Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Man Bags, The Body Beautiful, Beautiful People and Custom Sneakers

New York is always the center of the universe when it comes to trends and tastemaking. On my recent trip to New York here are a few things that I noticed:

The ever present “Man Bag” was the star of the fashion story. The man bag is almost a necessity in New York as walking is tantamount to navigating around the NYC. I saw men with everything from Chanel bags to camoflage army looking bags. I admit that the Chanel bag seemed a bit much to me, and the guy who had it was a bit….shall we say, soft.

The main thing is that despite the popularity of the man bag in New York, I do not think its popularity will translate to the heartland. This is mainly because, as the obesity statistics attest, the majority of people outside of New York City are sedentary and overweight. Walking is not a necessity for those of us in the hotlands and heartlands of Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Nebraska and Illinois, therefore that Man Bag becomes a severe fashion statement as opposed to a casual necessary accompaniment.

That leads me to cover off on the beautiful bodies that I saw in New York City. As a 230 lb. six foot 1 large sized man, I felt very out of place on the set of the photoshoot for the ad campaign that my Agency is producing. Most of those working there in the studio were fit and had no signs of pot bellies or flabbiness. That is not even considering the female models that were on set. It seems that the AVERAGE size for the female model is 2, 34 a/b cups and a height of about 6 feet. The male models were all gorgeous with cool 24 hour shadow, size 40 suit sizes, and lean muscle mass. Wow, I felt like immediately leaving New York to run home, hire a trainer, and begin running non stop on the treadmill. I am seriously out of shape, and I realized that the shaping of your body and being fit is just as important in this business as your actual work. I guess it also helps that really good food is hard to come by in NYC too. We discovered that eating a good meal was not as important in NYC. The restaurants there were awfully high and the food at best was mediocre. No one invites you over for a good hot meal either, as no one seems to cook in NYC. There were many beautiful bodies in NYC and next time I go back, maybe I will be one of them.

I must say that the nightlife options in NYC are impressive. As a lover of real soulful house music, I found nirvana at a club in the coolest of the cool NYC areas called the Meatpacking District. The club was Cielo and we happened to luck up to hear the one and only Kevin Hedges of the famous dance music duo Blaze spinning house and Afrobeat. Cielo is a club built for sound so the sound system in there was off the chain. The lighting inside the club was dramatic too.

If I could take one thing back with me to Dallas, Texas from NYC it would be the open attitudes of race and socializing across cultural groups. In the W hotel where we stayed, the people in the lounge were melded together by groovy sounds across all genres, good drinks, cool atmosphere and a willingness to mix it up. There was a lack of unnecessary haughty “I am rich and white and don’t want to socialize with those not like me” attitude and snootiness that seems to permeate every nice nightspot in Big D. Instead, people were celebrating the end to the long hot week and wanting to mingle. It was evident to me that everyone was welcomed and the music expressed that.

We also went to one of the best black owned restaurants in Manhattan, Maroons. Maroons is located in the Chelsea area of NYC. Chelsea is predominately gay and white but it was rather cool that a black owned restaurant serving Southern and Caribbean cuisine could flourish there. When we walked in for our 9p reservation we were greeted warmly by the hostess. Inside this tiny space were beautiful black people, an older white couple having a nice meal, a table full of gay white men, and a smattering of afrocentric couples on what seemed like nice romantic dates. The food was good at Maroons and the Jamaican rum punch was the real deal!

Finally, we cover off on sneakers. The hippest people in New York had what seemed to be the most unique and odd looking sneakers I had ever seen. In the shopping district in SOHO every other shop seems to offer some assortment of one of a kind sneakers from Puma, to PF Flyers, to Nikes, and to Mitre. Sneakers are the newest trend amongst the fashionistas and I think this is something that is happening in the heartland too. Sneakers are the shit right now.

So if you go to New York open yourself to snooping and observing to check out the latest trends. New York City is a terrific place and the people are equally terrific. I encourage everyone to experience it if they can at least once a year.

Peace and Love,


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