Style Counsel: Tone Ali

Occupation: Head of Design, BlackOwned Outerwear
His Style: Streamlined, but articulated
His Style: Streamlined, but articulated

Photograph by Annette Navarro

You model all the menswear on BlackOwned’s website and have really become the face of the brand. How do you pull looks together?
I’m all about a clean look, but I like to switch it up a little bit and put things together that you don’t normally see in Cincinnati. If I’m not wearing BlackOwned, it’s from Urban Outfitters. I always leave that store with more than I came in for, especially jeans and socks. They know me now, which is bad. I love accessories too, especially hats.

BlackOwned has done a couple of fashion shows in town, and more are planned. What’s it like on the runway?
Hectic. It’s a little scary, having everyone’s eyes on you, but it’s a thrill.

When you’re on the leading edge of trends in a city like Cincinnati, where do you look for inspiration?
I’m still addicted to GQ and Details, but I also like Instagram. [BlackOwned owners] Cam Means, Marcus Ervin, and I went to Chicago in March to scout looks for the store. We saw a lot of mesh in T-shirts, which was validating because we’ve been doing that here for a while, so we know we’re right on target. I also like the looks from Kanye x Adidas and Fear of God. Jerry Lorenzo, who created the Fear of God menswear label, is African-American, but he’s been called out for not using black models in his campaign. Similarly, women’s fashion magazines like Vogue have been criticized for years about the lack of diversity in their pages.

Does that bug you?
I know that’s true, but honestly, I’m always looking at the clothes. I don’t really care who’s wearing them.

BlackOwned, 822 Elm St., downtown, (513) 407-3496

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