Hilltopolis Preview by Alex Young

People were elated when The Cool Kids, an elite rap duo comprised of Chuck Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks of Chicago, announced last summer that they would officially reunite. Last Friday, Inglish and Rocks delighted fans even more with the release of their first album, "Special Edition Grandmaster Deluxe," since their 2011 output "When Fish Ride Bicycles."

Now, the news gets better. Thanks to Work Hard Pittsburgh, a cooperatively owned and operated business incubator, underground giants The Cool Kids visit the 'Burgh for a concert on Friday, September 22, 2017.

To match the cooperative effort of Work Hard Pittsburgh, key partners collaborate on the concert officially called Hilltopolis. Drinking Partners Podcast emcee the event. Creatives Drink, a free networking event disguised as a turn-up, hosts the pregame party and the afterparty. Cody Baker and Chancelor Humphrey will throw the C.D. afterparty in a warehouse 30 minutes after The Cool Kids leave the Hilltopolis stage in Grandview Park located between Mount Washington and Allentown. C.D.'s resident DJ Pete Butta will spin the tracks.

Further, emerging local stars Pk Delay and Pet Zebra are the opening acts for Inglish and Rocks. Both Delay and Zebra steadily make names for themselves in the 'Burgh and elsewhere with their entertainment value. Recently, they visited Morgantown, W. VA. to open for rapper Riff Raff.

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Most importantly, Hilltopolis is a charity event. Tickets are free, but Hilltopolis advertising encourages attendees to "pay what you want." All proceeds benefit Brashear Kids, a non-profit which supports citizen education and community improvement.

Get tickets here and come to Hilltopolis prepared to celebrate "social innovation through music and activism."


330-332 Bailey Ave

Pittsburgh, PA 15211

Creatives Drink Afterparty

829 Industry St. 

Pittsburgh, PA 15210

The New Wave Podcast Welcomes InTheRough, Cameraman Nairobi and Terrell Robinson by Alex Young

Simply, The New Wave Podcast gives talented people in Pittsburgh a platform to talk about their work and the culture that surrounds them. Rap star Jimmy Wopo visited the show within two weeks of being released from Allegheny County Jail to reminisce about his life and speak about his new tape "Back Against The Wall." New Wave tracks relevancy in the 'Burgh, chatting with national tastes like comedian Marlon Wayans at WAMO radio and the best of the local underground.

When it was time for InTheRough to speak about the journalism and archiving we've done for Pittsburgh, as well as Stillers, New Wave Podcast had to be the place. It's a pleasure to write for the popular and sub-culture scenes here. It's an honor to show the personalities of positive people here and in other cities. But being able to speak out about ITR and the almighty Stillers was liberating as fuck. Thank you, New Wave, for having us on the show. Also a shout-out to the co-guests Nairobi Jones, a photographer and personal documentarian for Steelers wideout Martavis Bryant, and Terrell Robinson, a film director.

Importantly, the best part of the ITR episode with The New Wave Podcast was how we represented for Pittsburgh. Everyone in the room had a piece of the city in their own right. Nobody touches ArtLikeUs when it comes to catching famous people with his camera lens and he was there filming the episode. Cameraman Nairobi and Terrell made it a point to name drop R&B crooner B. Knight who has a mixtape coming out executively produced by Stevie B, the man behind Wopo's tracks. ITR did our due-diligence with a top 5 list of best rap pens in the 'Burgh. Mars Jackson, Blackboi, Choo Jackson, and Hardo made the list.

Enjoy the full episode below. Subscribe to New Wave.





Stillers Season 01 by Maxwell Young

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There's not much to harp on about the Stillers' previous season.  Super Bowl runs is what we've come to expect in the Steel City, and a team we all thought was capable of hunting for Pittsburgh's seventh Lombardi Trophy fell flat on their faces in Foxborough, Massachusetts--getting out-played and out-coached by the Patriots.  The Patriots have been the Stillers' kryptonite since I was a kid, ruining our championship hopes on several occasions in 2001 and 2004.  If you ask me, the pursuit of a world championship isn't complete until the Stillers avenge these epic losses.  If you ask me, Ben Roethlisberger's major blemish is that he can't seem to topple Brady in the postseason.

The good news is that the Stillers know what kind of issues the Patriots cause.  Blossoming playmaker, Ryan Shazier, thinks the League "has a Patriots problem" that the Stillers "intend to fix," he says.  Coach Tomlin has clearly heeded these words this offseason, completely revamping the Stillers secondary featuring another Florida Gator from the Tebow-era BCS Championship runs--shout out Joe Haden.  Our offense, though potent, especially with the return of Martavis Bryant, who came back to camp after a year suspension looking like an absolute ball-hawk, is not enough to stop the Super Bowl defending champions.  Not when mastermind Bill Belichick is shrewd enough to put his team in position to score every-freaking-drive.  Just ask the choke-king Atlanta Falcons.  Defense wins championships, people.  The young Stillers on the defensive side of the ball must grow up.  Stephon Tuitt should be a constant force in the backfield.  Bud Dupree should have double digit sacks.  James Harrison will be James Harrison, but it'd be nice if the Watt-family pedigree panned out in TJ, which so far, it looks like.  And Artie Burns must be ready for man-to-man coverage.

Listen to Stillers Nation. 

Listen to Stillers Nation. 

The Stillers have a relatively easy first eight games, facing the likes of the Browns, Bears, and Jaguars before the end of October.  Knowing the Black and Yellow though, we'll find a way to lose some of those games as playing down to the level of competition is a favorite Stillers past-time.  This volatility is the impetus behind the first collection of Stillers Season 01.

Available under the Stillers tab. 

Available under the Stillers tab

From the inevitable injuries that sideline Big Ben for at least one game to the late season, divison clinching heroics, the 'Rollercoaster' t-shirt is inspired by the dramatic nature of a Stillers season. That's what makes football so captivating in Pittsburgh.  We win, but it's often through much adversity. 

Unlike Postseason 01, this collection of t-shirts was designed, screen-printed, and dyed in-house by InTheRough staff.  Color is important to Season 01 because it is contrary to Stillers tradition.  Black and yellow is the norm, but look closely at the hypocycloids within the Stillers logo to find primary colors. The green hit on the multicolor 'Rollercoaster' t-shirt is a nod to Three Rivers Stadium's Gate D marker that still stands at Heinz Field today.  The vision would not be possible without contributions from Justin Berk, Lanie Edwards, Alex Hersh, JR Walker, Quaishawn Whitlock, and Alex Young.  Stillers t-shirts are now available for purchase here, and may they bring luck in this year's hunt for a seventh Super Bowl title.

Stillers bend, they don't break.

Yung Mulatto Illustrates the Hip-Hop Sound from Pittsburgh by Alex Young

Yung Mulatto photograph by Alex Young

Yung Mulatto photograph by Alex Young

Yung Mulatto can't help his native Southern Charm. He's the type to brew fresh tea leaves for a house guest. Tea time is one of Mulatto's hobbies, "just like doodling has always been," he said. The transplant makes a good impression upon Pittsburgh's resident artists and cool makers. 

Officially named Miles Saal, 20-year-old Mulatto speaks optimistically about his time in the city. "Pittsburgh is nothing like my hometown," he said. "There weren't a lot of arts programs at my magnet high school in Jacksonville, Florida." When he moved to the 'Burgh in 2013, Creative And Performing Arts High School opened the doors for Mulatto to explore his artistry and ingenuity. "A lot of agreeable people here" get his vision.

As an illustrator and music producer, Mulatto satisfies his desires while "trying to connect people with other people," he said. 

At eight-years-old, he handled the piano and the double bass. In high school, he played the trumpet. Since dropping out of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he studied music and film, Mulatto began to produce hip-hop. "I wanted to know more about the local scene beyond Mac and Wiz," Mulatto said.

He adores Pittsburgh for the creative people he meets. CAPA is the reason Mulatto met young rapper, James Perry. The big city, small town vibe familiarizes Mulatto with social circles. Although, SoundCloud digging and the unification of his drawing and musical skills puts Mulatto in the center of Pittsburgh's underground hip-hop community.

Mulatto's sphere of influence grows from drawing cover art for rap mixtapes or Local 412 Trading Cards done on coffee sleeves that idolize the 'Burgh's hip-hop heroes, like Pk Delay in a fur coat from his "M's" cover. Mulatto shouts out the scene regularly and casually. He doodles when he's working at the Jitters coffee shop in Shady Side. He selects local rappers, like Patches, to play through the shop's speakers. What goes in Mulatto's ears travels out of his hand on to the trading cards. The coffee sleeve drawings depict the life of the hip-hop scene and its actors like cartoons. "Danny Phantom, Anime, and Adventure Time are huge influences on my drawing style."

Importantly, Mulatto's work archives what is happening now creatively in popular Pittsburgh. He wrote out a long list of everyone he knew who made hip-hop here and the list travels as a beacon throughout social media space. Wait until the radar detects it.

The respect Mulatto has for the music community breathes organic collaborations with other artists. He drew the "Astro O2" album art for youth rap star Blackboi, and Mulatto sent him beats. Another rapper in Akono Miles received a storyboard cartoon about textbooks from Mulatto. "Cover art is the visual connection with music." Additionally, he joined with lifestyle label Reviving Real to release a mix featuring 15 local artists. He also drew the mix's artwork and placed some of his beats on the project. 

He knows the rap history. "The Bushnel is one of my favorite spots in Pittsburgh," he said. A lot of musicians throw house parties at that venue in the Oakland neighborhood. "I heard extensively about the Shadow Lounge when I moved here."

While exploring the landscape, Mulatto has become a fan of R&B artist Amir Miles and boom bap producer C. Scott.

[I’m] trying to connect people with other people.

Further, Mulatto's beat tapes are tranquil. His production matches the realism in his doodles. Listeners hear suave trumpets. His sounds come to life, and diverse instrumentation builds his music. "Producers shape where the sound will go," he said. "Sampling is big," too. "I kinda want to make the weirdest hip-hop possible. The kind that makes you turn your ear and say, 'This is amazing!'" For a reference, Mulatto likens himself to legendary hip-hop acts like Danger Doom, Outkast, Lil  B, and Tyler The Creator.

Ultimately, Mulatto calls himself a "big picture guy" and must thank the community he engages with and honors. "Pittsburgh has been really good to me," he said. Good times continue on September 16 at The Bushnel where Yung Mulatto hosts a birthday show.


FlickChix by Maxwell Young

F*ck Donald Trump.  Roll up. Courtesy of FlickChix

F*ck Donald Trump.  Roll up. Courtesy of FlickChix

You may already know Love.Char through her sultry themed Instagram photos or seen LifeofLanie in one of her many YouTube vlogs and beauty videos.  Separately, sisters Char and Lanie have grown and leveraged their social media platforms to explore aspects within the music and entertainment journalism industries, as far as styling on set for music videos or interning at The Fader, but their platforms have also provided interesting entrepreneurial opportunities.  Char parlayed her popularity into merchandise appropriate for her cool, curly-haired lifestyle selling lighters, rolling trays, hair picks, and hair products. Lanie, on the other hand, has utilized her talent for graphic design and web development to make custom websites and banners for other social media personalities, while also designing a makeup box: Sweater Weather.  Together, they have teamed up to launch FlickChix, a one-stop shop for custom lighters.

"Char and I started FlickChix because it was the perfect way to join forces.  I'm a graphic designer, and Char had already been selling lighters with her pictures on it.  You rarely see lighters with eye catching graphics on them, so we decided to create some with the intent of people collecting them and displaying them when the lighter fluid runs out," says Lanie.

Rather than buy another generic Bic lighter in a color you've undoubtedly had several times over, not to mention letting a friend steal it, head to FlickChix for a unique lighter experience. The sister's inaugural collection is politically charged, featuring a vintage Barack Obama and a sinister President Trump, although collections will change periodically.  FlickChix also offers a custom lighter service. Perhaps you wanted your own special lighters for an event or your own brand.  Customers can submit their own photos and designs, and FlickChix will create that one-of-a-kind lighter.  Your shopping for dope ass lighters begins here. Spark up in style.

Cool Things Happening at Uptown Art House by Maxwell Young

Travis setting up the light filters.  Photograph by Maxwell Young

Travis setting up the light filters.  Photograph by Maxwell Young

Art work by Marc Bryant.

Art work by Marc Bryant.

Every time you walk into Uptown Art House, you're liable to find new installation pieces and contraptions or catch it amidst a cosmetic transformation. Camille and Niles Parker designed a DJ booth and projection walls for their techniclored-event, 'Hue Lounge,' featuring DJs Naive Nebula, Kno I'm Not, Romero, Atanga and Bast who formulate their creative collective. Resident artist at the Art House Maps Glover, has been busy constructing several performance art pieces, while Yacine Fall and Sarah Craft have installed a metal hanging apparatus, as they conceptualize an upcoming show.  Mensa Kondo has popped in-and-out of the space continuing to progress his vibrant mural, as other paintings from Marc Bryant and an evolving array of graffiti tags have manifested inside the space.

Nate G and Naive Nebula photographed by Maxwell Young.

Nate G and Naive Nebula photographed by Maxwell Young.

Uptown Art House is a multi-disciplinary venue.  Whether attending a weekend event falling into a sensory experience of light projection and experimental sounds or walking into a boutique of Native American jewelry, the various disciplines of art and cultural expression are evident here.  Last month not only featured a performance by April + Vista, but D.C. thrift-retailer Earl's Closet hosted a vintage shopping event at the Art House.  There's no intent to slow down the space's programming as co-directors Jamal Gray and Sebi Medina-Tayac have committed to Uptown Art House until January 2018.  Take a look at a number of the events taking place at the Art House this August.

1. August 11th, 7-11pm, $5- A Period of Appreciation: a Solo Exhibition by Maya Sun

Visitors to the Art House may have already seen some of resident artist Maya Sun's work, as she was integral to Maps Glover's art piece, 'Home' during Dawkins and April + Vista's show last month.  Her solo exhibition attempts to amplify the bondage of self and mind, peeling through present and past constructs created by self, sexuality, love, womanhood and blackness.  Sun welcomes us to her inner-working through a range of different media.

2. August 12th, 7-11pm, $10- Dawkins, Dreamcast, Leach, Crue

A Dawkins band member checks out the aluminum TV set during their event last month. Photograph by Maxwell Young 

A Dawkins band member checks out the aluminum TV set during their event last month. Photograph by Maxwell Young 

Dawkins and Dreamcast are familiar faces to the Art House, having already performed groovy sets here this summer.  The latter you can also hear on ITR's Sounds of D.C. playlist. OTHERFEELS a DMV-based artist collective and blog is bringing these artists back this Saturday along with Leach and Crue.  Visual projection mapping will be on display as well as physical and performance art.

3. August 13th, 7-11pm, $5- XK Scenario Homecoming Tour

Northern Virginia band XK Scenario is returning to the DMV scene following their first northeastern tour.  XK is supported by an A-list bill of D.C.'s budding independent artists such as Canker Blossom, Lies Kill and Jamal Gray as RAYGUNOMICS.

4. August 19th, 5-10pm- The Artist Solidarity Foundation House of Art 2.0: Ways of Healing

Join the ASF and MNM Creative & Underground D.C. for their second iteration of House of Art.  This year's program is dedicated to discovering the various means humans and artists have for healing.  DMV-based artists and vendors will bring their art and participate in the artistic discussion.  There will also be live music of the andean 'folk' and northern Native American singing/drumming varieties, handmade goods and new wave sounds spun by DJs Luchaoso and DJ A-lex.

5. August 20th, 6-9pm- Psychedelics and Art

The D.C. Psychedelic Society exists and boasts a community of around 250 followers on Facebook.  Later this month, they will be exploring the intersection of psychedelics and art.  Local artists including Khalid Thompson, Luke Stewart, Carmen Jackman and Farrah AbuBaker will speak on how psychedelics have impacted their art and life.  Live painting, visual projection and vending by donut shop Glazed & Infuzed will be amongst the list of activities for the night.






The Geechi P Interview by Alex Young

A Talk with Pittsburgh's favorite fashionista.

Geechi P photographs by Alex Young

Geechi P photographs by Alex Young

Geechi P appears like a "hypebeast." A kid struck with culture craze only doing things to be trendy. Look at his Raf and Supreme outfit. But fault to anyone who judges the man because Geechi P is authentic.

Style plays Geechi. He wore a red cape on his head when I first introduced myself to him out-front Boom Concepts in Pittsburgh's East Liberty. Striking, "the cape" held his braids in-check. Later, a video of Geechi basking in the sun with his red durag flowing in the wind hit his Snapchat. He's funny and aware of his image. "I go on [social media] to entertain people then I leave," he says. 

Now 22-years-old, "my goal is to be a stylist," Geechi says as he walks me through his native Hill District neighborhood. "All I know is girls and clothes."

Although Geechi claims he didn't develop his own style until he was age 15 in high school. "I was the hybrid high school student." He calls himself a nerd who played basketball and painted and even substituted gym for dance at Northside Urban Pathways.

Additionally, the Geechi P nickname came from his pal Fredd. "We needed something catchy," Geechi says. The "P" stems from Malik Pettus, Geechi's government. During hang-outs, Geechi and Fredd watched music videos on MTV and rappers Wiz Khalifa and Currensy. "I was Wiz and Fredd was Currensy." He starts singing Wiz's stylish lyrics. "Camo shorts go with anything I wanna wear." Geechi's taste arrived from devouring these hip-hop icons and others like Kanye and Pharrell. He studied the fashion labels, like Alexander Wang and Bape, that 'Ye name dropped in his raps. He smiles remembering his all-black B.B.C. Ice Cream sneakers with gum bottoms by P and Nigo. Also, when Geechi's mom started his $20 allowance, he bought Diamond Supply T-shirts from Brick Diggler at the Timebomb streetwear boutique as often as he could.

"I like to test myself. Can I make this look nice?" Geechi says. His style combines great designers. During a photo shoot with photographer Jordan Beckham, Geechi mixed labels Fred Perry with Raf Simons and Marc Jacobs with Maison Margiela.

We pass numerous memorials for iconic Hill native and playwright August Wilson on Wylie and Bedford Avenues.

Currently, the fashionista makes his mark as the creative director of Everett Banks' hip-hop events such as Trappers Delight or Trapaganza, a TILT Party. Although Geechi's own clothing label, Humble Island, motivates people to find shelter in their own self-confidence.

I want style and Pittsburgh to be a conversation.

Altogether, the outfits that Geechi curates along with his pep animates a cool depiction of someone on trend and passionate about fashion and streetwear. He sticks out in Pittsburgh's blue-collar, city sportswear dress code. Allow his thoughts to supply an understanding of style, culture, and personality.

I would call myself a forefather because I'm a culmination of style, research, and brand identity. I've been known as a fashion guy longer than these people. People know me as the dude who dresses nice or the dude who knows clothes or the dude who did that fashion show here. People want to see what I'm wearing more than what someone else is wearing. They would critique my fit more than they would critique an average person's fit. If they saw me off my game, it would be terrible. I would be eaten alive. People are looking to say, "he's not as fresh as he thinks he is." That's what makes you a forefather though when someone wants to bring you down from your spot or your wave. Whenever you're at your high and mighty point, and someone wants to take that from you, you're in competition now.

What are you trying to push about style in Pittsburgh?

I'm trying to push the art of mixing and matching great designers. There's a lot of shit that I have on that people don't recognize what it is. I have an $800 Alexander Wang hoodie. It's a plain gray hoodie, but it's cashmere all the way through though. You would know it was an Alexander Wang if I told you or you saw the tag, but people think I just have on a gray hoodie. That's what's up. The real people know what I have on though. It's an Alexander Wang piece and it's $800. The crazy thing is though I got it brand new and didn't pay full price for it. I paid $200 for it, and you know how much I paid for these [adidas x Raf Simons Ozweego]? I paid a buck 80 for a $500 shoe in new condition. Whenever you have connections like that, that's when you know you're in the game. Whenever you can wear shit that people don't know what the fuck it is, that's when you're in the game. Like this simple Y-3 bracelet came out in the early 2000s and it's one of my favorite pieces. You'll probably never see this again.

I want to show people that you can wear high designer shit with average shit. If you have a couple rare designer pieces in your wardrobe, then you're good. I want style and Pittsburgh to be a conversation. I want people to be like, "Pittsburgh style is dope." I want to bring that vision to people's eyes and have them say, "that Geechi dude knows what he's talking about." I want to be the reason for people to look deeper into fashion.

I hate when people say I'm fresher than you. I'll say to people, "I'm fresher than your boyfriend." It's my catch phrase though. It's a joke, but it's not a competition to me. I don't think fashion is a competition. It's supposed to be you expressing yourself with what you feel comfortable with. I'll be out, looking fresh, and see somebody else looking fresh and I will tell them, "I like that." It's mutual respect. Communicate through the way you dress. People want to be in fashion but don't know the essence. People think fashion is being the freshest. If you think fashion is having the dopest 'fit on, then that's base level. That's where I was at years ago. That's cool, but somebody out there is going to look better than you.

So, what is the essence of fashion?

Being comfortable with your own sense of style. Being the freshest version of yourself. I'm fresher than old me. I look back on my 19th birthday outfit and think I could have done that better. Elevate yourself through fashion and art. Evolve because it's always changing.

"Hypebeast" is used wrong. It has a real definition. A "hypebeast" is someone who doesn't have their own sense of anything, and they follow trends. But you can still follow a trend and not be a "hypebeast." Trends are supposed to be fun. Real fashion people find trends fun, and that's why you see fashion related people doing the same things. Remember when VLONE came in? People want to have fun with a trend while it's hot. You'll see Playboi Carti in a VLONE shirt and then A$AP Rocky will wear the same shirt differently. Trends are like hashtags on Twitter. Everybody wants to throw their two cents in. You're only a "hypebeast" when you wear something specifically because of somebody else. Be original with your 'fit.

I remember I had a hairstyle back in the day. In high school, I wore my braids to the back with one braid down. Then this dude copied me and called it the Geechi P. 

Talk about the stereotype of a fashionable man perceived as gay.

I'm not gay. I just really really like clothes, and I'll take your girl. It comes down to the perception of someone well-groomed perceived as feminine. Society says a man has to get his hands dirty. You know? We're in the coal mines, we have to be in the trenches, and we have to have dirt on our hands to be manly. You can be a manly well-groomed man though. I know people who wear skinny jeans who would fuck you up. There is someone with a Glock in his skinny jeans. There's a well-groomed gangster out there. That stereotype is getting lost now, especially with the purple and pink hair rappers. Even Rocky and Chris Brown for example. Don't fuck with them. Feminine looking dudes are... think about Michael Jackson and Prince. People would tell me I look like them as an insult. But, I'm like Michael Jackson got hella hoes. Prince, assless chaps and all, got hella hoes. The dude you think is the roughest toughest dude probably didn't get as many bitches as them two. Prince wore assless chaps and still took your girl. I used to want to be Michael Jackson. Behind closed doors, you can call me whatever, but respect me when I'm here.

Ian Connor is one of those people who does something that I can't do. His style is dope. He makes dirty look good. He looks very rugged and dirty. He wears a dirty pair of shoes and a baggy sweatshirt and it looks dope every single time. He gets respect from me. You can see hints of Ian Connor in the people who he styles, like Kylie Jenner. I want people to see Geechi P when I style them.

I don’t want to be a stylist in a box. I want to style anybody from the country clubbers to the rappers.

Where is your biggest influence coming from now?

I like anything Nigo does. Nigo and Pharrell are big influences. I got my all-black Ice Cream sneakers from Social Status. I can't wait to see the Pharrell and Chanel collab. He can do no wrong and he's a vampire. He just started aging. Rocky is a huge influence as well. His braids are clean like mine. We bring a 'hood influence to fashion. I'll never lose influence in Kanye. Carti's style is dope and Offset is the freshest Migo. That nigga knows what he's doing. Quavo is mainstream fresh and Takeoff called Raf Ralph Simons. I was pissed. It goes to show that even if you have money that doesn't mean you know what it is, like drug dealers and rich white people. They just like the price tag. But, mostly my influences are organic. I stumble upon these things. I keep tabs on people, but I pull from everywhere.


@geechi__p wears it better #newstory #soon #pgh

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Geechi P Rants

+ "There's nobody who can dress better than an Asian."

+ "Fashion people have fun with trends and put their own spin on it."

+ "I ride for Kanye. He's an artist. I don't stand for Kanye beef."

+ "All the people wearing Raf in Pittsburgh wear it to a T."

+ "I want a dope ass Rolling Stone cover. I'll be in all black and the cover will be colorful as fuck."

+ "People who can't afford great fashion pieces are the most informed about fashion."

+ "Shop at Clothes Minded."