Interview: Shemari K. Banks

 

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I was able to sit down with my friend Shemari last year to discuss his personal style, inspiration and his path in fashion. He is an influencer, sometimes stylist and a luxury personal shopper. He also shared some of his favorite brands and places to shop. Our talk was insightful and I learned so much valuable information from our time.

Enjoy!

Chardonnay: So I obviously love what you are wearing. Break it down. I want to know who you are wearing.

Shemari: Haider Ackermann bomber jacket, HoodbyAir top, these jeans are from Noir, which is this really cool brand.

C: Is this a part of the pants or is this like your long johns?

S: Yeah those are my long johns underneath.

C: Where are those from?

S: Under Armour

C: Really, I’m learning a lot  about Men’s Fashion and it’s really some cool stuff going on. Men’s Fashion has really been interesting lately.

S: Greg Lauren is really cool. He’s Ralph Lauren’s nephew. He’s done some deconstruction.

C: Who are some of your favorite designers right now?

S: Amiri, Ben Tavernati, Unravel. Another person I like would be ….

C: Is it any of the people you are wearing right now?

S: Haider is one of my top people, but his previous collection hasn’t really been the same as past seasons. I haven’t been tempted to buy any of his clothing.

C: Are you not loving what Rick Owens is doing? I know Rick Owens is your thing.

S: Definitely number 1. 

C: Number 1, okay.

S: Rick is #1, then after Rick is probably Amiri,  then Yohji [Yamamoto] and Greg Lauren

C: That’s a good line up.

S: There is this designer I can’t pronounce his name, but he used to design for Number 9, I think it’s like [Taka Hiromiyashita]

C: Is he a Japanese designer? 

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S: Yes. Really cool stuff, his brand is called TheSoloist

C: You know I have a thing for Japanese designers

S: He makes high waisted jeans for guys which is cool.

C: What new designers are you excited about? Because there are so many new people that are killing it.

S: In menswear, Unravel. I think Unravel is going to take over.

C: Going back to your personal style.. I was looking over your Instagram and I would literally wear every one of your looks. That’s how we met because I was obsessed with everything that you were doing. What’s your process when getting dressed in the morning? What does that look like? How do you pick out your look for the day?

S: I mean I think about if I’m like passing a tourist, if it would look good photographed.

C: Shut up, is that what you think about? 

S: If a tourist sees me, are they gonna take a picture?

C: This is the representation of New York they’ll have. That is hilarious. How would you describe your aesthetic in 3 words? If you were dressing for this tourist what would you describe that as?

S: Non-Gender Binary 

C: Oh I love that, you know I always loved that about you because I can literally wear any one of your looks and feel like it would fit me too. I love that about you. 

S: That’s pretty much the main aesthetic 

C: Okay, how do you feel about the overall culture of fashion right now? Like the state of it, it is so different, it’s so different from what we’ve seen in the past years.

S: I think right now it’s like really good because designers get to do more like major fashion houses are making fun clothes which is rare, it just wasn’t a thing. They are making stuff that people can wear everyday.

C: Yeah and it’s fun. I think fashion is more fun now. It wasn’t like this in the past years. 

S: It really wasn’t. I got into shoes first then got into clothes. I like shoes more than clothes. It’s just that now clothing is stepping over shoes. They are just making a lot of cool shit.

C: Same, I love shoes. That was literally a question I wanted to ask you, what are your top 3 favorite shoes of all time? I’m going to guess one of those is your Saint Laurent’s because those are a classic, good riding boots. You can’t miss.

S: Of all time, Saint Laurent Harness Boots, Rick Owens Vicious Runner Ankle Boots, the next would be, it’s a shoe that I don’t own but it would be a Tom Brown ankle brogue. They are definitely a shoe that everyone needs. It’s amazing. 

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C: Backing up, are you a sneakers guy, I know you wear those cool classic boots. Are you into sneakers? I’ve never actually seen you wear sneakers. 

S: It’s actually like really rare. I own like 130 pairs of sneakers.

C: Shut up, 130 pairs!

S: I have 3 shoe stands of just shoes

C: Are you serious? I need to see that

S: Yeah it varies from sneakers to slippers, Del Toro slippers. I think outfits start with shoes, I would just keep buying shoes.

C: So you dress from the feet and up.

S: Yeah from the feet up. If I can’t wear the shoes I want to wear I would just change the complete outfit.

C: I love that.

S: I love a lot of Nike running shoes, Under Armor running shoes. It’s pretty interesting

C: I never saw you wear that. It’s not right now top of mind but you still love it? 

S: Under Armor made a shoe called The Speedform Apollo, granted I worked for Under Armor at the time, I own every color in the Speedform Apollo and Speedform RT every single color there except they made this one color that I don’t own because it was exclusive to Corporate and Football Team at University of Maryland

C: So that’s legit the only one, but you own every other color?

S: Yeah I own every other color so I have like 16 pairs of that shoe and I have duplicates of them too.

C: I don’t even know what that shoe looks like, but I need to see it.

S: And that’s why I legit have so many shoes because I have duplicates of the same shoe

C: So are you like, whenever I’m finished with that one I can switch it into a fresh pair.

S: It’s not even switching it into a fresh pair, it’s I literally just have it to have it. 

C: Because you love it?

S: It’s also because my mom wears the same size as me. So if I wear it and my mom likes it and when I’m tired of the look I just give her the new pair.

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C: So was it your mom who put you onto fashion? Is that where your passion for fashion came from?

S: Nah my passion for fashion came from me being bored at home one day and I was looking into the mirror and was like this shadow looks cool and I drew the shadow and I wondered how cool this would look on shoes and then I sketched out a shoe and put the logo on it and was like “ Oh this would look pretty cool” That’s how I got into fashion, It was through shoes

C: That’s pretty dope! Through shoes. What’s your favorite color?

S: My favorite is gold 

C: Interesting. Really?

S:  Yeah that’s my favorite color 

C: Gold! Why? Interesting choice

S: Because growing up when I came to America everybody would say what’s your favorite color and everyone expected a boy to say blue and a girl to say pink and I was like nah I like gold, gold is cool. Yeah I don’t know why I just always liked the color. 

C: If you could wear only one brand ever..

S: From head to toe?

C: From head to toe and you couldn’t wear anything else, what brand would that be? 

S: Rick Owens,

C: I figured, really?

S: Yeah 

C: Why?

S: Because out of all the brands that make stuff from head to toe that I like would be Rick, Saint Laurent and those are the only two brands I would wear from head to toe and I think Saint Laurent sneakers aren’t up to par whereas Rick’s sneakers are and you can wear them everyday 

C: What’s your go-to piece that you just covet and can’t get rid of? Or do you have one?

S: Yeah I actually do have one, the shoe that I wear the most is probably the Rick Owen level runners White Leather, those are probably my biggest go-to shoe.

C: I love those

S: There is another one though that I do wear more often because it rains and stuff which are the Rick Owens Cargo Baskets, yeah those are my favorite shoe in general. That’s literally the shoe that got me into Rick Owens. I think that’s one of the coolest shoes ever made like it comes with a cargo pocket at the side. 

C: Switching gears, how did you even get into fashion? I know you said that you saw this shadow but is it a passion or Is it a hobby? 

S: I think it’s more for fun.

C: More of a hobby?

S: I love it because I love when people look good 

C: Yeah

S: I feel like society would be so much cooler if all day, everyday everybody just slaying 

C: Yeah, same

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S: Even if it’s just simple just looking very well put together in some way even if its basic clothing. Just being themselves. That’s what I like about fashion, people just being themselves and where it blurs but what I don’t like about fashion is when things get too trendy and people wear stuff just because everyone else is wearing it, that part I don’t like, but I love the self-expression.

C: I love that too. 

S: I even dressed preppy at one point. 

C: I can’t see you preppy, you were preppy at a point?

S: I was super preppy     

C: I could not see you like that

S: It was disgusting, let’s not talk about that, I used to wear burgundy trousers with boat shoes 

C:  Really? Im glad I missed that era

S: It’s like way down on my instagram 

C: Wow Im gonna have to scroll down 

S: You don’t want to see that 

C: I probably don’t. So obviously my blog is wearblacktheory, I know you wear a lot of black. That’s really what I want to get to. Why do New Yorkers or people in general wear a lot of black. Why do you wear a lot of black? 

S: The funny thing is this answer is going to be really weird. 

C: I’m glad to hear it. 

S: I didn’t start wearing black until 2015, I wore every color except black. 

C: Your burgundy trousers

S: I wore burgundies, reds, whites. Actually I didn’t wear red as much because my mom didn’t allow me.

C: Why? 

S: She thought the bloods would come and get me weird Jamaican stuff.

C: What made you start wearing black then?

S: One day I went inside my closet And I was like I don’t own any black jeans 

C: Are you serious?

S: And it’s weird because I own a lot of jeans like a lot of jeans pass the normal number 

C: Pass 20?

S: Way pass 20.

C: Really?

S: It was like “how don’t you have black jeans? and I ended up just buying a whole bunch of black jeans, they were all like really cheap.

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C: So you felt like your best self in your black jeans. 

S: Yeah they were really cool, my favorite black jeans were Naked & Famous ones, they look like leather and everyone thought they were leather but it was just wax. It was pretty much how I just slowly got into black and sometimes I’m really lazy and it’s easy. 

C: Black is easy. I mean you throw on a black look and you can wear that anywhere.

S: Exactly.

 C: Where are you from?

S: Jamaica

C: What’s your go-to look? Your uniform? Because I always see you in black obviously, is that your go-to?

S:  There are two maybe 3 things that are my go-to’s, specifically if I’m going to school, there are these Blood Brothers Cargos/joggers. I bought them because everyone buys Nike tech pants and they look just like those but they are double lined so they are warmer.

C: For New York!

S: So I would wear that and my Rick Owen Ramones the green ones and an oversized hoodie, just a random one not designer. Something that I found at Zara or Century 21 for like 20 bucks and its not my size and not meant to be oversized but I bought it in a xxl because that’s all they had.

C: But it works.

S: Yeah it works and the next look would probably be drop crotch sweatpants with knee high boots. Then the 3rd, I just bought these Junn.J flared sweatpants.

C: I saw you post that, I never heard of that brand but I am totally into it. I’m obviously into whatever you are wearing. I saw you tagged them and I was like “Oh I never heard of that brand”.

S: The brand is really cool, it’s like a South Korean brand. He’s been designing since like 2002. I don’t remember correctly and he had another brand.

C: South Korean?

S: Yeah, the brand is based off androgynous suiting. 

C: That’s totally up my alley, I love that. Where do you shop? What are your places?

S: So I would say about 50% of my wardrobe comes from SSENSE.com

C: Oh I love SSENSE.

S: Yeah, I would say thats like 50% of my stuff. They take a lot of our money and they also get the exclusives views on certain pieces. SSENSE is where I shop a lot online. In person…

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C: Barneys?

S: Yup, Barneys (pre-close) and Jeffreys. 

C: Yeah Jeffreys is pretty cool.

S: Outside of boutiques. There is also this really cool boutique on West 8th. It is called Shop Untitled.

C: Love that place.

S: They sell really cool things and brands like Demobaza which is pretty good. They also sell Tom Krom which is a German brand. I wear a lot of Tom Krom. 

C: Nice.

S: So it is Barneys, Shop Untitled, Jeffreys, SSENSE, and then until recently I do have a whole seller that I go through that I can not say.

C: You can tell me aside from this interview. You need to tell me because I need to know your secrets because I want all your clothes. Is it yoox?

S: Yes, it is one of them.

C: Why are you holding on to your secret spots? We want to know. 

S: I have made a lot of money off of yoox thats why.

C: I’m on Yoox all the time looking at stuff. I love the sales. I love to discover pieces but I love a bargain, I love a good deal. Everything is a sample sale. I love it. 

S: That’s another thing I was going to start talking about.  I go major sample sale shopping.

C: I’m just getting into that. All the sample sales are here. Just knowing you can go directly to that brand. 

S: Dover Street Market sample sale is the best sample sale I’ve ever been to. 

C: Love them too.

S: There are two more places that I shop at, Barney warehouse (pre-close).  And the last place is Matches.

C: Oh I love Matches, they have everything.

S: I had to stop buying from there because I had a bad experience.

C: Oh no.

S: Yeah those are pretty much my spots. Then there is farfetch.com, Farfetch is a combination of boutiques worldwide. If you’re avoiding paying tax thats the best place to go except if you’re buying from a boutique in New York, thats when they will tax you which is really stupid. 

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C: Okay, I want to end it on this. I have two questions left. What do you love and hate about New York? I know you are from Jamaica, what is New York for you? I think it is a fascinating place, this is the place for fashion. 

S: I think New York is awesome because it is one of the only places in America where you can leave your house at 2am and find something to do and see people wearing cool shit.

C: Yes, thats why I care about it. I literally can walk in any neighborhood and see people in dope shit. I love that. It gives me energy.

S: No matter what time or what type of vibe.

C: So last question, I know you are in school. So if you were not in fashion what would you be doing? What would be your career path? 

S: A really well dressed personal trainer or something. 

C: Fashion would just be your thing?

S: Like how I am now, It’s a hobby but I would not necessarily say its a career but I enjoy it.

C: Thats good because your knowledgable and you have great content. This is your niche. 

S: I’m in school for Kinseology. I played sports my whole life. I love sports. I love helping through injuries. I specifically want to help athletes. I do not think I would be able to empathize with someone who comes in and who’s pissed off about a jacket or something or the button. Those things are superficial. So you do know there is a superficial layer to fashion? You can build someone else’s confidence with their wardrobe, but when it comes from confidence from fitness, people depending on their body, how you feel about your body is a 100% of how you’re going to feel in the clothes. How you view your body is how you feel. That is why I like fitness. Everyone just needs to be healthy. You can’t wear fly clothes because you are in a wheel chair because you had a stroke. 

C: But you kinda can though. You can be an unhealthy person but still be fly in your wheel chair.

S: There’s someone in my hood like that

C: You can be the person on a cane but you fly as shit. You got one leg but you can wear what you want.

S: True.

xo

 

 

Published by ChardonnayT

Stylist x Editor x Creative

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