Abdu Ali Eaton is making his own mark on Baltimore’s cultural scene. A style aficionado and fervent writer, Eaton conceived the blog EatOn This as a platform for both local and worldwide talent in art, music, and fashion. With an eye for the underground and a penchant for the cutting-edge, Eaton reports on just about everything you won’t see in conventional fashion rags and, if he does delve into the mainstream, it’s only for “dope stylish shit.”
Lucky for us, Eaton is channeling his modish wisdom into Style Advocates, an ongoing project (due out in November) that celebrates some of Baltimore’s key fashion players through a series of photographic portraits. BBH recently caught up with Eaton to suss out the details of DIY media and unconventional fashion know-how:
What led to the creation of EatOn This?
I've been contributing to other publications but didn't find fulfillment in that because I had so many ideas that just weren't getting out of there. I wanted to do my own thing on my own terms. I guess I like being the boss or, better yet, the driver of my own craft.
What is your process like? For example, how do you identify your subject matter and what tends to catch your eye the most?
It's simply anything that inspires me whether it's a fashion collection, shoes, or a person. I often write about people more than anything. I love people and culture itself. I have a lot of muses, all the Edie Sedgwicks of the world. LOL. I tell people that my blog isn't a news or picture blog - it's an inspiration blog and I want anyone that views EatOn This to be inspired by what's on there.
EatOn This has a particular focus on “the underground players” of fashion, music, and art. How do you see independent crafters as being part of that realm?
Someone who creates under their own terms, with original ideas, and who really produces good shit is an underground playa! I like artists who do what they love because they love it and not for any type of profit but for more a personal benefit. I have a thing for the underdogs anyway because I've always felt like the underdog. Those people do not get enough credit as they should and that's what I want to do.
When does something cross the line from being underground to mainstream?
Artists whose art has an unselfish purpose and contributes to society in a progressive way. Mainstream lacks fabulous ideas, original thought, and creativity; it's supported by a general large mass instead of unique individuals.
Who are some of your favorite indie designers in Baltimore?
I rarely have favorites because I am so indecisive but I do love Bishme Cromartie, Natty Paint, and CULT apparel.
Tell us about your upcoming project, Style Advocates.
Baltimore is not really considered a "Fashion City" but there is a life of fashion here and a lot of people do not see that - not even the people who live here. I always think about the people who love fashion and are fashionable in Baltimore that I come across and how they are never recognized. That's why I wanted to do an editorial that reveals the secret society of fashion lovers in Baltimore.
How, in your opinion, does an artist, designer, or musician make his or her mark on the world?
By being them and finding a social medium through their art, design, or music. You have to be gutsy and that usually is to be yourself, offering something fresh.
Do you define yourself as an independent artist? If so, how is EatOnThis an extension of your art?
I am more of a messenger and advocate for artists but I guess my vision for my site and what goes into it classifies me as an artist. I love to write so writing is my art. So yea I guess I am an independent artist.