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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 [...]
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.

When I'm not weaving a beautiful tapestry of words, I'm likely digging through jewels and vinyls at an antique shop near you.

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Columbus native to appear on premiere of ‘Making the Cut’

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Series debuts tonight, March 27 on Amazon Prime

Kent State School of Fashion alumni, Joshua Hupper and Will Riddle, will both be featured contestants on the new series hosted and produced by fashion gurus, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. Hupper, a 2004 alumnus, and Riddle, a 2013 alumnus, both majored in fashion design and have had significant roles in the industry since graduating. They were two of just 12 contestants from all over the globe to be featured on the 10-episode series.

Since graduating in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, Hupper resides in Shanghai, China, where he founded the brand BABYGHOST, a successful e-commerce fashion brand based in China. His designs have been featured in Vogue and on runways around the world. His line features youthful, feminine ready-to-wear fashions for the “mischievous girl.” Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Hupper’s talents were shaped by his artistic upbringing and his past experiences in internships with Diane Von Furstenburg and Thakoon.

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Clothing and Community: Black Fashion Expo

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Expect nothing but instead appreciate everything.

The statement is a mantra that Black Fashion Expo founder Bobby Couch lives by, describing the event for designers of color to set up shop and showcase their products on a grand scale. While he juggles multiple hats as a creative director at Art of Republic and as an assistant with traveling dinner party, The High End Affair, his intention with creative umbrella Fashion is Columbus and brainchild Black Fashion Expo was to be inclusive and celebrate fashion brands that deserve a larger following. After the inaugural BFE in February, Couch hosted the expo’s ‘Intent’ theme in October at Gravity, as a marketplace featuring panel discussions and live attractions and demonstrations that showcased fashion that goes beyond the runway.

“When you’re curating an experience that’s new, there’s a level of anticipation, but people know that every component of what’s happening will likely be unexpected,” Couch said. “It’s important to conform that Black fashion is also Columbus fashion. Until we can say it’s time to celebrate the success of Black artists with an inclusive and diverse audience, it’s important to continue celebrating one another to drive their goals and business.”

An avid Beyoncé fan, Couch has taken cues from the singer to drive his own business, noting Beyoncé publicized her decision to leave a Reebok board meeting after there were no people of color present. The singer ventured into a joint athleisure partnership with Adidas instead, and Bobby supports her decision, noting that Black voices on design teams are the first step into the process of inclusion.

“Some of the larger luxury brands definitely started the shift from the Gucci blackface sweaters to blackness and wokeness being a trend. Sometimes it just takes conversations like those to ruffle the feathers of the white supremacy and implement change, even if just temporary,” he said. “During these times of gentrification and the restoration of urban areas, [Black Fashion Expo] wants to ensure there are safe spaces curated specifically for those coming from inner city schools to create their own footprint.”

In agreement with Couch’s sentiments is founder of clothing line Ohio Girls Do It Better and BFE contributor, Chanel Jack. “There are major dangers of Black designers leading majority white teams because it keeps the cycle going and lessens our opportunities as a culture,” she said. “When a Black designer does have the power to change the narrative, it is important to bring other Black creatives to the top with them.”

While Columbus fashion is still on an incline—the city is also a leading hub for fashion with LBrands, CCAD, and Fashion Week Columbus—Couch is forward-thinking with offering services to further benefit the city. With a full team of curators behind Black Fashion Expo, Couch credits Art of Republic, StarstrukT Apparel, Cloud City 614 and more for fulfilling his vision of propelling local Black fashion to greater heights. He also wants the favor to be returned to other brands, as StarstrukT Apparel is a hub for listening parties and shopping alike, and Sole Classics continually hosts a seasonal Streetwear Flea event. “It costs nothing to repost your friend who’s an entrepreneur, [their] business or pop-up flyers on social media; that’s a great start,” Couch said.

There are still gripes with apects of Columbus fashion, as noted by hosts of BFE segment “Thread Talk”, Genevieve Effa and Xiao Mei. “I’ve noticed there are so many more designers and brands that aren’t getting attention. The fashion scene can be improved best if more of those with a fashion platform in the city collaborate more often,” Effa said. “Whether that’s creating an event where designers or brands can apply to be a part of it, or just throwing a mixer for designers and fashion brands to network, the best way to really show why Columbus is ranked third in the fashion industry would be through collaborating.”

“Those in the fashion industry are standing their ground more than ever. From their morals to their values and principles, many Blacks are comprehending the importance of unity within the Black culture and Black fashion industry,” Mei adds. “Columbus offers diverse people of different backgrounds, but lacks flavor in apparel. It is a comfortable city and not many are willing to step beyond their comfort zones—even in their clothing.”

In the process of opening his first storefront in next year with an artistic coworking space, Couch envisions that fashion in 2020 will be a transition into theory, uniform and minimalistic silhouettes being intertwined with substantial fabrics. “Eco-friendly and more vegan leathers will be used in the projects I’m endorsing [as well as] the freedom of the late 90’s when it comes to styling and editorial execution,” he said. “Less is so much more.”

Couch plans to resume Black Fashion Expo next February, and much like his idol, Beyoncé, 2020 will be the year to officially get Columbus fashion in formation.

Donations and request for sponsorship information can be found online at fashioniscolumbus.com. Follow on Instagram at @blackfashionexpo.

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Local designer offers shopping tips for fashionista on your list

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Ever since she was a little girl, Joan Madison has had an affinity for fashion. From making custom-fitting Barbie doll outfits when she was in elementary school, to developing her natural talent at the acclaimed Fashion Institute of Technology, to landing designer positions at The Limited and Express, to eventually opening her own bridal boutique in Reynoldsburg, Madison has amassed over 20 years experience in the fashion industry. Madison shared some of her insights with (614) to help those holiday shoppers looking to cross gifts for the fashionista in their life off their list.

(614): If you're having trouble identifying your friend's unique style or items that would fit into that style, what are some staple pieces that everyone can love and use?

JM: Some staple pieces that everyone loves and uses are items that match the season! I love to accessorize! If it is fall [or] winter, I love to go for soft cashmere scarves, gloves or even winter sunglasses—they make the perfect accent as a thoughtful gift or for a stylish friend, and you can never go wrong with items that make you warmer in the cooler months. If it is spring [or] summer, I love to match accessories that add a touch of color or metallic to anyone’s wardrobe. Items like handheld purses, fanciful flats and color-pop earrings are always my go to faves for everyone, no matter the taste.

(614): For those working on a tight budget, what pieces make the best gifts?

JM: I like that even on a budget, these gift ideas work! What I like most about these staple pieces are that these items come in a variety of colors and prices. I like that I can buy all of my favorites, no matter the budget!

(614): For bigger ticket items—let's say a handbag or coat, for example—how can the average shopper distinguish a quality item from one that is simply overpriced?

JM: As a couturier, I find it necessary to first examine the stitching on any garment. Make sure it’s lined, and that all plaids, stripes, or patterns match. Most people think it is about the textiles, but what sets a unique piece apart is the time and expertise it takes to engineer and craft a high quality garment, to really pour into the work, while also embodying the design and detail. Good quality is also evident in the fit of the garment, the hanger loops, and the overall hanger appeal. Often, overpriced items skip these components and this part of the process.

(614): What are some of your favorite shops and boutiques around Central Ohio that offer thoughtful, accessible fashion?

JM: One of my favorite boutiques around Central Ohio that offers thoughtful and accessible fashion is Minka’s Furs in the Shops at Worthington Place, and I also love to draw inspiration and support many of our local festival artisans. And we also offer holiday party dresses and evening gowns here at Joan’s Bridal Couture.

(614): What are some of your favorite trends you've seen this winter season?

JM: There are several trends I like this winter season, including anything in sequin with bling. Metallic is also still popular, [as is] wearing shades of green and earthier tones with a pop of color. For extra warmth, try layering your sweaters, dusters, and shawls. Additionally, anything with fur, and the reemergence of leopard prints [are current trends].

(614): What are some "fast fashion" items common during the winter that shoppers should avoid and why?

JM: Remember "fast fashion" doesn’t last—we are in an area where you want to wear that cute sport coat year-round, and have it for next season as well. Fast fashion is based off of trends as feelers, and I like a more traditional approach. Some "fast fashion" items to avoid this winter would be garments made in cheap polyester knit fabric, like scarves, crewnecks, and leggings. After being worn once, the garment starts to pill. The quality will be evident in the weight of the knit. Alternatively, go with a natural fiber like wool, which is a bit pricier but will last longer.

This conversation has been lightly edited. Visit Joan’s Bridal Couture at 7382 E Main St., Reynoldsburg or online at joansbridalcouture.com.

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