On a snowy Saturday night, a man dressed head-to-toe in wooly cable knits, a young lady in combat boots with a septum piercing and adorable dimples along with many other dapper dressed Torontonians, gathered at Queen Street vintage clothing store, F As In Frank. Music was bumping, liquor was flowing and everybody was feeling the vibes as they gathered around style guru Taz Arnold.
Creator of TI$A, which stands for “Taz Is So Arnold” as well as meaning ‘nine,’ in Arabic, a symbol for completion, Taz Arnold has a long standing history not only within fashion, but the music industry. Sa-Ra, a collective hip hop group based out of LA, which Taz is a part of, formed in the 90s (along with everything else that is dope and heavenly) and produced songs for the likes of Jay-Z, Heavy D and have collaborated on songs with artists such as Pharoahe Monch and Talib Kweli to name a few.
During Fashion Week in Paris, whilst posing alongside Kanye West in some leopard tights, a green moto-jacket and a black and white Fendi sweater, Taz had all the blogs buzzing about his unique and eclectic style. His style savvy began in 1986 while his was a part of a Crenshaw gang from 108th Street called “The Nerdz Gang.” It was then that Taz said he began mixing pieces that were popular at the time such as GUESS jeans alongside surf gear that reflected his beach-going lifestyle. He has since designed gear for MCM and Pastelle, a collaboration in design between him and Kanye.
He’s described his style as “anti-art” and “ignorant” because he doesn’t subscribe to any particular guidelines within the fashion industry. If mixing MCM print with Louis Vuitton monographs and a Fendi pattern were a style crime before, they have now become key ingredients in the science that is Taz Arnold’s art. Advising novices who are freshly entering the style game to stick to what looks and feels good on them, Taz suggest working your way up the mixology levels of style until you are a grand master, who commands the attention of both admirers and haters.
I must admit that I showed up to this meet and greet looking less than perfect. The stormy weather had messed up my hair, I was in a plain outfit that I put no effort into, and I couldn’t even produce a lady-like sashay because of all the cumbersome equipment I was carrying. The closer I got to Taz, the more I felt like I was about to fail the fashion exam of my life by an esteemed and tenured professor. I shook his hand and asked him if he would pose with a Bad Perm flyer. He told me that he wanted me in the picture at which point I said I was a hot mess. But he was insistent I stay in the picture holding up our flyer. He was very sweet and relaxed and accommodating. I didn’t sense any pretentious or pompous attitude but rather someone who simply wanted to spread their vision to the world. It was very refreshing and also inspiring. As I am finishing up this article, I have carefully laid out my outfit for tomorrow because as a fellow artist, one thing I will remember Taz for is showing me that we ourselves are our best canvases.