That, in essence, is Na'eem's fashion philosophy: do it in style. "I like to wear ties," he said, "and I think there's something cool about looking nice."
Na'eem is a journalist, former Philadelphia news personality, and the blogger behind The Brookladelphian. I shot these images in the midst of his shooting a feature for his blog on me. In these shots he's wearing a Tommy Hilfiger scarf, an H&M jacket, Allen Edmonds wingtips, and a Goorin Bros hat. Goorin Bros, in fact, is how he found out about me. He saw my photos printed up in their shop on Walnut Street, "and that's when I said I gotta do something." He has no idea where he got those pants.
Na'eem's project with The Brookladelphian is to establish links, both stylistically and historically, between the two cities.He describes Philadelphia's style, much like Brooklyn's, as having "a little bit of an edge to it." "It's infused," he told me, "with hip hop. It's infused with a little bit of preppiness.I mean, if you think back to what Philly is, you think of Boyz II Men. And you think of them wearing the vest together with the bow tie and whatnot. At least I do. Maybe some younger person doesn't." Na'eem has been wearing bow ties himself since he was a kid. He credits that to his mother. "There are pictures of me as a kid in a bow tie and shirt and decked out, and I was gonna go out and play with the kids. I just enjoy looking nice. So why not?"
And then, of course, there's the matter of the beards. Philly beards. Back in Brooklyn, "I had a bartender I was talking to, and he comes over, and he had the big beard, and I say, 'Hey man, are you from Philly?' and he says, 'If I had a dollar every time people asked me that!' He said, 'I started growing this beard a month ago, and now everyone asks me if I'm from Philly. And then he said he looked it up and [found out] there's an actual [thing called a] Philly beard." Na'eem's own beard hasn't quite made it to that length yet. "My beard, you know, it's not so much a Philly beard. It's not quite there yet. But [when people ask me about it, I say] 'Yes, it's a Philly beard, and everyone else that has it is copying off of Philly!"