When you look at Shanté Fagans’ artwork, you can’t help but smile. The paintings, created by using acrylic on canvas, are just so cool.
The Memphis, Tennessee-born, Detroit-based creative typically paints a person from the chest up in front of a colorful background, wearing a garment in a bold color or pattern and funky accessories (e.g., a top hat, sculptural earrings, and chic sunglasses). The painted individual almost always dons a red lip, a nod to Fagans’ own signature beauty look.
Fagans finds artistic inspiration from her first love — interior design — and fashion trends that she spots in magazines and on social media (which she incorporates into her own equally funky outfits).
Aside from art, Fagans seeks creative expression through ballroom dancing, which she’s practiced for more than a decade. She continues that passion by running a popular Instagram page dedicated to sharing the history of Black dance and dancers, @BlackDanceHistory.
Here, we get a better idea of Fagans’ fashion sense and creative process.
My personal style is …
“Classual,” meaning classy and casual, with a bit of eclectic. I’m getting older, and I want to be more comfortable in my clothing. My mother used to tease me all the time because I would wear her skirts, which were way too big for me. But I liked the draped look, the loose look. I never particularly cared for the fitted type of clothes on me.
Shops and brands I love:
Flo Boutique is where it’s happening. It has eclectic, funky, casual [clothes] — just my type of style. Tree Fairfax offers beautiful leather handbags made by hand. The majority of my wardrobe is thrifted because I’m a thrift shopper and I love vintage and slow fashion. [I frequent] Salvation Army and Value World.
My go-to accessories:
I love hats. Esenshel, [a New York-based accessory brand, designs] hats like Erykah Badu wears, the rounded kind of top hat. They’re just different, funky, and cool. I’ve been tying them into my paintings. And I love accessories — I’m a jewelry freak. When you see any of my [art] pieces, you will see some kind of jewelry or fashion statement in there. I have a lot of vintage jewelry. My grandmother really used to rock the heck out of pearls and a T-shirt. One of my favorite jewelry brands is Lingua Nigra; I have several pieces.
I can’t leave the house without …
My red lipstick.
Aside from ballroom dancing, I love …
Salsa. I’m rusty and currently looking for classes so I can get back in the groove.
When I need inspiration, I …
Flip through old magazines, my fashion magazines. I have Essence and Domino, as far as for interiors. Or I get a lot of inspiration from the fashion models or fashionistas that I follow on Instagram.
My advice for aspiring creatives:
If you have something inside of you that says, “Hey, I think I might want to try this,” go for it. Try it, whether it be dancing, painting, because you never know.
Keep up with Fagans on her personal Instagram page, @ShanteFagans.
This story is part of the April 2023 issue of Hour Detroit. Read more in our Digital Edition. Check out even more fashion tips from stylish metro Detroiters at HourDetroit.com.