PARK&Morris blog blends heritage and life’s passion

Photo by Becca Schwartz
Photo by Becca Schwartz

VCU student Yosan Mascio often layers traditional Eritrean jewelry with otherwise simple, modern pieces when crafting outfits for her fashion blog, PARK&Morris.

Mascio said studying public relations helps her promote the blog and learn how to make connections that can propel her forward. As an intern at Need Supply Co., Mascio said she has a hands-on opportunity learning about becoming a fashion influencer and how to make connections with stores.

Despite the pieces looking like a product of modern trends from afar, on her blog, Mascio said that many pieces, like necklaces and earrings, are passed down and gifted to her by family members.

“If you look at the detail in it, the carving in it, these definitely aren’t normal earrings,” Mascio said of a pair of stud earrings with grooves etched on the outer rims.

Crosses, or variations on them, are common in Eritrean jewelry, which is almost always gold, Mascio said.

“A lot of my culture is gold-oriented,” Mascio said. “If you look at the cross, it’s very detailed because it resembles obviously the Coptic orthodox cross.”

Because of the recent popularity of choker necklaces, Mascio says she has been focusing on jewelry, which she prefers to be “timeless” so it doesn’t interfere with the piece she tries to showcase in an outfit.

Mascio said she draws influence from platforms aside from her culture as well. She recreated outfits from Tumblr and MTV during her adolescent years and said she was inspired by Danielle Bernstein’s 2012 fashion blog, We Wore What. Mascio said starting her own venture was not without anxieties, though.

“At 16, 17 you don’t know how to go about it. You just sort of have your digital camera and go, ‘this isn’t right, I’m not in New York,’” Mascio said. “It took a lot of not being scared of what I actually wanted to do and just facing it. It just turned out to be something that I love.”

Photo by Becca Schwartz

The encouragement of friends helped Mascio take the digital leap. Influence and support from her father has emotionally helped Mascio in developing her blog and pursuing a bigger career in fashion.

Mascio said her father’s hard work in starting a now-successful business after immigrating to America without a college education enabled her to go into fashion, which she says is a risky industry.

“Never once have I heard doubt in his voice when I tell him (what) I want to do. I think that’s what makes this whole thing more attainable to me,” Mascio said.

Mascio said she always asked her father for his opinion on her outfits since the two have similar styles. She said he is, “super flashy, in a sense” and she was inspired by the way he carried himself. Seeing what her father has accomplished makes Mascio’s aspirations seem reachable, she said.

Mascio first confronted the piece that is now part of one of the her most  memorable outfits from PARK&Morris when she was younger, only to find at the time that her father’s 1980’s satin bomber jacket to be too big for her frame.

“I think I was so proud of that outfit because it’s something I’ve been eyeing since middle school and now I’m able to make an outfit out of it and create what I wanted to,” Mascio said.

Paired with black, textured pieces, the bright-colored jacket now resembles a modern trend.

“It’s crazy when you see it because it looks like something someone would wear (today),” Mascio said.

As opposed to other blogs, Mascio said she puts in effort to make her style accessible by keeping it realistic for followers. She posts links showing where she purchased the items, in addition to spending time searching for alternative products.

“It just makes it easier for people to have a better handle on it,” Mascio said. “ It takes a long time on my part because I want to make sure I’m giving people that are viewing my blog exactly what they want.”

Mascio is meticulous in providing options to her following base and  is says if she wore a black wrap dress then a black wrap dress with a gold buckle wouldn’t be a similar enough fashion dupe for her to link it as an alternative outfit.

“Whenever I put together outfits for the website, I want to make sure that it’s able to be recreated if they want to, but also something that other blogs don’t have,” Mascio said.

Recently, Mascio began featuring her follower’s outfit of the day posts on the PARK&Morris instagram account as a way to engage more with her audience. Followers can tag the PARK&Morris account in a post to have a chance at being featured.
“You don’t have to have a certain trend or a certain aesthetic, it’s just what you feel is your style,” Mascio said.

Georgia Geen, Staff Writer

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