— VISUAL ARTIST, BUYER, WRITER
Kiara Shardé is a self-proclaimed vintage honey, and when you get to know her it's easy to agree. Her wardrobe solidifies this, as well as her essence. She emits a genuinely, classic vibe. Her platform Nostalgia Journal, aims to dissect the history of the African diaspora throughout the Americas while examining the why behind the what. Rather than fully emulating concepts from the past, nostalgia functions more as a central theme in Shardé’s life and style. She appreciates and collects pieces like vintage tees and bags, with admiration for their history and cultural significance. I mean, even her name gives you 90s R&B singer, right? Thought so. Delving into her stellar closet and style story proved to be a charming experience.
What's the most personal element about your style? Does it have a direct connection to a person, place or thing?
Vintage tees, especially tees that touch on black culture. One of my favorite memories of attending an HBCU was joining the Black History Club. I learned about so many things that weren't taught in my public high school. The knowledge was the start of my self-confidence because the literature we read from Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, and Angela Davis felt like big brothers and sisters for me to look up to. I'm my mother's oldest yet I always wanted older siblings so leaders from the past fill that desire for me.
Describe your style trajectory. How has it changed through the years? Where are you now on your style journey?
It has changed a lot! Before building my self-confidence, I use to dress really loud as if I wanted the clothes to represent me instead of being a reflection of who I really am–intelligent, approachable, and sassy. My clothes were really tacky in my youth but now as a woman, I go for classics, nice fabrics, and peculiar details. I don't believe in the starving artist narrative so I also work full-time as a buyer and luckily the shop specializes in designer vintage. Remember when Tiffany Haddish was on SNL and said she's a serial repeater? Me too, sis! A lot of my designer pieces are plain so I can wear them over and over. My Prada turtleneck honestly gets worn every week. You gotta get your money's worth in today's economy.
How have you dealt with struggle and learned to overcome it while on your path? Or would you say it’s ongoing learning experience?
When faced with struggle , I always take time to acknowledge and validate what I'm feeling first. The compassion that I get from accepting how I feel allows me to keep moving towards resources and solutions. It's still ongoing, but I recently learned how to take it day by day, and that it's ok to admit I don't have the answers.
Has Instagram's dominance influenced your style at all?
Instagram's early stages influenced by style a lot but then I realized that I was wasting money by following trends. Now, Instagram inspires my hair more than my clothes. I follow a lot of vintage accounts and they help me develop inspiration for new hair styles. I was once told that I change my hair like the clock and I thought that was hilariously true.
When going through a rough patch in life, do you tend to overdress or underdress?
I'm very analytical by nature so whenever I'm going through a rough patch I tend to live in my head. Therefore, I underdress and my tomboy side is on display. I'm very cognitive that even though I'm going through something that my life has to continue and so do my responsibilities. I want to get out of the house as quickly as possible to conquer my day. I keep it very simple and go for classics like sweaters, t-shirts, high-waisted pants, and finish it with a good sneaker.
What do most people assume about you based on the way you dress?
From the outside looking in, they may assume I'm a lot younger than my actual age because of my babyface plus I'm quick to choose sneakers over heels and jeans over suits. It works in my favor because I leave a lasting impression once I speak.
Do you think you have a clear idea of what your style identity is? Why or why not?
I believe I have a clear idea and that idea is that I don't have to subscribe to one lane. My style identity is just as dual as my personality. Somedays, I look like a sophisticated art teacher who's ready to school my class on Romare Bearden while other days I look like your homeboy's big sister who's ready to talk your head off about the best rap albums of all time.
Aside from personal style, what other forms of self expression do you indulge in? How does it alter your style, if at all?
I'm a big believer in chakra healing and I mix it with color psychology. If my mood is off then I think about which chakra it's relating to and indulge in that color. When I moved to New York two years ago, like everyone in this city, I had a hard time finding security and confidence so I wore a lot of orange and red.