I’ve been known to keep a list or two, or three. One of my lists is comprised of the people that I would like to do business with at some point. Another list holds the people that I want to meet and just have a general conversation because there is something interesting about them whether it’s their style, a skill set, or a seemingly great personality. The Showroom has given me the opportunity to meet both sets of people on said lists. As the universe would have it, I met a very bubbly woman by the name of Kandie. We made jokes, shared laughs, and it was just a genuinely good vibe with her. As it turns out, she had a sister named, Pilar. A natural coincidence? Yes. A cosmic coincidence? Probably not. Pilar had been on my list for a while because I’d seen her style online and thanks to Kandie, I met Pilar. We’ve had conversation at length about everything under the sun from 1980’s classic jeans to the global clothing industry in general. On behalf of Apparl, I’d like to introduce my homegirl, Pilar Biggers Sanders Love El Day, but you can simply call her “P” as I have officially named her after myself.
Pilar: Hey Panama!
Panama: We are going to have to do some shopping or something! I’ve seen your shoes, dude.
Pilar: (laughs) Where did you see my shoes?
Panama: I saw your shoes in a picture online. And I saw the pics of you wearing all of that fitness clothing with your twelve-pack abs. You’re making me look bad out here.
Panama: I want to take a sack of laundry quarters, throw it at your stomach, and watch those shits just bounce off. Geez, you’re a machine!
Panama: So, tell me about where you’re from and how fashion there influenced your culture.
Pilar: I’m actually from upstate New York and I’d have to say my sister is a very, VERY large part of why my style is my style…my sister, my aunt, and my mother. My aunt was an international model and she’s in the city, in New York, so growing up we would go back and forth there a lot. Wherever she went she’d always send us fashion. You know, she always sent us the coolest things. And so that kind of grew my interest but it was my sister. She totally was a hundred percent, “Do your own thing, anything you want. As long as it looks good on you, then that’s what’s in.” You know, I would have to say a hundred percent, just completely influenced by her. Even in school growing up she would just help me just create my own thing. Like, I would just create my own outfits and make my own garb and stuff. She’s a lot more conservative than me, you know? Just in general, with fashion and everything, but yea she was the one who really started me on the road, to be honest.
Panama: Interesting. So Kandie was the influence, huh?
Pilar: She really was. Yea.
Panama: That’s cool.
Pilar: Kandie, my aunt, and my mom, you know? My mom obviously, she has always been my judge. “Should I wear this or should I not?” You know what I mean? (mom’s voice) “Oh take that off right now!” LMAO
Pilar: We were exposed by way of my aunt because she traveled around the world modeling and stuff like that. So we were exposed that way but my sister really drove it in and just really like, honed it. She really helped build my confidence when I was young and just making my own outfits to wear and stuff like that. She’s cool when she wants to be (laughs). She’s a little hot tamale, that little salsa dancer!
Panama: No doubt. I’ve seen her fancy footwork. So what do you think defines someone’s style?
Pilar: Hmmm, well there’s two ways to look at it. Like, I think the personality defines it. I mean, anybody can just throw on clothes. Anyone can walk in the store and purchase the same shirt. People could go purchase the same shirt and pant outfit and I will guarantee that you will see ten different ways people could wear it. So I think it’s your personality. I think it’s your attitude. I think it’s your confidence. I think it’s what you think of yourself. That all affects how you wear apparel, that affects how you walk, that affects how you move, you know what I mean? So, your personality, your character, your mindset, your life’s experiences.
Panama: I tell people that there is no right or wrong answer for that question. It’s however you choose to define it. But the funny thing is that everyone that I’ve spoken to, and seems to have a sense of style, have all come up with the same answer. That’s pretty ironic, but then again, I guess it’s not so ironic.
Pilar: That’s funny.
Panama: Mmmm Hmmm…How would you say your style differs from that of your peers?
Pilar: You know, I really don’t know. I don’t study my peers, LMAO
Pilar: I don’t know if that’s good or bad but I don’t, lol. I wear what feels and fits well for me and my body. It’s an absolutely personal experience so it is just as different as your personality from one to another.
Panama: Do you remember the first time you ever felt good about something that you were wearing?
Pilar: Oh, I sure can! And they were called, “Gold Diggers” okay! LMAO
Pilar: They were jeans called, “Gold Diggers” and they were made with gold shiny thread. No, for real. I am so for real.
Panama: LOL, I remember those.
Pilar: You remember them???
Panama: Yes I remember.
Pilar: Ok! Oh you couldn’t tell me nothing Panama, with my gold diggers on! LOL
Panama: That was in the 80’s right?
Pilar: Well we don’t have to think of the decade, lol. Those jeans were so amazing. You couldn’t tell me anything with my Gold Diggers on and an awesome red sweatshirt from Jordache.
Panama: I was getting ready to mention Jordache…
Panama: …and Sergio Valente…
Pilar: Yessss! Hello! Absolutely!
Panama: We were all wearing Oscar De La Renta back then too.
Pilar: Yes! And we’d hit them with the espadrilles.
Pilar: Hey, it’s fashion. It doesn’t matter. It goes around and comes around. It doesn’t matter lol.
Panama: That was a nice stroll down memory lane. I remember all of that.
Pilar: Those jeans use to fit me so good. They hugged every inch of my little body, LMAO.
Panama: You probably had a hundred pairs of them piled in that closet.
Pilar: Mmm Hmm, I wish they would remake them.
Panama: Do you dress yourself or do you rely heavily on a stylist? I’ve seen some people dress themselves after the cameras are off and trust me, they NEED those stylists.
Panama: Do you pick out your own outfits?
Pilar: Yea, I do. I always want a stylist but just never ends up happening.
Panama: You actually don’t do a bad job at dressing yourself, you know? It’s not like you’d wear plaids with stripes. Ok, “Speed Round”…Let’s say you are going out to a dinner party at an upscale venue. What are you wearing?
Pilar: It depends. You know what? That’s not even a hundred percent true. It really doesn’t matter to me where it’s going to be. And that’s probably why I really do need a stylist because it doesn’t matter (laughs). I’m always going to push the line. I come from the world of fashion. I come from a background of modeling. To me, its like, I’m just so free with my garb. I’m just so free with what I wear and I don’t really get hung up on if everything is perfect or is it absolutely appropriate for this venue, which is probably why I really do need a stylist, LOL.
Pilar: But it’s always worked for me so I don’t mind. That’s why it totally has to do with your personality or character. Someone who is really conscious of it and really cared about what people thought about what they were wearing or how they looked, then yea, I would really have a hard life right there. But you could never really go wrong with black. You could never really go wrong with sexy. You could never go wrong with clothes that fit you well. So, whether its pants, your little black dress, whether it’s a little crop top and a long skirt, whatever, you know? There’s even sexy business suits. It would depend on what I was feeling like that day.
Panama: Gotcha. It would depend on the alignment of the stars the night before, the rotation of the galaxy around the universe and the axis of the planet, the temperature in that particular hemispheric region, etc. etc.
Panama: It could come together sometimes and it would be so amazing that people are asking, “Where did you get that?”
Pilar: Exactly! Exactly! And I love that. I’m free like that.
Panama: If you had a time machine and you could go back to your favorite era in fashion, what would that era be?
Pilar: Hmm, I like different eras for different reasons, you know? (thinks) Panama, that’s hard.
Panama: My two favs are the mid 1800’s to early 1900’s. I also like the 40’s era of clothing as well.
Pilar: I’m with you on that. Like, I totally love the huge bustle and the corsets. The huge dresses that the women wore, however, however, how-everrr, they wore those same dresses a lot. So if you were one of those that didn’t have a lot of money, that would not have been my favorite era at all, lol. I cannot lie either. I absolutely loved the 80’s. I love the gel bracelets, I love the fishnet little half-tops, and the tights underneath the little short skirts. I was all of that in school. I admire the whole 50’s style, but like those real high-waist bloomers and all that are not for me. They’re like mom jeans to me. Not my style.
Pilar: I like to look at it (laughs) but I don’t see myself wearing it, so…(thinks) Oh, one hundred percent hippy. Like, flower child.
Panama: Ok, so we’re in the 60’s era now.
Pilar: You know I fought that for a long time. I could never see it, but I’ve finally succumbed to that realization that, not hippy’ish, but like, so free. Like, if I could wear my head in dreads I completely would. Yea, I like the fabrics, the softness, the velvets, how cotton is spun so soft. Yea, I don’t know what era you would deem that as but…Does that answer your question?
Panama: Absolutely! Where do you draw your inspiration from? We already know WHO influenced your style, but where do you draw from? Magazines?
Pilar: Sometimes I do. I was never one of those girls who kept up with the fad fashion. I have never been. I admired that. I had friends who did that and were up on it like, “Oh it’s purple this year”, or teal, or whatever. I’m not on it like that at all. So, in that sense I would have to rely on someone else if I had to conform to any of that. I don’t really draw from anything in particular. If I see something that I like, or if I think of something I may piece a whole bunch of little things together.
Panama: Where do you find yourself doing a lot of shopping?
Pilar: Hmmm, I think I’ve been so spoiled in a good way, having access to designers. Like, a lot of times after we would do a show or whatever, the designer’s warehouses are amazing. And I was always sample size so (laughs) that’s where I would do all of my shopping, to be quite honest with you, lol. I like the kind of stores that nobody knows about. They could be like, a tiny little hole in the wall. They could have the type of designers that nobody’s ever heard of before, you know what I mean? Or up and coming designers and their style is just so on fleek and work for me. If I find that, I’m all over it and it’s hard to get me off of it.
Panama: I think it’s a good thing to give new designers a chance and buy their items. Trendsetters are the people that first wear the things that nobody else is wearing.
Pilar: I’m totally not a label whore at all.
Panama: I am a label whore with certain brands but I’d prefer to label whore my own brands.
Pilar: Yea, I would wear the “ish” out of my own clothes. I would wear it everywhere. I don’t care if you see me in the same thing a millionth time.
Panama: What kind of advice do you have for the style challenged?
Pilar: Experiment. The best way to find out what you like is to find out what you don’t. Look at other people’s styles, look at the magazines, maybe even the award shows or the little media shows. See what you favorite celebrity is wearing and what not. Go to venues and stores and try things on. Keep your eyes and ears open. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
Panama: Well said, babe. Well said.
Alpatrick “Panama” Golphin ~ Founder/CEO of Apparl, LLC.