Artist and self-described pirate Jalon Middlebrooks also goes by Nolaj, the alias he created by spelling his name backwards. Find him on Instagram at @bitchimconceited.
How did you style your outfit?
I was going for a custom futuristic cowboy look. With all black, I chose to wear the burgundy top hat to complement the shoes. Just like I chose to wear the red fanny pack to complement the red on my black bomber jacket and the red on my rings’ stones. Every day is an adventure when going through my clothes and deciding what to wear, and the process is timely.
How do you usually accessorize your looks?
Ah yes, well, accessories are my favorite part of getting dressed! You’ll always catch me with at least one fanny pack on to match my outfit, sometimes two just for the flex! The rings come and go, but now I have twelve on each hand. There’s a specific order and placement for every ring on each finger. Bandanas, a lot of gold like a pirate and at least one other crazy piece to throw you off, like a fly-ass helmet or a cape. I love vintage. That rare stuff. I like to stick out, think outside the bizox and just really show these shorties what bad really looks like.
Do you always choose carefully what you’ll wear?
I do in fact always choose carefully what I wear. One hat can shift the entire look of an outfit. The pair of shades I’m wearing, the accent colors I decide to bring out, how many layers… All these factors and more can shift the entire mood of the fit. So I go with what I feel most and rock with that. I’m very strategic with my design and sometimes you gotta sacrifice to look nice, I think.
Who and what inspires your style?
Once I realized that I could paint a picture with my appearance and express so much without saying a word, I really began to enjoy exploring the world of accessories and using my creativity to put myself in my style. In terms of inspiration, I can definitely say the animated band called ‘Gorillaz’ has had a huge impact on my unique appearance. As a person I’ve always been very animated personality-wise, and I believe the Gorillaz were also the first artists I was a true legit fan of. I love the characters’ style and the way they use accessories to paint such a vivid portrait of their personalities, so to speak. They’re an animated band but pretty real to me.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is creativity and expression manifested by man to wear. Sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s inspiring and captivating, but every garment was an original idea. Swag, swag.
—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.