A stylish revolution is (finally!) happening. Folks are moving further away from popular fashion trends and putting the focus on heightening individuality instead. That’s why we chose to highlight seven smart-dressed New Yorkers, which radiate a unique style persona, in our spring fashion style guide. And do you know what we found out? Their cool demeanor has very little to do with the garb they’re wearing or where they shop (FYI: Most scour at vintage clothes shops and some of the best shops in NYC)—it actually has everything to do with who they are as genuine human beings. Shocker! So in the most convenient definitions, meet NYC’s stylish version of The Breakfast Club, comprising The Human Lite-Brite, The Craft Addict, The Urban Wave-Rider, The Punk 2.0, The Genderf*cker and The Avant-Bohemians which truly represent one image, and one image alone: Originality.
Photographs by Raydene Salinas
The most fashionable New Yorkers
The gender f**ker
26, model, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
There’s a lot of talk about an identity revolution happening in fashion right now, and at the forefront is self-proclaimed “quote-unquote female” Rain Dove—a six-foot-two model who can rock a smashing suit just as well as a scanty set of lingerie. Dove wasn’t originally gung ho for the catwalk, although she loved the runway camera inside H&M’s fitting room in Times Square. In fact, she sought out to work for the UN on water rights initiatives. Her modeling career and goal to bring awareness to gender issues spawned after losing a wager. “I lost a bet to a model over a football game, and I had to go to a casting call,” she recalls. “The agency thought I was a guy and booked me for an underwear show for Calvin Klein.” During rehearsal, Dove walked out with her head high, wearing men’s underwear and nothing else. “The casting director turned a shade of red I had never seen before,” she says. Nevertheless, she slayed the show—and continues to kill it no matter what she’s sporting. “I’m a big advocate of people shopping based on measurements, but I like to be comfortable and wear things I’d be happy dying in,” explains Dove. “I always wear one accent piece, just in case something happens,” she says.
Follow Rain Dove on Instagram: @Raindovemodel
Location: Nacho Macho Taco
31, managing partner/co-founder of Saturdays NYC, East Village
Here’s a question on every style-conscious but rebellious dude’s mind: What the hell should I wear? Guys, we hear you. It’s tough to find the balance between looking spiffy one minute, then rugged and ready to skateboard the next. Morgan Collett—a mind behind menswear label and coffeeshop hybrid Saturdays NYC—is a walking Wikipedia entry for that effortlessly hip, young Marlon Brando look. Born and raised in Newport Beach, California, Collett left the Pacific behind and moved to NYC to explore East Coast waves and a career in men’s fashion. “Saturdays started with a few friends of mine in 2009. We were all surfing and working in fashion, but it felt like we were living these parallel lives,” says Collett. “So we set out to bring our favorite things together, and it turned into this oasis where people could shop for surf culture apparel, hang out and get a really good cup of coffee.” So where does this wave-rider nab his duds? When he isn’t grabbing threads from his former employer—he was a brand manager at Acne Studios—he stays loyal to his creation. “I always wear Saturdays jeans and our new nylon bomber.” But his go-to accessory? Confidence. “You need to feel comfortable, and that takes time. Clothes need to speak through you in terms of your personality.” Right on, dude.
Follow Morgan Collett on Instagram: @morgancollett, @saturdaysnyc
The Human Lite-Brite
27, lead singer of MS MR, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
British expat Lizzy Plapinger—one half of synth-pop duo MS MR—is basically that ’70s-era toy with the neon plastic pegs you played with as a youngster. The singer’s aesthetic is pretty old-school and high-octane in terms of color, and she’s inspiring us to pluck ourselves off the modern all-dark-everything wagon and hop on her retro rocket of rainbows. “There’s just something really fun about living in New York, where it’s very black-and-white, and being the loudest version of yourself,” says Plapinger. But in a city where muted garb reigns in most stores, how can we steal her bold look? When the frontwoman isn’t fantasizing about raiding Iris Apfel’s closet and rocking her go-to ensemble—“glitter boots, a killer onesie from the ’70s, a bright-colored fur jacket and a sick fucking pair of glasses,”—Plapinger is becoming a familiar face to the owners of vintage treasure troves Screaming Mimis, Malin Landaeus and 10 Ft. Single by Stella Dallas, where she bags one-of-a-kind threads. “You have to really dig to find the good stuff, but I get off on the challenge,” she says. One thing that hasn’t been difficult for the natural-born crooner? Standing out. “I feel like I’ve been dressing for the stage my entire life, and MS MR became a great platform for me to be loud,” says Plapinger. “There’s a dark and mysterious side to our band, which can be discovered in the music and lyrics, but we contradict the darkness by surrounding our project with color.” Color us intrigued.
Follow Lizzy Plapinger on Instagram: @missgoldusa, @msmrsounds
Makeup: Christina Lee Adams, Styling: Alexandra Cronan, Location: Baby’s All Right, Suit: Anna Sui
43, designer, Soho
Stepping into designer Wendy Nichol’s Nolita boutique can only be described in one phrase: Something wickedly awesome this way comes—and that something is Nichol’s alluringly spooky style. We think the bespoke creator, known for her hand-stitched leather bullet bag, may truly be magical. Why? Her killer style has charmed us to dress like we just put a hex on our ex. (Don’t worry, we didn’t.) “I feel like I brought a point of view, and I’m grateful people are responding to it,” she says. But the witch isn’t the only macabre symbol that inspires her designs. Nichol just launched a hand-embroidered, customizable black silk jacket with the word Ghost on the back for spring. “I moved to a new apartment, and I feel like there’s something paranormal there. I could be imagining it, but I love the idea of ghosts and transparency, which is why I’ve adopted the component in my fabrics,” says Nichol about her recent line of hauntingly beautiful see-through capes. Ah, a true Casper Meets Wendy love story. When the designer isn’t reppin’ her own namesake, she’s rocking accessories by some other greats. “I always wear my black platforms by Stella McCartney. I own four pairs because I love them so much,” says Nichol. Talk about shoe goals.
Follow Wendy Nichol on Instagram: @wendynichol
28, lead singer of Honduras, Bushwick, Brooklyn
Pat Phillips—a college-basketball-player-cum-frontman for the Bushwick band Honduras—nails the irreverent and totally Brooklyn rocker look (neck tattoo and all), but he adds some city-boy flair by sporting a handsome satin blouson jacket. You might have caught his band ripping up popular haunts like Baby’s All Right or spotted the musician walking the Williamsburg bridge. Fun Fact: Phillips has walked the landmark so many times, he conjured a band name from it. “Honduras was painted on the side of the bridge near the Lower East Side, and the word just stuck with me,” he says. But it’s evident by the group’s Television-style rock vibe that they were destined to perform in NYC, the birthplace of punk. (Yeah, we said it, London.) “I’m a huge fan of the Strokes, Sonic Youth and a lot of bands that came out of New York, but my style is definitely very influenced by the Please Kill Me scene,” says Phillips, who hones an I-don’t-give-a-shit look, à la Richard Hell. “I’ve always liked really baggy vintage band tees, and I have a habit of ripping them to get an extra-loose fit,” he explains. The rocker hunts for tough-loved, worn-and-torn throwbacks at fashion cornucopias like Fox & Fawn and Urban Jungle, so you could say he likes to shred on and off the stage.
Follow Pat Phillips on Instagram: @pbirdphillips, @hondurasband
Both 28, cofounder of Urban Bush Babes and musician, Bushwick and Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Not familiar with stunning, identical twin sisters TK Wonder and Cipriana Quann (pictured, from left to right)? You should be, and not just because they’ve been in major fashion mags like Vogue and seemingly every street-style roundup that’s popped up on Facebook. It’s because the Urban Bush Babes collaborators are women who, at the epicenter of all the hustle and bustle, fuse avant-garde fashion with functional threads to create an eclectic urban aesthetic paired with killer confidence. (In short, we see pictures of them and are kind of annoyed by how damn cool they are.) These days, the Baltimore transplants are instantly recognizable by their gorgeous natural hair and outstanding wardrobes—some of which includes cheap steals from thrift stores like the Mobile Vintage Shop and Beacon’s Closet—but they weren’t always so self-assured. “I started out in the modeling industry, but my confidence swayed during that time,” recalls Cipriana. “I wasn’t deemed commercially appealing because of the texture of my hair, and I was told to change it.” Her frustrations spurred her to quit modeling and cofound Urban Bush Babes, a fashion, beauty and lifestyle website that aims to inspire women of various ethnicities. “TK is a performer, and musicians are celebrated as individuals, whereas as a model, I felt like a mannequin,” says Cipriana. “I always admired my sister because she wore whatever she wanted.” TK’s electronic music has garnered attention from the likes of Sting and N.E.R.D, but when she’s onstage, she’s not worried about how her look is perceived: “When I’m in front of over half a million people, I don’t care what they think,” she says. “I hope it resonates with people, but the way I move and my style comes naturally. I definitely take it offstage with me.” Take a bow, ladies.