ANDREA DENVER

SON OF WIND

BY MARCUS G BLASSINGAME

Andrea Salerno (born May 3, 1991), known professionally as Andrea Denver, is an Italian fashion model based in New York City.[6] He is signed in 2014 to Wilhelmina Miami, Wilhelmina Los Angeles and Soul Management Artist New York. Denver was born in Verona, Italy, in 1991 as Andrea Salerno. He studied for a degree in Communication Science at the University of Verona, graduating in 2013. Denver has a degree in communication from the University of Verona. In 2014, he moved to the United States to study for a master’s degree in communication. While in Miami, he was first scouted and signed by Wilhelmina Models. He garnered attention after featuring in Jennifer Lopez’s “I Luh Ya Papi” and Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”, and following rumors of a relationship with pop singer Madonna. In September 2019 he appeared in the British Television series The Circle on Channel 4 as a potential contestant during Episode 16. He appeared in the first season of Winter House Season 1, which premiered on October 20, 2021, and had a total of 6 episodes. He also appeared in the sixth season of Summer House Season 6, which premiered on January 17, 2022, and had a total of 17 episodes. Denver has featured in campaigns for Hugo Boss, MAC Cosmetics, Brooks Brothers, as well as Colcci. He has featured on the covers and editorials of numerous magazines including Men’s Health Serbia, Lui, L’Officiel Hommes, FourTwoNine, Paper, Risbel, Jon magazine, Adon magazine, Velvet, and Lewis Magazine, among others. He has runway modeled for brands including Ralph Lauren and 2xist. He has also worked with notable fashion industry photographers including Collier Schorr, Craig McDean, Rick Day, Arnaldo Anaya-Lucca, Yuri Catania and Brent Chua. Denver was featured in the music video for Jennifer Lopez’s “I Luh Ya Papi”, as well as featuring alongside fellow model, in the music video for Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”.

Andrea Denver, who is also a social media influencer with over 1.3 million followers on Instagram @andreadenver. He is hired by some of the biggest names in fashion such as Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, and Brooks Brothers, and appeared on the cover of Men’s Health Magazine, among others. The popular model has booked campaigns and shot commercials for major brands including BMW, Guess Watches, and Mac Cosmetics, just to name a few. His gorgeous handsome face has earned him center stage in major music videos including Jennifer Lopez’s music video for her song “I Luh Ya Papi” and Taylor Swift’s music video “Blank Space” which has over three billion views, today. Denver has also joined the Bravo TV family as a cast member on two reality shows Summer House and Winter House. This trendsetter is more than just a handsome face. He is an entrepreneur making his dreams a reality– while the cameras catch some of these special moments. When he finished filming with Bravo this year, he returned home to Italy to tackle his latest next project. Andrea Denver’s childhood friend, Alberto Volpato, is now his business partner in his newest venture, Son of Wind, a fashion brand founded by two friends who give a fresh perspective to fashion forward and is handcrafted in Italy. The clothes are designed and manufactured by the creators of the brand, Andrea Denver and Alberto Volpato, who currently manages global distribution. Son of Wind provides consumers with a relaxed fit and simplistic style made with the highest quality premium fabrics that still feels luxurious. The collection’s story echoes a sense of freedom inspired by the wanderlust movement, in which the observer becomes the focus of the narrative and speaks to wild souls who are effortlessly impressive. Each collection will take the consumer on a journey to a different destination with pieces created to capture the consumer’s energies while expressing their sense of individuality. The “Western Collection” debuts F/W 2022–2023. Its color palette draws inspiration from western landscapes, constructed with highest-quality materials and premium textiles in shades of the earth, sand, and rock. The lines and textures are fabricated from sensorial actions and designed with streetwear heritage elevated to modern, luxury standards. The Son of Wind ideology is deeply rooted in the soul of a free spirit with beliefs buried deep in the heart of wanderlust. Find their new instagram account @sonofwind to check out their designs. The brand is launching at the end of this month and will be available worldwide online and in selected stores around internationally.

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April Walker

NECESSARY REBEL

BY MARCUS G BLASSINGAME

In the early 80’s at the tender early age of Hip Hop a young teen in Brooklyn began supplying the community with it’s uniform to identify the energy of the culture through her in- dependently owned boutique called Fashion In Effect. The store specialized in silk screen and airbrush art on shirts denim and sweat shirts and custom denim suits. Their logo was a dog that had similar characteristics of the con- troversial rap band Public Enemy’s hype man Flava Flav wearing a snap back hat, gold teeth (with FIE imprinted) and a big clock around his neck. Fashion In Effect because a staple of the neighborhood and the go-to place for the right look as owner the now legendary April Walker and her team understood the market.

April Walker became one of the first designers to go main- stream with a streetwear brand called Walker Wear and established a legacy that paved the way for the industry and culture as we know it today. Known for her works with Notorious BIG, Tupac, Naughty By Nature, Audio 2 and Run DMC, Walker Wear flooded the clubs, streets, TV screens, stage shows, fashion conventions, music outlets and schools worldwide. April continues to influence the community with her wisdom and experience. With her new venture RAW, a sustainable denim line, April brings resolutional disruption to the world of fashion as always.

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MICHAEL EPPS

ACTOR /PRODIGY: THE CHI ON SHOWTIME

By Marcus G Blassingame

Television actor Michael Epps who is predominantly recognized for his performance as Jake Taylor on the drama series The Chi, (No relationship to Comedian/Actor Mike Epps) delivers an epic performance amassing millions of fans and more than 190,000 followers on his verified Instagram account. In a chat with IN BLVCK, he revealed how his personal style is influenced and how it inspires the style of his character. IB In school, we all had the one kid who always had a good eye for and wore the latest “drip” in fashion, did your school have that person and how did they influence your style? M.E. I was probably that individual. I influenced a lot of people, I had fiends who didn’t know how two match things together or they were too matched. I inspired them to use accessories like hats where the colors within could compliment the colors in the clothes and shoes. I was that friend who at times gave out fashion advice, some even called me while shopping for help with selecting looks or even take inspiration from looks they have seen me wear. IB Being raised in Chicago, how has the culture there come across in your style? M.E. My culture is 100% Chicago influenced, from the way I speak, how I walk, dress, my pronunciation of words and my mannerisms. While taping the show, I at times may correct the script in terms of their depiction of our dialect, speech patterns, terminologies and meanings. That includes certain things that we just would not do, say or wear as a Chicago youth today.

IB Do you partake in how your character Jake is dressed or is it totally up to the wardrobe department? M.E. At times I do make suggestions to the wardrobe dept. There are some things that are important for the role, however I may style it according to my personal comfort. IB Do you have a personal shopper or stylist? M.E. I haven’t decided on any particular personal shoppers as yet, but I recently did a photo shoot in LA where I created a reference board that included some artists that I shared a similar style with. I have worked with one stylist that I like. IB Most celebrities want to keep their stylist a secret and all to themselves. M.E. I used to like the exclusivity of my barber and team but now I want to give them exposure and help them build their name. Her name is Mary. IB Who is your favorite designer? Amiri IB Name your favorite top 5 Air Jordans, or if not J’s favorite sneakers. 1. Jordan 1 2. Retro 4 3. Retro 12 4. Low top dunks 5. Balenciaga IB Are you into gaming? M.E. YES!! I’m building my Twitch account. IB Which is you favorite? Which Consol? M.E. XBox IB Which Game? M.E. Call Of Duty, Y2k — IB I just styled the Xbox X Sprayground Call Of Duty campaign. I must say the gaming chair design was excellent. M.E. I need one for me. IB If you were to play your favorite person in the world in a film, who would that be and why? M.E. “This is a great question”. I would say the character who survived in “The Purge-The Island”. I admired his confidence and bravery. IB How often are you in acting classes? M.E. I don’t take acting classes unless the production assigns a coach during filming. I would love to train more, especially challenging roles like the sad scenes. IB How has your mom (Keisha Johnson) inspired your growth in your career? M.E. My mom plays an important role and is a huge inspiration in my career, as she’s not only supportive of my acting but also encourages me to be open to other career choices. She is everything, my mentor, role model, mother and mom-ager. IB What advice do you have for aspiring young actors? M.E. I’d like to tell young actors to be patient, persistent and have perseverance. Every role may be for that person. There may be a lot of no’s but be consistent with a great work ethics. IB What’s is next on the horizon for you? M.E. Im looking branch out on my Twitch community (king_mike54), develop a clothing line and many more acting roles.

THE BLONDS FASHION WEEK

TRUE BLONDS

BY MARCUS G BLASSINGAME

Non-virtual, in-person shows are back at New York Fashion Week and what better way to celebrate than with with a live catwalk presentation in a cabaret club with THE BLONDS? Serving up the ultimate escapism vision, the designers and authors (of the book Glamour, Fashion, Fantasy) David And Phillipe Blond regaled the New York Fashion Insiders with an extraordinary cynosure of shimmery and metallic ensembles including opulent trouser suits, strapless frocks and shiny corsets.

The Blonds Shows are never short of ebullience, this season we experienced mellifluous performances from singers Bodine and R&B duo Lion Babe, the marvelously fetching socialite Paris Hilton walked the runway at the Times Square Edition hotel's Paradise Club in a short purple scintillant glittering dress. Captured by the sensational photographer Paul Morejohn, Sunday night's show concluded a week of largely in-person fashion week events following two seasons held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Paul put his creative wits and amazing photography skills to challenge and captured the entire backstage as if it were a controlled in-studio photoshoot. Paul says “all of the models were cooperative and incredibly sweet”.

"The inspiration for this season was the idea of where the future of fashion is going, the future of entertainment, the future of travel," creative director David Blond told a writer at Reuters. "Obviously, we work in a luxury space, so we really wanted to show our clients a form of escape and something to have fun with. At the end of the day, we're all excited to be back in live form and so we wanted to do something celebratory."

The super power couple who originally met at the legendary Club Roxy NY have over the years established an “all inclusive” roster of A-list celebrity clients from Madonna to Beyonce to Miley Cyrus , Lil Kim, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, JLo and their impact on fashion and performance is clearly axiomatic. Inspired by the same musicians they wardrobe, the dyad also finds creative ideas in art, film, textiles, and pretty much all that shimmers in light.

About Photographer Paul Morejohn. American born / Ecuadorean IN Blvck photographer on assignment at The Blonds NYFW 2021, (SS2022) show Paul Morejón is also a creative director. He was born and raised in New York's cultural centers of Harlem and the South Bronx. His professional shooting career began in 2012 after studying at the School of Visual Arts. He was invited into the world of fashion photography by legendary hair stylist Harry King & hair historian Helen Oppenheim. In 2014 he started shooting assignments covering beauty and the creative experience backstage at New York Fashion Week at shows including Marchesa, Vera Wang, Libertine, Jerome 5.31, The Blonds, Jill Stuart and Leanne Marshall. There he focused on models of color backstage and celebrating the community and the range of beauty in all shapes, cultures and skin tones while especially highlighting queer, trans and non-binary models & designers.   Since 2018 was worked closely with Leslie Odom, Jr as a biographic photographer during the release of his 2019 album Mr. Paul is also working with Joshua Henry as he releases his new album.  Since 2020 he has been filming a documentary on the personal impact the pandemic & the Black Lives Matter movement has had on the uptown Broadway community. Featured in this issue is Paul’s excellent shoot with artist Sharaya J styled by Marcus Blassingame.  

The Blonds https://instagram.com/theblondsny

SEE FULL SPREAD (PARIS HILTON) https://www.magcloud.com/browse/magazine/2140936

SERAYAH

Meet Serayah McNeill

By Marcus Gregory Blassingame

Encinitas, California born and raised singer, actress and dancer Serayah McNeill who is best known for her break out role as ‘Tiana Brown’ on hit series “Empire” which is currently in its sixth successful season as a top-rated Drama on Fox (which was halted by the pandemic). Serayah’s acting accomplishments coincide with her musical talent so much that one of her hit songs “Driving Me” inspired the producers of Freeform’s hit show “Blackish” staring Yara Shahidi and Tracee Ellis Ross, to pick up the song and feature it prominently in one of the episodes. The accomplished actress is continuously landing superb roles in sensational projects like Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s ‘Black Mafia Family’ Series at Starz along with prominent icons Snoop Dogg and La La Anthony. Displaying a diverse array of range the young trifecta of talent will also be cast in Seven Deadly Sins, a TD Jakes project. “In Black Magazine’s” Fashion Director Marcus Gregory Blassingame chatted it up with National Film and Television Award nominee with over a million IG followers and fellow Gemini (born on June 20th) Serayah about life growing up and breaking through walls to become the accomplished actress that she is, dominating Young Hollywood. Meet Serayah McNeill ⁃ SM In biblical times (translating to “God Is Ruler”) the name was given to a princess. ⁃ SM (Laughs) I hate some people’s reactions, we’re just so misunderstood. Typical reactions toward me usually result in quotes like, “Really? OMG, you are the nicest Gemini I’ve ever met, I usually never get along with that sign”. I’m like “wow really”. I think that (just like a few other signs) we are misunderstood. Are you a Gemini? MB What does your name mean? MB How do you feel about how people react when they find out you are a Gemini? ⁃ so calm and drama free. MB Yes, I was born May 31. People make Geminis seem like nut cases, but I’m SM Yes, see? You are on that Taurus cusp. My birthday is the 20th of June, (I know the sign ends on the 21st) so my cusp is more towards Cancer. ⁃ SM My position was Point Guard. My favorite role was defense (fast break all day). MB As High School Basketball Captain, what position did you play? ⁃ that be? MB If you had a chance to play one on one with your favorite player, who would SM Allen Iverson. ⁃ time. MB Girl are you getting past that crossover? All you would see is a blur the whole SM Yes it would a blur. It would be an awesome experience to play with him though.

⁃ SM I love fashion ⁃ MB Are you into fashion? MB Who is your favorite designer? SM I like what Virgil Abloh is doing as he’s creating for different brands. I love what he did with the Off White brand and most recent Louis Vuitton collection AW21 celebrating the ethnic culture. Whatever he touches has his unique signature to it. I love his story as well. His Louis Vuitton AW21 show was ingenious. It’s timeless as he featured poets Saul Williams and recording artist Yasin Bey (Mos Def) to perform in one of the most culturally energized shows this season. MB Will we ever see a black Luxury brand? S It's possible for Fenty to fill that role for it just takes one person to wear it. Of course she’s Rihanna, but once a few more people of note begin to champion the brand, it has potential plus she is very luxury. I also like Kerby Jean-Raymond (Pyor Moss). The last Fashion Week that I attended was 2018 and his show blew me away. There is something unique about how he designs for a street aesthetic that’s very elevated. Kerby and Fenty will possibly to go the luxury route eventually. ⁃ MB Which designers do you feel cater to your size and frame symmetry? SM That’s why I want to create my own line because nothing really fits me. Items are either too long or too wide. Being petite I find the inseam and crotch zippers too long . It’s really hard to find many brands for me so I get things altered. It’s in my plans to create a line that caters to petite because I love fashion, but I have no idea of where I fit into the brand space? Petite doesn’t mean you don’t have curves yet you don’t have Fashiovoa curves, you’re kind of in the middle where you don’t really know what brands cater to your sizes. ⁃ MB When did you begin pursuing acting? SM I seriously pursued it right before Empire When I was young and it was something I always wanted to do. I did take classes when I was much younger, however child acting is a different vibe. I didn’t get into the auditioning and serious space until I was 19. I had a big platform on Empire though I didn’t have a lot of moments, I saw myself growing in class. I was like, “man I can’t wait until I have a character that I can really dig into like I was doing in training”. ⁃ SM I trained with Tasha Smith who has this “take the bull by the horn approach”. I love MB Did you train with the standard acting coaches? that because I see that in my co-actor Taraji P Henson. ⁃ MB What was your biggest challenge that you overcame in acting? SM My biggest challenge that I overcame was vulnerability. I took private classes as well, but it wasn’t until I began to take classes with other actors and having to perform in front of a class full of people. It wasn’t until it sank in and a big part of it is pulling from past experiences or fantasy, which this is really almost like healing (therapy).

You’re really going through some of your real emotions and wearing them on your sleeve and putting them in front of people, the screen, and the camera, during a class of 20. That’s when it soaks in to me while being ok with personal challenges and flipping them to wearing a venerable sleeve for the scene and breaking through that barrier. For a lot of people when old things start coming up you kind of naturally suppress revealing emotions than show them. It’s a big thing for actors, especially male performers when it becomes hard to lay into that vulnerability. It’s so much more interesting on screen and also people find you to be more relatable. ⁃ MB What was your biggest challenge that you overcame in life? SM The biggest thing for me is to keep going. In my early years I’ve experienced hard times and homelessness at the age of 5. Where I come from pushing all those bad experiences to the side and getting down to the work every day, pushing myself to go harder and be stronger and be more creative is my drive. Some of those still haunt me and it’s about embracing it, all the short comings, the no’s, doors slammed in my face, all the times being displaced, all the times people doubted me and didn’t want me to win. I’m just embracing it all and using it to make me stronger. And I’m definitely breaking through that glass ceiling . I’m just in the moment and I just keep pushing and that’s where I’m at now ⁃ SM I love Hip Hop and Jazz is one of my favorites, MB What type of dance do you specialize in? ⁃ is freaking hard. “Laughs”. ⁃ MB Are you fluent in street dance? SM I love street dance but I’m more into grooving than breaking, isolations and tutting MB How many times does it take to get a Tik Tok routine right? SM It’s different because it’s smaller movements and the reels are really super fast (short). They’er really on the one, but not in the groove so its a new vibe that I’m learning now. ⁃ MB Who inspires you musically? SM I’m inspired by Anita Baker, Fred Hammond, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Faith Evens. ⁃ MB When did you know that you had what it takes to pursue a music career? SM It was always something I loved. I began performing at these small showcases that my mom would book for me. Then I did this Disney winter fest performance and the children gravitated towards me and loved me so that’s what inspired me to keep going. The fact that I made children happy along with other little moments where people were touched. ⁃ MB Who are some of your favorite music producers? SM I’d love to work with Missy Elliott, London on the Track, Timbaland, Ryan Leslie and 40 (Noah James Shebib (Drakes producer) ⁃ MB What projects do you have coming up? SM I have a Lifetime film part of a series that TD Jakes is doing called Envy. It’s going to be the first part of a seven part series based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Next is a film

called The Favorite Son, a BET movie and a Swirl Films production, Robin Givens is directing and starring in it. I’m currently booked on a Netflix series with Kevin Hart and Westley Snipes called True Stories. ⁃ MB What do you think of the Clubhouse Social Media App? SM I’ve been asked to create rooms and “moderate” with people which is super dope and for me its about how I want to go about (approach) it. I want to be mindful about how I use the space. I do Motivational Mondays on my Instagram Live and I’d like to do that on CH.

LES TWINS

FASHION X DANCE X CULTURE

Written by Marcus Blassingame Translation by Kevin Dozier

A retrospective into a unique movement where fashion meets dance, as told by internationally known dancers, Les Twins.

IN BLVCK: In a discussion with Les Twins filmed by Yak Films, we embellished on a concept on the merger of Dance and Fashion as a culture and a career move. Professionally known as Les Twins, a pair of identical twin brothers Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois (born December 6, 1988) are dancers, choreographers, and models, hailing from France. Their extensive resume proceeds them as they are recognized internationally for their talents.

IN BLVCK- In 2018,with the momentum you gained through previous endeavors, where is it that you feel your career is currently headed?

Laurent- "We can take brands to another level, even clients like Beyoncé and Nike, even though they are international, there is a better place than number 1".

As opposed to partnering with any of the brands that they have worked with, Les Twins are working towards producing and designing their own lines. Larry describes the idea behind the brand as a style that is universally unisex and not limited or defined as men's or women's, but can be shared by all.

Larry further discusses how creative marketing using their deal with Brand Jordan as an example; Larry: La Jordanie est le numéro 1 et les gens ont leurs favoris, certains aiment le numéro 3, d'autres le numéro 10, mais tout tourne autour des tendances des couleurs et de leur évolution.

Translation: Jordan is number 1 and people have their favorites, some love the number 3, some the number 10, but it's all about color trends and how they change. If you find a color that has very "little" limitation in gender preference, people will buy it.

Larry: Vous devez implémenter votre histoire dans votre produit, et avant Les Twins, il n'y a jamais eu de chaussure de danse populaire dans l'arène de Jordanie. Par conséquent, nous aimerions ramener l'un des styles classiques de Jordan en tant que "baskets de danse" officielles.

Translation: You have to implement your story into your product, and before Les Twins, never has there been a popular dance shoe in the Jordan arena. Hence, we would like to bring back one of the classic Jordan styles as an official "dance sneaker".

Laurent: Je préfère voir “Brand Jordan” sur le tapis rouge jumelé avec et à égalité avec une équivalence d'équivalence de Givenchy.

Translation: I prefer to see “Brand Jordan” on the red carpet paired with and on par with an equivalence equivalence of Givenchy.

IN BLACK: Which Jordan's do you prefer to dance in?

Laurent: 45 le noir élevé, nous devons ramener ces baskets. Ils ont changé ma vie. Quiconque me connaît sait que je vais danser mes chaussures préférées parce que je les aime autant. Mais en accrochant avec les plus belles femmes du monde, les chaussures doivent être fraîches.

Translation: We have to bring back the high 45, all black sneakers. They changed my life. Anyone who knows me knows I will dance a hole into my favorite shoes because I love them that much. But when hanging with the most beautiful women in the world, the shoes have to be fresh.

IN BLACK: Is that the first thing women notice on a man, his shoes?

BOTH: Non, mes yeux!

Translation: No, my eyes!

They laugh.

Laurent contines: Nous avons des idées folles pour pionnier la mode masculine. Dans mon expérience de voyage avec des artistes, comme Beyoncé et Jay Z. J'ai remarqué qu'ils se laissaient tomber sur le tapis rouge, mais quand je conduis je dois me garer et marcher jusqu'au tapis rouge. Puis un jour, j'ai été béni d'arriver dans une belle Bentley. À ce moment-là, peu importe qui était dans la voiture, (ça aurait pu être n'importe qui) mais ils ont débarrassé la foule, ouvert les cordes et nous ont donné un traitement royal ("ils m'ont traité comme si j'étais plus grand que Jay Z") Il s'agissait de l'état de la voiture par opposition à la personne à l'intérieur de celui-ci et c'est la même chose que je ressens sur la façon dont la mode peut affecter votre apparence.

Translation: We have some crazy ideas to pioneer men's fashion. In my experience when traveling with artists (like Beyoncé and Jay Z), I noticed that they get dropped off at the red carpet, but when I drive I have to park and walk to the red carpet. Then one day, I was blessed to arrive in a beautiful Bentley. At that moment, it didn't matter who was in the car, (it could have been anyone) but they cleared the crowd, opened the ropes and gave us royal treatment ("they treated me like I was bigger than Jay Z") It was about the status of the car as opposed to the person inside of it and that's the same way I feel about how fashion can affect your appearance.

Laurent: J'inspire à mon équipe (Criminalz et Avant Magazine) d'être élégante dans son apparence, et Larry se fait remarquer »,« pousse ses cheveux »! Toutes nos équipes ont des cheveux.

Translation: I inspire my team (Criminalz and Avant Magazine) to be stylish in their appearance, "and" Larry chimes in, "grow their hair"! All of our teams have hair.

They laugh.

IN BLVCK: Do you want to open the doors for fashion to incorporate street dance into their marketing, affording opportunities to other dancers? Larry: Vous ne voulez pas vous qualifier de" dur "parce que vous ne serez jamais assez dur, et au lieu de" rue "faites attention à l'étiquette" mode de rue "et dites simplement" mode "parce que Hip Hop à la mode n'est pas traditionnel.

Translation: You don't want to label yourself as "hard" because you will never be hard enough, and instead of "street" be careful of the label "street fashion" and just say "fashion" because Hip Hop in fashion is not traditional.

IN BLVCK: Even though Hip Hop inspires, feeds and buys fashion right?

Larry: Quand nous dansons, nous ne disons pas ce que c'est et sans limites, les gens sont étonnés et choqués parce que sans cette étiquette notre présentation est inattendue et agréablement surprenante.

Translation: When we dance, we don't say what it is and without limitations people are amazed and shocked because without that label our presentation is unexpected and pleasantly surprising.

Laurent: Le t-shirt que je porte peut valoir 10 $, mais ajouter un logo «D» et l'appeler fashion, il vaut maintenant 500 $.

Translation: The t-shirt that I'm wearing can be worth $10, but add a "D" logo and call it fashion, now it's worth $500.

IN BLVCK- Is there a name for the new collection?

Larry: "N.O.M est un acronyme pour" No Mercy ". C'est aussi un surnom que nous défendons.

Translation: "N.O.M is an acronym for “No Mercy." It also is a moniker which WE stand by.

Laurent: Nous n'avons pas encore décidé quelle sera la marque.

Translation: We haven't decided what the brand will be called.

IN BLVCK- Why is "No Mercy" your motto of choice?

Laurent: Parce que seuls les baiseurs de la mère font de l'argent. Parce qu'ils ne se soucient pas de tout ça. Chacun d'entre nous dans cette salle est talentueux (mais) nous sommes si humbles, nous apprécions tout le monde, nous nous soucions tellement des gens, que nous ne serons pas «stupidement célèbres». Nous nous soucions tellement que nous ne voulons pas aller trop loin (trop vite) et avoir un bâtiment faible (fondation) Nous voulons être forts ". C'est moi (qui je suis) et je ne changerai pour personne. C'est la raison pour laquelle nous sommes des icônes et pourquoi le magazine Avant et les beat boxers (The Beat Box House) vont loin. C'est comme ça que nous (INBLVCK) ne nous connaissons pas vraiment, mais nous connaissons les mêmes personnes. Nous ne faisons que baiser avec les meilleurs.

Translation: Because only mother fuckers make money. Because they don't care about all of this. All of us in this room are talented (but) we are so humble, we appreciate everyone, we care so much about people, that we are not going to be "stupidly famous.” We care so much that we don't want to go too far (too fast) and have a weak building (foundation). We want to be strong". This is me (who I am) and I won't change for anyone. That's the reason why we are icons and why Avant magazine and the beat boxers (The Beat Box House) are going far. It's how we (INBLVCK) really don't know each other but we know the same people. We only fuck with the best.

INBLVCK: Where do you see fashion and dance culture going?

Larry: Il y a un côté heureux et triste de la culture. Beaucoup d'Américains perdent le (élément de) Hip Hop sur le Nay Nay, Dab, le pas du jour ou le défi de la semaine. Vous pouvez créer des mouvements incroyables où ils ne peuvent pas comprendre d'où vous venez, mais plutôt quand vous ajoutez les danses (familières, à la mode) qu'ils crient. Nous perdons la (vraie essence de) Hip Hip cet artiste iconique, même si Mary J Blidge peut encore tuer (sur la piste de danse). Une nuit, lors d'une soirée P-Diddy, Mary J la tuait en face de Laurent "(imitant un mouvement d'épaule de la vieille école qu'elle a fait) et c'est de la vraie danse, c'est triste parce que le vrai Hip Hop est perdu. Paris, l'Allemagne, le Royaume-Uni, nous venons si dur pour le Hip-Hop traditionnel et nous sommes ici pour le représenter au maximum.

Translation: There is a happy and sad side to the culture. A lot of Americans lose the (element of) Hip Hop over the Nay Nay, Dab, the step of the day or the challenge of the week. You can create some amazing moves where they can't understand where you are coming from, but instead when you add the (familiar, trendy goofy) dances they scream. We are losing the (true essence of) Hip Hip that iconic artist even like Mary J Blidge can still kill (on the dance floor). One night at a P-Diddy party Mary J was killing it in front on Laurent (imitating some old school shoulder movement that she did) and that's real dance. It's sad because real Hip Hop is lost. On the brighter side in Europe, Paris, Germany, UK, we are coming so hard for traditional Hip-Hop and we are here to represent it to the fullest.

Laurent: Comment la mode change est ce va-et-vient dans le temps. Des années 70, 80, 90 au présent et au retour. Ce n'est pas une nouvelle création, c'est une nouvelle inspiration par les temps nouveaux tout en ramenant les styles précédents. Les gens adoptent et changent les styles tout le temps.

Translation: How the fashion changes is that will back and forth in time. From the 70s, 80s, 90s to the present and back. It's not a new creation, it's a new inspiration by new times while bringing previous styles back. People adopt and change styles all of the time.

INBLVCK- I remember seeing you in drop crotch joggers in 2010 which pioneered a whole market. You are definitely influencers in your own right.

Laurent: J'apprécie l'Amérique pour nous avoir apporté le Hip Hop, car c'est la meilleure chose à faire. Il y a tellement plus d'argent à faire qui n'a pas été fait. Je crois que nous pouvons obtenir beaucoup plus d'argent que ce qui a été atteint au début. Je n'essaie pas de m'habiller d'une certaine façon, je m'habille comme moi, alors c'est drôle de voir une fan s'habiller comme moi, faire de la musique et apprendre mon style de danse. "(Pour les vrais fans) S'ils ont une ligne de vêtements, je les porterai sur scène pour eux" (pour montrer l'amour). Vous devez être (humble) parce que les fans me sauvent tous les jours (avec leur soutien).

Translation: I appreciate America for bringing us Hip Hop as it is the top of the line thing that we have to be in. There is so much more money to be made that hasn't been made in it. I believe we can get way more money than was attained in its beginning. I don't try to dress a certain way, how I dress is me, so it feels funny to see a fan dress like me, make music and learn my dance style. "(For true fans) If they have a clothing line, I'll wear it on stage for them (to show love). You have to be (humble) because the fans save me every day (with their support).

Kevin Dozier Fashion Journalist INBLVCK MAGAZINE inblackmagazine.que.tm Instagram @inblackmagazine ABOUT US INBLVCK Magazine is a mixture of art, fashion, entertainment, news, style and trends designed to see the beauty in all walks of life with a romantic approach to giving those in the arts a platform of expression without barriers. For more information, view our media kit via: http://inblackmagazine.que.tm/inblackmediakit

Johnny Cohen

The Confessional Showroom

Marcus Gregory Blassingame Publisher In Black Magazine

Born out of necessity are some of the most innovative imaginations stemming from the brilliance of mankind. The world of fashion has evolved and taken new form, whilst maintaining the allure of Paris luxury, today’s resourcefulness and desire of sustainability has given birth to new and more organic energy. As many companies boarded up their windows, suffering the impact of the death of brick and mortar at the birth of social media, the tragedies of 911, and the world wide horror of the pandemic, its intriguing to set sights on the survivors who turned tragedy into triumph. Meet Johnny Cohen CEO and founder of The Confessional Showroom…

Deeply rooted in his family’s culture, Johnny Cohen moved from Jerusalem to New York at an early age. It is apparent that the self taught fashion entrepreneur practices his cultural traditions and makes sure those around him are respectful of his practices. In school Johnny knew he had a passion for marketing and communications and after graduating began a career in sales and marketing in the budding technology industry.

Inspired by his father who was a photographer and mother who was a working fashion model, Johnny was exposed to the fashion industry at an early age. Living in New York amongst the high-profile entertainment scene, he was introduced to many superbly talented budding designers who where looking for representation, ultimately leading him to open The Confessional Showroom.

IB: Johnny, thank you for sitting down with IN BLACK MAGAZINE. This is a great honor…

IB: Explain the Name; The Confessional Showroom? JC: Fashion always has secrets to share.

IB: Who were your first stylists to get you published? JC: I shared brands with my creative stylist friends who promoted our showroom in various fashion posts and media coverage. Eventually our brands gained notoriety which led to luxury editorial spreads in high brow magazines like Elle, Harpers Bazaar, In Black, Malvie, Pump, Nylon, Ellements and Vogue. The name grew to the capacity of reaching personal stylists (like Ty Hunter for Billy Porter (formally worked with Beyonce), other celebrity stylists like for Maluma, J Balvin, Simonetta Lein, Mario, Stephen Curry) to come and pull from my showroom for their clients..

IB: Tell us about the dearly departed Celebrity Stylists Joseph “Romeo” Davis. JC: Joseph Romeo Davis was a well-known stylist who believed in the brands that I represented. We insistently connected creatively and spiritually. We recently lost this beloved soul, He was a good friend. May he rest peace.

IB: How did you save The Confessional from the threat of the Pandemic? JC: Globally, the pandemic was difficult for everyone, and during that time, I created new ideas and connected new opportunities for the showroom, clients and talented friends. Soon after, more sensationally talented designers entered the journey and became The Confessional Showroom family.

IB: Tell us about your move into the bigger showroom. JC: I believe in growth. Strategic opportunities presented themselves as well as a massive influx of clientele revealed that the representation is growing.

IB: Tell us about your Miami showroom, Why Miami? JC: Miami is my second home, so should be my business

IB: What are some of the things that the Miami showroom has accomplished? JC: I’ve grown my business in the Latin Market, as well as an array of new designers in the Miami Showroom.

IB: So you decided to produce your first big New York Fashion Week Collection Show. JC: Yes, and thank you and my outstanding team of creatives for being a part of our experience

IB: How did it come about? JC: I wanted to create an amazing experience and coverage that celebrate all of the amazing people who support me and the designers I represent.

IB: I hear that it was a great success. JC: Everyone enjoyed the experience We created an entourage of amazing guests and media.

IB: (Nikko Kafelas shot all of the behind the scenes for this In Black “The Confessional Issue” and all of the team and credits are listed at the end of that story. The story is called “Party All The Time”). JC: Like Nikko, I too believe in “Live Life To It’s Fullest”

IB: I hear the show’s theme was based on “90s super models” and the “New York Night Life Scene” JC: I was inspired by that era of music, fashion, the party people and the vibe.

IB: Rumor has it that we are headed to Dubai? JC: It’s Coming

IB: Finally Johnny, what positive advice would you give young aspiring designers and stylists looking to begin their career? JC: No matter how difficult times might seem. Exercise your creativity, with an unmovable drive and faith always.

IB: Thank you for this spectacular interview.