“To all the ladies in the place with style and grace,” is how The Notorious B.I.G. kicked off his 1994 platinum-selling single, “Big Poppa.” Danielle Anabi wasn’t alive when the song initially released but she presently has the same swag as the women Biggie referred to.
Danielle is what you call a “rare gem” in the world of Instagram. With less than 5K followers, the Claremont, California beauty is silently bodying fits your #WCW wouldn’t dare to pull off. Whether in a pair of rare Air Jordan 1s or enthralling Vetements lighter heels, Anabi’s style effortlessly remains street yet chic.
But the sky wasn’t always sunny for Danielle. Before her parent’s astronomical success in the oil industry, the 21-year-old fashionista grew up residing in her grandparents’ home, with not only her mom and dad, but also aunts, uncles as well as younger siblings. Anabi’s humble beginning fuels her drive to become the first member of her clan to graduate college. As you can already infer, there is a deeper level to Danielle beyond her flashy exterior.
I recently sat down with Anabi to have a thorough discussion about her parent’s booming business, love of fashion, style and future goals. Check out our dialogue below:
FRENDY: Let me first confess that I’ve never heard of Claremont. Can you fill me in (no Craig David)?
DANIELLE: Cozy Claremont! The city of trees and PhD's. It's a small college town, and a good place to grow up. However, it's a bit of a bubble to say the least.
FRENDY: Cozy Claremont? Sheesh! Sounds like everyone is walking around in pajamas! Were you born there?
DANIELLE: Born and raised. Then I migrated about two hours away to San Diego for college.
FRENDY: Awesome. What are you studying there?
DANIELLE: Yeah, San Diego is a nice change of scenery. I'm majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Arabic. Graduating next year.
FRENDY: Congrats! I know this is a huge deal for you and your family. Did you receive any sort of pressure from your parents to finish school?
DANIELLE: It definitely is a big deal for my family and I. Neither of my parents went to college, so being the first person in my family to attain a degree is a blessing.
Initially though, I'll admit, I didn't want to further my education. Many of the people I surround myself with have been able to achieve great success with only a high school diploma. However, I've also seen these people experience a great deal of setbacks because of the lack of a degree.
FRENDY: Good on you for deciding to stick with it. I was unable to finish college due to finances, but when there's a will there's certainly a way to make things work out. It's a bit “easier” to progress in life with a degree, so at least you’ll have a great accessory.
DANIELLE: I feel you. I have a lot of respect for people who are able to create their own success without having a degree to back them.
FRENDY: After graduating, are you going to work in the field you majored in or take part in your parent’s booming business?
DANIELLE: That's the million-dollar question. My major is certainly not my passion. However, I think college really contributed to my intellectual growth.
FRENDY: What is your passion then?
DANIELLE: My passion is Art, specifically in terms of fashion and design.
I feel like the meaning of "fashion" has sort of deteriorated over time, or rather has just changed immensely. But that's the beauty of it. Fashion can mean whatever the hell you want it to mean, and its meaning varies depending on so many complex things revolving around each individual. I love it.
FRENDY: Your dope sense of style clearly indicates that you have an immense fashion infatuation. How do you go about selecting an outfit?
DANIELLE: I really enjoy feminizing masculine pieces. I'd say that about 65% of my closet consists of statement menswear pieces that I wear daily, regardless the weather, occasion, etc. I also like to implement some sort of sophistication into my fits. It's hard to explain, but the best way to sum it up is attempting to add depth with style.
Overall, I think to really understand my style, you have to see that I'm not just fabric oriented. Styling is more than just cloth. Many people don't realize that fabric is the most external layer of what lies beneath.
FRENDY: I like that *DJ Khaled Voice*. What are your favorite clothing lines right now? And what do you look for when purchasing a piece?
DANIELLE: My favorite brands change pretty frequently. It mostly depends on the designer and what their vision for the brand is.
I like when designers make me think and feel. Very few are able to perfect the balance of intellect and style, while still keeping true to their own identity. If they are able to implement themselves in their designs, rather than just conform to what's "trending,” it gives a sense of authenticity to the label. So when I do sense some sort of rawness, I cling to it. Because I believe the designer is the face of the brand, I spend a lot of my free time watching interviews and reading articles about what they have to say in order to get a feel of who they really are. This helps me pinpoint what they're trying to convey in their designs. Typically, I look for them to address why they chose specific concepts and what they mean to them as the designer. It creates a certain type of genuineness that adds intellectual depth to their label. When designers do articulate these points, it usually touches me on an emotional level and makes me feel some sort of connection or attachment to their brand. Once this bond is made, I ultimately feel inclined to purchase items because I value the individual's vision.
For example, Maison Margiela does an amazing job at perfecting, what I’d like to call “complex simplicity.” I think I was about 15 when I discovered Margiela. He actually was the first figure who cultivated my love for fashion. I saw how his designs were able to challenge the industry and change the meaning of "high fashion" altogether. Unlike other designers who constantly went out promoting themselves, Margiela refused to be photographed, interviewed, and even faxed people instead of meeting face to face.
His pieces truly captivate this aura about him. Creating a nameless, faceless brand, while still using your real name, was/is so cool to me. Made me feel something for sure, as I'm pretty reclusive myself. He gives me some inspiration when I think of how I would like my brand to be someday.
FRENDY: This might be a bit early to ask, but will your potential brand provide aesthetically sound streetwear pieces or the high luxury feel?
DANIELLE: Why not both? A streetwear brand can have luxury elements to it. However, I feel like by the time I decide to launch my brand, what we now know to be streetwear (as much as I love it), will be on the come down. Before I start getting heat for that statement, I guess I should define that by streetwear, I mean the trend-based nature of it today (a.k.a. track suits, athleisure, sportswear; being able to wear sweats to your wedding type shit).
Although there are so many new emerging brands right now that are specifically centered on being "street,” I don't see much longevity to it. This is because consumers dictate what's trending next... not the brands themselves. Take Off-White for example. I think Virgil is a prime example of streetwear-gone-vogue. He's able to comprehend that street style may just be a trend at the moment, and has elevated his brand with more sophisticated, luxury pieces in hopes to gain long term success.
FRENDY: Have you already thought of names for your brand yet?
DANIELLE: “Delusions of Grandeur,” which means a false impression of one's own importance. Clothing shapes how people feel. Typically when people buy expensive pieces that come with a high status and designer name, they feel like they're above others - more confident and cocky.
In short, people hide behind their clothes. Imagine investing in a brand, whose name alone contradicts the emotions you feel towards luxury items. I would want my brand to make people question their perceived self.
I haven’t really been able to take it too seriously with school and everything going on in my life right now. A lot of people ask me why I can't just juggle both, but when I put my name on something, you know I'm putting 100% of myself and time into it. I can't half ass it. I'm either all in or just not playing all together.
FRENDY: Since you’re so busy with school, do you still have time to shop for exclusive threads?
DANIELLE: All I got is time! *Laughs* Nah, I will admit, I do have a lot of good friends that help me get certain pieces. But really I'm pretty skilled at tracking down rare items myself. I guess I shouldn't be too proud about that. I'm just very drawn to the challenge of finding cool shit. I like knowing that I'm one of the few who has something. Makes me value it a hell of a lot more.
FRENDY: What are some of your grail pieces?
DANIELLE: *Laughs* Such a hard question. If I really had to pick just one... I would have to say my Gucci embroidered denim jacket with shearling on the inside. It was one of the most difficult pieces to hunt down--primarily because I wanted to have it first. In total, I waited around 6 months for it to come in because it wasn't actually made yet. Only a select few orders were being made, so it took awhile to get here from Italy.
Next in line would be my vintage Chanel pieces. I love vintage shit. There’s always a story behind each piece.
FRENDY: Ever thought about becoming a Stylist in order to guide those who can’t quite pull off a fire fit?
DANIELLE: I actually am doing my first “styling” gig for a close friend's start up clothing brand. I'm not sure if I would want to be a stylist full time though. Why not reach for more?
FRENDY: True. Who do you think has the best style in the game right now? And why?
DANIELLE: I would have to say A$AP Rocky. Not going to lie, I peep his fits often to get some inspiration for myself. As you could probably tell, I love mixing designer with street. Rocky executes that shit so well. Rather than wearing a whole Supreme suit or a full on Raf fit, I think it's all about mixing and matching different brands that compliment one another.
FRENDY: Are your parents aware of your deep longing to work in the fashion industry?
DANIELLE: I'm extremely close with my family. Their opinions matter the most in my eyes.
My parents are tremendously supportive about any goal my siblings or I have. I'm grateful to have role models like them in my life who encourage creativity, push me to achieve more, and teach me to be the best possible version of myself.
When I think about starting up a brand, my chief inspiration comes from my family and the experiences taken from my upbringing.
FRENDY: If you had to rock one outfit for an entire year, what would it be?
DANIELLE: Crazy hard question! Probably my vintage Chanel velour tracksuit with my red satin Jordan 1s. Shit is way too cozy. *Laughs*