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Backstage Banter: Interview with House of Ra'oof and Debonaire Models stylist, Jamal

iSocialite was backstage this weekend at the Charlie Mack Party for Peace fashion show, hosted by Lisa Raye and showcasing the artistic opinions of several local designers. Although these events are for a great cause and many supporters created an engaging atmosphere, the entire weekend was in complete disarray and left us many questions about how the PR & event mangers handled it all. Hopefully next year will be better. Through our own efforts, we got a chance to chat with a stylist for Debonaire Models by the name of Jamal. He gave us some details about their upcoming August Launch and as everything gets finalized iSocialite will keep you updated! Jamal described his style as 'classic sheek' and this was clear in not only the order of his model's clothing, but in his as well. A little camera shy, he didn't want to take a picture but I wish you guys would have been there, he was very dapper! I'd let him dress me any day! Along with him was Dez, of Dezign Your Identity, who was responsible for the dazzling eyewear in the show! I need a pair of those glasses, they were to die for!

Next we caught up with Taji Nahl, the creator of 'House of Ra'oof', and asked him a few questions! I almost forgot I was interviewing him, the conversation seemed to just flow. He spoke to us about his background as an antique dealer and how he uses that as an inspiration. His creativity is so visible in the abstract construction of his pieces and his vivid imagination pulls you into his show scenes. He stated that his greatest influence is Bauhaus in Africa. From my research the Bauhaus style is described as "...a craft guild combining architecture, sculpture, and painting into a single creative expression." I tugged on my memory and I could see all of that intertwined in the House of Ra'oof designs. Taji described himself as a renaissance man, stating, "I may do 8 different things but I do them all well." He stressed the importance of collaborations and showing respect to both up and coming and established artists. I'm a huge fan of teamwork and collaborations can be monumental, especially when the right talents are involved. All in all I enjoyed his scenes in the show as well as our conversation. I was surprised to learn his true age and it was also inspiring to hear him speak about how he went after his dreams. Great conversation with an even greater artist. Can't wait until the next show!

---Nola Darling

(shared space with Studio Christensen at 333 S. 20th Street)

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