Denzel Alexander | Men’s fashion in Memphis

Meet Denzel Alexander. The man behind Memphis’s only mens fashion blogger.

His blog began like some of the best creative pursuits do- in the midst of low season of life. Feeling alone within a crowd, Denzel discovered blogger Kelvin  Davis of NotoriouslyDapper. He was inspired by the style, the fun, and consistency found within Kevlin’s brand. After a year of following other bloggers and pin pointing looks from celebrities he wanted to start implementing, Denzel launched the DA blog Dec 1st, 2015. I asked him what words would describe those first few months.

Denzel: Amateur & hope. I was in the pursuit of a creative outlet in my life.

I met Denzel in 2016 at the cash register of H&M. I started the conversation about how their brand inspired me to dress more European. Before I knew it, Denzel had gotten me his card and we were friends. Within the week, I messaged him about a look-book I was filming the next week. The dude showed up in a parking garage without even knowing me basically. We still laugh about how sketch that was and how downhill it could have gone. But instead, we began a friendship founded on creative collaboration.

I wanted to feature Denzel this month because 1. We really needed a reason to finally get coffee again, and 2. When we chat, both of us leave on fire for memphis and creativity. He has such dreams. Denzel reminds me to dream big, and not to settle for what I can see realistically. One day, he wants to be living in a bigger city and at some point of his career have a role at GQ. Denzel Alexander the blog will continue through all his pursuits, as he wants it to transition with him through life. If you hit up his Instagram feed, you will see that talent and passion. He has such an eye for putting a color palette into action. Studying for a Creative Mass-Media degree, his passion for layout and design has been challenged and taken further. Below are different seasons from 2017 where he chose to focus on different colors/textures.

Personally, I choose comfort over fashion too often for my own good. I asked Denzel about that common battle with our age group/stage of life. What are his biggest tips for identifying a style, developing that look, and finding comfort. I also feel like with guys there is a thought of “I want to look good, but not look like I care too much”

Denzel: I just don’t think you can’t care too much. Self care is so important. Often, guys are insecure to take it to the next level. I would say start searching and finding people and celebrities who have the looks you want. Start taking little steps. Don’t dive into wearing suits every day. As you implement different pieces, it becomes more comfortable. As for finding your style, everyday you grow into a different person. Let how you feel that day decide. Its okay to wear colors the days you feel great and when you aren’t feeling it, wearing darker colors is okay! Be inspired by your own personality. To find your style, its important to embrace other’s styles as well. You see someone who don’t dress like you, just respect and appreciate their own look. Embrace the difference.

I completely agree with that. Once I graduated high school, I realized the judgment I hashed out over other peoples looks and styles was what limited me in my own. We all wanted to be different, yet only a few of us truly broke the trends. I was not one of them.

Now lets talk side hustles. In school and growing a brand/blog, what would be your advice?

Denzel: Planning ahead will get you so far. Engage with other people and take criticism. I hate taking criticism.  You start to learn to reflect on the words and not defend yourself.  Don’t just write off criticism  from someone who doesn’t know what you are doing or your style. They are your audience and follower.  Its actually really good to get criticism/advice from people who are completely outside of your industry.

I have loved watching Denzel grow into blogger he is! It has been a joy to be a part of Memphis Creative crowd.  I asked Denzel what his dream for Memphis’s blogger community is:

Denzel: From my stand point, I want even more of a diverse group. We need different style, different backgrounds. Our city is representative of the diversity, but we don’t see the together within creative community. We never see them working together. Collaborating. We have a lot of bloggers who all look and dress the same. 

I would love to connect more. I feel Memphis’s creatives are threatened by each other. I am the only male blogger, but I would love to be embraced and embrace other bloggers within Memphis. Embracing and encouraging their different and respect all our different styles. 

What about your vision for Memphis creative community?

Denzel: We have a bunch of grit and grind, but we are not exposed enough. Like people don’t get how incredible this city is! I want to see our reputation changed. An embracive diverse community. Let us be known for our art community and collaborative posture + attitude.

CHECK OUT DENZEL:

Instagram: @denzelalexander

Blog: DenzelAlexander

Twiter: @denzelalexander

Behind EFC | What The Engagement Session Is For

Engagement season is no joke! In years past, I did not truly understand or experience the intensity of engagement season. In fact, I feel like currently I’m in a weird disbelief.

Honestly, I think it’s just so weird that in my area we can predict inquiries to come in from December – March. It may never happen again, but I’m just going to relish in this phase of my life and business. Due to all this rush of coffee dates and seeing all these beautiful unique rings, I wanted to share a little of my heart and how it’s changed.

In the past, I saw an engagement session as simply photos for a client to send out on a save the date, have as their profile picture, and save photos of them in casual clothes in a park. It was just assumed. I hadn’t quite grasped what an opportunity that time was to invest in my couples. This year my mindset has changed completely. As I grew in learning how to pose people, I also learned that it gets old. The same poses, the same angles… “I am 18 and already burning out.” NOT a good sign. I started following photographers that inspired me as well as I truly aspired to become. I just kept seeing in their photos emotion. Like, REAL. Raw, different to each couple. It’s like the photographers capture the true essence of who they are and their story.  One of my best friends, Emily Gluntz of Fernweh Photography, and I pounced on the opportunity to attend a workshop with Love Is A Big Deal. Man, everything changed! I know I haven’t even come close to applying all I learned that evening from them, but of the small bit I’ve been able to make a part of my art, it has changed me drastically.

The engagement session. Delivering the photos is so important; however, now, I believe it is about that one hour you get with them. The first time they are in front of your camera, maybe the first time they have met you. Everything changes. We were friends, but now there is this barrier of metal and glass that intimidates so many. I hate being in front of the camera myself. So, having these tools, I’ve learned to make it less awkward and, dare I say it – FUN, the sessions have become my favorite time! My dream is that couples walk away still laughing over a story they got to tell me and in a weird shock that, not only was that hour not painful, it was great.

So, I wanted to shout out to my fellow photographers, let your engagement sessions be more than the a la carte option. Encourage, include, or even gift that session to them! Allow yourself that time to engage with your couples. Start getting to know each other, learn what makes them laugh, and what prompts emotion. I think this season, more than ever, I have seen how much more engaged and excited I feel about a wedding upon booking, knowing I get a chance to ease their nerves about one more thing. Wedding planning and booking is stressful. We, as photographers, get to not only affirm them with our words, but with how wonderful we make them feel during their engagement session! Take advantage of this time you can have with them. Get to know them. Make them realize you are here to do your job, and be there 100% for them. You are joining their team. You are NOT just a vendor. You are their storyteller. Do it right.

I guess I just really wanted to share, because this time I’ve been spending with couples just a few short weeks after meeting or booking them has been so special. I am learning SO much. I don’t think this time last year I could gush about each of my couples. That these two met in highschool and had their first kiss after prom on her doorstep (so adorably American dream iconic); that this couple is planning to go on the mission field and are so excited about being married and engaging with other couples; that this other couple is passionate about food and will def be having a taco bar at the wedding; and ohmyword so much more! Don’t burn out, immerse yourself 100% during those sessions!