Blog Name: Virtual Mutt
Blog URL: www.virtualmutt.com
Your name: Chance Llanes & Aba Mfrase-Ewur
Where are you located?
Richmond, Virginia. One (Chance) in coliseum lofts, surfing on a friends sofa, and the other (Aba) in GRC. But we recently signed our first lease together!
Tell us a little about yourself:
Chance: I’m an 18 year old fashion design student at Virginia Commonwealth University with a passion for pizza. I work at Waffle House and dabble in creative writing, photography, film, dance, tattooing, and music.
Aba: I’m a 19 year old creative advertising student at Virginia Commonwealth University with french and art history minors. I’m addicted to carbohydrates. I’m a model, a fervent football (“soccer”) fan and smooth operator . I love sleep, corny jokes, and most importantly: pizza.
When did you start your blog?
The blog started back in June, 2012.
Why did you decide to start blogging?
Chance: I started with the simple goal—blogging about things that I liked in regards to fashion and music. When I met Aba I didn’t immediately think of bringing her onto the team. It was more like of one of those “Aha” moments. We were sitting down at a friend’s dining room table discussing her goals and aspirations and it just clicked. I had to have her. From then on we wanted to bring music, fashion and cultures from all over onto one online outlet; Virtual Mutt. It’s online, thus being “Virtual”. “Mutt” originated from the fact that I have so many cultures and origins mixed in too.
Aba: That’s exactly right. When I first met Chance I was immediately mesmerized by how passionate he was. It was so impressive to see someone with so much talent , in so many different fields, really try their hand at everything and be successful. The thought of joining Mr. Llanes in this endeavor hadn’t even entered my head. It was more of a wishful thinking sort of thing. When he asked me, I was floored. But we clicked and I firmly believe we’re on the same warpath…to defeat the Huns. But in all seriousness, I could have said no and where would I be now? I really started blogging because Chance really believed that I could and that made me sure of myself. That is an awesome feeling. To have someone believe in you and your ability so much that it renews your confidence.
Where are your favorite places to shop in RVA?
Aba: Bygones is my dream store, complete with all the vintage gems I could ever ask for, but for now I can only window-shop. I love H&M because they have the softest sweaters. Urban Outfitters has really cool stuff… when it’s on sale. Fantastic Thrift always gives me a little more than I bargain for too.
Top 3 favorite blogs to read?
How would you describe your personal style?
Chance: I have always described my style as that of a Chameleon, way before Lana Del Rey came out with the video for “Ride”—not that it matters. I’m still in the chameleon stage; adapting, transforming, and slowly figuring out what exactly my style is.
Aba: The real issue is Chance took my answer. I always say eclectic because that’s what other people have always said but I’m on an adventure to find a better word. For now I’ll say it really varies from day to day. How I’m feeling, who I’m going to see and what music I’ve been listening to always has an effect of how I dress myself. Some days I just can’t seem to get it together though. On those days, I just go for comfortably and usually black. All black everything.
Who is your style inspiration?
Chance: My style inspiration(s) come from all over, whether it’s bloggers, designers, musicians or whatever else you can think of. I don’t have just one because I don’t like to limit myself. For instance, Adam Gallagher (of I Am Galla) is a very dapper young gent who has pretty much mastered the art of making the suit and tie a casual ensemble. Whereas Christoph Schaller (of Christoph Who) not only has this minimalistic style aesthetic, he also does film and photo works that are truly inspirational. Then you have your big designers like Marc Jacobs and Kenzo, among others, who produce pieces that spark inspiration for me. Yoann Lemoine, more popularly known in the music world as Wood Kid, is definitely a big style inspiration for me as well. I could go on and on, but in short I draw inspiration from many aspects of life.
Aba: First off, I love menswear. I gain so much inspiration from the texture and simplicity of a men’s blazer. Everything is very traditional with a bit of a twist as not to overwhelm you. That is something I really appreciate. This is not to say that I don’t experiment. I don’t like to limit myself to just one look. It would be cool to have a signature look but I am not Karl Lagerfeld. Secondly, I really love vintage well-made things. Marilyn, and Audrey and the Nanny Fran also give me a lot of inspiration. Although, what Chance said is right. We both gain inspiration from everything. Music, nature, cinema; it truly is all around us. More recently, I’ve been inspired by Alexander Wang and his ability to spurt perfection. He might be the only person I envy.
If you could give any advice to other bloggers what would it be?
Chance: Don’t give up. There are days when I wake up and think that the world doesn’t need another blogger. Then I realize how silly that sounds. The world actually needs more bloggers. It’s a way for us to connect and share our travels, thoughts and experiences. We’re all pieces of a bigger picture and through blogging we’re allowing others to grow with us, to travel places one could only dream of, among many other things. Don’t strive to be someone else, because you’re main goal is to blog as an individual and to build an audience that loves your exclusivity. As cliché as it always sounds, be yourself.
Aba: Do everything. Brandon Viney, art director at Wieden+Kennedy, told me that once and it stuck with me. Lack of inspiration can kill your vibe and as Kendrick Lamar has pointed out, that is never a good thing. As an Ad major, I have to constantly be creative and when I’m not inspired my work is not good. As it goes, when you’re not doing anything, your blog becomes mediocre. This is not to say that at all moments in the day you should be feeding baby penguins, or painting, or composing a sonata. This is saying that taking the chance and doing something different can be amazing for you. Whether or not the first time you try something new or different you have a good experience doesn’t matter. You now have a story to tell that’s yours and no one elses. That is what truly matters. Stay inspired by yourself and impress yourself by pushing your own boundaries of comfortability. You’ll be pleasantly delighted with the outcome or at the very least have that hilarious story to tell.