Style Counsel: Alexander Shelton


occupation: Yogi and Social Activist
Style: Radical softness

Photograph by Annette Navarro

What are some of your go-to accessories? My Eileen Fisher scarf and sweater were my staples for a very long time—their business model is eco-friendly.

What is eco fashion? It’s about diversifying your fabrics—my undershirt is eucalyptus. We’re hyper-consuming, and the clothes aren’t lasting.

What about this style appeals to you? The clothes make you feel lighter in a way where you know it’s cool to have this intention to decrease your impact. The revolution starts inside; if you’re not really practicing it, then how is it really accessible to anybody?

Before beginning your own yoga seminar, Namast’ay Woke, when did you start practicing yoga? It started when I was in high school. It helped me cope through college; it helped me cope through having a son, the whole Black Lives Matter movement, the police brutality—this constant trauma.

There’s this term you’ve associated with your class: radical softness. What does that mean? The world wants to harden you. Society wanted to make me hyper-masculine. Culturally, [black men] are taught to be harder. We’re taught to feel less. This idea of radical softness is the ability to shed all those layers of trauma, to be able to acknowledge that I’m in pain, and this is what I’m going to do to move forward.

What does that path forward look like in your fashion? For me, [it’s] being intentionally soft. I look up to femininity and this idea of the supreme feminine energy. I want to be able to wear a blouse and it not be a big idea. When people look at me, I want them to think soft. And the funny thing is, when people look at me, they just think radical.

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