I generally think of myself as a fashionable person. I am able to put together outfits and most of the time feel comfortable and confident about what I chose.

I usually follow the color wheel when picking out clothes and somehow strategically making an outfit out of it. Through the years I’ve gone through many phases but I’m happy to say that I have found my happy medium. I dress very formal, very casual, and very laid back and everything in between the three. Jean jackets and jeans are my favorite statement pieces because literally everything coordinates with the material, it’s amazing. Since living in New York I have learned how to stretch my wash life of my jeans as opposed to washing them literally every week. (Heads up, if you want your jeans to be a nice color and not fade, DONT WASH THEM. Or at least too often) Like I said earlier I’m not a fashionista but I know how to get by and dress for the occasion. When I first wanted to write about this topic I was a little worried because I didn’t think I would know much about the topic. I mean don’t get me wrong I dress to impress but I’m more so a laid back California type of girl (which is funny because I’m from Maryland). Luckily, I remembered back in high school I met this girl (now woman) whose name is Zahniya. Though now she goes by Zee and has made a name for herself in Hotlanta (Atlanta, Georgia). When we both were in high school, her being one year my senior, I saw how she executed her feelings and moods through her clothing. Just as often as her clothes changed, her hair did as well. My favorite will always be the shaved sides and the blonde bob coming down her face. Very iconic, Zahniya!

Although born in Virginia, Zahniya spent most of her life moving around Maryland and Washington, DC. When asked what was the effect of moving so much she said with ease, “it made me able to adapt to various types of environments, which has come in handy. It has allowed me not to limit myself and do what I’m capable of doing.” She then says, “my environment has made me everything I am and everything I’m not. But most importantly, everything I desire to be.” Unlike most Zee was able to attend college and find her passion, although it isn’t what she initially planned for it to be, she found it out in the nick of time. I went to both “North Carolina Central University and Clark Atlanta for journalism but decided to take a break from school and find myself and to find my passion, which I did. It was then I introduced myself as a stylist”, when asked how long she’s loved fashion she stated, “I believe I really got into fashion in my middle school years. I call them my trial years. During that time, it was really a bunch of trial and error, I experimented with different styles, looks, patterns, prints, anything you can name it. Contrary to my belief moving from place to place was also a crucial part of my fashion sense. Seeing a lot of different cultures as well as different styles I would often take what I saw and mimic it in a way. My way!”

Fortunately, her middle school years were not the only thing that lit her fume of fashion fire. Two years ago she had the opportunity to be a stylist in the women’s clothing store Bebe. Ideally, “I wanted to be a writer, I still am a writer. I majored in Mass communications with a concentration in Journalism, so obviously it holds a very close place in my heart.” But the stylist says, “I had a sit down with myself and asked myself, Zahniya…what is it that [you] really want to be? what is the one thing [you] love?” After weighing out the pros and the cons and all of the struggles and benefits, she came to a conclusion. “I knew that fashion was it.” Despite, knowing the struggles of being an aspiring stylist Zahniya stands firm on her beliefs of success through this career. “I understand that it takes time to become a well-known successful stylist, but that doesn’t discourage me or make me want to give it up”, says the 21-year-old. With time comes “knowledge and with knowledge comes success, and once I reach the level of success that I wish to obtain, the time it took me to get there would not ultimately matter. It will all pay off.”

Since the summer is here I decided to ask Zee, “what would you see yourself wearing this summer sixteen?” We both laugh as she says, “summer isn’t her favorite time of the year” but she does say that “summer fashion allows people to be free and less conscious of what they wear.” She adds, this is definitely “the time to either change up your style or show it off more; show people who you are, your personality and so much more.” Feeling a little bummed about her not favoring summer as much of the rest of us (GO SUMMER!!!!) I still tried to see if she had some tips for outfits. She describes herself as a “simple yet bold person” he favorite summer outfit for the week consist of: an oversized shirt dress, with a bold sleeveless vest, paired with very fun high fashion sneakers. Don’t be too discouraged accessory lovers. To top off the outfit she would rock some very daring chic sunglasses, as well as some nice arm candy to make the outfit pop. Her weekend outfit is a bit more on the “girly side” consisting of: a cute two-piece outfit with shorts, that is very a vibrant yet bold color, along with a bold hat and maybe some wedges.

Throughout the interview I got to understand Zahniya on a deeper level. “I am a creator, a lover of life and most importantly myself…everyday I’m finding out something new about myself, whether it be from my thought process to my look. It’s weird but such a refreshing feeling”, she says. When asked what is the best advice for the readers out there, she said first things first “time is of the essence, it is literally something that you can never get back. So please do not waste it.” She goes on, secondly “be yourself: today all we see are pretenders and people who are trying to fit in. Being yourself gets you further in life then pretending ever will get you, protect your happiness at all cost: when you protect what is yours it makes it harder to allow things to affect you, and live life for you and you only: so many people in this world are living but are not alive.” Lastly she says, “regardless of what people may say or how they may feel about you as a person, do what makes you happy and do what you want to do. The best revenge is and always will be, success.”

By Chloe Ridore



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