If Julien Bass was a mythical creature, he’d be a unicorn.
He has bold taste and is never afraid to switch up his look. Within a year, he transformed his wavy, slicked-back hair from jet black to platinum blonde to bluish grey, then back to black again. His clothing style changes just as often. Depending on the day, the Lake Charles native might be spotted in a pink ’70s kimono or a painted leather jacket with a white T-shirt and vintage blue jeans.
Fashion is like a second language for Bass. He uses clothing to convey his feelings, embody different personas and make statements. His larger-than-life style has landed him merchandising and styling gigs at clothing stores like Time Warp Boutique and Urban Outfitters, and it eventually led him to starting his own clothing brand, House of Jvles.
“Style is my way of expressing everything that I’m about without using words,” Bass says. “I really enjoy replicating certain periods, whether it’s a true 1960s look or totally ’90s. I like the idea of bringing a past time into this time and making it look funky, fresh and like something that could be found today.”
His closet is like a box of crayons. There’s a garment in every color. On one side of the rack, bright yellow cheetah-print jeans are draped on a hanger. On the other side, there’s a striking vintage wool coat with a blue, red, black and orange Aztec pattern. Silk, leather, denim and jersey are just a few of the materials sprinkled throughout his wardrobe.
The 28-year-old’s love for assorted textiles and prints is deeper than clothing. He is an artist, as well. For House of Jvles, he collects vintage and thrifted garments and revamps them using bleach, paint, dye and patchwork. One of his favorite creations is a green Levi jacket, which he put his own stamp on by painting Diahann Carroll’s face on the back. He sells his clothing online through Instagram and at local pop-up events like Soji’s Night Market.
In addition to running his own clothing business, he is a mixed media artist who paints portraits, wearable art and custom-commission projects.
“Style is my way of expressing everything that I’m about without using words.”
His art and style are heavily influenced by pop culture, with inspirations like ’80s icons Patrick Nagel, Johnny Depp and Keanu Reeves. Don’t be fooled by the male influence, though. Bass’ style is gender neutral.
“It’s so important for us to break down those societal barriers that tell us that certain items of clothing or colors are made for certain people,” Bass says. “Take risks, and don’t let the name of a clothing section define your personal style.”
Bass is determined to continue changing social stigmas around men’s fashion, especially for black men. In his spring collection, he plans to launch unisex wear featuring artsy linen matching sets and rompers.
“I love seeing cisgender, heterosexual black men taking a more styled approach to fashion that just a few years back would have them immediately labeled gay,” Bass says. “It’s wonderful to see more black people being loudly expressive through style. We’re taking chances.” Find him on Instagram [email protected]_
This article was originally published in the April 2020 issue of 225 Magazine.