Promoter and dancer Smaranda Gildea (@bout2blaze, aka the Turn Up Queen) was zooming through the 606. She was wearing a green flower arrangement on her head.
Do you always incorporate skatewear into your wardrobe?
I’ve always had an attraction to skate shoes but my style has evolved out of the classic skater look. The branding and logos were too loud. I skate more as a means of transportation and I won’t compromise anything regarding my style even if I’m skating. You can catch me riding in a fur coat when it’s cold out.
How do you adapt your style to evening events?
It depends on the destination, how I’m feeling, how much I plan to be dancing and who I’m going to see. I love rocking six-plus-inch heels, so the expiration of their comfort is definitely one of the things I take into consideration. If I know the music is going to be really good, I’ll opt for platforms or wedges, so that I can make it through the night. I also have an aversion against black. The whole concept of an “LBD” bothers me because it’s so safe and plain. I prefer to wear yellow.
Could you tell me more about your camouflage obsession and your shoes?
I love the aesthetic of the camouflage print and how different countries have their own interpretation of it based on the natural environment the soldiers have to operate in. It’s meant to blend in with the world and I want to feel like I’m in agreement with the elements. The classic print is my go-to, but I love the German version, desert, jungle, tiger camo and all the modern digital interpretations. It also makes me feel empowered—I can take on anything that’s coming my way, like a true souljah.
How about your skateboard? Do you always match it with your clothes? Do you use other skateboards as well?
The skateboard was such a lucky find during my travels in Paris—they only had one, and they had just received it in the store an hour earlier. I call it “concrete camo” because it channels the look of the concrete jungle. The orange wheels really make the greens pop. It’s one of my favorite color combinations—olive green and bright orange. I tend to match it with my clothes quite often.
What do you look for in an outfit?
Expression of my current mood through clothes allows me to connect with random people I encounter and it’s very important to me. I can never put the outfit together the night before, because I don’t know what I’m going to feel like tomorrow. What I wear is an extension of myself, so I look for unique and colorful pieces that are not mass-produced. My outfits really have the power to change people’s moods for the better, so I take this seriously and try to innovate every chance I get. Aside from shoes (duh!), the most important thing is that you feel good in what you’re wearing.
—Interview and photograph by Isa Giallorenzo
Journalist Isa Giallorenzo was born in São Paulo, Brazil and has elected Chicago as her beloved home since 2009. She runs the street-style blog Chicago Looks and wants to see this town become one of the fashion capitals of the world.