Ja’de Bass: outfit curator, model, local DJ, first year


Xanayra Marin-Lopez

Only a freshman, Ja’de Bass runs a curated fashion Instagram, DJ’s at local venues and has a passion for designer clothing. Bass poses at an elevator in her dorm Jan. 23, 2022.

Xanayra Marin-Lopez, Reporter

In only her second semester at App State, Ja’de Bass has made waves in the town from DJ-ing at Boone Saloon, modeling for The Collective fashion magazine, photographing streetwear for “Mountainside Silhouettes” and more. 

Bass’ passion for fashion, music and culture blend to make her who she is, all while being a freshman computer science major.

“I love computer science as much as I love these other things,” Bass said. “It’s another way for me to create stuff, or put my ideas into a real-world setting.”

Growing up the daughter of military parents, Bass spent most of her early life traveling through 48 states and internationally. However, there was one place that heavily influenced her style and interests. 

From 2012-16, a time in her life where she was building her identity, she lived in Germany. As early as middle school, Bass started building an interest in high fashion because of inspirations like A$AP Rocky.

Not only did Germany’s fashion leave a permanent mark on Bass’s identity but so did the subculture of house music.

“Being at a different place at such a young age, I feel like it’s an opportunity a lot of people should have if they can,” Bass said. “If it wasn’t for Germany, I wouldn’t be into fashion. I wouldn’t be into DJing.”

Bass said Boone reminds her of where she lived in Germany 4,000 miles away because of “the mountains, all the greenery and the white people.”

Her favorite high fashion inspiration comes from the diffusion lines of Comme des Garçons, specifically the Hommes Plus and Black lines. Other fashion favorites include Maison Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto, Arc’teryx and anything falling under post-archive fashion.

Bass shows off her favorite pair of boots outside the Living Learning Center Jan. 23, 2022. Heeled shoes are a staple for Bass, who often pairs them with form-fitting pants and a dark-colored top. (Xanayra Marin-Lopez)

On her wishlist are high-heeled Tabi’s, the Vibram x Balenciaga high-top toe sneakers and the high-heeled Crocs from Balenciaga.

Bass uses gender to her advantage and “plays” with heels and skirts. In affirmation with her identity as a trans woman, she uses pieces in her closet to move away from masculinity, paying attention to fit and silhouettes.

“I just dress how I dress and let myself express myself,” Bass said. “Like if I want to wear a skirt, let me wear a skirt.” 

There’s one fashion rule she always comes back to; if her mom doesn’t like her outfit, Bass said that’s how she knows it’s good. 

The weather also plays a huge factor into her everyday outfits. A lot of pieces in Bass’ closet are intended for the winter weather, especially since she’s lived in colder climates like New York and Germany.

She also makes a point to not shop for clothes as often as possible. She believes in not contributing to overconsumption in fashion. This means not making big haul purchases, no matter if it’s fast fashion or at the thrift store.

If she’s going to shop in Boone, Bass enjoys Footsloggers, Ram’s Rack, Appalachian Antique Mall and Goodwill.

Living in a predominantly white town and acknowledging the lack of the fashion scene she sees in Boone, Bass is not discouraged. 

“I’m just this little Black kid from New York who’s lived in plenty of different places,” Bass said. “I’m not really intimidated coming around here and being around all these people.”

Though Ja’de Bass is a computer science major, her passion for fashion follows her through her collection of designer pieces displayed on a rack inside her dorm Jan. 23, 2022. (Xanayra Marin-Lopez)

And she hasn’t dulled her inspiration. She gives credit to those in Boone who have style with an outfit Instagram page, @mountainsidesilhouettes.

On the page, Bass posts pictures of street style of Boone residents. She takes their picture, interviews them and posts them herself. With each person she interviews, she includes a quote about their style and details about their outfit. She planned the page over winter break.

Her inspiration for it comes from her time living in New York, witnessing street style firsthand and similar pages like @watchingnewyork and “NYC Looks”. She asked herself, “How can I bring this to Boone?”

“I wanna use it as a way to approach people and start conversations,” Bass said. “And get used to talking to people.”