“Ralph Lauren was boring till I wore him” –Kanye West
“I go hard for fashion son, I get FLY everyday like it’s Easter” –Jim Jones
Two quotes that everyone should live and die by, are found on Shaundel The Fresh Maker's personal page. If there's someone with enough gall to reference two of pop culture's most stellar fashionistas, Shaundel, who makes one half of Team KiLLAFRE$H Inc, would be the perfect culprit. His choice of Kanye West and Jim Jones proves his fashion acumen 500+ percent: KillaFresh! He is an already-accomplished stylist, image maker, tastemaker, and even a fashionista himself, with seemingly never-ending testimonials of admiration. The Guy is swagger beyond his own good.
Consider this: he bought Nas his first gold rope chain because Kelis saw him wearing it at a party and stopped by for the all too familiar “looker's” inquiry. Now, he's formed a creative trust with an equally-charged fashion culprit by the name of “Killa Kim” (KiLLAFRE$H) Kimberley Cherubin, and has blessed the stages and walkways for MTV and BET, been featured in the new monster sneaker magazine lacedmagazine.com and resurrected a faltering Source magazine with a 80’s Hip-Hop photo profile.
Yes indeed. Shaundel: watch out for him. Read down for HONEST lectures on contemporary Urban Fashion's most famous/infamous jailbreaks ever, and learn why Shaundel & KiLLAFRESH are so relevant. There's no other choice from here. The eulogy for that loud-colored hoody has been delivered, the bell has tolled; Shaundel speaks:
Enter: Clinical Iconography
What made you decide to become a stylist?
Because I seriously have a love for fashion. I actually used to style my friends and family before it all started, when I moved to NYC about two years ago. I was doing free lance modeling and mostly every job that I booked, the fashion stylist’s loved my clothes and made me wear them for the photo shoot. The stylist’s then would ask me have I ever thought about a career in fashion styling. And the rest is history.
What makes you qualified to be one?
Well because unlike most self-proclaimed stylists, I am very versatile. I can style someone with a tailored two-button suit or, I'm ready to hit the block for a hip hop video. I can achieve many different looks with the knowledge that I have. I actually love dressing people and giving them looks, I have a passion for this. For example, I only took on a retail job so that I can style people. It wasn’t about the money; I just wanted to make people feel great by using fashion as our outlet.
What are some of the Best/Worst Fashion Trends you have seen?
As far as hip hop fashion… one of the best fashion trends I have seen is guys that are actually taking the time to see there are more options then the 4x white tee. You see guys wearing polo’s, sweaters, and oxfords with the appropriate fit. The worst would have to be over-sized blazer with the fitted. I mean the look is cool only if you tailor it the right way and have the perfect kicks.
Do you receive any hate from the regular hip hop crowd (Hot 97, Dipset, G-Unit, Ballers, etc.)?
Ha… Honestly, I get the most respect from the hip hop crowd. I believe there is an understanding of style that crosses over. Don’t get me wrong, I hear a few chuckles and comments. But overall it’s mostly love.
How did you get the Nas birthday party gig? Explain.
Well I was invited by my boy Damon whom actually threw the party. He told me the theme and at that time I actually had a flat top hair style and going with my 80s thing hard. So it all just fit like a glove.
How did you get Nick Cannon and Webber to attend?
I didn’t get them to attend. LOL. Damon and Kelis did the surprise invites.
Explain how you got Nas his first rope chain of the 2000s. Did you get him the Sphinx head also?
Well that happened a few years back (before the reactivated gold rope trend), I was at Lotus night club and I was rocking a gold rope chain on my birthday. Kelis saw me wearing it and asked me to get Nas one because he wants one really bad. So I found him one and got it to Kelis to give to Nas.
I think I heard Hell Rell (Dipset) diss “guys wearing gold rope chains”…is there still resistance to the 80s movement, or will it catch on soon? What’s the update on it now? Is it catching on in New York or anywhere else?
This is a great question. With the invention of MySpace, I found out this 80s trend is everywhere – people have sent me comments from Texas, Cali, Arkansas and even London. As for NYC, I think its starting to die down. We all know how New York is, it’s the fashion capital so we have to think ahead. Right now 90s flannel, overalls and timbs are the next thing to watch. And I do not think there is a resistance to 80s movement at all. As far as Hell Rell's comment, I believe he is coming at Nas and Jay wearing the gold ropes now. But I think it’s a statement of true respect for hip hop.
You moved to The City. Where are you originally from? What was it like keeping in style growing up where you were from?
Man, I am from Buffalo NY. That city is supposed to be the second largest city in New York. So you would think that Buffalo would have somewhat of a fashion scene. NOPE. Buffalo was/is always one step behind NYC in terms of fashion. I love my home town. Food is great. But fashion is not our best attribute. Keeping my style was a task. I had to maintain staying fresh but not too fashion-forward because I didn’t want to get clowned. I would do little things hoping that Buffalo would accept me and lucky they did. I actually set trends there.
What made you decide to bring the 80s back? Seriously?
I am 25 so back in ‘86 I was 5. My cousins were the ones who used to baby sit me while my mother was at work. And I used to always watch them get dressed with brands like MCM, Gucci, and Troop. And I used to steal their clothes and try and wear them to school because my mom wouldn’t buy it for me. So I always admired my cousins style, and I always told myself when I got older, I was going to do that. So when I moved to NYC I just said it's time for me to do me. I broke out my old medallions and started to grow a high top fade with fresh in the back. The 80s will always be the staple of hip hop fashion. You can not deny it. Even Sarah Jessica Parker's character Carrie in the TV show Sex and the City has a name plate necklace and bamboo earrings. And she was looked at as the most fashionable girl at that time.
What’s your opinion on the skull, wings and bones look?
I’m on the fence. It’s a trend that was cool but now is Ok. It just has to be done in moderation.
How did MTV hear of you?
From Nas’ surprise birthday party. That’s where they first seen me.
Are there any opportunities over there for you at MTV since you been doing this?
I have met a few people at MTV. But no jobs as of yet.
What kind of modeling gigs do you get…can you say what the pay is like?
I have been in hip hop fashion magazines like Source and also hip hop fashion shows like Dipset (Santana’s Town) annual fashion show. The pay is cool. Like maybe 200-500 a gig. But like I said before, I’m in it cause I love it. I have done things for free just for the exposure.
Would you model for Sean John or Roca-Wear if they ask?
Maybe. It depends on what the clothes look like.
When you put together an outfit, do you DO name brands, or do the vintage shopping like them other dudes…? LOL. I did not mean to say it that way, but you know how everybody is on that vintage shopping kick?
LOL. I mix and match. I go with what looks good. It may just be that $10 sweater that I am missing that may go with that $200 Spiz’ike. But I do try and stick with the brands cause that what most of the clients want.
Since you’re on the 80s tip, would you rock an 8-Ball/TROOP jacket again… please say no! LOL?
LOL. if you would have asked me that a year ago… hell yeah. But now, NOPE. As you see, everyone is doing this 80s thing, even growing high top fades and all. So now I have to evolve.
Is it time to say goodbye to the hoody? Especially the loud color print ones? What’s your opinion?
Let's face it, hoodies will always be in the closet of hip hop fashion. It’s easy and comfortable. But the all over print ones. Naw, that trend is done with. Unless you have some cool embroidery like Artful Dodger. But don’t worry, Niko-Bapes will have something new for people soon.
How did your major help you in what you’re doing today?
I graduated with a degree in hospitality. LOL. I should be managing a hotel somewhere or cooking in kitchen, but I wouldn’t have been happy with that. I always knew I wanted to do fashion but I just never pursued it til now because of my environment.
You left Buffalo, home of the BILLS, to promote parties in NYC. That’s a big leap cuz upstate is not the city. How long did it take to make a name for yourself up until the Nas party? What exactly did you have to learn and adjust to in promoting parties?
Well, in Buffalo I was throwing parties even when I was in high school. Then college came and that’s where I actually got paid to promote parties. When I graduated and moved here. I just hooked up with the right team (Trendsetters), and took what I knew and applied it to the NYC life. And as for the Nas party, I cannot take the credit for that. That was my boy Damon. He is the one who threw that party. I just showed face to show how the 80s was done.
Who are you styling for now, why?
I’m still freelance styling now. Like mainly up and coming hip hop and R&B artists. But more recently I got to help out with BET’s Rip the Runway styling backstage for Michael Knight.
Who would you like to style for if you had a chance?
With out a doubt, Kanye West. Only because his style is somewhat similar to my own. It's 80s, but with a twist.
How did you meet the Retro Kids?
My boy: Roomate Ronnie James introduced us. A while back at a party.
How did they get the idea for that 80s look?
They seen how the trend was starting in NYC and they put there own lil spin on things and created their look.
What will you be doing for the Retro Kids in the future?
I’m in talks to style them. I want to take them to the next level
What’s the next biggest fashion style?
Flannel shirts… overalls. Think Kriss Kross in 2010.
What big projects/plans are you working on?
Well I just joined forces with a female- Kimberly “Killa” Cherebin, whose style is just as dope as mine, to create KILLAFR3$H. I figured, why not take the hottest young female stylist and work with her to create some dope fresh looks. Look out for the name.