Nov 16, 2017

Session With Maxine Ashley

If you haven’t acquainted yourself with Maxine, now would be the best time to do so before drowning in an overwhelming amount of her later. Maxine’s career began with performing covers on her YouTube channel- a very humble beginning to a powerhouse vocalist. The most viewed video to date still being Maxine’s cover of Man Down by Rihanna, at almost 1M views. Through their popularity, her videos showcased a vocal range that would expose her to the likes of Pharrell Williams, who quickly desired to mentor Maxine Ashley as an artist at a ripe age of 17. Maxine is now back in The Bronx after taking time to develop her music while living in Los Angeles. I had the chance to sit down and quickly interview Maxine to learn how all of her current transitions are molding her into the artist, and more importantly woman, she is today.


Photographed by Laura Ciriaco with a mix of both film and digital shots (IG/Photo Blog). Makeup touch ups by Crystal Stacey. Looks set up with pieces in Maxine’s closet as a joint styling collab.


As a Bronx native, I feel super prideful of any of my other sisters and brothers from the hood that are doing great things in the creative industry. You are obviously one of the many gems that got to grow up around the Bronx culture. I think we have a very good sense of community out here, and I think it stems from family appreciation. Lobster (my favorite song of Maxine’s) is one of your tracks that is about your family. Did you write this when you were living in LA or out here chilling with your grandma eating lobster? 

I was not in LA, I was actually in London, and I was all alone and homesick. I was around people that didn’t understand my culture, and I was tired of being misunderstood. So I had to write about it [my culture].
So you sing about eating Lobster… are you still vegan?

No I’m not vegan anymore, but I still don’t eat meat. I haven’t eaten meat in like 11 years. 

The culture of LA is really pushing a vegan lifestyle right now. Is that what influenced you to make the decision to become vegan in the first place? 

Not at all. When I became vegan I didn’t even know what LA was. I was 12, I was too young for that. It was actually MySpace culture… Remember the bulletins on the side? People used to post a lot of animal cruelty stuff and I was watching it while eating sesame chicken. And I was like damn… I’m not gonna eat meat anymore.

A determined 12 year old! By the way, how’s your car doing? I saw you were trying to sell it right before your move back home from LA. 

I still have not sold my car, but it’s still over there available. It’s a BMW 1998 [DM for serious inquires only].

Ok boo so back to your family, you used your cousin as a subject to your new song and video titled Happy. She’s beautiful btw. 

Thank you. 

I love the fact that you’re representing all kinds of beauty. Now how do you feel about this song being the first to introduce your upcoming solo project/EP/album? 

It’s not an album yet, or EP. I’m not really sure what it’s gonna be yet. Right now I’m just in the process of releasing singles.

So how do you feel like your new singles that you’re slowly gonna start dropping differ from your first EP, Mood Swings? How do you feel like you’ve grown as an artist since then?  

Well I’ve grown as a woman since then, I was probably like 19 [confirms with mom], yeah 19, when it came out. As a 19 year old I wasn’t really going through what I’m going through now. I was really hardheaded, I didn’t care about peoples’ opinions, or how people felt at all. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to see in between lines I’ve never seen before. Now it’s all about writing all the stuff I missed that I didn’t quite understand then, but I’m starting to now.

Not too long ago you posted about leaving your label and move forward as an independent artist. What does this mean for the future of your music? 

That I’m way more available right now. It’s like being single! Single and ready to mingle, I’m not married no more. I’m open to meeting everybody and working with anybody cus you know… when you sign a contract, like a marriage contract, you’re not really allowed to choose. 

So did your label try to categorize you as an artist? 

Of course, just like anyone one that they sign… I was young. I didn’t really even have music out. I was fresh so it gave them the opportunity to try to mold me as what they thought they were missing in their label, what they thought they wanted me to be. Like, “Oh, this latin Bronx artist, let’s throw her these songs. I want her to sing this.” As opposed to being like, “Yo, what do you like?”

I can see why that’s frustrating. So did you get to write these singles you’re dropping? Or was it the label that sent you lyrics? 

No I’ve never sang a label’s song. All my songs I’ve written, the songs I have now. I’ve written everything.

What's your favorite song you've written so far? Why?

A song that’s not even out yet… actually, a song that’s already out and I’m really proud of my writing is Perpetual Nights.

Is it because you pushed your writing since you were recording it with Pharrell?

Yeah, of course. It wasn’t only Pharrell. I had such a high exception of myself. I wanted to show people why to like me… I wanted to be number 1. It’s the same as wanting a position at a job, you gotta show your ass off. So anyone around me I wanted to show off like yo I’m lit.

You mentioned to me before our shoot that you’re Maxine now, not Maxine Ashley. This is a very bold move, we’ve seen many of these single names move toward household names; Beyoncé, Zendaya, even Pharrell. Is this another by product of becoming an independent artist to ground your presence in the industry?

It’s both. Maxine and Maxine Ashley. It’s Maxine for when I’m known enough to just be Maxine and Maxine Ashley for searching purposes. It’s a way of solidifying who I am and when it sticks, you know…

You’ve become a popular muse amongst the fashion and beauty industry, most recently becoming the face of Pat McGrath’s new line available in Sephora. But one of the first things you told me was that you’re not a model, you’re an artist. Do you feel like all of the visual work you’ve put out has changed your image from just a vocal artist to a multifaceted brand? Or do you feel like the focus has been shifted away from what you truly desire?

Oh no, I think the stuff I have out now shows that I can be a brand. When fashion designers/brands look at artists they’re looking at ‘can you sell my stuff though’. Especially since I’m not as well known as I want to be yet, it’s good to be multitalented in many different things. So say you don’t like my music, but you like my face, you’re still gonna book me haha.

So with that being said, what’s your ultimate goal as an artist? 

There is no ultimate goal really. Always have multiple goals. There’s hit a mil, after you hit a mil then hit another one. Work with this person, go here, do tours around the world. After that tour finishes, do another tour again with this person. At the end of the day, I guess the ultimate goal for any artist that has control of all of their art is to be able to have a team that knows what they need and want to make it easier. Instead of it being such a struggle alone.

If you could collab with any other artist, who would it be?  

Obviously, all the popular ones… gotta get that CLOUT YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING… nah haha… I really like Slump God he’s really dope, I love Kendrick— he’s amazing. I know there’s a lot of other artists that I don’t even know about that would be amazing to work with. So that question is really hard since my mind is so clouded with my own songs.

So is Cardi B on that list too? You know that Bronx pride kicking in. 


To rap it up, any word of advice for any of your followers or fans out there that enjoy your music and want to follow their dreams as well?

Really take into consideration how much work this takes to do, and don’t get discouraged even if you don’t reach as far as you wanna reach. Just keep going. Just keep on doing what you love. Don’t get sidetracked by doing something else. Say you wanted to fully invest in yourself and music, but you can’t because of your 9 to 5… you gotta let that go and fully invest into what you wanna do.

That’s awesome. Well that’s all for today boo, thank you for your time!

Aye! Nice, this was fun.


Be sure to check out to Maxine’s new video Happy, and drown in the depths of her beauty, vocals, and message.

Oct 19, 2017



My brain is overactive at night. I adjust slowly to reality when I wake up. I can still see the dimensions of my dream world, it allows me to implement it’s lessons. What sticks to me most is colors and the way doors lead to different settings beyond our capable lifetimes. What you see is a visual translation of the world that keeps me captive at night…

We are strangers, yet it seems we’ve known each other for a lifetime. We plot for world domination, but we are stuck in this matrix with limitations. Gravity keeps us pulled to a common center— one that has been built, tainted, expanded, exploited, and explored by centuries of habitation. Yet, we still believe our purpose is to triumph our predecessors.

What we forget is that we all wear the same. We only impact those we serve time to/with. And when we’re gone, what remains is what we build to leave behind.

I implore you to become more than your past. I implore you to create in the world that you serve. I implore you to value this linear time frame and understand that the only thing that matters is right here, right now. I implore you to question, discover, and calculate— and respect those in your path doing the same. I implore you to take the first step and to trust that what you see can be a physical manifestation. I implore you to move past your frustration and anxiety— we are serving time in a vessel that can build skyscrapers, airplanes, and develop cures for disease. I implore you to use this world to your advantage without leaving a trail of destruction in your wake.

This set is dedicated to all who inhabit this Earth. We are beyond gender and labels. That is why in this set Oscar and I wear the same piece, as individuals. We represent the movement of fashion— one that is conservative, multifunctional, and individual to the self. We represent individual uniform. We represent the future.

All photos are captured on film by the brilliant Cherry (Instagram // Photo Blog).
Wardrobe consists of Y-3 F/W 2017 pieces and Raf Simons footwear.
Looks styled by me, Shelly Isabel. Featuring Oscar Medrano.

Oct 3, 2017


The only way to achieve greatness is through practice, patience, and consistency. There is a stigma in our society that drives creatives to want to be the single greatest person in whatever it is they're investing in. This idea has driven the notion of teamwork into dust. Who wants to be a part of Destiny's Child when they know they have what it takes to be Beyoncé? Who wants to be in Jackson 5 when you can be Michael Jackson? No one really. If you are an exception to the rule, we're onto a positive start. Nothing that's ever been created has been done without the help of anyone or anything. The idea of being Number 1 has diminished the value of greater outcomes that is introduced by sharing ideas. Stop being so afraid of what the world may take from you without credit. Remind yourself of what you take from the world without it asking for anything else in return. Humble yourself and you can achieve the unimaginable. Elevate the world with your wisdom by sharing it.

This set is dedicated to Allie for allowing Laura and myself to experiment and play dress up with her.
Photos shot on film by Laura Ciraco (Instagram // Photo Blog).
Allie styled by me. Custom pieces by me.

Allie wears (1) Custom EyeFWTVision Puffer Coat, Alexander Wang x H&M sports bra, Vintage sport jacket skirt, and Y-3 Kohna Sneaker. (2) Model's own turtleneck, American Apparel bodysuit, Custom EyeFWTVision Levi Jeans, Y-3 Fannie Pack, and K & K Sunglasses.

Sep 28, 2017


Name: Shelly (Isabel) Alvarez
Origin: Dominican heritage, raised in The Bronx
Horoscope Sign: Capricorn(y)
Current Occupation: Team member of Y-3 Soho, and founder of
Desired Occupation: Creator of multidimensional self made brand that saves the world and the fashion industry
Dream Destination: The fourth dimension, I want to bend time and space. Also, anywhere on Earth that I have yet to explore. I can't choose one place, I want to see it all.
Favorite Runway Show(s): Versace Fall 1991, Azzedine Alaïa Fall 1992, John Paul Gaultier Spring 1994, Christian Dior Spring 1998
Must-Have Fashion Item: A comfortable, form fitting bustier in leather, polyester, or nylon. A cropped or ankle length (faux) fur jacket. High waist french terry cotton trousers. A pair of weird sneakers (think Y-3) that you keep clean for the rest of your life but not really because you wear them all the time because you love them so much. Black pumps that are tolerable enough to always come to the rescue. A pair of broken-in Docs.
Most/Least Liked Trend: Track suits.Track suits.
What is your intended purpose within the world of fashion: To reintroduce the glamour of the supermodel back into fashion. To continue to innovate and simplify, without eliminating the aspect of self expression. To remain educated about the past and bring important elements into the future of fashion. To help create a sustainable future for the fashion industry.

Photos taken by Laura Ciriaco (Instagram // Photo Blog). 
Wearing Butler rain jacket, American Apparel bodysuit, and Y-3 PureBoost in triple white.

Sep 21, 2017


Listen to women, they are beyond reason and normality. Women are gifts, receive them as gracefully as they appear. 

A collage of inspiration by me.
Aug 22, 2017

Look Why Three

This set is a harmonious act of both Laura's photography and my styling, with the help of our beautiful muses. Look Why Three is a palette for the upcoming fall season. We hope to inspire you to take fashion risks, while still remaining true to your developed style. Thank you Twin Magazine for featuring photos of this set in your most recent book. To view the set in high quality, visit MoreMulher, where you can also view more of Laura and her photo partner's work.

All photos by Laura Ciriaco on film. All styling and sketching by Shelly Isabel.

P.S. Don't ever forget to nourish yourself. And with equal love, Mother Earth. 
Talisha- Gracefully tends to nourishing from the tip of the root to the edge of every petal.

Code: 42-7336-69-674

Structured and voluminous, the Canvas Dress combines tailored elegance and playful functionality as a staple piece for the fall season. Featuring placket pockets, hemmed drawstrings, and the classic Y-3 stripes to finish off it's dropped pleated back. Paired with an equally voluminous top to call attention to the exaggerated details and tied together with the futuristic touch of the Dior pump.
Jay Avocado- Bestowed with the responsibility of guarding Mother Earth from any penetrating tribulation.

Code: 367-378-4827-3426

The Insulator Pants are the perfect hip fit trousers that allow movement with their wide ballon-hem finish. Made of high quality wool and lined with silk, they are ready to be claimed as a seasonal favorite. Paired with a Friday by Friday chain harness and button up, a fresh spin on a classic look. Accessorized with a Y-3 bucket hat to keep eyes shaded, and Jeffrey Campbell platforms.
Shelly- Sworn to protect Mother Earth with spunk and a kick ass jawline when action is demanded.

Code: 353-927-7467

The convertable Vinyl Parka provides the duality of a removable hooded overlay as well as a collared zip up with an edge. Kimono sleeve zip up feature adds to the multifaceted design. Paired with a layered bustier to add dimension, trousers to ease the eye, and mixed Alexander Wang pumps for a gritty finish.
Please note, these pieces are no longer available in store.
Aug 17, 2017


I grew up going back and forth from The Bronx to Brooklyn, park slope to be exact. It was the home of my dad’s skate shop 3rd Street Skate- later turned into Good Footing, specializing in outdoor footwear. Growing up I wasn’t allowed to buy dunks or Jordan’s, no matter how badly I wanted a pair. My dad felt like it was a waste of money since he had walls full of footwear I could choose from. It was frustrating for me, being that every “cool girl” in middle school had to be up on the latest Nike drops and I was rocking Merrell hiking sneakers. It wasn’t until high school that I embraced my limits and started finessing my outfits to go from “WHAT ARE THOSE???” to “Where can I find those?!?!” Footwear was, and still to this day is, the most important part of any outfit. I couldn’t count the amount of times someone would start a conversation with me based on how much they liked my shoes. 

Once I started to work with footwear, I dissected shoes for parts and learned how they were composed. What made them comfortable? What were they functional for? What makes them so attractive? I started to see footwear as art. That’s why it was so easy for me to pick up the pen and use sneakers as my muse. The shoes I'm presenting are all special for their own reasons. The Stan Zips are a spinoff of classics, not to mention I added my own spin to a pair of those by completely removing the zip. The Loop Court was the first shoe I sketched that gave me an understanding of patience for details while sketching. The BBall Cage was the one mens shoe I fantasized would be available for women. And the Noci Highs were my favorite mens silhouette for SS17, giving off space sport vibes. I have to give Yohji Yamamoto and the Y-3 team their credit for creating such appealing footwear silhouettes to drool over. It wasn’t until recent that I started to translate into designing my own footwear silhouettes. I’m going to learn the process of bringing a sketch to life, where I’ll be able to wear my own designs that I will get asked about and I can proudly say they’re mine, by me.

Jun 22, 2017

Summer Time Swim

Daddy's Hotel Poolside by Shelly Isabel

I've been working with Polyvore for a little over 3 years now. It took me a while to get acquainted with photoshop collaging/moodboarding, so in the moment it was easy to stick to Polyvore's layout and slowly but surely start to master the art with practice. Here's a few sets I put together to get in the mood for summer time swimwear.

You can view more sets on my Polyvore account.

Botanical Garden w/ Bae by Shelly Isabel
Sunny Side Up by Shelly Isabel

Jun 8, 2017

Vogue with Me

A mock up of the powerful high fashion women serving in 90's Vogue editorials; here's a set we dedicate to the magazine fusing a 1920's fashion influence with a subtle dash of post-punk beauty.

Wearing vintage Victoria Secret gown, Brooks Brothers tie, Yazbukey earrings, vintage ascot cap, vintage Carlo Felini bag, and Y-3 clogs-- a styling collab between LC and myself. 

All photos taken on a mix of 120mm and 35mm film by Laura Ciriaco.

May 2, 2017

Met Gala 2017: Rei Kawakubo

Cara Delevingne - CDG FW1997/ SS2002
One of the best translated looks of the night. 100% properly executed. 5 out of 5.

I'm a bit outraged at the attendees of this years Met Gala. The theme this year was an ode to the great Rei Kawakubo, known as the designer of Comme des Garçons. We're talking about a woman who has dedicated her life to design, starting her company in 1973, and putting on runway shows since the early 80's!! That's basically 4 decades worth of material to not only research, but to use as inspiration. Vogue runway put out years worth of archives in April, and it seems no one cared to look through them. Very few attendees understood or cared to show respect and put on a well deserved showcase of looks. Not to mention when Kawakubo stepped onto the red carpet herself, those who were around were on their phones and barely noticed her stride by. I wasn't attending the Gala myself, so take my words lightly if you were there to witness. I'm commenting strictly from photo and video clip observations. However, I cannot suppress my feelings to the matter. Regardless of that note, I did take notice of those who attempted to comply to the theme and created a side by sides of looks vs inspo.

Runway photos courtesy of Vogue Runway, attendee photos accredited to their rightful owners.
Zoe Kravitz - CDG SS2012/ FW2016
Inspired by Kawakubo's abstract (I see flowers) ruffled cape, while playing off 2016 color ways. She gets it.
Gigi Hadid - SS 1998
Playing with Kawakubo's take on asymmetrical garments and nude palettes. Another top look of the night.
Priyanka Chopra - FW2000/ SS1992
Priyanka keeps it classic with an exaggerated take on the trench coat. A Met Gala favorite, but contrary to popular opinion it's not on my list. 
Lily Aldridge - CDG SS1991
Inspired by Kawakubo's use of head pieces.
Zendaya - CDG SS1992
Looking as if she stepped right out of a painting, Zendaya's look brings me back to Kawakubo's SS1992 color palette.
Madonna - CDG SS2001
Madonna's a bit of a hot mess, but she's working well with some of Kawakubo's funkier runway days.

Elizabeth Banks - CDG SS2001
Coming off the same runway season as Madonna is Elizabeth Banks in a hypnotizing patterned dress.
Kim Kardashian - CDG SS1994
Not as WOW as expected, but Kim did comply with the theme as Kawakobo's favorite look is a simple white gown. Would've loved to see a headpiece.
Claire Danes - CDG SS1995
Following a silhouette Kawakubo played with for some time, Claire Danes goes for a ruffle high low top and a cuffed pant. 
Lena Dunham - CDG SS1993
Self explanatory reference. Bringing back Kawakubo's patterned gowns of the 90's.
Helen Lasichanh - CDG FW2017
Ahead of the season and on theme.
Rihanna - CDG FW2016
'Phresh out the Runway' plays as Rihanna hits the red carpet and slays yet another Met Gala.