Fine and dandy: New photo project spotlights stylish men of color

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April 1, 2014 // UPDATED 12:49 pm - April 4, 2014
By: Jahna Peloquin
Jahna Peloquin

Style and substance converge in a new photo series is popping up in downtown Minneapolis this spring. Titled the "Minnesota Dandies Project," the series will be published in an annual coffee table book dedicated to showcasing the eclectic styles, personalities and professions of Minneapolis’ most stylish men of color.

A dandy is traditionally defined as “a man devoted to style, neatness and fashion in dress and appearance.” The Dandies Project refines the definition as stylish men of color making a positive impact on their communities.

“Sometimes the media shows negative depictions of young men of color, so we wanted to showcase positive images,” said Dandies Project co-founder Richard Moody of Minneapolis-based event production company IAmMoody. “I had been seeing young men of color out and about in the Twin Cities, engaged in the community in a positive way, and I thought they could be mentors to other young men of color.”

The project came together when Moody reached out to Corey Collins and Nick Hooks, managing partners of professional social event group Playfessionals -- both stylish men of color themselves -- as well as North Loop bicycle lifestyle retailer Handsome Cycles and photographer Nick Gallop, who shot the series. Soon, they came up with a list of 17 subjects with varying backgrounds and ethnicities that were photographed.

“We looked at people who have a sense of style and sense of purpose,” said Collins.

Subjects include retail brand consultant Ini Iyamba, men’s clothier Keith Dorsett and photographer Chris McDuffie. Said Iyamba, “I was really excited to be a part of something that portrays a positive image of African-American men in the community.”

The collaborative photo project will come to life in the form of an annual coffee table book that will be previewed this weekend with a launch party and photo exhibit at Handsome Cycles. Collins said that a portion of proceeds from book sales will back to organizations and nonprofits that advocate for young men of color.

“We all have choices,” said Collins. When I was growing up, I had the opportunity to meet a black architect, which inspired me to go to school for architecture. This is about letting young people know anything is possible.”

Added Moody, “If we can get young men to understand it’s about application. You don’t need to have a lot of money to have style, but you have to have a style to present yourself with to get in the door.”

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Official launch party

7-10 p.m. Saturday, April 5. Free. Handsome Cycles, 115 Washington Av. N., Mpls. 612-353-4035. thedandiesproject.com.