• About: Aleali May and Allen Park

    This month at UO, we're inspired by duos of all kinds, whether it's couples or coworkers, bandmates or brothers: sometimes the best, most unexpected results come from the power of two, and we're diving into these stories to learn more about lots of different pairs. One of our favorite discoveries is the creative collaboration of Aleali May and Allen Park. A stylist force to be reckoned with, Aleali has her hands in tons of different compelling facets of the fashion world, from her start working with clothing brands as a teenager to today working as a stylist and image consultant. On the other side is her partner in crime Allen Park, who shoots the editorials that Aleali styles for her blog and is the behind-the-scenes man turning her ideas into reality. One afternoon in LA, we decided to flip the lens and pair them together for a shoot reflective of their signature minimal-modern style, having them both put their own twist on some of our favorite black and white UO pieces, and divulge more about their personal style. 

    Aleali, can you tell us more about how you first got started in the fashion world — you started collaborating and working for brands when you were super young! Were you interested in fashion and learning about labels and fashion houses when you were a kid?
    As a young girl I didn’t know too much about fashion but I always had an idea of what I wanted to wear. My family always inspired me by teaching me about certain labels and how to put outfits together as they were always stylish. My mom always wore the oversize button downs with the riding pants and boots, red lipstick, and hair pulled in a tight ponytail like Sade. My dad and uncle always stayed in sportswear while my grandmother wore luxurious furs and designer handbags. They all influenced me to become an individual and find a way to express myself through what I wore.  

    When it comes to learning specifics about fashion labels, I really respect history and where things originate, and thats where the hunger to know more about brands came from. I went and searched for the perfect place to get insight, and I applied at Louis Vuitton, where I started working when I was 19 years old and later moved on to RSVP Gallery in Chicago. 

    How did you first get interested in streetwear? 
    It was never intentional. I grew up in Southern California listening to hip hop, buying Jordan sneakers on the release date, and [having an understanding of] sports like basketball and football. I grew up a tomboy—when the newest Jordans were released, my uncle always bought a pair for him and a pair for me, with the matching sweatsuit. Over time I learned how to mix what I grew up wearing with current brands and styles that interests me. Streetwear is in my DNA!

    Where do you get the most influence for your personal style — on the street, film, music, online? 
    I pull inspiration from everything and everywhere: people, places and things all contribute to my ideas. As of now I’ve been really interested in Army clothes and the different greens and and camouflage. I was an army brat (daughter of a soldier) and I was always around it. Songs I am interested in at the moment are “Blessings” by Big Sean, Drake, and Kanye West; Travi$ Scott's “Days Before Rodeo” is always a good one too. 

    Allen, can you tell us more about your photography and your background?
    I'm an LA native and it's been about a year and a half since I started taking pictures. I work with Aleali’s on her posts and event photos on her website. My personal work is all film and it's raw...a little bit grimy, but my digital work would be described is very stark and minimal.

    Above: Aleali photographed by Allen with her take on black and white UO staples, including Tee Library shirt, Out From Under leggings, and Vans mixed in with her own pieces

    How did you and Allen meet?
    I met Allen through another friend. I was looking for a local photographer that had the same vision I wanted for my newly-launched website; Allen was the first recommendation.

    Can you speak a bit to the value in finding a regular photographer to work and be comfortable shooting with? 
    They know how you work and you build a foundation that helps push one another to display the message you want to give to your audience.  

    Allen, tell us something we don’t know about Aleali. 
    Once you get to know her, she is probably one of the funniest people you'll ever know.

    Aleali, tell us something we don’t know about Allen.
    He loves listening to 90s and early 2000s Hip Hop and R&B.

    Can you each share a few of your specific wardrobe staples?
    Aleali: A pair of Jordan 1 sneakers and Hermes bracelets
    Allen: a crew neck shirt with black pants

    What moments stand out in your mind as “I’ve made it” moments — times that, if someone had told you five years ago you wouldn’t believe you would be there. Any specific stories that come to mind would be great. 
    Every moment is an obstacle and an experience. I haven’t reached my “I’ve made it” moment, but when I do, I’ll be playing Jay-Z’s song “Encore” following a party equivalent to Jay-Z’s “Roc Boys” video…

    What's your favorite fashion decade? 
    I am a big fan of 90s and 80s fashion. I love the 90s because it relates to my style now with girls in more relaxed and comfortable clothes. I love 80s because I had an obsession as a kid with break dancing, movies such as Beat Street and Krush Groove, and asked for Kangol Hats, Adidas sweatsuits and and airbrushed shirts one Christmas.  

    What have you learned about your own style in your experience dressing/styling other people? How has it influenced the way you approach buying pieces or putting together an outfit?
    I’m all about buying pieces, rather than buying something that will be popular for five minutes. The definition of a “piece” to me, is something that has value, quality, and is classic. You can where it ten years from now and it would still kill! I would rather be classic, than to be hot for the moment. The clients I style also feel the same.

    Can you walk us through a day in the life? Do you have any sort of daily routine or rituals? 
    In the mornings I practice mediation as the sun comes up. After, that I get my day started whether its prepping for a shoot, heading to the airport to catch a flight, or meeting with clients.  My day to day routine isn’t always the same, except for late nights of working and early mornings.

    Can you offer any advice to readers who are looking to start their own brand or work as a stylist but aren't sure where to start?
    Everyone has their own path, so what may work for me, may be different for the next person. But through anything follow your intuition, step outside your comfort zone, and keep your eyes on the prize. 

    What would be a dream project for you? You’ll have to stay tuned! I like to show rather than tell. 

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