For our first Passing Points, we asked writer, filmmaker and friend of Studio Nicholson Janicza Bravo, about what inspires her modular wardrobe. With feature films Lemon, Zola and the award-winning short, Gregory Go Boom under her belt, Janicza knows how to create impact. Originally from New York via Panama, Janicza now lives in Los Angeles.
If your wardrobe could speak, what would it say about you?
It would probably say, "There should be less." But maybe, if you asked the same question to a handful of my pieces, they’d say they’re sitting in the space where play and ease meet. My style has been the same for a while now. I have lots of clothes (too many clothes!) but to break it down, there are about 20 things I wear constantly (season dependent) and about 300 things that are for special occasions.
Why are form, fit and fabrication crucial for our enjoyment of clothing?
Fit first and foremost. This is about how you meet the clothes and how the clothes meet you. Not tailoring per se. I like luxe fabrics just as much as the next guy. But price points do shut doors. In New York, everywhere you look is a feast. People know how to dress and they like to dress too - and you experience that in range; from the high end to the thrifted.
If you could meet one of your style heroes - who would it be?
I’ll say Bill Cunningham. We did meet once briefly (but it hardly counts). Many years ago, when I was in my early 20s, I was assisting a stylist called Kristen Naiman and we were doing a shoot for Teen Vogue. It was during a fashion week and the idea behind the shoot was to street cast. We had a rack of clothes. We were meeting people outside the catwalk shows. They were supposed to add something from our rack to their look and then we would photograph them. It was a story about accessorising or adding the missing piece. I’m Black, I'm wearing a black dress and my boss Kristen is white and she's wearing a white dress. Both A-line and both linen. We looked like a black and white cookie. Bill Cunningham saw us together and was tickled. He couldn’t get enough of our thing. He snapped a few shots and that was that. I felt so seen by him in that little interaction. To be on the other side of his lens meant you were a standout.
What makes a good modular wardrobe?
I tend to operate in excess but for the last few years I’ve been building on pieces that I want to have for years and years. The idea being, “What would I want to pass down?”.