Fashion-loving local fans ready for CIAA week

Damiko Faulkner
He plans to sport these gray wool Botany 500 trousers from LeMond Modeling and tie from Blank Canvas this weekend. His shoes are black leather cap-toe lace-ups by Aldo, one-button cocktail jacket with satin lapel by Billy London.
Damiko Faulkner He plans to sport these gray wool Botany 500 trousers from LeMond Modeling and tie from Blank Canvas this weekend. His shoes are black leather cap-toe lace-ups by Aldo, one-button cocktail jacket with satin lapel by Billy London.

During the CIAA tournament, people from throughout the country visit Charlotte for a week of basketball, parties and a variety of events. We meet three fashion-forward people who are prepping for the big week.

Grazell Howard

Grazell Howard, 51, owns the executive coaching firm King & Kairos. She is a graduate of Shaw University and N.C. Central School of Law. Howard has attended the tournament since 1983. For Howard, it’s a time to gather with old friends and her Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters: “It’s our beacon of pride.”

How many events do you plan to attend?

On Thursday, we have a tradition of gathering in the early evening with friends at the Ritz-Carlton. On Friday, I’ll be at the Tom Joyner Morning Show and the (CIAA) Fan Experience, the games and a party. On Saturday, I’ll go to the tournament, a day party, the post-tournament concert and a late night private house party.

How many outfits do you plan to wear?

Starting Thursday, I’ll have a daytime look and evening attire. My evening attire can go from tournament to after-party. Thursday is casual, individual style. Friday is classic and Saturday is just all out authentically you.

Describe your outfit for Saturday night.

I’m wearing a tailored men’s camo jacket with a gold-lamé top. I’m so exited about that jacket. My shoes are black runway Sergio Rossi biker boots. They’re fabulous, if I must say so myself. I have an orange-beaded clutch by Trina Turk because Paris is always in my heart. The popular color in Paris this winter is orange.

Where do you like to shop?

In Paris, at Siki de Somalie, one of my favorite boutiques, and Boutique Babylon. I also shop at the Galeries Lafayette. In Brussels, Belgium, I get incredible little pieces at Conni Kamanski. In New York, I like the flagship Sak’s Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman. In Charlotte, I like Bruce Julian, where I found the camo jacket.

What’s your signature item?

My jewelry. During the day I always carry my MCM (Michael Cromer Munich) Heritage backpack.

How do you describe your style?

My constant style is confidently classic with an authentic eclecticism. My evening style is always infused with glamour. My style reflects my international experience and love for travel.

What inspires you when you get dressed, the event or your mood?

I’m inspired constantly by glamour. I’m always inspired to have a joyful heart, even in my attire.

Shassity Stevenson

Shassity Stevenson, 30, owns the hair salon Atelier Salon. She is attending her third CIAA tournament. Stevenson says the tournament is a chance to socialize, especially at the EpiCentre, where you meet all kinds of people. “It’s just a really cool vibe. I’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s just a release to socialize and have fun.”

When choosing your clothes for the CIAA, how far in advance do you plan?

I start planning at the beginning of the year. My job is really stressful. My relaxation is online shopping. I like to buy ahead so I’m not shopping at the same time as everybody else and end up having on the same thing.

What are your favorite shopping websites?, (trendy clothing), (variety of styles for all ages and all events).

How many outfits do you plan to wear?

I’ll end up wearing four. I try to do something I can easily switch up and go from day to night.

How do you describe your style?

Chic with a little edge. I may have on something that’s black and white, but I may have this crazy fringe clutch.

What’s the key to planning your CIAA outfits?

I have everything laid out from the accessories to the shoes. There’s no back and forth with me. You just don’t have time for it.

What’s the outfit you’re excited to rock for CIAA?

The black BCGB Trevor pants that look like skirted trousers with an Urban Outfitters white menswear crop top. It has a high neck with no buttons. I’ll probably wear a pointy Givenchy gold-toe/heel, ankle-strap shoe with a shark tooth buckle.

Why do you look forward to the CIAA tournament?

I love getting all dressed up. I love to see how everybody comes together. HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) and their alums seem to be a lot more into fashion. It’s really kind of a fashion show. Kind of show up, to show out.

Damiko Faulkner

Damiko Faulkner, 36, of northwest Charlotte, is pastor of Ben Salem Presbyterian and co-owns Frederick Lamont Fashion consultantcy. He graduated from Winston-Salem State in 2001, and has been attending the tournament since then.

How do you describe your style?

Timeless – my dad taught me from a young age. There are some core pieces that a young man should have and know about in his wardrobe (shirt size, suit size, inseams and outseam). A man should have a suit, at least a black suit, and keep your shirts starched. He should have an overcoat, a briefcase, raincoat and a winter hat.

What inspires you when you get dressed: the event or your mood?

It’s a little bit of both. I try to dress for the occasion. I individualize it.

How many outfits do you plan to wear for the tournament?

One outfit for (each of) the two events. Even if it’s on the same day. I would like to change. I would like to freshen up. If I go three places, I would dress three times.

Describe your flyest CIAA outfit.

I have a pair of charcoal-gray, vintage wool trousers. The legs are Euroed (tapered, as Europeans typically choose) and tailored. I have a cocktail jacket with a satin lapel, a white oxford dress shirt and a pocket square. I’ll wear gray and black striped socks, black lace-up, cap toes with a wooden heel, and a black wide floppy brim hat.

Where do you like to shop?

I don’t have a particular store. I don’t mind thrifting. I’ll do your Nordstrom, I’ll do the Gap. I don’t have to have a brand in order for it to look well.

Favorite thrift stores?

LeMond Modeling Vintage Men’s Boutique (at 516 E. 15th St.). It’s a coffee shop and a thrift store. His store is a sleeper.

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