By Kiyanna Noel
Kiyanna’s Kulture is a biweekly column that highlights different kinds of fashion.
Fashion and music are a signature undeniable match, but can always be deceiving. The genre of music you listen to does not always determine your aesthetic or sense of style. Music is a vessel for self expression. With powerful melodies and lyrics, the right song can make you feel at the right place and the right time.
Music artist, ’21 Plattsburgh alumna and Bronx native Christyn Pettway follows the same mantra as she explores and discovers more about her style daily regardless of the music she makes or listens to.
“I feel like NYC is the perfect place to dress however you want whenever you want. With my music I do the same thing: I never want to be placed in a box and stick to just one genre or the same flow,” Pettway said. “I make songs about love and heartbreak but they don’t all have to be some slow sad song. Sometimes I wanna dance to heartbreak.”
Pettway’s aesthetic can be labeled as aliyahcore, which is layers with lots of accessories, fishnets, fur and belts. While Pettway describes her fashion as “all over the place,” her friend Kevina Burgess would disagree.
“I love how she embraces her body. Her style is unique and definitely a NYC style for real where it expresses her personality: fun, outgoing, free and beautiful,” Burgess said. “I actually wish I got her to model.”
Throughout her life, Pettway’s aesthetic has changed, but seeing her fashion as art helped her channel fashion from the Y2K era. Her passion for self-expression is shown in her favorite hobby, shopping.
“I see fashion as art. I am mainly Y2K, but like real Y2K. I thrift authentic clothes specifically from that era. I still buy Rocawear, Ed Hardy, Baby Phat, old Coach etc., but also alternative and a little streetwear. I really love collecting vintage designer items,” Pettway said
Pettway gets her inspiration from iconic women on TV.
“I mostly get inspired by the fashion girlies I grew up watching: Raven Simone, Hillary and Ashley Banks, the women from 90s sitcoms etc. I pull inspiration from everywhere,” Pettway said.
Growing up, Pettway’s parents often dressed in black, which started her off with a different aesthetic.
“My alt side really came from me though growing up listening to rock music and never really growing out of the emotion phase. It helps that I’ve always loved wearing black, which I got from my mama,” Pettway said.
Over time, Pettway learned that certain styles can grow with you and can show you how to reflect and dress without spending hundreds of dollars.
“I didn’t always have the money, or the parents with the money I should say, to buy me the things I really, really wanted,” Pettway said. “But I had no issue rocking a knock-off. I was still able to make it cute.”
Pettway encorages others to develop their sense of style in ways that work for them.
“I would say designer doesn’t matter how you feel in what you’re wearing matters. Especially as a thicker girl, don’t even worry about what’s trending because usually these trends aren’t catered to you anyway. For anyone with my type of fashion, I would say online thrifting is your best friend. Postmark, Depop and Vestiaire have my heart,” Pettway said.
Reflecting at any stage of life opens up room for criticism and over-analysis. However, Pettway uses moments like these to remember why she dressed the way she did in the first place.
“Even when I look back now and say ‘Oh hell no, that was ugly,’ I know at the time it was me giving it my best,” Pettway said.
Pettway always hopes that others can dress how they feel the most comfortable and listen to music that resonates with your feelings. By wishing the best for everyone, the new artist hopes that everyone is able to feel safe and confident in their own skin as she is.
“I dressed based off how I feel that day, what energy I want to give off and others should too,” Pettway said. “My song ‘FALLINLUV’, which you can stream everywhere, shows that side of me and my energy. It’s all about confidence and self-expression to do what you want to do and dress how you want to dress. It’s for you, not anyone else.”