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Skinny man, fat dreams: A spotlight on Chicago creative Desmoney

Sometimes you meet people who are electric. Who are rare and doing things that are not only cool, but important. South side native Desmond Tutu Owusu (Des for short) is building and if you’re smart, you’re paying attention. Des has been lending his fresh perspectives to photography for two years now with a portfolio including Nike, Complex and recently, a children’s book called Too Fly Not To Fly.  

Des

“I was messing around with the iPhone and I was getting better, getting good and Trash (Trashhand) was telling me “Yo, you should make this a serious hobby”. I came by his crib and he let me borrow his (Canon) Mark III for 3-4 weeks and after he saw the shots he told me to really think about getting a camera. I bought my first camera July 2014, a Canon Rebel T5i”.

Des’ photography centers around human interaction and urban settings. He gravitates towards anything concerning life and works at becoming better at his craft constantly. In the two years I’ve seen Des grow as a photographer what he’s gained the most is a confidence in himself.

“I trust my ideas more” he says, “I’m not afraid to make mistakes right now. I’m comfortable with myself and my ideas”.

Through his lens you see an honest and somewhat softer side of Chicago. This can be seen in his work for Too Fly Not To Fly, an alphabet book created by him and writer/teacher Briana McLean. The book is meant to spark discussions for children and help them critically examine issues affecting their lives. Since the release in early June the book has done extremely well, selling out within a few days.

“The reaction we got from a lot of people was that the book was a breath of fresh air,” says Des “the kids felt like stars. We wanted to give them something to be a part of and feel proud of”.
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Des explores the city with his camera and a purpose; unifying a city that is constantly being torn apart.

“We got so much culture here but it’s so fucking segregated. The segregation within the city affects how Chicagoans treat each other. With my photography I want to show people that we’re the same”.

This idea of unification and love shows up not only in his photography, but in his clothing campaigns, including the “Chicago Girls Do It Better” tee that drops today online and in store. Des has worked with his friends Vic, Joe and Terrell in clothing design for quite some time now, each one with their own projects that are unified by the store Fat Tiger Workshop. Since an image of the shirt was posted on social media earlier this week the demand for it has an been insurmountable.

“Chicago women don’t get no love and I feel like we got some dope ass ladies here. This is something to encourage our women. I love them and want them to be the best”.

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The “Chicago Girls Do It Better” tee will be available online or at Fat Tiger Workshop (1043 W. Grand) today at 12pm central. Follow Des on Twitter @_desmoney for more info.

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Style: “Made in a Chicago Hood”: DBM

It’s been a good year for Chicago-based designer/creative JoeFreshgoods.
His brand DBM (DopeBoyMagic) has been immensely successful not just locally, but all over the world. Joe and his team put in work and as a result he owns one of the strongest street wear brands out right now. Today his fall/winter collection “October ’96” dropped on dopeboymagic.com with a visually stunning lookbook shot by trashhand. Hypebeast described the collection accurately when they stated it “updates the throwback aesthetics for the modern youth”. I wanted to go back a little and see how it all started. In the two years I’ve known Joe I’ve learned that he’s a great guy with a solid work ethic and a love for strawberry lemonade but I wanted to know what inspired DBM and hopefully get a glimpse of what’s to come.

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According to Joe, DBM was created in 2008 by himself and his friend Vic Lloyd. The two worked at Leaders in Wicker Park and came up with the name DopeBoyMagic as joke. The name stuck. The inspiration behind DBM is 30 years of urban culture and Chicago lifestyle. The goal was to bring the hood to the mainstream fashion world. The first full collection was launched the summer of 2012. Since then the popularity of the brand has grown and Joe has become synonymous with Chicago street wear.
“People identify themselves with the brand” explains Joe, “people see where it has come from and that works in our favor”.
Speaking to Joe now versus the beginning of the summer you can definitely see how he’s grown and how that will translate into his brand. “Some of the pieces are more mature this season. I’m slowly starting to shy away from DopeBoyMagic and move to DBM. We’re trying to reach a bigger audience”.
I think he’s doing a great job at reaching a wider audience while still making the current supporters happy, which isn’t always an easy task. “It’s a learning process everyday” says Joe, “it’s important to stay a few steps ahead of people”.

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The “October ’96” DBM collection is really something to be proud of. I’m absolutely in love with the flight jacket and the Tommy: No Job hoodie is genius. The entire collection can be seen at dopeboymagic.com and if you live in Chicago you’ll have the opportunity to snag your gear in person soon. Joe has been working on opening his own store and its slated to be ready for Black Friday. All I can tell you is it will be in the Logan Square area and it will be awesome. DBM is definitely a hood success story and I’m so excited to see this brand flourish and leave its mark.

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Style: Summer Day Party Looks

People love day drinking when the weather gets warm, but what exactly should you wear to these day time shin digs? I enlisted the help of style blogger Zahra Sandberg to get an idea as to what’s hot for summer fashion and what looks are day party appropriate.
“When dressing for a day party, always remember to layer” says Zahra. “If you are going to be outdoors keep it cool in a light cotton dress in a bright color like yellow, which is really hot right now. Bring along a denim jacket or an army green anorak to throw on when the sun goes down.”
Layering is especially important here in Chicago because our weather is so unpredictable. Keeping a jacket or a hat in the car will help you avoid being too cold or having the wind wreck havoc on your hair. A classic day party look you’re sure to see all summer long is the maxi dress.
Zahra explains, “A maxi dress is a classic staple. My favorite way of dressing it up is by layering jewelry.” Zahra loves to layer a chunky chain necklace with another dainty diamond necklace, then pick a fun mix of bangles and bracelets to stack on both wrists.
Maxi dresses are versatile and a simple, but one tip I would give is to keep the fabric of the dress and your underwear choice in mind. Panty lines are unattractive, when in doubt wear a thong. Also make sure your dress isn’t too thin or transparent. Day parties are in the day (duh) and so sunlight is a factor. Don’t be that girl whose oblivious to the fact that your dress is see through.
One thing that’s debate able is whether heels are appropriate for day parties. You want to look good but not like you tried too hard. I live in combat boots so heels are just too fancy for my taste. Zahra sees things a little differently.
“Heels are ALWAYS appropriate in my opinion” says Zahra. “However, if you are worried about sinking into the grass at your outdoor party try a wedge instead of a stiletto heel. A chunkier block heel is also very trendy and also very comfortable to wear all day, or for a day with a lot of walking.”
I hope these tips will help you wile staring at your wardrobe this weekend. Remember: layer, accessorize, keep it simple and say yes to heels.

Zahra Sandberg is a stylist and editor of the personal style blog LoveZahra
http://www.lovezahra.com

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Style: Tie-Dye

I don’t always agree with what’s “in” but one trend Im loving this summer is tie-dye everything. Shirts, dresses, pants, bags, even nails; Im obsessed with psychedelic prints that walk the line between hippie and high fashion. My love for tie-dye started last fall with the Dope.Boy.Magic tie-dye hoodie. I own two and I wear one of them almost every day. Dope.Boy.Magic is a Chicago based company owned by my friend Joe (@JoeFreshgoods). Each hoodie is hand dyed which means no two are alike.

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Dope.Boy.Magic has also played with tie-dye for their spring/summer release with this super dope long sleeve tee. Hit up http://www.thedopeboymagicshop.bigcartel.com to get yours.

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Another company I like for tie-dye prints is Everland Clothing. The tie-dye Philadelphia Freedom skirt is super cute and available for $48 on their site.

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Urban Outfitters also has a tie-dye jumpsuit for $69 that’s perfect for any street fest or you can throw on a blazer and wear it to dinner.
Bleached tie-dye denim is also in right now and Im currently saving up to get these Joe’s Jeans Skinny in Jonni. Love love love them!

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I want to try doing the bleached tie-dye look on some pieces I already have but am afraid I’ll mess in up. Tie-dye is dope because it’s versatile. It’s not just for grungy hippies anymore; modern cuts have given it new life and Im loving it.

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