XL’s Featured Tribesmen Of The Week Donavan West
1. What are your biggest fashion obstacles?
My biggest fashion obstacles are finding pants that have a narrow cut but aren’t too tight. I’m not looking for skin-tight pants but I can do more fitted. I think as a 6 6′ guy, finding that look is an obstacle. Shirts that also have a good fit in the chest and back are usually too short in the arms. Another fashion obstacle is being a big man in search of fashion overall. Lack of access to fashionable attire is an obstacle. While I’m excited to see a surge in more diversity in the fashion industry and the subsequent inclusion of big men into the diaspora, it’s still moving at a snail’s pace. My mother was a seamstress so as a young man, my brothers and I often designed clothes that we wanted to wear and made them. I still tend to do some version of that today. I often find myself designing my suits and shirts. As for casual clothing, the sizes in most fashions usually dictate that I get them adjusted so the tailor at the dry cleaners may become my co-designer on some pieces.
2. Where are you from and what are biggest fashion trends in your city?
I’m Caribbean but Philadelphia has always been my headquarters. It’s interesting because many of the fashion trends I see have Caribbean origins. From the narrow-leg pants to the layers and colors, it’s all come full circle for me. Fashion trends vary with the audience. On the urban set, uneven t-shirts, hoodies, narrow leg jeans and sweats are the usual with a sick pair of kicks. They can be anything from Chucks to Vans to Yeezy’s and anything in between. On the urban professional set, suits (tie optional) are in real heavy. Vibrant blue, grays and burgundy’s, double and single breasted along with an obligatory honey or cherry-wood brown shoe to compliment are the order of the day. Lapel flowers, pocket squares, a tie pin (if applicable) and funky socks (if you got sock game) help to pull it all together.
3. Tell us about your biggest fashion nightmare and if it came true do explain. (attach a picture if you can)
My biggest fashion nightmare was to be somewhere and experience a wardrobe malfunction; more specifically, a split in my pants. This nightmare actually happened a couple of weeks ago. I picked up some summer clothes from a couple of stores on South Street. I was so surprised to find fashionable clothes in my size that I was almost suspicious. Nonetheless, I was excited and bought everything that fit. A couple of weeks go by and my brother and I decide to go to the local Caribbean club on the pier so I decided to break my jeans in. Well, I didn’t mean to actually break them in. When I got out of the car I heard a small ripping sound but thought nothing of it. When I actually got into the club it got worse. At that point, I played it off as a deliberate rip because it went with my shirt and kept it moving. It was embarrassing for a moment but I stayed and enjoyed the evening with my brother as he laughed to himself.
4. What are some of your biggest style inspirations?
Some of my style inspirations come from Europe. I’ve always worn suits since I was young and often looked up to my Grandfather who lived in London as a model. The double breasted and 3 piece suits were a major influence to me then and now. I’m also inspired by the fashion renaissance that’s allowing more creativity into the wardrobe so color and texture no longer have to have Afro-Caribbean boundaries
5.Where do you see yourself in five years and how do you see yourself accomplishing it?
I see myself continuing to influence the minds of individuals and organizations that seek growth through strategic partnerships. In five years I’ll be published and in a speaker series that will engage audiences throughout the world! I see myself accomplishing it by removing the boundaries stemming from traditional ways of thinking; leveraging my gifts, talents, networks, and opportunities to be relevant to the diaspora of my direct and indirect network; praying consistently regardless of the season and staying humble to listen, learn, and lead!
6.What do you feel is missing in fashion for the men of size?
Despite the growth and overall advancement in the fashion industry coupled with the inclusion of men of size, there remains a major deficit in access to quality and reasonably priced clothing. A vision, keen eye, and patience are requisite for establishing a wardrobe with personality. Another remedy would be for XL Tribe to continue to lead the way by connecting men of size to qualified clothing vendors!
What's Your Reaction?
Hola Mi Tribesmen I guess I’ll start by introducing myself. I’m Kirklan Hawes the Founder and creator of XLTribe.com. This site was birthed from an old idea I had to create a community of like-minded guys that was tired of being miss represented and wanted to be displayed in the truest form. Changing the way Big & Tall Men are perceived is the goal for XLTribe.com.