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Power Suit: Malcolm Jenkins

Adjusting to a new position and the speed of the game wasn’t the only challenge for Malcolm Jenkins when he entered the NFL as a rookie in 2009. He had to keep pace with elite style, too. “In the lockerroom, it’s like a fashion show,” he said. “All the guys are trying to outdo each [...]
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Adjusting to a new position and the speed of the game wasn’t the only challenge for Malcolm Jenkins when he entered the NFL as a rookie in 2009.

He had to keep pace with elite style, too.

“In the lockerroom, it’s like a fashion show,” he said. “All the guys are trying to outdo each other. You’ve gotta step your game up pretty quickly.”

The best way for the former OSU All-American to do so was to switch to the trending bowtie. Unable to find them in the color, selection, and style that he preferred, he elected to start designing his own line, Rock Avenue, named after his hometown street in New Jersey, and powered (at least in the beginning) by his mother-in-law’s sewing machine.

“That lasted about a week,” he laughed. “Then, I was looking for a manufacturer.”

His custom-designed bowties are based in New Orleans, and are currently available locally through Mizzen+Main’s unique showroom in the Short North.

Jenkins, who inked a deal to move from the Saints to the Philadelphia Eagles just last month, had no idea that when he got into the bowtie business he would also be getting into the teaching-people-how-to-tie-a-bowtie business. It’s as much his mission to get people comfortable wearing them as it is to get them to buy them.

“More people wear more neckties than bowties,” he said. “It’s not the style, or the look, they just don’t know how to tie it. That’s the only reason. Once you learn how tie it, you’ll be replacing your whole closet.”

Jenkins, in preparation for Rock Avenue’s trunk show in town this month, talked to(614) about everything from ditching the over-sized white T’s to looking to a Motown star for inspiration.

Have you sent any items to OSU’s other famous bowtie advocate, E. Gordon Gee?
They’ll be getting to him very shortly. We’re trying to get him to come to our event this month.

Worst piece you used to be proud of?
Oh man, in my rookie year, I got a few jackets that were out there…

Like Steve Harvey out there?
(laughs) Yeah. I’ve got all of them in my closet. Every now and then I try one of them on, and they’re just so big and long and boxy. You can take my whole 2009 rack. I would not wear them now.

What about when you were a kid?
Back in New Jersey, in high school, all people wore where 4 – 5XL white t-shirts and big, baggy jeans. Oh my goodness (laughs). I remember, specifically, I would not wear a pair of jeans that were smaller than a size 38. Ideal was 40, but every now and then I would let a 38 go (laughs).

Man, that’s my size. A 15-year-old Jersey kid wearing Midwest Ohio sizes. That’s tragic. Is the price-point of bowties an appealing part of Rock Avenue? Not everyone can afford a custom suit, but a bowtie seems to include a wider economic demographic.

I could justify charging a lot more [for them]. They are high-quality, American-made. But I got into this business not to make a killing; I just wanted some cool bowties in my own closet, so I figured other people had the same problem. These can go to a wide range of stores and a wide range of people. It’s right where I want it to be. I don’t want to raise it up or bring it down.

I know it’s cliché for an athlete to create “something to fall back on,” but with injuries and early retirements becoming more common, is this something you think of that way?
Most of us have been playing this game since elementary school, and it’s something we’re passionate about. So it’s about trying to find something else that you have that same passion for. Most of us can’t fathom coming out of this game and getting a desk job. I’m excited that I’ve found something else I can hang my hat on once football is over, because one day it will be over.

Who are your fashion icons?
My disclaimer: I am not a fashion guy. I’m not a guru. I just wear what I like to wear. But I love Andre 3000’s style. You know what I was inspired by…I made a velvet bowtie after I saw him wear one…Stevie Wonder. How he’s been fly his whole life being blind, I don’t know. His style is awesome.

Jenkins will debut Rock Avenue’s spring collection from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. on April 4 at Mizzen+Main (772 N High St.). For more, visit www.rockavenuebowties.com.

Shot on location:
The Ohio Union
1739 N High St.

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Fashion

I Feel Pretty

I discovered tweezers at the ripe age of 12 and immediately developed an obsessive relationship with them. I pluck, pluck, plucked my brows until I couldn’t pluck anymore. (Literally. My mom had to physically disarm me and hide the tool for good.) By the end of it, you could count my remaining hairs on just [...]
Regina Fox

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I discovered tweezers at the ripe age of 12 and immediately developed an obsessive relationship with them. I pluck, pluck, plucked my brows until I couldn’t pluck anymore. (Literally. My mom had to physically disarm me and hide the tool for good.) By the end of it, you could count my remaining hairs on just a few fingers.

My brows never really bounced back from my pre-teen years and to be honest, I don’t blame them—I clearly couldn’t handle the responsibility. So when the “boy brow” became the one and only style to sport, I was left out in the cold. That is until I discovered Pretty In Ink and got my eyebrows cosmetically tattooed.

Mandi Chisholm, the owner of the gorgeous downtown loft, goes simply by her first name. She has been beautifying brows since 2008 when she became formally trained, certified, and licensed for cosmetic tattoo applications. With some conversation, numbing cream, and a whole lot of expertise, she turned me into the “after” version of myself I didn’t know I could be. Let me tell you a little more about how I ditched my brow burden.

Consultation

The first step to my brow makeover was a consultation. Mandi and I met to discuss three things—skin type, lifestyle, and expectations—in order to pinpoint which tattooing service was best suited for me. Oily skin, a fast metabolism, and exercise can all contribute to rapid fading. Lucky for me, I check all three boxes. I also told Mandi that I was in the market for a natural-looking fix to my 90s eyebrows which narrowed my options down to two: machine tattooed brows and microblading.

Machine brows are done using a fine needle within a hand piece powered by electricity to puncture and deposit pigment. Microblading, on the other hand, is a very popular, manual application using a simple blade to place the pigment into the skin. Machine brows tend to last a little longer, while microblading is more of a superficial application of pigment placed just a little higher in the dermis.

To be honest, I had never heard of the former and the sounds of it intimidated me a bit. But, considering the toll my skin type and lifestyle would take from microblading, Mandi and I both agreed that machine tattooed brows were the best, most durable option to meet my eyebrow expectations.

Drawing

After considering the shape of my face and some #browgoals photos I showed her, Mandi used a makeup pencil to fill in my brows. This would ultimately become the shape of my tattooed brows, so I made sure to take my time and vocalize any changes I wanted to make. Once we settled on a shape, Mandi leaned me back in the chair and booted up the tattoo machine.

Tattooing

Now, we all have different levels of tolerance, but in my opinion, the pain was minimal. The cosmetic tattoo machine hurts far less than a typical tattoo machine. Plus, after the first pass, Mandi slathered me up with numbing cream which eliminated the pain entirely. All I had to do was sit back and relax for about 90 minutes while Mandi worked her magic.

The Reveal

When Mandi handed me the mirror for the first time, my jaw dropped—even further than it did when I got my braces off in 9th grade. My eyebrows looked fantastic! You couldn’t tell where my real eyebrows ended and the tattooing began! I couldn’t wait to go show them off.

Aftercare

With cosmetically tattooed eyebrows, you really have to channel your inner Philadelphia 76er and trust the process. On day one, my brows were precise and bold. By day three, the tattooed hair strokes had seemingly disappeared into clumps of brown scabs. And when the scabs healed, my tattoo pigment underneath was faded and did not match my natural eyebrow hair. But, this is all part of the process.

Touch up

I used a makeup pencil to supplement my faded tattoos until it was time for my touch up appointment a few weeks later. Mandi retraced my hair strokes and the healing process began all over but this time, when the scabs healed, my perfect brows miraculously reemerged and were there to stay. As long as I avoid the sun and excessive moisturization, I expect to not be back in the Pretty In Ink chair until this time next year.

There’s a meme floating around FaceSpace that says, “When I was little, I never thought eyebrows would be this important.” What I’ve learned is that eyebrows themselves are just a couple stretches of hair on your forehead, but the confidence they give you is what’s so important. I can “face” each day self-assuredly without a lick of makeup and that is the power of cosmetic tattoos.

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Fashion

Two Of A Kind

“Love seeing African ladies killing it in the world of entrepreneurship! Can’t wait to see more from you.” “I can’t even begin to say how inspired I am by you two! Your dedication and hardwork as black women is magical.” “You two are amazing, post more and be seen! Everyone needs to see this level [...]
Jeni Ruisch

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“Love seeing African ladies killing it in the world of entrepreneurship! Can’t wait to see more from you.”

“I can’t even begin to say how inspired I am by you two! Your dedication and hardwork as black women is magical.”

“You two are amazing, post more and be seen! Everyone needs to see this level of style, sophistication, and elegance!”

“You guys are really showing the world that women can climb the ranks of success too. Keep up the good work!”

These are some of the hundreds of comments that flood the Yusuf’s Instagram page daily. Many of them are from young girls who have become inspired by Nasteha and Nuni Yusuf’s hard work and dedication to their love of fashion. With nearly 30,000 followers on their instagram page alone, the Yusuf’s lifestyle and love for fashion is making an impact not only on the fashion scene of the capital city, but on their followers worldwide.

Through Columbus-based eyes, we can recognize enough familiar scenes in their daily posts to know that they’re locals. But with the way they’ve converted their Instagram presence into a sophisticated globally-conscious fashion and lifestyle brand, it’d be hard to tell that their address isn’t outside the 614.

And technically, born in Somalia and raised in and Canada, their passports have been stamped more than a few times.

Not twins, but certainly a package deal, the sisters answer questions frequently in a collective “we.” The two youngest of eight children now have created a multi-tiered presence in the style and beauty arena, sharing their own collections of jewelry (modeled after their mother, who was a gold dealer), as well as their travels, trend suggestions, and adventures via fun, fast-paced YouTube videos that go beyond just the standard brand-by-numbers fare you see in the modern blogosphere.

They style. They model. They shop. They sell.

But they haven’t always led a charmed existence. The Yusuf family escaped Somalia during the civil war when the sisters were four and seven. Their father, in danger because of his position in the government, fled alone to Canada, thinking the conflict would blow over and he could soon return to his family. But as war broke out, the remaining family members fled to a refugee camp in Kenya, where they stayed for two years. Their father was finally able
to bring them to Toronto, where the family was reunited.

“To say we feel grateful is an under-statement. We went through a lot during our escape and we’re just happy to be alive to talk about it.”

They settled in Columbus, where their husbands are from, and are taking the city by colorful storm. Their fashion and lifestyle blog developed as a way to chronicle their creativity and growth as women while sharing their global perspective on personal style, beauty and travels. YCollections is an ecommerce site that offers everyday jewelry for the bold woman. Their vivid fashion choices resound with people of all ages and from all backgrounds. They see fashion as a means of self-expression, with Nasteha describing her style as “bold, edgy, and borderline boyish.” Nuni says hers is “fun, feminine, and classic.” They speak to a large audience and range of fashionistas betwixt the two.

With all their world traveling, the two have opened their hearts to the heart of it all.

“Out of every other city we’ve visited and lived in the past, Columbus not only provides the best cost of living but it also has the most opportunities. We feel like since this city is growing, we have the potential to grow personally as well as professionally.”

And grow, they do. The Yusuf’s brand continues to spread out across social media, their online store continues to grow, and now with their brick-and-mortar location on the south side, they are making their talents available as content producers and consultants for other
local businesses.

Through the turmoil they have withstood in their lives, the Yusuf sisters have harnessed their momentum, and together, built a brand that seems poised to become an empire. Never fearing evolution, the sisters look forward to a future bright as the patterns they wear.

“The biggest thing is change. We love that fashion changes from season to season. We love that with each era comes a new look. We always saw this as a new opportunity to reinvent yourself. Change is good. Especially when it comes to fashion.”

Fashion Secrets

Nuni:

A good tailor can do wonders for you.

Nasteha:

Don’t be restricted to buying a specific size. You can make any size work for you with a little bit of imagination.

Bolder is Better

Nuni:

Developing your own style. It’s great to draw inspiration from others. But it’s super important to make it your own by focusing on elements like what works for your body type.

Nasteha:

The easiest way to implement a little bit of boldness is to mix prints and patterns. We find that by doing this you instantly exude confidence and stand out at all times.

Fashion Icons

Nuni:

I appreciate timeless and classic pieces. I like to collect pieces that I can picture myself wearing at any age. When I am 90 years old, I want to look back at my style evolution, and I want to still be excited about the outfits from my past. I admire Coco Chanel because her style is truly timeless. Her clothes are still modern today.

Nasteha:

I don’t really have a fashion icon but I do have a type of woman I aspire to be. It’s usually an older woman. A confident, colorful woman such as Iris Apfel, Daphne Selfe, and Giovanna Battaglia.

Life Motto

Nuni:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou

Nasteha:

“I can, and I will.”

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Fashion

Lookin’ Good Enough to Eat

At Stock & Barrel, how can we not be in love with people who see deep dish pizza and match it with a thrift store sweater in their head, or two people who could say the phrase “filet-o-fish blue” and not have to explain further? Michelle Maguire and Kelsey McClellan are our kind of people. [...]
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At Stock & Barrel, how can we not be in love with people who see deep dish pizza and match it with a thrift store sweater in their head, or two people who could say the phrase “filet-o-fish blue” and not have to explain further?
Michelle Maguire and Kelsey McClellan are our kind of people.
The stylist and photographer—known collectively as Terrence Caviar—are always mining new possibilities in the world of styling, their imagination on display in their latest collaboration, Wardrobe Snacks.
This is food as art. As fashion. As a powerful agent of nostalgia. As an accessory to its author’s personality.
And we’re fascinated by it.
As a magazine tasked with coming up with new ways to unlock the imagination of the food world visually, we wanted to tip our caps to T. Caviar, and of course, sit down and chop up how something this lovely comes to be.

Photos by Kelsey Mcclellan
Styling by Michelle Maguire

So, tell me where this idea started, you lovely weirdos?
MM: This series was inspired by diners lacking the luxury of being seated at a table: my stepdad who rests his sandwich on his thigh in between bites (hell with a plate!) while he blasts an action movie on his TV; a commuter cramped up on a crowded bus retrieving an item from a bag or pocket; a lunch-breaker on a park bench eating from her lap. They’re informal—perhaps even a bit awkward—spaces as far as eating is concerned, yet the diners always appear to be comfortable and perfectly satisfied with their chosen snack, almost Zen-like.
KM: We’ve been collaborating on another ongoing series, Pancakes is Ready, for a couple of years now. We talk on the phone pretty often about what we want to shoot together the next time we are in the same place, and before shooting Wardrobe Snacks we thought it would be fun to focus on food without using a table surface.

Did they all start the same way? Was the inspiration clothes first and then find some food to match, or other way around?
MM: Along with color, food is another thing that gets me excited, so for Wardrobe Snacks, once I had the clothing picked out, it was fun to think about an edible prop (both color-appropriate and easily eaten on-the-go or from your lap) to become the star of the show. Some of the foods shown (Sicilian-style pizza) are actually my favorite snacks, others (Zero bar) I slip in simply for nostalgic reasons.

Lookin’ Good Enough to Eat

Quick: match a food item with what each of you are wearing right now?
MM: A tangerine.
KM: Blackberries.

In many ways this is a tribute to branding—these classic colors that have been attributed to these products. Particularly that filet-o-fish blue. I remember that packaging, but some may not—yet it’s there, in our psyche. Even the specific pink color of the sugar wafers. Is this in examination of the way we associate food and color and product?
MM; Totally. When I was growing up, the quick fish was served inside a Styrofoam container that was this beautiful ’70s-prom tuxedo-blue. I deeply associate that color with the filet-o’-fish, and it’s the first thing that popped into my head when I found the blue suit at the thrift store. In an effort to modernize, McDonald’s got rid of that packaging years ago, so to incorporate that essential, recognizable blue, we wrapped the sandwich in tissue paper.
KM: I think when you link food to personal memories colors are strongly associated. I used to eat cereal every morning out of these plastic, blush pink bowls that my mom had, so that color still makes me think of breakfast.

Photos by Kelsey Mcclellan
Styling by Michelle Maguire

I like that it’s also a tribute to this notion that “everybody snacks.” Paying homage to that one little thing you sneak into your daily diet—random or consistent, good for you or bad for you. Is that part of the inspiration?
MM: Aside from being such visually appealing props to slip into a composition, I associate food with pleasure. I’m also a big believer in taking breaks—to eat something that brings you joy and comfort, sit outside, get some air, listen to some birds, and re-charge. Stealing a moment to snack is a wise move—keep the bonks at bay.
KM: For sure—everyone snacks. Usually it isn’t dependent on what you are wearing but it’s sorta a fun exercise to pair foods with your clothes. All types of food can bring peace of mind at different times—like when you are starving on a long drive and all you can get is a bag of chips at a gas station, or when you are hustlin’ around town and just have time for the wafer you had in your purse.

Where did you get the clothes? Any local finds?
MM: Columbus is the land of terrific thrift stores and estate sales, so I’m always gathering stuff—objects, clothing, paper ephemera, carpet remnants, you name it—that I think will photograph well. If it’s got nice color, texture, or shape, it’s coming home with me. Styling combines my love of hunting and collecting and organizing and then thinking about ways of arranging those collected objects within a visual frame.

What were your favorite snacks as kids?
MM: After-school slices of salami at my grandma’s house, pepperoni rolls, pizzelles, apple juice.
KM: I had a phase in middle school where I ate a huge bowl (like 5 scoops, no joke) of Breyer’s chocolate ice cream with sliced banana and a can of sprite everyday as soon as I got home. I also ate a lot of clementines.

How about as adults?
MM: Cheese and crackers, anything pickled, olives, kettle chips, corn nuts.
KM: Chocolate — I have a problem.

Photos by Kelsey Mcclellan
Styling by Michelle Maguire

I have to know: what’s the next project from you two? What else is left to explore on fringe world of food styling?
MM: We’re going to keep moving with Wardrobe Snacks, shooting a few more pieces this summer to round out the series while continuing to push its prints, and maybe eventually try to have a show somewhere. Would love to see them big! And a few commissions are happening that we’re excited about. •

 

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