Beat from the street (April 16, 2014)

Many stories lurk throughout Asheville, whether behind the Vaudevillian jazz-folk played by buskers around Pritchard Park, the colorful businesses decorated with funky, hand-made crafts or the laughter echoing from a patio as locals enjoy delicious beer.

Photos by Larisa Karr.

Morgan Stafford, a medical science student and Charlotte native
How would you describe your style? 
“I have no idea. How would I describe my style? Not hipster chic! I have no money ever. This is because I spend all my money on clothes. I realized the other day that the only reason I’m going to college is so I can buy nice clothes in the future. I used to have a closet, but not anymore, because I’m here.”
Who would you cite as a creative inspiration in general in your life?
“Fashion-wise? Audrey Hepburn, yes! Her! I like her. I like looking at magazines and Tumblr and stuff. Usually online shopping, that’s usually everything where I get all my inspiration from.”
So you’re inspired visually?
“Yeah, and what I wear changes on the day. I’ll plan my outfits a week ahead sometimes to prepare for the weather. I have a set of outfits visually set up but then I change them depending on how I feel, just so I’m wearing something different.
“In London, my dad’s fiancee got these shoes for me for my birthday. She was trying to look for something that looked like my style, and she said that in London, wearing all black and then some really cool shoes is all the rage.
“That’s something I used to do all the time, so I still like doing that. It’s really nice. I like having something subtle and something bright like lipstick or bows. I’m kind of obsessed with bows. I love them so much. I try to wear them every day and always look for some way I can wear them. It’s horrible.”
Do you have a specific color theme you work with? 
“I like greys. I like red. I like greens; jade, forest and olive in particular. I like glitter, yeah! I love gold and I correlate things with eye color.
“Since I have green eyes, gold goes with the green, as bronze colors do and the same thing works with hair, makeup and clothes.
“Everything I coordinate with eye color. That’s when everything comes together in the subconscious. I don’t know if that really exists or if I just kind of came up with it.”

Megan Braaten, a new media student and Charlotte native
Tell me about your style, this outfit for instance:
“I go for comfort most of the time and I don’t really wear things that I’m uncomfortable in, sometimes I do, but I’m always happier if I’m wearing something that I can just do whatever in. That’s usually important.
“I get a lot of inspiration from the ‘80s and ‘90s basically. I’ve recently got into the 2000s a little bit, it’s just like wearing two different versions of the same color, which is kinda dope.
“I basically only shop at American Apparel, other than Goodwill – I don’t really count that because I don’t go there often, but if I ever go online shopping anywhere, I go to American Apparel because it’s made in America and most of the stuff I’ve got from there hasn’t broken or faded really.
“I don’t mind spending a little bit more extra money to know that it’s made in America and that it’s not going to fall apart, rather than with Urban Outfitters and Forever 21.”
How would you say that the music you make influences your creative aesthetic and how you dress?
“My music is very ambient and it has a lot of inspiration from Cat Power and ‘90s kind of stuff. It’s really slow and it’s unintentionally sad.
“I wear a lot of black and not a lot of color that often. If I do, it’s mostly darker colors. I’ll either wear black or all white – I’ll never wear pink or colors like that.
“I’ve kind of gotten into that recently since I’ve bleached my hair and dyed it pink and stuff, but whenever I picture myself onstage somewhere playing music, I always picture myself in a black turtleneck dress and that’s it. I never picture myself wearing anything else other than all black.
“Sometimes, I’ll be wearing clothes that’ll make me think, ‘It would be really strange playing music in this, since it doesn’t match the music at all.’ But I think if I actually started becoming famous for my music and people knew me for my music, I would definitely commit more of my clothes to that aesthetic, but that’s not really a thing now, so I kind of just do whatever I want.”
So you’re willing to change?
“Yeah, well, I feel like I’m actually willing to focus in on more of one kind of style. I feel like I just kind of change from day to day what I want. It’s all really simple though. I never put on anything that extravagant.”
How do you feel about the overall fashion scene at UNC Asheville?
“It sucks. It sucks, but I don’t care. So what? I don’t know, it’s just kind of boring. I didn’t really expect anything different. There’s probably 10 people overall that I’ve seen that I’ve thought actually had decent fashion taste, but in general, I walk around and I don’t really see anything that catches my eye.
“Say if I went to school in Brooklyn or somewhere like that, I’m sure I’d be drowning in people that look awesome. I’m honestly not that impressed by the students here. I’ve even gone on the Look Book and said ‘Why?’ I don’t consider sweatpants a thing anymore. They don’t count.
“My roommate – Brandy Neal – her clothes are awesome though. I love her. We forget whose clothes are whose sometimes, because we have all black everything. We’ll ask each other, ‘Are these your pants or are they mine? I don’t know.’ It’s great.”
This column was originally published in The Blue Banner