Myles Xavier: New York Nuances

Updated: Feb 8, 2020

Prepositioned within an apartment in New York, Myles Vaughn schemes up a plan to annihilate conventional perception on fashion and enter us into a more futuristic era.

In his home state of Florida, he struggled to feel comfortable in its conservative environment. When the murder of Trayvon Martin happened in 2012, he began to feel unsafe as a black man. His transition into the Big Apple provided a sense of ease. In hopes of catapulting his career in the fashion industry, the Florida based designer moved to the city.

At the tender age of 17, Vaughn immediately dove into New York culture. He transitioned into the parties, the glazy emotions that loom over the city, the people who stomp down on the streets, the cars that hold their breath at stop lights- anxious to arrive at their destinations, desperate to pour out onto the crowded roads.

Interviewer: Do you intentionally make it a point to create an enigmatic reflection of your life on Instagram? What’s the move?

Myles: Well, I do and I don't. It's not intentional. Most of the things I post are just things I think {are} cool. I try to not even do Instagram. I think that the reason my Instagram comes off as enigmatic is because I refuse to partake in Instagram culture: letting everyone know what is going on at all times. I think it's really interesting when someone is able to not influence, but curate an existence without having to worry about the reaction of an audience.

Interviewer: On social media, when we see someone we think is cool, we automatically build up this perception we have of them. So I want to know from you, who do you think you are?

Myles: I’m a designer. I think the people who follow me think I'm far cooler than who I am. Because of how enigmatic my instagram is, you can't figure out who I am or what I’m about. That’s what’s so interesting about the people from New York- you see all of these things that seem so cool, but you don't really get a full taste of it. You want more, so you keep up with people who just happen to live in the city. People like to project who I am based on {Instagram}.

Interviewer: What did your childhood look like for you?

Myles: It was nice. I had a really privileged childhood. The thing is, my childhood was perfect until my parents almost had a divorce. That's when reality hit for me. Being raised in Florida, I was surrounded by conservative people all the time. The town right over from {my town}, was where Trayvon Martin was shot. That happened my freshman year of high school. That was the most impactful moment in my life. That was when my blackness became a thing. I think that's why I partied so much when I moved to New York. I didn't go out and party in high school. I didn't do that until my senior year. I didn't sneak out. I never did that because I was scared for my life. I didn't get to feel guilt free like these white kids I would hang out with. That shit blew my mind. After that, it was coming to terms with my sexuality. What really fucked me up was coming to terms with my sexuality in that climate. I've always been an outspoken individual. Someone was spreading a rumor about my friend- saying she had sex with him, when in fact, he raped her. I called him out about it. In response they all tried to jump me. I was alienated from [the racist white kids]. By my senior year, I finished online, which is how I was in New York. I started getting involved in high school parties. Getting fake ID’s and going to the club. That’s when it started to get fun for me.

Interviewer: What was it like going from Florida to New York?

Myles: Understanding how to navigate social settings was really interesting for me. Simple things that seem really easy, are not. {You have to} take advantage of your natural charisma. A big part of living in New York is differentiating yourself. You have to make sure you stand out amongst the crowd.

Interviewer: Did you grow up in New York?

Myles: I was born in New York, but then my great grandmother passed away, and my family moved to Florida so we could be closer to our family. Then I moved back to New York so I could get a job in the fashion industry. Some things led to another, and I got pretty successful in terms of what I was trying to achieve. My dream has always been to become a fashion designer. I like to call my first four years of living in New York, “the biggest gap year.” It was four years of self exploration, learning, and working, getting to know the ins and outs of the fashion industry, and understanding how these places operate- getting used to the pace of things- assimilating, really. When I got that understanding, I realized what I needed to do. And I'm going to go to school for fashion design and now I’m working on a lot of separate projects that I’m really excited about.

Interviewer: What did that time look like for you?

Myles: It was a lot of partying. I had a semi local mindset coming into New York. I spent my summers in New York. I had an internship at Alexander Wang when I was 16. I would always be here, and I always knew people here. The first time I moved here, I had an internship at HBA, it was my first internship. I was on the design team working for Hood By Air and meeting Malerie Murk, one of my first best friends in New York. At the time, she introduced me to a lot of people I know now. She introduced me to more people. Things became really interesting really fast. My very first fashion party was Rihanna’s party.

Interviewer: WHAT?

Myles: Yeah, it was my first one ever. We pulled up and I used my older brother’s name- on some real Soho kids, hypebeast-downtown shit. Mind you, literally two weeks before this, I was chilling in Florida. Next thing you know, I’m shaking hands with Rihanna.

Interviewer: Not Rihanna!

Myles: Rihanna! Right! {I’m} shaking hands with Rihanna, I’m sitting next to Young Thug. I get to meet Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson, A.S.A.P. Rocky, Travis Scott. I saw Alexander for the real first time.Those four years were a lot of partying {and} networking.

Interviewer: What was it like being a 17 year old in New York- being exposed to strange places, and working with big people in the industry?

Myles: I can’t say I’m nervous, ever. I always felt like a lot of these things have felt like they were planned by fate. Everything is a blessing in itself. I never walk in nervous because if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen.

Interviewer: How do you balance your work life with your social life?

Myles: I’m really good at maintaining a good sleep schedule. I can fall asleep at 3 am and wake up at 7 am and be fine throughout the day. I used to be the type of person to go out every night and then go out every single day. I've grown up, I guess. I'm more of a Thursday night type of guy. Old people go out on Fridays, but most people go out on Thursdays.

Interviewer: Do you think there’s a certain spark that’s missing from New York?

Myles: You always hear stories about the 60’s and the Chelsea hotel. All these amazing people who lived in New York over the past century and it’s insane because that's what New York is known for. But the people New York has bred lately, lack luster. The city no longer possesses that sense of self- it no longer has that organic feel. I think L.A. is the best city for art. {New York} is a place where you can have no responsibilities at all and still feel like a functioning member of society. There’s so much to do. In L.A., if you're not doing anything, you produce a lot of good work because there's a lot of interesting things. L.A. and New York compliment each other very well. L.A. has the spark.

Interviewer: Trying to stand out amongst the crowd and still maintain healthy relationships, sounds very competitive. When it comes to relationships, how do you balance friendships, and distinguish the fake from the real?

Myles: I have a really good close group of friends, New York is one of the most depressing cities in the country. It's just very draining. You'll feel like you need to be validated and constantly producing work. When you force yourself to do that, it can be overwhelming. If your different enough, I think you also have the privilege of seeing people to collaborate with, and come with ideas at 3 am. The one thing that is even cooler about New York is that when you have that circle, you have a lot of friends that help you with things. It’s sick as fuck.

Interviewer: What are these friendships pouring into you?

Myles: I’ve learned to back up when people get too involved with drugs. I’ve watched a lot of people just lose themselves to drugs. I've learned to not get too emotionally involved. Wait, what’s your sign?

Interviewer: I’m a Capricorn. So.. yikes..

Myles: I’m a Pisces so I have to set up my boundaries because people can turn from you. It's nothing you can't recover from. I've had some of my best friends spiral and we don't talk, but then once we talk, everything’s great. That's the fun thing about New York. That’s one of the things that I always giggle about. People are so sick here. There needs to be a reality show about downtown New York. A Gossip Girl type of show. The shit that happens is truly insane.

Interviewer: What's going on?

Myles: There’s been this trend where a lot of parties happen in restaurants after dark. There's this one Italian restaurant that I love. The owners are definitely involved with the mob. We were at this party- me, May, James, Bella, and Luka. It was a full blown party.

Interviewer: No…

Myles: Yes! I think about it and it still blows my mind. I have more tea: There’s no bathroom. Everyone was drinking and having fun. Tell me how everyone was using that storage to pee? People were literally sitting on the ground and pissing on the floor.

Interviewer: Your piss is on that floor?

Myles: My piss is on that floor. Met Gala weekend last year, we sit down, there’s Kendall jenner, Hailey Baldwin, and Jordyn Woods. We’re sitting down with them, eating on the floor of the Mercer, casually. New York is interesting. One thing leads to the other.

Interviewer: You’re surrounded by all these friends who are artists, so how do you navigate art? How do you pull from any experiences and memories from your own black life?

Myles: I think my blackness has impacted the way I see the world. Having a black mom and black father is interesting- you're given this strength. Like you are the talented person in this room. No matter who the fuck is in the room, it’s my room. That's the one thing I hate about the industry. Black people, no matter how creative we are, we will always be second to a white man’s ideas. People get so much acclaim, and it’s like, for what? I was always raised to think that I’m more than a black person. I’m black as hell. I’m a nigga. But I'm more than a black person. I’m Myles Vaughn. I’m me. That feeling of individuality- I draw from that.

Interviewer: Where do you find yourself in terms of self acceptance?

Myles: I am fully content with my sexuality. There was a period in my life where I was really experimental with makeup. I was wearing feminine clothing. I just had fun.

Interviewer: What are you pouring yourself into at the moment? Where do you find yourself creatively?

Myles: I’m making a shoe. I've been designing shoe’s since I was seven years old. Now I’m working on a shoe. It’s sick. It’s inspired by machinery [and] industrialization. I think women will really like it. It’s a women’s high heel.

Interviewer: How do you center yourself when it comes to creativity?

Myles: I'm insane when it comes to wellness. From 12 to 3, I think very fast. I really like to go to the archives at the Met- go through the clothing archives.

Interviewer: What music do you like to listen to while working?

Myles: I hate listening to music when I’m alone. The only music I can listen to when I'm alone is techno music, house music, [and] John Mayer. Tyler, the Creator and Frank make really good music that you can easily attach memories to. It’s traumatizing. There’s nothing worse than when Blonde comes on shuffle.

Interviewer: When I first listened to that album, I hated it. It took me a long time to fully comprehend what he was saying and wrap my mind around the sonics behind it. I can relate to that... But you give me Azealia Banks vibes.

Myles: Me? I love Azealia Banks. I'm also into apex twins. It reminds me of the city that I romanticize a lot about . My style always changes, but what I’m wearing right now is like the idea of a bike messenger. Early 2000s futuristic. Tech fabrics, ravey. You know the vibes. You know the scene in Kids when [she] gives her drugs? That vibe. The look I’m going for is the drug dealer guy. I’m very nostalgic. I love the early 2000s. I’m really appreciating the nuances of it. The hackers, ravers, all these different subcultures. I like looking at a lot of different references, old and new.