COMPLEXD VISUALS: VAGINA’S

Which number are you?

Today’s Complexd Visual via photographer Sidney Etienne facebook page confirms that, vagina’s come in all shapes and sizes. Read the Editor’s thoughts on protruding vagina’s  here

Check out Sidney Etienne’s photography here

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EDITOR’S DIARY: CATCHING UP WITH KAREN

Front row at Islands of The World Fashion Week, Nassau Bahamas

To this day, my favourite fashion event was the launch of Islands of the World Fashion Week in Nassau, Bahamas. It was the people, the place and the friendly atmosphere that has remained in my mind. When designer Karen De Freitas Fraser who showcased her label Soka contacted me to update me on her progress, it brought back fond memories and also reminded me of the motivated people I meet throughout the event. I asked Karen what she has been up too and I was impressed by her determination to pave her way as a big designer coming from the small island of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Karen receiving her applause at Miami Fashion Week

KC: So What have you been up to since we met a few years ago in Bahamas?

KF: Bahamas was my first introduction into the fashion world and it gave me a desire to continue with fashion design.  When I returned back home to St. Vincent I started to put my plan into action. I couldn’t just enrol onto a fashion course like in the UK and US so I shadowed seamstresses to learn how to sew and get from them the kind of advice that you can’t find on Google. To help market and promote my brand SOKA, I put myself in the limelight by showcasing at Miami Fashion Week and Nolcha in New York. It was a great experience and I wanted to do the same back home so I put together my own fashion production called genX which promotes art and fashion through the eyes of the next generation. I felt it was necessary to provide a platform for young designers on my island because established designers across the Caribbean regions receive repetitive exposure. Although I was passionate about it, I needed to pay my bills so I decided to follow my dreams and broaden my horizon by enrolling to Parsons the New School for Design in New York.

KC: How have you adapted to studying and living in New York and how is it different from your hometown St Vincent and the Grenadines?

KF: It was a culture shock when I first arrived. I didn’t have any friends or family in New York so it was lonely at times so I thank God for Skype! It took some time but I have fully adapted to the pace of life because I am a natural workaholic. I love being in the city because it’s so alive 24/7. You can get food from all over the world at anytime and anywhere. To get my curry goat and mauby fix, I just ride down to Brooklyn. There is art everywhere you look in NY, in the galleries, museums, statues, skyscrapers, street performances and in the way people dress. I love people watching because it gives me a wealth of ideas.  Most importantly I love the endless opportunities that I am surrounded by every day.

KC: Has moving abroad helped you creatively?

KF: Back home I worked independently. I had to be self driven and to keep that motivation I made close ties with experienced designers on the Island. But there wasn’t much financial support for the arts because the creative industry is still undeveloped in St Vincent. Parsons has cultivated my creativity because it pushed me out of my comfort zone. I am also able to network with a lot of creative’s which has helped me to gain much more confidence. I’m now exposed to a life where fashion is a lucrative market and this encourages me to develop my brand into a strong business and not just a hobby.

KC: What are your plans for the future?

KF: I’m not sure if I am going to stay NY.  I love it, but I don’t want to restrict myself. I want to travel because I think seeing the world contributes to your success as a designer.

Check out some designs from Karen’s label Soka

Photographer: tonga pictures, Mua: amanda rae negro, Hair: chantel george, Styling and wardrobe: Soka, Model:lorianna swain

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COMPLEXD WOMEN: RUBY PAYGE JOHNS

I’m a West Indian currently residing in Oxford in the UK. On an average day I wake up at 7am and have a meat and nut breakfast with a glass of lemon water. I travel to London for castings or shoots and try and get back home to Oxford early so I can hit the gym with my trainer and catch up with my family in the evening. My family and I are super close.

I was scouted by Select Model Management at the age of 15, standing outside of McDonalds. I didn’t consider modelling until then but I am pleased I did because I have had incredible experiences. One of my most memorable was posing on top of a camel on a mountain in Spain which is a wild thing you don’t get to do every day.

If you want to be a model it is important to be prepared to work and to look after yourself. Eat well, exercise regularly and keep a healthy state of mind. You really have to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength, and say, “I’m proud of what I am and who I am, and I’m just going to be myself.” I used to have a very low self esteem and  it was making me unhappy. Now I have a healthy diet, train regularly and I have stopped being so self critical. I have learnt to appreciate the good things about my body and my look, one being my trademark cheekbones. One thing I would never do is tamper with nature and resort to extreme measures such as surgery.

In my spare time I design a lot of garments. It’s something I have always been interested in since I was a young girl. For now, I am focusing on my careers in Modelling and Acting but who knows; in the future you may see my dress on a hanger.

A bit more about me…

When I was a child I wanted to be… an Air Hostess. I’ve always wanted to explore and experience the World.

A film that changed me was…The famous ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ starring Will Smith. It showed me that there is always somebody in a worse situation than yourself and if you work hard and keep faith in yourself, blessings will come your way.

My favourite quote/proverb is…’you will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.  You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life’.

If I was invisible for a day I would… listen in on conversations and read a few minds. Who wouldn’t? Ha ha!

Love is…a promise and a bond. It comforts the soul and It is an important part of life.

The 4 words that describe my life are…A wonderfully, blessed ride.

Follow Ruby on Twitter.com/RubyJohns

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EDITOR’S DIARY:NAKED LADIES

Today I was reviewing the Beauty + Body issue which goes live in July. A lot of the artistic nudes in this issue took me right back to my art school days when sketching naked ladies was my stress reliever. Each week I was always excited about what challenges the contours of the models body would bring. You never no how you are going to react when you’re faced with the naked body of a stranger. You actually do your best to avoid looking at their private parts as if it was forbidden and against their will. In this issue we interview photographers who aim to take away the sexuality from their female nudes. I learnt to do this in life drawing classes by blocking out the desirable vision that is sold of the female body and observing the quirkiness and character about the persons body.

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COMPLEXD COUCH: NATASHA DEVON

Natasha Devon joins us on Complexd Couch to talk to about her personal experiences with beauty and her body.

Video Editor – Henry Robinson
Director – Kered Clement

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