This girl launched her own fashion magazine in college for the ‘alternative, the bold and the outsiders’
She’s currently a student at Elon University
When she’s not modeling for local boutiques, crafting bomb Instagram posts, or studying for finals, Na’Briya Ware is heading into new territory with her online magazine, Blasé.
The 20-year-old came up with the idea “out of pure necessity” last summer after finishing her freshman year.
With a push from some of her closest friends and mentors, she decided to embark on a journey of self-discovery, ultimately leading to the launch of Blasé this February.
“I decided to just go for it,” she told babe.
Blasé is a fashion magazine that presents itself as “an entity for the alternative, the lower 60%, the bold, the outsiders.” As of now, Blasé has released two full issues, and are slowly but surely growing their presence on social media.
Na’Briya is a rising junior at Elon University in North Carolina studying communications, and is a member of the highly selective Odyssey Scholar’s program. After working for her university’s lifestyle and fashion magazine her freshman year, she realized something was missing.
“They had internal structural systems that didn’t align with my own values. I didn’t feel represented within the staff or in the work that we put out. I couldn’t stay, so I resigned before the new season,” Na’Briya told babe.
After struggling with efforts to secure funding and perfect their vision, the first issue of Blasé landed on Issuu, and now Na’Briya says she “can’t imagine life without it.”
For her, Blasé represents individuality, intentionality, and straying from the norm, or as she puts it, “reinventing what is accepted as what we know.”
Na’Briya herself uses fashion to break from traditional stereotypes, touting an aesthetic she calls “alternative and versatile.”
“Fashion is art. It breathes and lives and is such a unique way to express yourself. One day I’ll be in an all denim ensemble and heels, the next a backwards hat, cropped sweater that shows my bra, fishnets and combat boots.” she told babe.
Na’Briya’s style has changed throughout the years, but she always aims to look how she feels.
“I love pushing gender boundaries and societal norms. Everything I do, I do for me, and that’s been a long journey. I shaved my head last summer to dive right into that process. I was ready to take the next step.”
Of course, it’s not all just catwalks and rainbows. In fact, Na’Briya didn’t even plan to be Blasé’s Editor in Chief. “It wasn’t my first choice,” she said, but by the time the first issue launched she realized she was better at it than expected. She attributes this success to the hard work and positive attitude her and her team share.
“It’s about respect, empathy, and the human experience. No facades or showboating necessary. We all know we’re good at what we do. But how can we make it better? Collaboration over competition. That’s our unofficial driving motto.”
When she finds herself in a bit of a creative rut, though, Na’Briya says she can always draw inspiration from Slick Woods and Jazzelle Zanaughtii, her “muses.” Both are W.O.C. models, and Na’Briya said once she found them, they changed her outlook completely. “Representation within media is SO SO SO important, and I can attest to that firsthand. [They] give me the confidence to do all that I do – things most would consider ‘bold’.”
Overall, she thinks the process has been a positive one and says reactions to Blasé have been overwhelmingly supportive. However, she’s quick to mention that you can’t please everyone, “Not everyone likes change, or anything with the word ‘alternative’ in it, but we try to stay true to ourselves.”
Her message to anyone seeking to find their niche? “Never settle for less than what you deserve or less than what you know you’re worth. It’s our responsibility to take what we know and actively pave the way for those looking to us for guidance. And, as always, necessity is the mother of invention. Welcome to the Revolution.”
Going forward, Na’Briya says she “hope[s] to move towards making Blasé a creative hub outside of just [being] a magazine. I want each individual section to become an independently functioning sector with its own pursuits, projects and services alongside monthly magazine content. Just constantly pushing what we can do.”
Quotes have been edited for clarity/length.