When we decided to produce our first fashion edition, it was important to us to do it Alt style. So here is what we decided to do: Four subjects, each with their own very defined sense of style and four talented stylists adding a little–or a lot–to update their looks for the winter. The stylists who answered the call to be paired up with our fashion subjects are Jonathan Michael Brust, the proprietor of the fashion and lifestyle shop Enigma on Lark Street; Lynne Signore, a commercial stylist working in film and video–both regionally and beyond; Kathleen Tesnakis, owner of Troy’s iconic Ekologic recycled clothing brand; and Bridget Zeunges Collins of Dames, a retro inspired fashion boutique. You’ve likely seen our subjects in their fields or on our pages: Taina Asili is the frontwoman of Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde, Teasy Roosevelt is the patriotic performer of the Pop Culture Provocateurs burlesque collective, Courtney Covino is a tattoo artist at Albany’s Modern Body Art and Luke Stoddard Nathan is our very own reporter–and reluctant model.
All model photos by Thom Williams
Model: TEASY ROOSEVELT – burlesque performer of Pop Culture Provocateurs collective
Alt: What did you think of your styling for the shoot?
As a plus size woman, I know it’s very hard to find clothes that can fit me but I felt very comfortable and hip. The sweater was really awesome and I’ve never worn a head wrap before, I’m not really a headband person.
Alt: How does it differentiate from your daily wear?
I usually wear just black leggings and tops, really neutral colors. It’s like a daytime business wear punk rock [style]. I go for comfort and chicness… a very 1960s mod look. At work, I have to have something a little more business casual and sometimes I’ll throw in a colorful mod dress.
I like to differentiate between my costume–when I have to put on a corset and makeup–and daywear. If my costume level is at 11, my daywear will be an 11 on a comfort level. I love the fall look so much. I pull out my black leather jacket and I have to get new black riding boots every year because I wear them out. I love jewelry too–chunky, vintage pieces that stand out.
Stylist: Lynne Signore
Alt: What were your first thoughts when you found out you were paired with Teasy?
I knew Teasy’s look long before this ALT challenge. I really admire her on stage persona, energy and beautiful retro style but for this assignment, wanted to add as little as possible while bringing in a little bit of what is trending, contemporary, with a hint of ethnic thrown in. My first thought, and I am glad that it worked out as well as it did, was to use the Acme open woven sweater. It is soft but adds an architectural strength. She is adorable.
Alt: Tell us a little bit about your work and style.
I have been a stylist for politicians, doctors, musicians, actors and athletes locally and on the national stage and each assignment has posed different challenges, opened new doors. Experience and a personal feel for, and relationship with, the subjects is always key to getting the look right. Although I have done my share of higher fashion, I take pride in working with my photographers and videographers to using all of the tools at our disposal to capture what is natural and authentic in our subjects. The progressing towards higher and higher definition demands that the steps that we take, whether in makeup, styling or lighting ring true, that they remain in balance and remain believable. I embrace that challenge as it drives me to constantly re-invent, and sometimes to blend the very new with time tested techniques. My work might demand nothing more than a face and touch up of hair, or could entail a complete wardrobe and transformative style. On a shoot with the legendary talent Isaac Hayes, he fell in love with a pair of glasses that I had sourced. They happened to belong to my husband, who asked that I please let Mr. Hayes have them. I was proud that I was able to style this icon in a way that pleased him and that he wanted to embrace.
Model: Luke Stoddard Nathan – reporter
Alt: What was your impression of your first modeling gig?
I was relieved, after being last-minute conscripted into this issue, when Richard handed me a shirt from Enigma.Co, one I’d actually wear in real life. My dread returned, of course, when he gave me his hat, but at least for a few seconds I was able to imagine that I would enjoy—and perhaps even excel at—modeling. Thank you, Richard, for that flicker of inner belief.
Stylist: Jonathan Brust – owner of Enigma.Co on Lark Street
Alt: What made you choose this particular article for Luke?
[The shirt] is a great piece for just a normal guy that has a little bit of style. We sell a lot of versatile pieces. I love being able to work with a blazer or sweater that you can layer–pieces that you can wear throughout the day that are comfortable and cute. You can go grab a cup of coffee with friends and not worry about running into someone and looking bad. Getting dressed shouldn’t be that stressful.
Alt: How does that versatility add to the brand?
This is our third year with Enigma and it has changed quite a bit. We went from Troy to Albany and then with our larger store on Lark Street, we’ve built more of a lifestyle brand. It’s not just the things you wear, it’s the things you keep and are precious to us. There’s a lot of decor and plant-based items that add to the aesthetic. For our consumer base, we try to provide the best quality that we can. We have a lot [of] USA made product.
Model: Taina Asili – frontwoman of Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde
Alt: What was your first thought when you saw the clothing for your shoot?
I love it. The colors are totally my colors, awesome blues and purples with grey and black blocks. It’s a style that really reflects my own style on a couple different levels. There’s the actual look of it and there’s also the concept of it–being a socially responsible and sustainable business. The idea that it’s recycled materials and it’s not made in a sweatshop. It’s local and reused so that we’re helping our world instead of creating more waste. I love that.
Alt: How do the pieces fit in with your personal style?
I like to be grounded but sexy. I like the material it’s very grounded but the cut is very sexy– a little peekhole in the chest and is very shapely. But it’s also very practical and grounded which is important because in addition to being a performer, I’m also a parent so I like a functional and grounded look. I like to be able to dance and work. It’s warm and layered with a hat and gloves that I can work with.
It’s really sort of a notch up from my day look. This is something that I can see myself wearing to a gathering, or for a concert. I like to find clothing that I can wear a good stretch of the year, I never put clothes away. I like to figure out how to rework what I have. Marie Kondo, she’s this Japanese writer that has this whole method of decluttering. She became well-known for her method and one of the things that she talks about is to discard anything that doesn’t bring you joy. So, I went through everything in my house. I discarded everything that didn’t bring me joy, including my clothes. I used to say, “Well, these are my spring clothes.” Now it’s just my clothes, I have them all year long. I can take a tank top and wear it with a leather jacket or a shrug. It still functions. I mean, some things don’t, like summer dresses or shorts. But layering seems to be a style and it’s important for me and my performances because I’ll start off being chilly in the beginning of a set and then I can delayer as I’m performing.
Stylist: Kathleen Tesnakis – president and designer at Ekologic
Alt: What were your first thoughts when you found out you were paired with Taina?
I brought colors that I think she would look beautiful in and gave her some choices that I really think would really fit her style and I think we did it. My work is also about individual instruction because it’s individual pieces, it’s really important that the individual feels beautiful in the item. I don’t just put my clothes on someone, I want them to choose the clothes. I knew she could take the rich [colors] when I found this dress, I almost didn’t bring it but I had to because I know it was going to look beautiful on her.
Alt: Tell us a little about your brand.
I’m one of 40 artist that have been chosen to sell in Grand Central Station for the holidays so we’re there from Nov. 13 to Dec. 25 every day and I come back in the weekend and work with my team in the shop in Troy. We are a recycling design studio so everything that we make is done by recycling old cashmere sweaters and transforming them into new material. Each piece is a handcut one of a kind original concept and it’s all done without dyes, chemicals or negative byproducts. We’re practically a zero waste studio. We are deconstructing old garments to create fabric and the deconstructed seams are actually sold to another artist to use in her recycled work as hair and other crazy stuff. Ekologic is both an echo and ecological. It’s thinking about echoing the past and presenting the future. We do that every day. The material that are recycled is also locally produced, locally made. Everything in the Troy studio comes from New York and the metro area, so it’s handmade…and transformed in New York.
I started the company out in Oregon and then we moved to Troy 15 years ago. There’s six of us, my husband and an amazing studio team. Part of the recycling process is learning how to manipulate the fabric and manipulate the scrap to develop other products. The team really supports my creativity and my vision and this recycling system we’ve developed. Everyone moves the material into this design that I’ve created and they’re all master recyclers. We have a really neat team, I’ll say to everyone, ‘Don’t think with your head, think with your heart.’ Because we’re making these in such a unique way, I can tell the difference in work if you present something from your head–it’s not going to excite me. When it’s from your heart, it’s immediate. You can feel it and the customer feels it too. It’s intentional clothing.
Model: Courtney Covino – tattoo artist at Modern Body Art
Alt: How do these pieces fit in with your day-to-day wear?
I like a lot of things that are gifted to me. The kimono was my friend Joey’s grandmother’s from when they were stationed in, I think, Japan. I believe she picked it up so she could be part of the culture. I have a Tommy Finland t-shirt that was given to me by my friend David. I’m vegan, so I try to find some other vegan type pieces–this rubber cap [is] from a cool little place in San Francisco. These are vegan fluevogs. I also like to support smaller businesses and ethically sourced businesses. I collect pieces and then I wear them all the time…This [bracelet] is a gift from one of my favorite artists, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
Alt: How would you describe your personal style?
I’m obsessed with fashion and art so I research a lot of it and I’ll find things that I really, really like and can’t afford so I’ll either make it or try to figure out something that’s similar to it. I usually shop online because it’s hard to find things in malls. I love vintage stores. I don’t pick up on a lot of trends. It’s usually something I’ll pick up from a film or artist or from different eras, where I’ll be like, “Oh, that’s really beautiful. I want to do that.” I dyed my fingers because I’m obsessed with Michele Lamy, who was Rick Owens’ muse. She does this and [it’s] beautiful. I have to be inspired or else I get bored.
Stylist: Bridget Zeunges Collins of Dames
Alt: What made you choose these particular accessories for Courtney?
Courtney has such an eccentric style as is, so it was hard to choose what to add to her look. The phone bag gave her a bit of an edge and the Sailor Jerry parisol was very cool for capturing that pin-up style look for her. It has that tattoo-esque design with the edge of ink to it. There’s pin-up and then there’s rockabilly that is a bit more edgy and tatted up. I like traditional pin-up on myself but rockabilly is so cool.