NYFW SS19: MENYELEK

 
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MENYELEK - THE LACK OF SEX APPEAL

All Photos Taken By: Sanglui Azang-Njaah

It was a cool day in East Village when I arrived at the garden. Leaving my Lyft, I approached a small line that began to form outside of the gates. 

“Hi, I’m here as media for the show.” I told gate keeper who smiled at me and let me pass as he continued to talk with the other attendees in line.

I looked around the garden as I walked towards a pavilion stood that in the middle. The plants grew freely and the trees provided ample shade. It was a very calming environment compared to the regular locations of fashions shows during NYFW. I turned to see Jasmine walking towards me from the pavilion. I smiled, walking quickly to embrace her.

It’s something about seeing a familiar faces while you’re traveling that is always comforting. But today wasn’t just a regular day, today was a celebration. We linked arms and walked around the garden catching up. Today was her first NYFW show, and I was not only able to support with my attendance but, I also working the show as media.

“He’s really laid back.” Jasmine said telling me about Menyelek Rose, designer of MENYELEK. 

Originally from Baltimore, Rose now designs in New York City. The 21 year old designer has become well known amongst his peers with features on VOGUE and is affiliated with VFILES. I was interested in seeing what Rose had envisioned when creating his garments with a lack of sex appeal.

After talking music and aspirations with photographer Drew, and his friends Zuri & Seni, and saying hi to Rose’s DJ Styles, I headed back to the models changing area.

The models had gathered in the back area of the garden, secluded off by a wooden door. Happy and seeming very comfortable with the environment, they talked amongst themselves.

Some were dressed in multi-colored long sleeved asymmetrical dresses that were patterned with paisley prints.  These models soon had their right hands covered with a white and purple gardening glove that read “MENYELEK” in orange letters across the front, and held “Ghana must go” bags. Others wore tweed pink and oranger pastel blazers that had lose strings stitched on the sleeves with strips of tule randomly patched onto the blazer’s fronts. Some sported bright colored skin tight body suits with the brand name “MENYELEK” printed across the chest underneath layers of tule with ripped tights; while others simply sported only full layers tule and ripped tights. As for shoes it was very come as you are. Some of the models wearing the prototype MENYELEK slides, as others rocked converses and vans, biker boots, platform boots, and even flip flops.

 
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Eagerly taking photos with the photographers who came in and out of the space, the models posed against the ivy covered concrete walls. Some danced around making their tule garments float like clouds. Afros were fluffed and loose curls frizzed as the girls helped each other with make up while they patiently waited to emerge to the audience. 

Rose came to the back, quickly moving as he walked through and checked the final looks of the models. Hugging many and smiling he tells them, “This is it, you’re going to do great.”

Grabbing the shoots I needed, I returned to the main area. The energy was high as Styles worked his magic. Dozens of young creatives and fans flooded the garden. Dressed to impress in the trendiest of street style, many come with smiles, laughing and taking photos with their friends. 

Australian photographer, Georgina Solomon, and I talked briefly about our loves for fashion as she expressed to me how she was eager to see Rose’s latest collection. We snapped some photos of one another before I was lead by another photographer to see the walk thru that the models would be doing. 

Now knowing the models path, I stood by a garden shed readying myself. The talkative crowd quickly quieted as the words “thunder, thunder cats.” blasted out of the speakers.

One by one, the models come out into the garden and began to channel a lack of sex appeal. They quickly they walked with heavy footing, scrunched faces and eyes looking uninspired. Many of them looking angry. The models continued to walk through the garden before heading to the back area.

As the last model made her walk through, the crowd began to cheer. Rose emerged from the back area behind all of his models as they began to line up in front of the cheering audience. Friends screamed jumping up and down, as he embraced many with hugs. The atmosphere quickly switched into a party. Guests got up to dance in front of the pavilion, while the models stood individually in the midst garden for their outfit photos by the media in attendance.

I had a chance to speak with Rose after the show and to congratulate him on his work. Rose stated his goal of the show was, “basically the restarting of the life of which sex appeal was and just rebranding it and giving it a new name.” And that when he said “lack of sex of appeal,” he basically meant “the beginning of sex appeal.”

“I tried to use tule in a very flaunting way a very colorful way, I tried to have thighs out flashes of ass.” he told me. The tule garments were my favorite look out of the collection.

As for what’s next Rose plans on doing another showcase in November titled ‘The Big Messy Cunty Dutty Show’ with plus sized models. Although the location still to be determined be sure to follow MENYELK on instagram for all brand updates!

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