I've been quite busy working on features to share with you and I'm excited to bring you another special treat. While Nai's Visions has prided itself on creating a platform that is big on supporting and celebrating women, it's time to shift gears. I'm not sure if you've paid attention to the blogosphere as of late but there are more than several men who not only possess a killer sense of style but are equally vocal about their life experiences. If there are two things I can't ignore, it's the aforementioned things. 

Today's style spotlight is being shined on a wonderful young man that hails from Jacksonville, Florida and currently resides in Tallahassee, Florida (my hometown). While I love the fact that he is from the same state as I am, Jamal Felton's overall aesthetic drew me in. Not only is he a photographer but he is also a videographer with his very own YouTube channel, stylist and blogger. To sum it up, he is a gifted branding specialist. A few weeks ago, Jamal released his very first seasonal lookbook Nouveau Americana and it combined his photography + stylist skills. His goal was to showcase "this idea that the American Fashion Aesthetic has recently taken a more modern shift while still remaining true to its essence and not letting go of its staple textiles and silhouettes." I'd say that he definitely achieved his goal. Below you can find the looks that he styled: 

http://www.styledbyjamal.com/portfolio/

It wasn't enough for me to admire Jamal from afar so I decided to get to know more about his personal style and influences. Check out the gems he shared below:

Nai's Visions: At what point did you begin to develop an interest in all things related to creativity, especially fashion?

Jamal: Growing up I wasn’t really allowed to dress myself. I remember being in middle school and not being able to leave for school unless my parents approved what I was wearing and that process was a headache to say the least. That whole experience sort of lead me to believe that appearances affected other people’s perceptions of me in a way that I should be concerned about what they had to think. It wasn’t until the Christmas break of my Sophomore Year in high school (2010) that I remember having this pivotal introspective realization that what people thought of me should have absolutely no affect on me in one way or another, nor was anyone’s opinion of me my business for that matter. So the sub-sequential lack of interest in what everyone else thought of me kind of catapulted me into this journey of fashion exploration and style experimentation, which was quite unrefined if I might add, and I think it’s important that those of us who are interested in style and fashion are constantly asking ourselves questions about how our current life is affecting us mentally and figure out how to express that through our style choices. Prior to that I had always been a “creative” and “artsy” kid, primarily interested in music and singing but it wasn’t until that “epiphany” that I took a particular interest in fashion.  

Over the years, what have been your biggest influences when it comes to your personal style?

Looking back it seems that my style has always been directly influenced by my mental and emotional space. There was a point in my life when I felt rather carefree and that lead me to wear loads of color and follow a lots of trends, but then there was this time when I wasn’t necessarily the happiest person which is when I started wearing mostly black on a day to day basis and experimenting with very chic and simple silhouettes. Now I’m in this mental space that is very “washed-clean” and “anew” (if you will) and sort of experimental even, all while still being very demure yet distinct - so I wear a little more color but nothing too vibrant and I’m always looking for an interesting silhouette to try, and I’m really just looking to have an overall good time with the way I dress myself.  
How would you describe your style and how do you feel it relates to who you are as an individual?

Lately I’ve been describing my style as “Demure, yet Distinct.”, and I think that fits me well. I’m a pretty low-key person in general, but I feel that when my energy is somewhere or when I’ve had my hand in some sort of creative production or visual art process it is clear that it is me…or at least I hope that’s how I’m portraying myself.

Do you feel that your style influences your work as a branding specialist?

I definitely feel that my style has everything to do with the way I create for myself and for others. A person’s style should be something personal and something that sets them apart from the people around them attempting to do the same things that they are. Whether I’m doing branding work or photographing myself or a client, or styling a client, or whatever, I make sure to keep in mind that the reason I am adequate, at the very least, at what I do and the reason that people seek my help or opinion is because I have an approach to creating that has its own distinct voice.

What approach do you take when faced with a style dilemma either pertaining to yourself or a client?

I usually just have stop for a second, take a breath, and remind myself that I am nothing more than and nothing less than human so that I can get rid of any feelings of being stuck or overwhelmed. I’m super detail oriented which comes with being a perfectionist, but I find that a lot of the time I don’t give myself the patience that I would give anyone else and that is something I’m actively working on.

What are a few key pieces that you feel are essential to your wardrobe? 

My favorite pair of worn vintage Levi jeans, my biker jacket, and my white tee from the feathers brand are all pieces that I wouldn’t dare live without. They’re all classic pieces that could literally make any outfit in my, or any persons wardrobe, go from boring to bad-ass in an instant.

In your opinion, what do feel is the core element that makes someone’s personal style their own (i.e. personality, confidence, brands, etc.)? 

A person finds their style when they find themselves. It’s as simple and yet abstract as that. Once you have a firm grasp on the idea of who you are you then are best equipped to express that idea or concept through your style.

If you have one, what is the style philosophy that you aim to live by?

Do what you want confidently and unapologetically, and no one will have any good reason to question your movements.

To keep up with Jamal be sure to visit www.StyledByJamal.com, his Instagram and YouTube Channel. Also, be sure to download the first edition of his quarterly lookbook!