Interview By Jahneil La Mara
Looking for a way to put Detroit fashion on the map, Blair Watts created rockcity lookbook to showcase the style of her hometown. “You know what a New Yorker looks like, you what a person from L.A. looks like, you know what somebody from the East Coast looks like but no one knows what a Detroiter looks like. A lot of my work is to establish what a Detroiter looks like,” says Blair. The former college athlete turned fashion stylist is looking to expand how her city is viewed with fashion as her platform.
ELIXHER: Who is your biggest fashion inspiration?
BLAIR: The celebrity is Kanye West and the second answer is my family — my mother and my aunt. My mom, her aesthetic is very similar to mine…well, mine is similar to hers and so is Kanye West’s. I like classic looks, I like really good fabrics, and I like tailored and clean stuff.
ELIXHER: How would you describe your style in three words?
BLAIR: Timeless, attitude, and sporty. I’ve been a tomboy all my life, I’ve always played something. I wish I could play football. I’ve never been girly girly girly with dresses. I’ve always tried to find a way to defeminize within my toboyishness and masculinity. That’s a hard balance especially when people try to put you in a box of what you can wear and who you are. I don’t want to be boxed into anything. I want to be able to be fluid.
ELIXHER: Describe your go-to look.
BLAIR: If it’s my go-to look, it’s usually a vintage sweater or a crew neck. It’s the shoes first. If I’m rushing, I’ll look at the shoes that I have to grab and then boots, jeans and a sweater and something that will add a little flare: a gold necklace or something.
ELIXHER: What is your signature piece?
BLAIR: My hats and patterns.
ELIXHER: How did rockcity lookbook get started?
BLAIR: Bree, my photographer and my girlfriend, and I came home and we’re like, “Are we the only ones that can dress?” We just wanted to document our looks and tag Detroit in good stuff. I was like maybe we can just tag our looks and document our daily looks every day and put “Detroit.” That’s how I became a stylist really. I think for us, if we can dress we need to show that other people can dress. We recruited a couple of people, looked at my clothing, looked at her clothing, and asked a couple of people if they had a couple of clothes and put it together. It’s really to source quality visual images back to Detroit; the model is from Detroit, the clothes the person has on is usually from a store in Detroit, the photographers are from Detroit, the location is Detroit, and I’m the stylist I’m from Detroit. I want everything to be sourced back to Detroit. It’s a lot of things going on in Detroit that I feel strongly about and it’s a lot of issues that are going on that need to be talked about. I wanted a platform to talk and show. That’s what we’ll be doing, a lot of photo stories on issues we feel strongly about and see where it goes from there.
ELIXHER: If you could style anyone who would it be?
BLAIR: It would be Kanye. I think I can style him better than he thinks he can style him. Right now he’s the most fluid in fashion and music and culture. People look to him so I would go straight to the top and style him.
ELIXHER: What are your goals for the future?
BLAIR: For the lookbook, I hope that it turns into a portal for people to see what’s going on in Detroit. I always want to be a Detroit Fashion Ambassador. I don’t even know what that means but I do kind of want to be the person that says “yes” or “no” to the style, be more of a director. I really don’t know what I want to do yet but I know that I want to be a director of many things. Just more of an overseer and be the ambassador for the new culture that comes in Detroit.
ELIXHER: How (if at all) has the queer community influenced your work?
BLAIR: This was one of the other reasons we start the rockcity lookbook because we didn’t see anybody. There’s no real LGBT crowd here and the crowd that is here is really clubby. You only see one aspect, the extreme dom/stud and then the really feminine femme and I’m not either of those things. Where’s the other person? The thing that I’m trying to create comes from the LGBT culture. I have to continue to create that and it will manifest itself.
Visit rockcitylookbook.tumblr.com for more information.
Jahneil La Mara is a Southern California native and graduate of Florida’s Bethune-Cookman University where she received her B.A. in Mass Communications and served as editor-in-chief of the school paper. She has always been intrigued by the personal style of others and loves food, natural hair, traveling and Instagram. La Mara enjoys reading all things queer, fiction and non-fiction, and writes about her personal experiences being a young fashionable queer woman of color on her blog, LaLaLaMara.com.