. Where else can you eat oysters and chicken sliders while listening to trap music? 

    FRENDY: Since we’re on the subject of restaurants, what are some of your favorite spots to dine in?

    Aaron: The majority of my favorite spots are actually in NYC. I think Ben's Pizza in SoHo is one of the best I've had! J.G. Melon's on 3rd & 74th makes a crazy cheeseburger. Minetta Tavern's "Black Label" burger is on point as well. I'm a big burger guy so of course I love Shake Shack. But, I think In N Out is better. 

    FRENDY: I’m sure tons of people are dying to know so I’ll just go ahead and ask; what is your occupation?

    Aaron: I own ProLocker.com. We are currently going through re-development right now, but be on the lookout for the new launch. 

    FRENDY: You’re a pretty fly fella; do you have any interest in entering the fashion realm?

    Aaron: I am actually helping my boy open up a fashion boutique in Toronto. I just want to help bring a unique shopping experience to the city. The shopping up here is not the greatest, so it would be great to have a refreshing spot.

    FRENDY: What are some of your favorite brands at the moment?

    Aaron: My favorite brands are APL, Saint Laurent, BAPE, Supreme, Fear of God, Balmain and John Elliott.

    FRENDY: I see that you’re an avid traveler.   Out of the many places you have been globally, which is your favorite?

    Aaron: The best place I've been to has to be Italy. The food is just so good out there. Best meals I've had are all in Italy. The culture over there is very laid back and easy going.

    FRENDY: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    Aaron: In 10 years I see myself feeling good, living better.

    FRENDY: Thank you for taking the time to shed more light on your life.  Are there any last words you’ll like to leave with the readers?

    Aaron: Stay humble, stay hungry. We are all just trying to live better than yesterday.

    Written by: Frendy Lemorin

    Photos by: Omair Khan

  • Balenciaga Mama

    The Internet has a wonderful way of connecting souls beyond the physical plane. I personally became E-Friends with a slew of people that I’m patiently waiting to encounter in real life. One of those distant yet remarkable individuals is the glamorous Elisabeth Hadida.

    The Parisian Fashionista was introduced to me through Instagram.  At the time, my photographer Erick Hercules and I initially embarked on our levitation spree and she just so happened to catch a glimpse of the ethereal shots. Fascinated by them, Elisabeth followed me on the app.  I abruptly returned the favor after viewing her lavish feed, filled with amazing landscapes of Paris and exclusive fashion content.  More than just obtaining a keen vision, I later discovered how much of a great person Elisabeth actually was after our conversations.  We connected so well she bought my FRNDY LMRN™ Logo Tee without me having to persuade her one bit!

    Having such an amazing personality and even richer spirit, Elisabeth left me no choice but to share her story with you all.  Allow me to introduce, the original Balenciaga Mama.

    FRENDY: You have an interesting last name. What exactly is your background?

    ELISABETH: My family is from North Africa.  My parents migrated to France with absolutely nothing.  They met each other thanks to a mutual friend and have been together ever since! It was the best image of love I could witness as a child.  Since both of them built their careers from scratch in Paris, they taught me the value of hard work, tolerance and sharing.  I will always be thankful for that.

    FRENDY: What was it like to grow up in the city of love?

    ELISABETH: I feel blessed to be born in Paris! It’s truly a magical city, steeped in history. I grew up with an array of people from various countries and origins.  As a child, I was lucky to know different cultures without the need to leave my country. I think it's a gift that every new generation born in France should acknowledge everyday!

    FRENDY: Your positive energy is always bursting through my phone screen whenever we converse.  What values were instilled in you as a young girl that allowed such magnificent aura?

    ELISABETH: Well, Thank You *Blushes*. It was friendship-at-first-sight with you!  To be honest, it’s really difficult to talk about myself in such a way without being seen as pretentious.  I rather learn about others than rambling about myself, but thank you for the kind words Frendy!

    FRENDY: Your love of fashion runs deep. When did it begin?

    ELISABETH: I was seven years old when my dad began bringing me to his men’s clothing store. The shop was absolutely incredible to me!  I spent my time playing dress up with the numerous amounts of threads and accessories available. I loved to wear men’s pieces even when I was young, which now explains my obsession with androgynous looks rather than feminine ones.

    My father taught me everything about fashion.  I learned how to trade and even recognize a man’s size as soon as a client entered the door (it was very helpful).  My father was and still is the Master of Fashion in my eyes *laughs*.

    FRENDY: Who are your style inspirations?

    ELISABETH: I really like to mix different kinds of brands -- from luxury to mass market, and from women’s dress code to men’s style.  I do not have any specific inspirations; my main goal is to wear something that makes me feel comfortable, but always different from an actual fashion trend.

    My weakness is vintage clothes. They are very dangerous for my bank account!  When pieces have a past, the attraction is stronger for me.

    FRENDY: It would be a dream come true for most people I know to work for Balenciaga.  How is it like working in the headquarters of the luxury fashion house?

    ELISABETH: Yes indeed! I know how blessed I am to wake up every day and go to work for this brand.  The best quote that can sum up the way I see my work life is, “choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Balenciaga was the brand I chose amongst all the others because of its history and uniqueness.  The product, either RTW or accessories, stands out for it's avant-garde qualities and beauty.

    The fashion house is like a little family.  You learn to grow, sometimes fall but will always have someone or something to help innovate and find a solution.  That's why I've remained there for six years now!

    FRENDY: When did you start working there?

    ELISABETH: Well, I started in 2010. My bosses, Severine Heidet and Axel Keller, granted me a great opportunity to make such a huge step in my career. I will always be thankful because they gave me a shot as I was coming from a mass-market industry. It was a daring bet *Laughs*. I have the chance to grow up by their side and they teach me alot everyday.

    FRENDY: What is your role in the company?

    ELISABETH: I work as a Europe Retail Buyer.  I select all the products that will be offered in stores in each country (France, UK, Italy and Spain) for men, women, accessories and RTW. 

    It’s also a great opportunity to work in retail because it allows me to be connected with many departments, such as the press office, studio, merchandising and production. Basically we never get bored!

    FRENDY: Would you ever branch out and create your own line?

    ELISABETH: In fact, when I was pregnant I found it very difficult to wear something cool and I thought, “wow! I can really create a line of stylish maternity clothes”. There is so much to do in this industry, but I know my limits and unfortunately I do not have an entrepreneurial spirit.  I don’t have the shoulders to start from scratch, especially in this new competitive fashion world.

    FRENDY: Apart from the world of Fashion, you are happily married and have a wonderful bundle of joy.  Is it difficult to be a family woman while working at such a fast-paced industry?

    ELISABETH: Well…yeah! Nobody knows how hard it is to have a baby until they actually have one of their own * laughs *. I really think it’s an everyday struggle for businesswomen.  However, my mum was the best example of having an impressive career with two children.  She is the one who taught me the most about finding a balance between family and the professional life.  She was always there as a mother but also as a working girl!

    FRENDY: I see that you love traveling whenever you have a break from work.  What’s the best place you’ve visited around the world?

    ELISABETH: I am very lucky to have married a globetrotter!  I hate planes but thanks to my husband, I overcame my fear.  The best place I’ve visited is Japan.  We did a big trip around many cities for our honeymoon--from Tokyo to Okinawa, through Kyoto, Hiroshima…

    It was so amazing to learn about the Japanese culture.  They are so respectful and kind.  I was impressed by their landscapes and way of life.  I’ll definitely go back.

    FRENDY: What advice would you give those who are interested in entering the fashion business?

    ELISABETH: The fashion business has changed a lot since I entered it 10 years ago.  I chose to go to business school and obtain an English Business diploma in order to build a strong profile.  I really think it’s important to have this kind of basis to understand the complexity of the fashion industry.

    But above all, passion is truly the key to success.

    FRENDY: Thank you so much for your time Elisabeth. I hope my readers caught a glimpse of your wonderfulness. Any last words?

    ELISABETH: Yes, thank YOU Frendy for giving me the opportunity to talk about my experience and I hope to have lived up to the expectations of your many readers.

    I prefer to let “Frendy Speak ” now * laughs *.

     Written by: Frendy Lemorin

    Photos by: Jonathan Hadida & Nicolas Chauveau

  • Slicker Than Your Average

    Birds of a feather flock together." This particular proverb has been forever embedded in my brain ever since it was introduced in middle school. The familiar saying truly resonated with me later in life, when interactions occurred with characters that altered my world for the best.  Even the confrontations I experienced were blessings because they served as lessons that expanded my palette in this vibrant journey.

    Imran Sajid is a perfect example of an individual that plays an important role in the betterment of my life, due to our similar aspirations.  All credit goes to Delroy Smith who introduced me to the young, brilliant entrepreneur. Delroy is someone whom I consider a superstar, so there was no doubt that his praise of Imran was worthy.

    If there was one word to describe the Queens bred native, it’ll have to be ‘Bawse’ (sorry Renzel).  Not only is Imran a full-time student at St. John’s University, the prospering 20 year old owns several booming businesses including 212 Steakhouse, New York’s only restaurant that serves authentic Kobe Beef from Japan. May I also state that the humble Pakistani descendant is a proud American Express titanium black card recipient? (too late, just did).

    Now that I have your undivided attention, let’s take a deeper dive in the extraordinary life of Imran.  Indulge in my intimate interview with the slick businessman discussing his humble beginnings, hectic schedule and overall purpose.

    FRENDY: Delroy briefly told me the epic story of how you both became friends.  Can you elaborate on that fateful encounter?

    IMRAN: Very epic story actually. While 212 Steakhouse was being constructed, I temporarily worked at Zara’s 5th avenue store location just for the heck of it.  I met Delroy while working the fitting room shift.  It was pretty cool interacting customers in that particular section of the store so I didn’t mind one bit. When Delroy walked in, I noticed he had on a pin from Louis Vuitton, and I always wondered what it was like to work there. While he was changing in the fitting room, I began asking him questions about his experience at LV.  Our energies connected well so we conversed like old time buddies.  I quickly asked for his business card before he departed. We kept in touch and the rest is history.

    FRENDY: How was life growing up in the States being of Pakistani descent?

    IMRAN: Growing up in the States being of Pakistani descent never really impacted my life, not even after 9/11. People never bothered me because I was always the type to mind my own business.  It was fun to be left alone.  As far as being Muslim, I try to practice my religion the best I can with my hectic schedule.

    FRENDY: You are an extremely diligent worker; did your parents play a major role in obtaining this quality?

    IMRAN: My parents actually never really wanted me to work.  They said I should focus on school and that education is first.  My mom didn’t really work much, but my father did. I barely saw him because he was always grinding, providing for the family. I wanted to be able to do that as well, just not work as much hours. Working is not bad, its fun but also a sacrifice. To be brutally honest, I rarely go out. It’s kind of frustrating but I hope it’s all worth it later on in my life. I have a goal to retire before the age of 30 so everyday matters.

    FRENDY: What was your very first job?

    IMRAN: My first ever job was working for a clown who lived next door. He was a really nice guy so I asked him if he needed any help.  He said he needed aid setting up for his parties and that’s exactly what I did.  I was paid $30 for every party.  It was amazing when he said he had 4-5 parties because I would come home with more than $100!

    FRENDY: How long were you working at Zara?

    IMRAN: I worked at Zara for about 4 weeks and it was just to pass time. Not to mention, I used to drive to work in a 2014 Maserati.  I paid more for parking in a day than what I made in two weeks at the job!  Working there was cool though; I met some very interesting people and was able to network.  After all, its 5th avenue and everyone shops at Zara.

    FRENDY: Hold Up, how were you able to afford a 2014 Maserati already?

    IMRAN: Affording the car was easy; parking it was the hard part! When I was 18 I woke up wanting the vehicle, so I treated myself to the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte.  

    FRENDY: Being so experienced in the real world of business, what can you possibly be      studying at St. John’s University?

    IMRAN: Like I mentioned before, my parents always stressed the importance of education and how it is needed to succeed. Truthfully, during the first two years of my college career I was carefree. I was a Liberal Studies major, but I recently transferred to the business field particularly in Finance. Being a business owner is cool but it is imperative to know what to expect when you hand over your finances to an accountant.  The classes I am taking are giving me more knowledge in regards to that.

    FRENDY: 212 Steakhouse is top notch! Thanks for treating the homies and I to dinner at the spot a few months back.  Describe the hotspot for those who haven’t yet experienced its fine offerings.

    IMRAN: 212 Steakhouse is the only restaurant in New York City authorized to sell authentic Japanese Kobe Beef. Kobe Beef is a very tender and rich steak that is only found in a specific region in Japan called Kobe. The restaurant is truly a nice spot. I personally enjoy eating the food there -- not only because its my own establishment, the food is quality all around. We’ve been featured on Forbes, Zagat and multiple culinary shows. We’re located on 53rd street between 1st and 2nd avenue.

    FRENDY: When did you conceive the thought of opening such establishment?

    IMRAN: One day I decided to speak with the chef of my favorite restaurant.  He was extremely talented so there was no choice for me but to compliment him on his food. During our convo, the Chef gave me a few suggestions on opening up a restaurant. He mentioned that one thing NYC is missing is Kobe Beef, so if I was ever interested in opening an eatery of my own, that should be on the menu.  Being inspired, I went home and did some research.  I eventually completed the necessary procedures to get approval from the Kobe Beef Council out in Japan.  Once approved, my business partner and I knew we had to open up a steakhouse.

    FRENDY: How did you build enough Capital to make the restaurant? What was the process like?

    IMRAN: The capital for the restaurant came from the proceeds of my online business.  I’ve had my online business for a couple of years now and developed a clientele well enough to have it run by itself.  The process of building the steakhouse didn’t consist of much.  Just a few pieces of advice from accountants but other than that it was simple.

    FRENDY: Since we’re on the subject, what other businesses do you own?

    IMRAN: I have a few investments in some areas, which are working out pretty well. Other than 212 Steakhouse, I have an online company in which I distribute products to retailers and provide inventory for them. That business is my main focus, as I am trying my best to improve results at the restaurant.

    My online business derived from my knack of selling items in HS! At age 15, I was known as the candy man because I was selling sweets in class.  That same year, I also began to sell Coke cans at the park. I then graduated to selling products online such as clothes and appliances.  I save 70% of my income and spend 30% on necessities (cars, clothing, etc.).

    FRENDY: Do you have any free time? If so, how do you spend it?

    IMRAN: I do have free time. I usually like to spend it with my girlfriend who’s studying upstate.  She comes back and forth to New York during her breaks.  As a matter of fact, she’s returning to the city tomorrow and I bought about 20 gifts for her!

    Other than that, I’m usually just spending time by myself watching Netflix or something.  It’s important to give yourself some time throughout the day to breath because one can handle only so much.   It may seem as if some individuals go through life without a worry, but in all reality everyone has problems.  It’s very important to take alone time and appreciate life and the people you love. Tomorrow isn’t promised.

    FRENDY: What’s the biggest misconception about you?

    IMRAN: People often tend to think I’m an asshole.  You know what, I might be an asshole but only if someone is being that way to me. Other than that, I’m a very nice person.  I never like to stress about anything in life because there’s always someone who is wishing to live the life you have. Often times in business, mishaps occur, but I never like to panic.  I don’t like to show any signs of weakness because people tend to take advantage over those that display it.

    FRENDY: I personally know tons of individuals the same age as you that are blowing their money on nonsense, and pretty much living their life dangerously. How do you maintain such calmness despite having such hefty funds at your disposal?

    IMRAN: That’s a funny question man. You know what it is; I don’t have time to spend money. I’ve been occupied with so many school/business projects that I don’t have time to spend bread. I mean, I like to go out and eat with my boys, but that’s about it. There’s no limit when it comes to shopping, which can be a bad thing. In the past, I was known to blow a lot of money, only to realize the things I purchased were unnecessary. I like to buy nice things for myself but if it’s something that I detest, not even the best salesman can sway me. Purchasing something you like lasts way longer than something that’s been sensationalized by the hype beasts of this era.

    FRENDY: With already so many accomplishments, where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    IMRAN: I never look that far, who knows?

    Written by: Frendy Lemorin

    Photos by: Erick Hercules

  • Dillon Hughes For FRNDY LMRN

    Those who follow me on instagram will remember my historical Frendy's Bape Couch Countdown  hashtag, where I sat down next to all of the beautiful people that showed me extreme support throughout my years at Nigo’s former brainchild.  One of the stand out individuals featured is my lil’ bro Dillon Hughes whom I refer to as Beizus (an inside joke made from his similar traits to Justin Beiber combined with his immense love for Kanye West).  I have known the budding creative for about 3 years now and his growth is truly commendable.

    Born in Long Island, Dillon grew up in a stimulating environment.  He states, “my parents were constantly playing music or movies growing up. Their musical taste ranged from Jimi Hendrix to RUN DMC.  They would have me watch old school movies and documentaries on anyone, from James Dean to Muhammad Ali”.  Furthermore he added, “my parents supported me in all of the outlets I was involved in. All of the hardworking/creative mindset they embodied has had a huge influence on me.”

    The strong support system that Dillon was blessed to have led him to become the free-spirited trendsetter he is today. Biezus now runs DillonHughes.com which serves as his very own hub providing tips and inspiration on everything style. He confesses, “my ultimate goal in life is to become successful in all of my endeavors.  I believe that anything is possible as long as you have patience, put in the work and have unrelenting faith.”

    Be sure to check Dillon out, he’s next up!  To purchase your very own FRNDY LMRN 3M Coach Jacket, simply click on the SHOP section of this site.

    Written by: Frendy Lemorin

    Photos by: Corey D'Angelo

  • Max B: The Real Story

    Merry Christmas everyone!  Y'all been rocking with the kid for quite some time now and my appreciation runs deeper than Richie Rich's stocking full of gifts.  To commemorate such blessed occasion, allow me to present a special piece on Charles Wingate better known to the hoods of the world as Max B.

    For years now there has been tons of speculations surrounding the Harlem street legend but as you know there's two sides to a story and then the truth.  It is my pleasure to introduce the homie and fellow BAPE employee Erick Shaw who just so happens to be related to Biggaveli.

    Below is the transcript of our brief sitdown pertaining to his immortalized cousin:

    Frendy:  You've been working at BAPE for about a year now and it was only 2 months ago that I found out you were related to Max.  I'm assuming only a few individuals know about your relation to him?

    Erick:  Yeah.  It's funny how people come across or figure it out lol.  I usually do a good job of keeping it a secret.  The only people that really know that I'm related to him besides my family obviously is my closest friends.  They actually got to meet him.  For those that don't know and aren't aware, he and I are 1st cousins.  His mother and my mother are sisters.  My mother being the baby and his mother being the eldest female out of 8 kids.  We make up 10 grand-kids so it's a big family lol.

    Frendy:  What's your fondest memory of Max?

    Erick:  I have a few fond moments of my cousin and I.  It's funny because he considers me his favorite so I take that to heart.  One memory I have is when I was little, his sister and I used to always come home from school and play Super Mario on Nintendo.  We'd get to the last level and no matter how hard we'd try we could never beat it.  Charlie would come from outside doing whatever he was doing in the street and we'd tell him to help us out.  He'd beat Bowser in 2 minutes flat!  Made it look so easy lol.  Another memory that I have with him is when I graduated High School and he surprised me by showing up.  Everyone was so shocked to see him.  Here I am carrying a normal convo with him as if it's nothing while everyone's jaws are dropped.  That was a pretty cool moment for me.

    Frendy:  For those who don't know, explain Max's relevance in Hip Hop and how did his nickname "Biggaveli" come about?

    Erick:  Well, that name comes from 3 artists.  Bigga is Biggie and Jigga is Jay Z and of course Veli at the end for 2Pac.  Those were the artists that he looked up to coming up and that's how the name came together.  He does everything to the max so "Max Biggaveli".  He's responsible for alot of the lingo in New York including the iconic word "Wavey" and "Owww".  Max put out hood classics like the "Public Domain" series, the "Domain Pains" series and of course mentoring French Montana into what he is today.  And to think, he was primed to be something big.

    Frendy:  Did you know much of his street life?

    Erick:  I was still pretty young to comprehend his street activities.  As I got older, I started to piece things together.  He spent alot of time in and out of jail with his two brothers Michael aka "Mike Murder" and Eric (who was murdered).  Charlie was the only brother out of the three to have both parents around (for the most part) but the streets still called his name and majority of the time he answered. 

    Frendy:  To be honest, I really don't know the set of events that led to Charles' arrest.  Can you elaborate on that situation?

    Erick:  Basically what happened was, there were two desperate parties attempting to rob the same person/persons and claimed that my cousin was the mastermind behind it all.  Mind you, he wasn't even present at the time.  If my knowledge serves me right, he was doing shows when it happened.  If I'm correct, Max was found guilty for 9 out of 11 counts for Manslaughter and Conspiracy to commit robbery.  SMH, It truly hurt me because before that he was in jail facing a 2 million dollar bail that was later paid.  To just have him home and then I gotta see him go away......sucks alot.

    Frendy:  Any update on when he'll be free?

    Erick:  There are alot of dates people are giving out.  From what I know, he still has to do a considerable amount of time.  On a positive note, he's got a new lawyer team and is fighting for a retrial.  As for as release date.....that's in God's hands.

    Frendy:  Do you still keep in contact with Charles?

    Erick:  Of course!  If I'm not speaking to him, I'm speaking to my aunt about him.  Last time I spoke to Charlie was like a month and a half ago.  He was trying to have me work with one of his engineers to  make music and before that he tried to get me to work with Dame Grease.  I can't front Grease was kind of a asshole lol.  That's another story though...

    Frendy:  What's Max's biggest misconception?

    Erick:  People seem to think that he's this troublemaker but that's not the case.  We all make bad decisions.  He just tried to live his life and sometimes the company you keep can also be your downfall.

    Frendy:  Any thoughts of working in the music industry like your big cuz?

    Erick:  Like him, music is also my passion.  I kinda want to take a different approach than him though.  Seeing him go through all of this and watching his life change from feeling like you had nothing to having it all and then having it taken from you....that will make anyone open their eyes!  It hurt me so much but at the same time it helped me realize what mistakes not to make, how to move, how to trust, and how people perceive you when you're down.  I learned so much from him and we didn't even spend that much time together because of his lfe decisions.  Despite it all, I still love and want to do music.  If there was an opportunity to work with Charlie I would in a heartbeat!  Not just because he's "Max B" but because I want to keep him close to me.  Keep him out of trouble and bond more as a family, doing something we both love.

    Frendy:  I appreciate your time E for giving us a deeper insight into Max's life and your relationship with him.  Any words you'll like to leave with the people?

    Erick:  I just want to say thank you to all of your loyal fans that have supported him for years.  Y'all mean the world to him and myself because you guys help keep his work alive.  We just gotta hope and pray that he gets his time to come home.  I guarantee if he does, things will be different.  He'll be staying home for good this time.  But again thank you and stay wavy.

     

    Written by: Frendy Lemorin

  • Delroy Smith: Out The Box

    Life's surprises are truly the best occurrences anyone could ever ask for.  A few months ago, I informed you all about my good friend Grant Martin of the sensational Dover Street Market NY.  One day as Grant finished giving me and my photographer Erick Hercules a personal tour of the exclusive shop, he introduced us to Delroy Smith.  What I didn't expect is that our initial meeting would transform into a brotherhood of epic proportions.

    What drew me to Delroy is his extremely tasteful fashion sense and equally radiant spirit.  In this day and age (especially in New York), arrogance is expected when one is acquainted with a being who possess a 'larger than life' aura.  I was pleasantly surprised by his comforting nature and positive attitude.  Its as if we were long lost brothers in this world of perpetual false ego.  In just one day after our introduction, we all began communicating on how we could join forces to potently share our respective gifts to the world.  This is part 1.

    The 5th Avenue Louis Vuitton store highest-grossed salesman's (sold over $2 million worth of items in his department last year) story is so inspirational that I've decided to let him tell it in his very own words.  With that said, here is Delroy Smith....out the box.

    My name is Delroy Smith and I am 25 years of age born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  As a child, I always fancied the idea of creating; sculpting, building, sketching, painting, poetry and even music.  My mother always knew I had a gift.  Therefore, she frequently planned trips to the museum, zoo and library so that we could always engage in activities that were constructive.

    During my adolescent stage, I was constantly picked on by other students in my elementary and junior high school, and even though it seems cliché, that was the norm for me especially because I had to deal with my father's death in the 1st grade.  I learned to defend myself, even if it meant being violent to the individual that threatened to do me harm.  My younger siblings, Ethan and Tracey all went to the same elementary school as me because my mother always wanted us to stick together and taught us that friends can always lead us to the wrong path.  Which is why she made sure to instill love, courage, faith, and the joy of sticking together as a family.

    My mother and grandmother were my 2 best friends and sole providers growing up.  They supplied me with relentless self-confidence to stand strong despite what anyone else thought.  My grandmother always preached that "it doesn't matter who hates you, Jesus and I love you" and that stuck with me even up to this day.  HS was a dilemma because during that period of time I was struggling with my identity.  I wanted to fit in every popular clique but felt that I wasn't "cool" or had enough "swag".  I had no interest in fashion, just trends.  My mom accepted me but I wanted everyone to feel the very same.  I thought wearing Jordan's would make my school peers accept me.  Talking the way they do, dressing like them...cloning myself to what I thought HS society wanted every teenager to be.  Interestingly enough, during my last 2 years of HS I became extremely popular due to the fact I learned to be comfortable with myself (but was still struggling with inner demons).

    In college, I experimented with so many looks and made sure to stick out like a sore thumb.  I kicked it up 10 notches not because I wanted attention but because I found my identity which was expressing my inner being through clothing.  In my last two years of college, I was known as the kid that could "dress his ass off!" but remained humble through it all.  My grandmother always said, "clothes do not make the man,  its their morals and attributes."  She instilled humility, kindness and always told me to appreciate every moment and to love everyone.  Afore I mentioned that I was battling an inner demon....my sexuality.  The fact that my mother and I have a great relationship, I needed to tell her.  I also came out to many of my friends who fortunately still accepted me.  Finally, I accepted myself and relinquished all of the negative forces that were in my head.

    My grandmother passed away on December 22nd, 2013 and was saddened so deeply that I couldn't even function.  I miss and love her so much.  My grandmother as well as my mother played a big part in becoming who I am today.  They accepted me for me.  She would state "You can make a child, but not their heart and mind."  Even today I can see her, everything around me reminds me of her beauty.  My grandmother worked extremely hard raising 9 children, 21 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren!  Her work ethic was unparalleled and that is why I don't complain. "You have it too good, what you see as complaint someone sees it as triumph.  Never complain because there is someone out there in the world that has it worst than you."

    On a more positive note, many people want to know about my style and what I think about when getting dressed.  My motto is: everything goes!  There are basically no boundaries.  My closet consists of silk, leather, cotton, python, croc, beading, embroidery, bright colors, dark colors, plaid.....and the list goes on and on.  I like things that are daring but also my taste, which isn't hard to find (it just has to grab me emotionally).  My mom loves the way I dress so did my grandmother.  Even though there were times she made fun of me, I knew it was from a loving place.  I thoroughly enjoyed style and fashion from the moment I was working at the Flagship Abercrombie & Fitch.  I then moved on to Flagship Tommy Hilfiger, and now Flagship Louis Vuitton.

    I read up on other cultures because I like to incorporate international influences to my style which includes my own cultivation being that my mom is Suriname, father from Jamaica, grandmother from Guyana and her ancestors being Chinese.  From turbans to wearing Chinese robes or embroidered garments from India to an event, being ashamed to do so never existed...just sheer excitement and anticipation of the expressions on people's faces!  Pictures of my father before he passed away played a huge role in my style.  People know me for the amount of gold rings that I wear and that's because my father wore so many of them.

    In conclusion, I love being me and extremely excited for what the future holds.  Many people stare at me day-to-day and sneak pics of me on the subway.  Some even ask for permission to take a flick because they think I might say no but since I'm extremely humble and shy (ironically enough my clothes speaks volumes) I always say yes.  My style varies.  I'm still learning and growing as a Stylist and Designer so I continually do my research!  I know that I have a strong look...so I own it.  It took a long time to find my identity.....just imagine if I gave up and decided to just blend in?  The Delroy Smith you know today would have been just a thought.

     To purchase your very own FRNDY LMRN 3M jacket, simply click HERE.

     Written by: Frendy Lemorin

    Photos by: Erick Hercules