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  • Timberland x The North Face Nuptse Boots

    “I got a 100 guns, 100 clips…n*gga I’m from New York!”  My fault, writing this story prompted me to blast Ja Rule’s classic concrete jungle anthem, “New York.” Anyways, Timberland’s classic 6” wheat nubuck boots is arguably NYC’s official streetwear icon. Well, now the famed American footwear company has tapped another New York staple brand The North Face to deliver a shoe that’ll combat the city’s bitter chill.

    Dubbed, Timberland x The North Face 6" Nuptse 700, The hybrid winter boots is a combination of The North Face's Nuptse aesthetic with Timb's infamous cozy, cold-proof exterior.

    There is no specified release date for these must-haves, but keep a look out for Atmos NYC, as they will be one of the stockist for the shoe, ya heard.

  • The Silent Shooter

    Timothy Smith is a man of few words, but he has a sh*t load of captivating flicks to make up for it. Like most of my creative comrades, the Brooklyn bred lensman and I met at BAPE NYC - where we hardly spoke, yet had great mutual respect for each other.

    I haven’t seen Timothy in about five years, so it was a pleasant surprise when he followed me on Instagram last month.  What shocked me even further were the glorious editorial shots featured on his feed, which he photographed himself. I am not in any way, shape or form attempting to downplay Tim’s artistic prowess, but I was Stacey Dash clueless about his exceptional photography skills.  As I mentioned earlier, we never had a conversation that lasted more than one minute - let alone discussed his interest in the visual arts.

    This Original Stories series has provided me with the perfect opportunity to have a sitdown with the silent shooter to find out more about his background, passion for picture taking and path to success in the photography industry. Check out our dialogue below:

    FRENDY:  It’s a pleasure to finally have a thorough convo with you after all these years *Laughs*. Why didn’t you tell me about your love for photography back in my early BAPE days?

    TIM:  I was in my early stages, still insecure about my work. Not very confident in showing my work to others, and also still finding my voice. Like, all of my early work was of cats, street style, carts, landscapes *Laughs*. I was all over the place.

    FRENDY:  I respect that, you’re excused *Laughs*. Where were you raised in Brooklyn?

    TIM:  I grew up in the East Flatbush/Brownsville area. At the age of 11/12, my grandparents lost our house so I moved over to Queens to live with relatives for a while. When I first moved to Queens I stayed in Ozone park in my great uncle’s basement, then bounced around from Laurelton to South Ozone Park, then eventually landed back in Brooklyn.

    FRENDY:  Crazy.  I lived in East Flatbush for most of my life as well.  Which schools did you attend growing up in Brooklyn and Queens?

    TIM:  Yeah, it’s funny, you used to actually go to the gym with one of my best friends from childhood over in the BRC I think? I know you guys used to work out together, but I can’t remember where. Well, I will say this, I was fortunate enough to go to “good” schools. I attended Saint Catherine of Genoa in Brooklyn, then I finished my 8th grade year in Saint Teresa in Queens. For high school, I attended Christ the King over in Middle Village.

    FRENDY:  Damn, it’s really a small world. Ok nice, those are definitely great schools to attend.  Were you always into photography growing up?

    TIM:  *Laughs* Yeah, real small world. My grandparents made it a priority to send me to catholic schools because they believed it was much safer and a better education. I remember not having any lights or heat because my grandparents would have to pay 4 months of back owed tuition, because they truly believed I could do something when I got older.

    Funny thing is I always wanted to be a photographer because of Spider-Man! I used to think Peter Parker was f*cking amazing. I used to get all my Spider-Man toys and create “movies” with cereal boxes as video cameras *Laughs*. Cornflakes boxes to be exact!  It wasn’t until my grandmother passed that I really thought about taking photography seriously. I literally spent my student refund check in 2012/2013 to buy a canon 7D, to actually shoot short films, and record myself reviewing video games.

    One day I took a photo and all of the feels of being Spider-Man came back to me all at once. So I decided to sell my car to fund my photography addiction, I took an internship back home the summer before I graduated at Management Artist in Chelsea. It was legit the best experience of my life being around all that amazing photo work, it trained my eye very quickly to distinguish good photography from bad photography. It was an amazing summer, I slept on a living floor the entire time and enjoyed everyday of it!  

    FRENDY:  Which college did you attend after Christ The King?

    TIM:  I attended Saint John's University for one semester, then got kicked out because they didn’t believe my financial situation, regarding to financial aid. So pretty much even with a partial scholarship I couldn’t afford it. Then I took some time off and went to Nassau. After a while, I decided I had to leave because if not I would have gotten in so much trouble and other dumb shit.

    So then I went to a small HBCU in North Carolina: ECSU and got my Bachelors. After getting my degree, I came back to Canarsie because my mom ended up getting breast cancer and I wanted to help out the best way I can, and to build a relationship between us. After that, I finally got home and applied to grad school for photography and ended up attending School of Visual Arts in NYC.

    FRENDY:  Wow. First off, is your mom alright now?  Also, what kind of trouble would you have gotten yourself into at Nassau? I don’t see you as a troublemaker.

    TIM:  Oh yeah, she’s fine now! Thanks for asking. Not really me getting in trouble at Nassau, it was more so I was still hanging around all my friends that always did dumb sh*t. Like I’ve never been a tough guy or whatever, but I’m also a very loyal friend, plus my house was always the hub for all my friends. So I just remember one day playing call of duty and looking around at what my friends we’re doing and was like “bro, I gotta go.” It’s all good though, they always said I shouldn't be about that ‘life’ and they respected my decision.

    I would like to give a special thanks to one of my best friends/brother, Fred because when he saw I was serious about photography he gave me a f*cking brand new 5D mark II with flashes and lenses. Like, that's the type of bond me and my friends have - I'm still trying to figure out a good gift for him *Laughs*.

    FRENDY:  That’s the definition of true friendship right there. Were you studying photography when you were schooling in NC? Or you started taking photography classes while attending SVA in the city?

    TIM:  SVA.  I did a broadcasting class in NC and tried to get funding for a short film, but it never worked out *Laughs*. I did have three extremely amazing teachers; Professor Bright, Professor Washington, and Latoya Monique. They definitely helped me shape my creative vision by giving me the freedom to experiment as much as possible.

    FRENDY:  How’d you enjoy SVA?  What did you do after receiving your Master’s in Photography there?

    TIM:  SVA was cool, I made some really good friends there. If I had to be honest, you don't really need school in order to become a photographer. I learned so much in my first year of freelance, and assisting.  So right after getting my Master’s I assisted some amazing photographers like; Bon Duke & Yulia Gorbachenko. I still help Yulia out from time to time, but more the most part I’m completely freelance.

    FRENDY:  Yeah, one of my great friends, Erick Hercules, is doing his thing without any schooling. Hard work, of course, is the cause of his success in the photography field.  So you said you’re a freelancer, how did you get connected prestigious publications like Vogue Italia, WWD, Vulkan Magazine etc.?

    TIM:  Yeah, hard work and networking is the key to photography now - especially with social media being so important. Yeah completely freelance, so I pretty much do all of the leg work with getting jobs etc. Although I finally have an agent, and she has been awesome so far. She actually has been more of a therapist if anything so far *Laughs*.

    Let's tackle magazines first.  Every magazine I shot for, so far, I’ve been denied about 100 times when I first started.  I had to constantly practice and figure out my vision. Then finally after harassing everyone I finally got through, and now magazines would reach out to me for work. That’s how I’ve been able to shoot celebrities, etc. The best word a photographer can hear is “no,” because it drives you to get better and it lets you know that there is still room to grow.

    So yeah, once you get your vision and your skills up, people will gravitate towards you for your style which is very important.

    FRENDY:  Yes, an artist’s style, no matter what field they’re in, has to be unique to stand out. I’ve heard “nos” all my life, which is why I’m doing my own thing in the writing world. I’m blessed enough to have met some great people along the way who are helping me materialize my vision.  All we can do is be kind to ourselves and move forward with grace.

    TIM: Exactly and you’re doing fucking amazing right now, like legit you’re killing it!  I would also say one more thing: I encourage people to surround themselves with good energy and like-minded individualds. Like, for example, my queen Dominique Drakeford (melaninass.com) is hands down my best friend ever, she supports my visions, goals etc, and we can always just sit back and talk about dope sh*t.

    My friend from college and artist Malcolm Rolling (www.725studios.com) was the one who actually trained me to think like an artist, and encouraged me to be one. We would legit not go to parties and sit in the room and study light and catch up on art history - that sh*t was amazing and very pivotal to how I think now. My brother Jameel Murray who taught me how to endure the journey and to realize that no hard work goes unrewarded. (Fun Fact: before his mom passed away, we were months away from being legal brothers by adoption.)

    FRENDY:  Thanks my man, I really appreciate the kind words. Who’s your favorite celebrity to shoot?

    TIM:  Oh man, thats a funny question *Laughs*. So everyone offered a unique experience: YG took me by surprise because of how down to earth he was - still hella gangsta though. Omari Hardwick has become a mentor/big brother figure to me, we still talk to this day. Mack Wilds and I spoke about f*cking Street Fighter, he legit has an Akuma tattoo *Laughs*. Bobby Brackins was super chill, and Marianne Mirage was super fun with great energy. Oh Yeah, Ozuna was also cool, even though he had like an intense security squad.

    FRENDY:  Do you ever get starstruck?

    TIM: Beforehand sometimes, but never on set because my job is to connect with them and bring out the best emotion possible for the image. They are used to everyone treating them a certain way because they are famous - most of them actually just want to have a regular convo with regular human connection.

    FRENDY:  Makes sense, for sure.  How often are you shooting for publications?

    TIM:  Around three to four times a month.  Honestly, as a professional photographer you spend more time out reaching and securing clients than shooting. Compared to everything else I have to do, shooting only takes up 20%.

    FRENDY:  Are you particular about shooting on location? What do you look for in a setting?

    TIM: I do actually prefer shooting on location, only because it keeps budgets lower for certain clients. The studio gives you maximum control over everything. I think to be successful you do need to be well versed in both.

    FRENDY:  What are you currently working on Photography wise?

    TIM: I’m trying to secure a few campaign and lookbook jobs, also thinking about doing a photo project based on people in brooklyn.  I’m working out the details, but I'm looking for funding for that because I want to have an exhibition and have the kids in the neighborhood get involved, get them exposed to the arts.

    FRENDY:  You mentioned earlier that you aborted your short film due to funding. Are you willing to complete it at this stage of your career?

    TIM:  Ah man! Yea totally - I actually just got the most expensive piec. I brought a cinema camera recently, and now working on the rest. I’m starting to create the storyboard for it and hopefully can start producing by the top of 2018. 

    FRENDY:  Would it be a spoiler to tell us what the short is going to be about?

    TIM:  Yeah, all I can say is it will be a relatively short fashion film. Two to five minutes long and it's inspired by Nocturnal Animals.

    FRENDY:  Where do you ultimately see yourself in this ever expansive photography universe?

    TIM:  Living photo legend, decent cinematographer *Laughs*, director, and running a non-profit for underprivileged kids to get into the arts in an early age.

  • Pearl N' Rose

    Mélanie Myriam is a self-proclaimed “business womum.” Born and raised in Morocco’s most populous city, the headstrong 30-year-old is now living abundantly in New York as an entrepreneur, while being a wife and mother of three wonderful children under the age of four.

    Mélanie’s unwavering drive and determination has led her on an incredible voyage. It all started in the northern African coast of Casablanca, where the then 16-year-old Myriam felt that it was time to escape from her home base so she could attend school in Paris. “My native language is French and I wanted to study in a more developed country in order to get a good education,” she states.

    After two prosperous years of high school in Paris, Mélanie was accepted into the prestigious Applied Mathematics and Computer Sciences program at Dauphine University.  She studied applied mathematics for five years and eventually received her master's degree in Financial and Statistical Engineering.  During the last year of college, Myriam fell in love with her husband who received the same degree.  Following graduation, the mathematically inclined lovebirds left their nest and headed to the U.S, where they are currently living out their long-desired American dream.

    I recently sat down with the thriving luxury minaudière designer to further discuss her life back home in Morocco, the inspiration behind her huge career change and find out how she juggles work and family.  Check out our dialogue below:

    FRENDY:  As a child growing up in Haiti, I frequently heard stories of how amazing Morocco was from family members who travelled there. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to go. Can you provide a glimpse of its beauty since you actually lived there?

    MELANIE:  Casablanca is the economic capital of Morocco. The streets are always crowded and loud. From the bazaar to the beach coast, the diversity of people is astonishing. Modern and traditional Muslims, Christians, Jews, Asians, Central Africans and tourists--you can discover and meet much more cultures and people than you would expect to. Casablanca is a developing city where modernity and traditions meet at every corner. You can buy handmade artisanal items in the souk or shop luxurious products at the Morocco mall - largest mall of Africa, whose fountains are way more captivating than the ones in Vegas. You can play in neat and selective golf/tennis /basketball courts or enjoy good surf and even horse rides in the public Atlantic sea beaches. The ideal weather makes life easier and more agreeable.

    No one could resist the delicious and worldly renowned food--from couscous to tajines made of 100% organic veggies and fruits, like locally raised lemons, oranges, olives or even Argan oil (which are exported and used worldwide). For a fun night out, hookah bars, clubs or restaurants never get empty. For a more spiritual moment, the largest mosque of Africa and 2nd largest mosque of the world, the "Hassan II Mosque," is open to everyone. People are tolerant, welcoming, warm and helpful in Casablanca, although the traffic could try their nerves.

    The history of the country is rich and full of surprises. It starts with the original Berbers -nomads that mostly lived in the mountains- to the Arab invasion that brought Islam and the Arab culture to Morocco, to then the Judeo Spanish culture brought by Jews escaping Spain and finding refuge in Morocco, to finally the late French influence debuting with the French protectorate in the 1920s. Please take a second to imagine the resulting multicultural and diverse country that Morocco is. Imagine that wonderful Mediterranean and oriental style - in architecture, fashion and art.  I wouldn't have wished to be born and raised anywhere else.

    FRENDY:  Jheez! It feels like I know everything about Casablanca now. I’m definitely going to visit real soon. How difficult was it for you to leave such majestic scenery at the age of 16?

    MELANIE:  At that time, I was so ambitious, I felt “young, wild and free.” And I already loved traveling and discovering new places, people and cultures; it was exciting, not scary. Banal events would turn into fun adventures. For example, I remember my first time taking the subway- so cool, but it didn’t last long! *Laughs*

    I left a very comfortable routine around my family in Casablanca for sure, but this move was much needed for my soul. Paris is magical! I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to live in such amazing city.  The experience enabled my growth in so many ways.

    FRENDY:  Which high school did you attend in Paris? And was it difficult to get accustomed to the school system there?

    MELANIE: I studied in Morocco at the Alliance group, and then transferred to the one in France quite easily. It was the same curriculum in both countries, so I was able to continue the program normally. I was a very good student. The transition happened smoothly and successfully.

    FRENDY:  You have an immense love for math and finance, when did it begin?

    MELANIE:  My interests began when I was 10 years old, playing all sorts of board games with my older brother--my favorites being Cluedo and BattleShip. The plot twists, schemes to bluff the adversary, and tactics to win enticed me. I was good at it and I enjoyed it. It reinforced my competitiveness and desire to tackle everything in my way. Mathematics is abstract, it relates to numbers, quantities and space. You must learn the rules, theorems and definitions, to play the game. Finance is strategic, you have to be able to predict the next move of your adversary, anticipate the next trend and be convincing. And so, I started acquiring most of my tricks as a young sister playing those games of logic.

    FRENDY:  When you moved to New York, did you abruptly acquire a job in your field of study?

    MELANIE:  I applied to a prestigious master’s program in Mathematics of Finance at Columbia University back when I lived in Paris. I was selected along with 30 other students from a pool of 800+ applicants. Opening the acceptance letter was one of the most intense moments of my life. I packed my luggage with my husband in less than a month and flew to realize my dream.

    As soon as the school year started, I received job offers from renowned banks and financial institutions. The HRs placed me on a pedestal; I could feel I was already doing something unique and recognized. I accepted a full time job at Exane-BNP Paribas, and managed to take all my classes from 6pm and on at night. I juggled between work and school five days a week, and spent my weekends doing homework or touring in NYC. Overall, everything happened really quickly but I lived each moment intensely. It would be safe to say that it was an abrupt transition and goal reaching time.

    FRENDY:  What compelled you to eventually quit your stable 9 to 5?

    MELANIE:  I found out that I was pregnant for the first time on my graduation day from Columbia. I decided to dedicate myself entirely to this happy event, in order to live the motherhood experience to the fullest. I neither wanted to miss a bit of it, nor be constantly stressed out at work, thinking about my baby at home. Although I loved my job, Pearl, my first baby girl, did not make me miss any of it. Every day was incredible, it gave me a sense of purpose and constant joy in my life. I had my first son Eli-Raphael and my second daughter Rose within the next two years. I rapidly became a full-time mother of 3 under 3 and felt showered with blessings. The journey of motherhood has been incredible. I will never graduate from this lifetime learning experience.

    FRENDY:  Incredible! There’s nothing more precious than a mother’s love.  Moving forward to the business side of things, why did you start making minaudières and accessories instead of actual clothes?

    MELANIE: In August 2016, I started designing my first clutch, simply driven by the desire to get my unique and own minaudière to match my outfit for my cousin’s wedding. As I began to look for a special motif, colors and an overall shape, I felt that my creativity was limitless. Ideas were bursting in my mind; I drew many schemes and patterns.

    As my kids entered pre-school at that period, I had more free time to go back to work. And this time, I wanted to express my second passion, my love for designing and fashion. I developed this passion very early during my childhood, when I played running “fashion shows” with my friends as early as 4 years old and later, when I actually walked real kids runways at 10 years old. So, I decided to launch my brand and become a clutch designer. My husband was very supportive and pushed me to follow my heart, and do what I aspired to. He encouraged me to take that challenge and become an entrepreneur.

    I believe I made a very good decision taking this path, as I am both creative and pragmatic. I need some hours of “rational math” or simply rationality during my day, but I also need my moments of evasion. I find inspiration by walking in the streets, looking at what surrounds me such as the urban life and different cultures. New York City was the perfect place to amplify the artistic side of me. Therefore, designing clutches represent to me much more than it seems to be. It is the realization of my inner self through matter. I make rectangular shapes, very straight very geometrical, and then add to them some “magic powder”, product of my artistic side - whether it is a particular pattern or a word that projects me to a specific context. And VOILA! I combined my love for fashion designing and mathematics.

    FRENDY:  You say that your brand is an “Invitation to your Voyage," citing Charles Baudelaire, from Morocco to NY, via Paris and London. How do we learn about your story through your creations?

    MELANIE:  Indeed, the names of the collections- Arabesque, Courtesy, Romance and Modernism- refer to my multi-stops journey. The “Arabesque” collection is an allusion to my Moroccan origins, both as an Andalusian (Spanish culture under Arab influence) from my mother, and as a Berber (Moroccan pre-Arab culture) from my father. The “Courtesy” collection is for the endless Londonian tea parties, which I attended for 3 months as I participated in an internship program with the Merrill Lynch bank, to warm up myself from the cold atmosphere. The “Romance” collection is inspired by the ten years I spent in Paris, its grandiose architecture, timeless fashion and gourmet food. Finally, the “Modernism” collection is for New York, the city I belong to, the city where I accomplish my dreams and where nothing seems impossible. 

    FRENDY: It’s astounding how you’re handling full time mommy duties and entrepreneurship.  What’s your everyday schedule like?

    MELANIE: I wake up everyday at 6am by the cheerful screams of my kids, re-energized from their night and eagerness to conquer the day. Then follows breakfast, dressing and school dropping. It’s now 10am. I have my first coffee break of the day at Starbucks, and immediately start dealing with the manufacturers and customers. Photoshoot scheduling, customer’s feedbacks to take into consideration, new ideas and inspirations to mark down, fixing the website, and more.

    I make a quick stop at Whole Foods marketplace before going back home. It’s now time to organize the house and the dinner, to welcome the kids who are coming back from school. Mommy is busy from 3pm until the kid’s bedtime: fun at the park, playdate in the building’s playroom, shower, dinner and story time.

    After an exhaustive day, I finally enjoy a peaceful one-on-one dinner with my husband before folding back my sleeves one more time and switching on my computer. From updating my social media and designing personalized orders, to preparing the next collection. I fill a milk bottle once in while.

    FRENDY:  Do you visit your hometown often?

    MELANIE:  Yes, at least once a year to refill my batteries and reconnect with my roots. It is also very important for me to go back home to enjoy some leisure time with my parents.

    FRENDY:  I truly commend you for following your passion.  Do you have any words of encouragement for those who are reluctant to fully focus on accomplishing their lifelong goals?

    MELANIE:  The key is to believe in your project. Be prepared to face some obstacles, to start over many times and to make mistakes. But never forget your primary motivations and your final goal.  Work hard and don’t lose hope or patience. People need your ideas out there.

  • The Bootleg Babe

    As crappy as America may seem, we must not forget our precious ability to have freedom of expression in the arts and entertainment. New York City based artist Ava Nirui is exercising those very rights in her fashion approach.

    The multi talented 25-year-old creative is throwing stones at the fashion industry's spotless glass house by making her very own emoji-heart eyes inducing bootleg clothing, utilizing luxury brand logos.  "The fashion world is so set in it's ways, why not challenge its rigidity?" says Ava to W Magazine.

    Nirui's initial venture in bootlegging began a year ago when she formulated swagged-out outfits for Barbie dolls inspired by unisex brands, such as Hood By Air, Vetements and Marques Almeida.  Since then, Ava has applied her stylistic mad scientist ways to shoes, basketballs and even an asthma inhaler!

    Her latest latest masterpiece is a series of Champion hoodies fused together with high fashion brands like Christian Dior,Versace, Gucci and more.  A few days ago, Ava released her Gucci x Champion bootleg ($200), which signified the very first time she has sold anything publicly.  

    Unfortunately, they're all sold out.  Hopefully we'll see more of Ava's wonderful creations available for sale on her webstore during the holiday season!

  • Frendy's Flashback Friday

    On October 7th, 1982 the musical Cats opened at Winter Garden Theater on Broadway NYC and runs for nearly 18 years before closing on September 10, 2000.

  • G-Star Raw's New NYC Flagship Store

    Later today, G-Star Raw will debut it's NYC Flagship store at 475 Fith Avenue.

    If you're guessing that the company's newly appointed co-owner Pharrell Williams will be in attendance, then you're absolutely right.  The multi-talented mogul will be zig-zagging over to the city 's other G-Star locations (Williamsburg and SoHo) before heading to the official celebration of the Fith Avenue store at 8pm.

    If you cop something, you'll get to customize the merchandise with special G-Star scribbles exclusive to the event, as well as have the chance to win a limited-edition denim kimono crafted from Bionic Yarn, P’s company that transforms recycled plastic found in the ocean into denim.

    I might make my way around one of the shops. See you there!

  • GuyFi

    Just when you thought the concrete jungle couldn't get any wilder, inhabitants are now able to masterbate openly!

    I'm not joking either. This week, London based-sex toy company Hot Octopuss premiered it's GuyFi male "stress" relief booths in the city.  HO's co-founder Adam Lewis states, "There’s no denying that working a nine to five job can be stressful on both your mind and body, especially in a non-stop city like Manhattan. It’s really important for guys to look after themselves so that they can stay healthy and focus properly on the task in hand. We’re told time and time again how beneficial it is to have a break away from your desk."

    We all know what type of relief he's talking about, but rubbing one out so openly can still cause a little stress, no?  If you get your business taken care of in a bathroom stall, at least no one could really know what went down.  But out in the streets, sheesh, God forbid one of your "homies" decide to blackmail you with some incriminating footage (haha).

    I rather keep my freakiness in the sheets and not in the streets (literally).  What do you think about all of this?

  • Who Is

    I’m blessed to be friends with so many talented individuals because they inspire me to achieve great feats.  Furthermore, their offerings provide great original content that is shared with you all through this blog.

    The homie Chris Stylez dropped a sonic gem two months ago titled “Who Is” and unfortunately I was just able to experience it’s smoothness (pause).  Hey, better late than never.  Awesome music never goes sour anyway!

    The sultry single serves as the ultimate soundtrack for those late-night summer booty calls.  Indulge below: