The Brazen Style Dwanna

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Dwanna

In the words of Shade Queen, Sophia Petrillo, “picture this!” *cue sassy, life-hack story* As I was strutting my way to a restroom break, I spotted today’s quaintGal at the Young Atlanta fashion show. My objective for the night was to capture the best style moments, and Dwanna was the ideal subject. Clad in a fringe lavender jacket, beaded bra, and sneakers with lights flashing within the soles. Snapping a photo of her was a must! So I did, and now I’m here sharing her spunk, views, and girl-power realness with you. Originally from Chicago, Dwanna is a photogenic being who “likes to take pictures,” and expresses that she’s a “very fun and outspoken person.” As if her style doesn’t display this already, Dwanna epitomizes what it means to be confident, candid, and distinctive. What we aren’t able to see is her relentlessness and comeback-kid spirit. She revels at her individuality saying she “love[s] to be different,” but she’s also just like you and I saying “I love to go shopping, what every girl does.” You see that there is a good balance of being her own woman without isolating herself from the rest of us. A true act of feminism based on a standard set by her. Her journey to becoming the woman she is was stimulated by an influential high school teacher and fulfilled through her passion for encouraging other girls to be self-confident. The excitement felt whenever I get to unearth aspects of people never leaves me. With Dwanna, I got to relive some of my fondest (and least favorite) moments from junior and high school, because I could identify with some of her experiences.

She revels at her individuality saying she “love[s] to be different,” but she’s also just like you and I saying “I love to go shopping, what every girl does.” You see that there is a good balance of being her own woman without isolating herself from the rest of us. A true act of feminism based on a standard set by her. Her journey to becoming the woman she is was stimulated by an influential high school teacher and fulfilled through her passion for encouraging other girls to be self-confident. The excitement felt whenever I get to unearth aspects of people never leaves me. With Dwanna, I got to relive some of my fondest (and least favorite) moments from junior and high school, because I could identify with some of her experiences.


 

She recalled a time she went to class in an outfit she was extremely proud of, only to be chastised by her peers. Surely, many of us, especially girls who love fashion, have been in situations similar to this. One of her teachers motivated her to continue being herself and never let negativity sway her from doing it. The now 23-year-old used the advice for herself, but the helpful spirit of that teacher would later spark the compassion within. That manifested as P.U.M.P, a non-profit organization created by Dwanna. We’ll get more into that a bit later. In the meantime, I’ll talk about how she proceeded to win me over by citing Rihanna’s ‘I don’t care attitude’ as one of her inspirations. That was followed with her denouncing the media’s unfair treatment of carefree black girls like Rihanna.

This portion of our discussion transitioned to her thoughts on the fashion industry. We agreed that a lot of fashion’s most important influencers are pushing for conformity instead of ingenuity. Dwanna explained that we are at a point where labels are more important than the art of self-expression. This idea is also connected to flawed beauty standards. You know, the ones that force women into self-hate rituals, rather than discovering oneself and being confident in that. This exchange with her reaffirms why I believe fashion/style help people uncover their creativity, voice, and expression. Dwanna’s personal style is telling us a story, one that is familiar, yet still needs exploring. Speaking with people like Dwanna is my choice of weapon for combating the issues women face with confidence. Her way is more hands on.

P.U.M.P, which stands for Positive Unique Motivated Passionate sisters, started two years ago, but faltered when her group lost most of its members. She felt discouraged for some time but knew she wanted to do more than work at her regular job.  Dwanna is now planning a relaunch for January 2016 after much “maturing over the years.” She feels more equipped than ever to handle the organization. With it, she plans on bringing young women and girls together in a safe environment where they can discuss their struggles and find ways to strengthen their confidence. I think back to when I was a teenager dealing with self-esteem issues and how an organization like this, with people closer to my age, would have appealed to me. P.U.M.P is coming back at the perfect time, though, I believe. Over the past few years, there has been a surge in embracing and helping others embrace who they are. An organization like this only helps women to delve further into these discussions. Having one in Atlanta is an even better advantage. Dwanna is proof that style represents so much more than having great taste. For her, having strong personal style is her way of helping young women and girls find their own. Get in touch with Dwanna on instagram (@_marrywanna) and stay tuned for more details on P.U.M.P’s relaunch.