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StyleCrush: Tatiana Benton, Fashion Designer.

StyleCrush: Tatiana Benton, Fashion Designer.

This week we feature the remarkably talented Tatiana Benton, a young fashion student from Brooklyn, New York. Her fresh outlook on fashion and gorgeous looks are sure to be a hit and we wanted to share her work with you before it hits the major runways!

Name: Tati Benton
Age: 23
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Profession: Fashion Student at Parsons School for Design
Social Media: For day to day, follow @bruja.tati and for fashion work, follow @benton.nyc.
Website: tatianabenton.com
Snapchat: @hongbuns

Wear Your Voice: How do you describe your personal style?
Tatiana Benton:
I would say my personal style is a little sexy and a little edgy. However, I’m always changing, and recently have been obsessed with adding funky elements to what I wear.

WYV: What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion? How would you describe the clothes that you produce?
Even though fashion wasn’t something that I decided on pursuing until after my first year and a half as a creative writing undergrad, I think I’ve always been slowly headed in that direction. I can remember drawing princess gowns with matching shoes and handbags in second grade, and being the kid throughout high school that was made fun of for wearing bright red tights and handkerchiefs around my neck. It wasn’t until one of my close friends knocked the implanted idea out of my head that I needed a “stable, normal” degree first — really, Creative Writing was my choice for that? Ha! — that I really decided to apply to a fashion course.

As for the clothes that I produce, I would say that they tend to be thoughtful, and motivated by some personal experience that I’ve had. I’ve been growing as a designer. As someone who was very interested into minimalist styles, I’m finding that almost being a maximalist and layering different motifs, textures, colors, and patterns etc, help to drive my narrative even further. I hope, in the end, that my clothes can not only be beautiful to the viewer but also consciously connect on some level to the wearer, whether its through my own narrative or their own personal narrative.

WYV: Who are the people close to you that have shaped your style?
The people that have shaped my style have definitely been my dad, my aunt, and my grandmother.

My grandmother has always been an extremely stylish person, and I think now, even out dresses me in clothes that I would wear. She’s gorgeous and I’m always wanting to steal her shoes.

My aunt reminds me to be practical. And maybe even more than my personal style, she’s definitely shaped the way I design, by reminding me to consider clothes tailored for women who may need to dress conservatively in their workplace, but still want to have a voice.

As for my father, after him telling me at least once a year he named me after three top Russian models in the 90’s and calling me his “Guess baby,” I think he pretty much insured that fashion would be in my future.

WYV: Who are your top 3 celebrity StyleCrushes?
Nadia Aboulhosn, Ashley Graham, and recently Drag Race contestant Naomi Smalls.

Nadia Aboulhosn was one of the first bloggers with a similar body to mine that I became aware of while I was exploring my own sense of style in high school. She truly was the catalyst of me realizing that different body types will and do belong in fashion.

Ashley Graham because I’m currently obsessed in general with her, and I love her casual sexiness.

Naomi Smalls because I absolutely love her over the top, drag persona of a legs for days ‘90s model. Full face makeup and over the top glam has a very special place in my secret, swarovski encrusted heart.

WYV: Which brands and designers are your faves? What draws you to each of them?
At the moment my favorite designer is Alessandro Michele, who is currently CD for Gucci. I love the feelings of nostalgia his collections have, and drive the maximalist inside me insane.

Sacai has also been a favorite of mine recently. I love the way they blend structure, print, texture and unexpected moments in garments in a way that makes sense, even to a viewer that might not be as fashion-minded.

Lastly, for places that I personally shop at, I think ASOS definitely has to be my number one. They have great alternatives in their plus size line that move away from the overly girly/sexy/maidenly tired options I think that many plus size retailers offer.

WYV: Which big name designers would you like to see move into the plus size market?
Wow so many. Sacai, Gucci, Chloe, Celine, Balmain, Proenza Schouler. KTZ for my futuristic softly goth wear. Marchesa for gowns. I could go on!

WYV: What do you hope to see more of in media and fashion?
My number one hope within fashion is to see a do away with the way the industry approaches the separation and production of straight sizes and plus sizes. As a designer I want all types of bodies and all types of people to be able to wear my clothes, but I think the way the industry is structured now doesn’t foster that possibility easily. They way we have traditionally thought about how clothes should be produced is completely flawed and outdated.

WYV: How do you wear your voice?
I wear my voice by being unapologetic in who I am and what I am, loving my flaws, and never seeking approval of things that I feel strongly about.

Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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