Black punk style gets a refreshing new take as one stylist revives Pure Hell
Stylist Viva the Visionary has outdone herself as she’s leading the charge to highlight the originators of Black punk style, the band Pure Hell.
“Time To Embrace Your Individuality” are the words that you see when you land on Viva The Visionary’s website. She is envisioning a world where healing and individual creativity are a focal point in fashion.
The 26-year old Brooklyn Based stylist and fashion designer combine self-healing through fashion as the core value of their work.
Viva The Visionary defines herself as a fashion shaman. By her own definition, this is a person with the ability to activate the healing properties of clothing to aid others.
Ultimately, she pulls inspiration from other dimensions to promote self-healing and individuality. In a moment where things seem to be unpredictable, Viva uses her skills to promote a lifestyle where healing is always at the center.
Kulture Hub: Tell me about how you got into styling and fashion?
Viva the Visionary: My parents first exposed me to personal style. They’ve always embraced individuality and taken pride in your appearance. I give my mom all the credit for training my eye and not being afraid to take risks.
Fashion for me is a lifestyle.– Viva the Visionary
I didn’t grow up falling in love with brands. I grew up falling in love with the material of clothing and loving the process of putting together outfits. My mission with fashion is beyond me.
The goal is to promote individuality and self-healing through clothes. I know being in the fashion world is my calling. It comes so naturally to me. Styling will always be incorporated naturally into what I do. But my goal isn’t to be a stylist forever. My next move is designing. I plan on being one of, if not, the greatest fashion designer to ever do it.
KH : What are some misconceptions about styling?
Viva: I really feel like stylists do not get the credit we deserve. Shoutout to all the amazing stylists doing the damn thing!!
I’d say the biggest misconception is that what we do is just quick and easy. Of course, the style part comes easy. But a lot of people think I just steam clothes and hand them off.
For editorial work, there’s a lot that goes into it. During pre-production as a stylist, you have to do major research and planning; consultations, create a designer pull list, mood boards, style boards reaching out to designers.
Then in actual production prepping clothes, staying on set, etc. In post-production, I’ll then do rounds of drop-offs. Finally, I then go through the shots with a photographer for us to then send to publications.
In my eyes, stylists are fashion detectives…– Viva the Visionary
Fashion designers are known for their signature look or for bringing creative images into clothing. Viva fuses healing and fashion as a way to bring in the person and their true essence into their clothing.
Recently, Viva The Visionary infused the style of a 70s Black Punk Rock band into one of her latest visions. Pure Hell was a Punk Rock Band from West Philadelphia that was well known in the 70s.
According to Dazed Digital, “Pure Hell was completely entrenched in the New York City underground scene, living and performing alongside the legends of American punk.”
Black punk band Pure Hell performing “Noise Addiction”
KH: When did you first get exposed to Pure Hell?
Viva: Winter 2020. As I was doing research about the 1970s (something I’m always doing because I’m obsessed with that era) I came across the name Pure Hell.
I don’t remember what rabbit hole I went into specifically. When I typed in “pure hell” I was surprised how there wasn’t that much info on the band as there should be. But this lack of info made me more curious.
KH: How did you come up with a Pure Hell black punk style concept? What made you want to pay homage to Pure Hell?
Viva: I remember reading an article by Dazed I believe in 2010 and it highlighted how this punk rock band was the pioneer for punk music.
Also when people think of “punk style” they don’t think of black artists at all which is wild because we were the blueprint (once again) when it comes to punk/ heavy metal.
The part that stuck with me was how they’ve been forgotten for years. Also how they were so far ahead of their time when it comes to style. They experimented with androgyny and were completely original.
Reading that they were original and forgotten really resonated with me as an artist. That being said I was like how can we give “Pure Hell” the flowers that they rightfully deserve.
I wrote the concept in my journal and just sat on it until everything came naturally together. When Rumpus (photographer for the shoot) heard about the concept he was all in and together we built an amazing team! The team was a dream. Like we really did that!
Also shoutout to my really good friend Kai! She was the lead MUA for this shoot. And wow she really killed it. We are so grateful for how this all came out. That day was really magical!
Pure Hell contributed to the punk rock scene in great ways. The black punk band shaped how punk would be seen and heard, today. As a Black band in the 70s, they had an impact on how people saw punk rock.
KH: Pure Hell is a pioneering Black punk rock band, do you have thoughts surrounding the impacts this band made in regards to Black artists/creatives in the punk rock scene?
Viva: Yes the impact was big but unfortunately not known by the masses. Back at this time, black artists were only expected to create “dance” or “Motown music.”
That’s why Pure Hell never got signed. They didn’t budge when it came to what was true to them. Instead Pure Hell’s influence back then only trickled really to other punk rock bands at that time which were white.
Unless you are in the punk scene deeply you wouldn’t know about Pure Hell especially due to the lack of info. Asking around about this band I came across a lot of people who had no idea that a black punk band existed in the ’70s.
KH : How did Pure Hell impact your own fashion sense?
Viva: It’s funny Pure Hell and I have a lot of similar, fashion-wise. Being original and just doing what you feel rather than what people expect. After the shoot, I was inspired to be even more experimental though and go even more outside of the box.
Viva the visionary brought the essence of Pure Hell into her work. Work rooted in self-expression and healing. Tapping into Punk Rock style, black energy, and innovation she brought her creative vision to life in 2021.
“Dressing nice for yourself is a form of self-care that promotes self-healing. For me, fashion is way more than what meets the eye… Every day I decorate my shell and show the universe my gratitude for giving me this vessel to live in my truth and to inspire others to be themselves.”– Viva The VIsionary
KH: How do you want your work to be remembered?
Viva: As original, impactful, thought-provoking… Although people always say everything in fashion has already been done before, I refuse to believe that. I just pray I get my flowers. Sometimes originality goes over people’s heads or is made fun of (like Pure Hell) but that’s the risk I’m willing to take.
“I was born an original and I will die as an original never a copy!”– Viva The VIsionary