Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Bowden creates his own fashion world in Tuscaloosa


Inside one of the bedrooms in the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity house are business cards on the dresser, jewelry spread out across the bed, and bags of shoes lying on the floor. Randy Bowden looks over the outfit he has picked for the model, trying to decide the perfect accessories to go along with it.

This is the 84th photo shoot Bowden, a junior majoring in fashion retail, has done for his successful fashion blog, The Blaque Book. Since starting the website in March of this year, the 21-year-old has gained momentum on his path into the fashion industry.

“His passion is unparalleled,” said William “Skip” Garrett, Bowden’s manager. “Styling is what he does; it’s what he knows.”

This knowledge of fashion started at a young age growing up in Birmingham, when his mother always made him dress nicer than he wanted to.

“I was a pretty preppy kid; I got teased for it,” he said. “My mom never let me wear what my friends were wearing, the baggy pants and baggy shirts.”

In high school, he started keeping up with fashion blogs online to see what was going on outside of Birmingham and Alabama.

He said his own personal style has increased mostly due to observation. For inspiration, he turns to New York and Milan’s fashion weeks and celebrities such as Pharrell Williams with his mix-matched clothes and crazy outfits.

“He gave me the courage to be different,” he said.

That courage that has been tested living in the heart of the South, outside any fashion capital. This geographical separation between Bowden and the fashion industry is what he counts as his greatest obstacle in getting his foot in the door.

“It’s hard to keep up with fashion where I am,” he said. “But I feel like it’ll get me more respect once I leave here.”

For now, he relies on the Internet to stay up to date with what is going on in the world he loves. He not only uses it as a source of knowledge but also as his mall, paying the extra shipping costs just to wear what he wants.

Besides fashion, Bowden has a love for music. He played classical piano from the time he was in fourth grade and originally intended to major in music. In fact, it wasn’t until he gave up his music major that he realized he could turn his love of fashion into something bigger.

The Blaque Book was his first big step into the industry. He and his brother, Javan Bowden, started it after a friend with her own successful fashion blog suggested it.

“It’s a great website,” Garrett said. “It’s come a long way and has a long way to go, but we’ll get there.”

The website is mainly geared towards men’s fashion, but he has just created a new section called “Woman — What He Wants” to practice styling women as well.

“He is showing how he is versatile in styling,” said Taylor Norman, a junior majoring in computer science, who helped with hair and makeup for this photo shoot.

Along with the addition of this section to the blog, Bowden continues to work on different projects in the fashion world. He recently styled a photo shoot for a consignment shop, has an upcoming fashion show, and has started taking personal styling consultations.

As far as the future goes, Bowden’s biggest goal is to do styling for top men’s fashion magazines like GQ or Esquire. He is willing to do anything to get there.

“I will do anything,” he said. “I’ll do everything the girl in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ did and more.”

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