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Rox Brown is the star of our first editorial and chatted up with editor-in-chief Estelle Gervais on her lifelong relationship with fashion and music, and what she really thinks of your ‘It’ bag and the blogger phenomenon.
Photography Andrew Boyle
Creative Direction Estelle Gervais
Styling Bianca Di Blasio (Dulcedo Artists)
Make-Up Artist Allie Smith (Sarah Laird & Good Company)
Photography Assistant Danielle Keita-Taguchi
Interviewed by Estelle Gervais
Context on the grotesque: Please note that most of the interview was conducted the day of the editorial in the back of an NYC yellow cab and on the floor of the smallest hotel room in Nolita, while we were surrounded by the funkiest clothing selection you’ve ever seen. It was also 40 degrees Celsius that day, and the team was even hotter.
THE FINE PRINT: What is your relationship towards music. How does it influence your daily life?
ROX BROWN: I grew up listening to the likes of Missy Elliott, and Busta Rhymes, who were super creative with their videos. Missy’s “Sock it 2 me” space video clip was super interesting to me. I think after a while music videos started being the same to me – girls, cars, cash. I couldn’t relate to them as much as before. Since then, I’ve taken another approach towards it. I listen to like, Lil’ Kim or Britney in the morning, that gets my day going, helps me decide who I wanna be that day, how I will dress. I invent my own videos in my head and that’s how it now influences me.
TFP: What’s your “style timeline”? How has your style evolved through the years?
RB: My mom moved from Jamaica to America and had to start over and do with what she had. That being said, as a kid, you want to be cool, fit in and make it work for yourself. Having a lot of brothers growing up inspired my own personal style. I was wearing their clothing sometimes, and I am still super into menswear. You can make it feminine and still rock it. Developing my own style growing up, kids at school would start copying me, and I was like “I gotta be onto something here!”. I eventually decided that being in front of cameras was what I wanted to do with my life. I tried broadcast journalism for a while, but it wasn’t a good fit for me because you had to be conservative with the way you dress, and I wanted to keep it real. At that point in my life, I was going to a lot of Pharrell concerts and was very persistent with my intentions of working for him. I then got a job at Billionaire Boys Club. As for the present, being a personal shopper and stylist, I apply all this to myself and my customers. I can only work somewhere I relate to, if not I can’t sell it. You have to understand their needs and be bluntly honest so people trust you. There is always a solution to someone’s fashion problems. I think I am here because I’ve always been honest and made it work my own way.
TFP: What is your position at VFiles? I feel you are so all over within the company, you don’t have an official title.
RB: I don’t – everything is relative. I relate to the company because it speaks to me, and I can associate myself with it. The way you look makes you feel good about yourself, how you carry yourself, how you behave. Fashion is literally everything, because without actually knowing someone, you judge them on how they look. It’s like music, you also relate to an artist because of the way they dress, it brings an audience other than the sound. I’m also really involved in the downtown party scene. I have a lot of friends in music, like Justine Skye and A$AP Mob. No one knew them or me, but we grew up together and supported each other creatively. Street kids are really into high fashion, we like expensive things.
TFP: Speaking of, what is your take on ‘IT’ items, spending a lot on name brands?
RB: I like what I like, whether it is designer or cheap. People carry Chanel and Céline purses for the status that they bring them, they literally are status symbols. Brands like Chanel, though, are creative with their classics – they do doll bags, vinyl, denim pieces, I am more into that. It doesn’t have to have a logo in order for me to like it. If a black t-shirt is 300$ and I like it, then it doesn’t matter. Maybe I like the length, maybe it’s the sleeves or the fabric. Another t-shirt might not make me feel good in the same way. What I wear sets the mood for my day. Like the other day, I showed up to work in my prom dress. I still think it’s dope, and that day, that’s who I wanted to be.
TFP: Tell me more about the NYC downtown party scene. How does one get recognized – what do you like best about it?
RB: The downtown party scene is the melting pot for fashion. Everyone is there. Every type of fashion. No party has one style. The New York party scene allows everyone to be themselves without being judged… Maybe your shoes will be judged, [lol], but not much else.
TFP: You are very active on social media, especially Instagram. What do you think of the blogger world replacing traditional journalism, and the whole “‘like’ generation”?
RB: Blogging and social media has given everyone a chance to be seen and heard.
Jacket MARYME-JIMMYPAUL; Reworked Kappa top MADE BY THC (Y2KWORLD); Pants LAFAILLE.
TFP: Three things you can’t live without?
RB: I can’t live without my phone, of course, I don’t think anyone can. I can’t live without rings. I need A LOT of rings all the time. I can’t live without a brow pencil [lol].
TFP: Last word. What would you have to say to someone who wants to break into fashion, music, or even art?
RB: My advice to anyone trying to break into the fashion industry is ALWAYS be you. You’d be surprised at how many people think like you creatively and support whatever it is you do. Sometimes it takes that one fearless person to make similar people comfortable. Be that fearless person.