Standing Out Through Fashion

Author: 
Kyra Williams, GRAMMY Camp LA 2015

On the first day of GRAMMY Camp LA on USC’s campus, it was apparent that so many artists thought about their appearance before arriving. Despite a long day of traveling, they put in effort to make great first impressions. From black and white horizontal stripes to plaid and straw hats, visually these three campers and one counselor stood out.

Joelle Israel of Chicago, who’s in the Electronic Music Production track, made a bold statement in a floral dress with vibrant colors such as pink, orange, yellow and green. And to top it off, she wore a silver “Boss” chain. In her words, her style is “classy with swag.” When asked where her fashion sense comes from, Israel credited her mood, the weather, and the occasion. But in relation to music she stated, “You know how hip hop artists dress a certain way, I like to wear big chains and bling to make me stand out.”

Standing out was something that Fandy Chen, a GRAMMY Camp counselor, credited his style to as well. As a singer, pianist, and beginner guitar player, he realized in college that he had specific goals in the industry and that his appearance needed to reflect that: “I knew that I wanted to become that kind of artist where you can crossover to R&B and soul but also crossover to pop. That was my goal in the beginning and I noticed that a lot of male artists usually wore a lot of tight white shirts with some YSL jeans, some YSL shoes, and that wasn’t really what I wanted to do.” So, Chen chose to be different and wear vests and clothing that had trains. Given this, it’s not surprising that Chen was in the fashion industry as a stylist for Top Shop. In response to being asked if there was an artist who inspired him both in music and in fashion, he stated “Pharrell inspires me musically, though I don’t really like his fashion sense,” he says. “But I like that he’s different.” Being his own inspiration gives him the freedom to be different which also brands Chen as an artist.

Contrary to Chen, Jess Araten, a member of the Guitar track, isn’t as passionate about fashion but she uses it to brand herself: “Honestly, I’ve only started thinking about fashion more recently because it wasn’t something I was super interested in growing up, but I’ve been trying to think of myself as an artist. I’m into it because I have to be basically, but it’s not something that particularly interests me.” Araten is particularly into hippie, flattering and comfortable clothing like one of her fashion idols. “Stevie Nicks wears really cool clothes but I really couldn’t wear what she wears. But, I think she has a really cool look and also inspires me musically.”

Kyle Knudsen, a Songwriter here at camp, also is a jack of many trades. He plays guitar, piano, and many other instruments while also singing. Just as many other campers, he is very conscious of creating a brand for himself whenever he steps on stage: “When I perform, my band and I always wear dark clothing and that’s become our brand when we perform. And a lot of our fans picked up on that trend, so everyone wears black to our shows and it’s kind of cool.” Knudsen’s ability to establish a fan base and brand this early is commendable. This goes for a significant amount of students at GRAMMY Camp LA 2015, who aspire to be in the music industry. The preparation and dedication that these four individuals have in regards to their brand, is a universal connection within this once and a lifetime experience provided by the GRAMMY Foundation.

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