Friday, October 31, 2014

Alisha Harmon: The New School Teddy Girl

Alisha Harmon is a model and fashion student who's building her own trend from the ground up. 

        In the world of fashion, it is everyone's goal to stand out. Because of this constant competition, trends are always coming and going, with a new one lurking around every corner. Some trends are quickly popularized and followed by the masses, while so many under-appreciated ones go under the radar almost completely unnoticed. One such subculture was the Teddy Girls of 1950's London.

Teddy Girls photographed by Ken Russell
London, 1950's

        The Teddy Girls, while relatively unknown (I had actually never heard of them until Alisha told me about them, and thank God she did), only really receiving recognition after Ken Russell's now famed photo series The Last of the Teddy Girls resurfaced only a little less than ten years ago, have been very influential in the world of fashion. They have even been credited by Vogue for stylizing such basic closet staples as the jean jacket (The Evolution of the Jean Jacket), and by Modcloth for inspiring more well known subcultures rockabilly and punk rock. 

A photo from Alisha's instagram @iamwinterinc 

       Known for their rejection of the status quo, the Teddy Girls' style was an unexpected mix of borrowed-from-the-boys toughness and Edwardian era femininity. At first glance, Alisha Harmon's style may seem to bear little resemblance to the original Teddy Girls, but that is only because she is a new kind of Teddy Girl all her own, and with a closer look at her personal style, one can see that she and the old school Teddy Girls share many of the same attitudes and sartorial elements. 

 Her Inspiration:                                                              

"I just really liked how
[Tayana] was her[self]
 no matter what."

        More-so perhaps than the Teddy Girls' style, Alisha is very much inspired by their attitudes. What is it that drew Alisha to the Teddy Girls? "The rebellion. The whole, like, rebellious act. [...] they were taking a big risk because, you know, before that you were supposed to conform to the social norms. However, they broke that, and now we're wearing jeans, and we're wearing rock t-shirts and stuff like that." One can see that Alisha is passionate about taking such fashion risks on a daily basis. Her risk taking ranges from using lingerie tops as ready-to-wear, pairing pants with skirts, and not to mention her streetwear-meets-sophisticated mastery of high-low styling.     

"'If this is how I want
to dress, then this is
how I'm going to dress.'"

        When asked about fashion designers, Alisha considers revolutionaries like Alexander McQueen and Yahi Yamamoto among her favorites, admiring the dark colors they use and their affinity for "going outside of the norms." She also lists R&B singer Tayana Taylor as her favorite fashion icon. She describes Taylor's style as "underground" and "tomboy," two words that could easily be used to describe the 1950's Teddy Girls just as well. 

Her Aesthetic:

"I built [my style] on my own."

        Similarly to the original Teddy Girls, who were largely a group of working-class teens, Alisha is very practical in her day-to-day wear. The first thing she asks herself in the morning when choosing an outfit is not "what trends are in?" or "who am I going to see today?", but rather a simpler, more function-based question: "Is it fifty degrees, or is it eighty degrees?" In addition to function, Alisha's style is all about experimentation.  "My's daring. It's out there. It's trying something, and you don't really know where it's gonna go [...]. It's trying it, but you never know, like, if people are gonna like it, but it's still worth the shot. [...I want to get feedback] to see which styles work and which ones don't."

Her Attitude Towards Fashion

        "It describes who you are. [...] The way you dress tells your story, ya know? I know I don't talk much to people, like, I'm very shy, I'm very quiet, but [...] I'd rather be known for the girl who likes to dress up rather than, like, 'oh that's the quiet girl.'"

Her Fashion Advice:

"You should aaaaalways have a leather jacket, some type of boots --  riding boots, combat, any type of boots -- a basic shirt, like a basic white shirt, a basic black shirt. Like, you could be very stylish in just a black t-shirt and regular jeans and some boots, so I think that basic pieces are the best. And probably a print or two, because I like prints. 


Special thanks to Alisha Harmon for allowing me to feature her on my blog
Thanks for reading! <3