“Half-pint” is a term that gives a fair portrayal of this petite fashion maven but don’t let her compact physique fool you - this chic sister packs a punch! Maybe not in the physical, hold-my-earrings kind of way, but you better believe that if it ever came to that those earrings would be tres vogue.
Tanaka “Tiki” Roberts is not someone you can easily overlook. Her knack for fashion, eclectic sense of style and love of all things swank produces a “who’s that girl” effect that leaves a lasting impression. But don’t just take our word for it; the proof is all over her newly minted fashion blog swankxtar.blogspot.com.
JamaicansMusic recently sat down with the stylish islander to discuss the launch of her blog and all things fashion in Jamaica and, of course, music.
JAMusic: What encouraged you to start your own fashion blog?
Tiki: In high school I spent way too much time on fashion blogs and that carried on throughout college. I started finding my own style over time and random strangers as well as friends would notice and often compliment my outfits. I always contemplated starting a blog but didn’t take it seriously until this year when a friend gave me the push I needed.
JAMusic: Apart from your own love for fashion, where does most of your inspiration come from for blog posts?
Tiki: As cliche as it might sounds I do get inspiration from everything and everywhere. I will see someone walking down the street and an idea will come to me for a post. I do follow a lot of established fashion blogs as well including those on celebrity style so I use those as guides for trends.
JAMusic: What's your strategy for growing your audience? Do you have any plans for the blog that we should look out for?
Tiki: Well the plan is always to treat my audience to quality images and impeccable style in a unique way that will hopefully inspire their own sense of style and help them to make the most of their wardrobe. I will be including a lot more trend reports, style watch, fashion tips and hacks and I'm also looking to do features on the local fashion scene. There is a story behind every outfit and inspiration for everyone who comes across the blog!
Roberts is also closely linked to the Jamaican music industry as her father, Patrick Roberts, started the renowned Shocking Vibes Studio which was one of Jamaica’s most prominent production houses in dancehall music. Her brother, Jamie Roberts, is now continuing that legacy with his Young Vibez label but Tanaka’s passion for fashion has lead her down a different path.
Fashion shares an unbreakable bond with the music industry; so much so that many fashion conscious fans turn to their favourite musicians for the inspiration and musicians are constantly being featured in fashion shows and magazines. Many have even launched their own fashion line. Some fans often lament however that the immersion of fashion in music often takes the focus away from what matters - the music and the artistry of the musicians.
JAMusic: Do you think that fashion detracts from the music in any way or enhances it? What are your views on fashion in Jamaican music?
Tiki: I think it’s a packaged deal. You can sound like a million bucks but if you're not put together that can detract from the performance. In Jamaica dancehall culture and fashion is inseparable and I can appreciate that because it keeps fans entertained. While I acknowledge that some musicians do get ahead of themselves at times, I think it is a part of creating an image that is unique so I encourage artistes to use fashion to develop the character behind the performer.
JAMusic: Which musicians (local & international) do you think could make it on your blog because of his/her impeccable fashion sense?
Tiki: Locally the female artistes tend to dress a bit raunchy so I think perhaps a Tessanne Chin is more up my alley. Internationally, Solange Knowles, Janelle Monae and most recently Selena Gomez has proven to be quite the style icon too.
JAMusic: Do you think that Jamaican culture has influenced the international fashion scene or vice versa? How so?
Tiki: Certainly. It is commonplace to see persons overseas in red, green and gold garments which is instantly recognized as a Jamaican combination because of reggae music. Jamaica's popular culture is also heavily influence by the US and UK so many fads do find their way to the island. It is definitely a two way street.
JAMusic: What's the latest trend in Jamaica that you think could inspire a global fashion trend?
Tiki: I think Jamaicans are now embracing a sense of national pride that shows up in our fashion, from our national colours to vintage dancehall fashion and even traditional Jamaican prints. On the global scene ethnic fashion such as prints inspired by Africa are very popular so I think these modern take on unique, Jamaican inspired clothing and styles can impact the global fashion scene once it gets the exposure it needs for people to catch on.
JAMusic: What's your view on Jamaican fashion and its place in the global fashion scene?
Tiki: The fashion coming out of Jamaica today has so much potential. Our designers and stylists have certainly evolved and can go neck and neck with many international brands from quality to design. I think all Jamaica needs is that exposure for others to realize the treasure chest hidden on our little island.
Roberts is certainly one of the precious gems in that treasure chest, though she usually ops for more tribal accessories mixed with some modern elegance. This is often reflected in her blog.
JAMusic: How would you describe your personal style and how does this reflect in your blog?
Tiki: Most of all I am minimalist and tend to go for comfort. I love starting with basics and piecing together my own creations. My go-to style is Bohemian and vintage inspired but I mix it up with a little urban, androgynous and trendy looks too. With each post I try to showcase different elements of my style so my blog is very versatile.
JAMusic: What does the word "swank" mean to you and how did it end up in your blog title?
Tiki: The word swank pretty much characterizes my blog. It means to be tasteful, fashionable and stylish. While I believe in being trendy, there are certain things I would never wear or encourage anyone else to either so this is a space for classy and classic fashion for women across the board.
JAMusic: Will SwankxTAR only focus on female fashion or is there a plan to include male fashion as well?
Tiki: I love a well-dressed man so I definitely plan to feature men’s fashion occasionally.
The season of beaches, bandanas and bikinis is almost over but there’s still time to make a scintillating fashion statement. Just follow Roberts’ tips and visit her blog and your next outfit will be a definite hit.
JAMusic: What’s hot this summer (aside from the climate)?
Tiki: In this summer heat, you really can’t go wrong with white! Go for the lighter, more free flowing materials like chiffon and linens. If you're wearing a cropped top you can pair it with a loose palazzo pants or maxi skirt for balance since your midriff will be exposed. Maxi dresses are a summer staple; they are not only fun and easy but very versatile too. Oh, and it’s the season for ‘sunnies’! Sunglasses are a necessity to protect your eyes and great accessories to complete an outfit. They also come in handy on those no-makeup days.
Check out SwankxTAR at:
Instagram: www.instagram.com/swankxtar (@swankxtar)