With the bright winter sun beaming down on us, my models and I made our way out to the ghost town of Bartlett, Texas to take photos at a place with the charm of the wild west.
Abandoned saloons, gun stores and more lined the streets of this place, with the occasional person passing through and giving us odd stares.
I’m sure we’ll be the talk of the town for years to come.
Despite having owned a camera since about my junior year of high school, I’ve never actually used it to photograph models for something as inherently “artsy” as a fashion editorial. But I knew if I was going to do one, I was going to go above and beyond.
I didn’t want to create a shoot you could find in an H&M clothing catalog, or something of that same ilk. I wanted something weird, something that could only be explored through the pages of a freshly printed magazine. I wanted something more conceptual, something that would inspire others, but something that they wouldn’t directly replicate. And so, my hunt began.
Every piece I used for this fashion editorial came from local thrift stores Value Village and Family Thrift Center, and my closet. The shoot was heavily inspired by Petra Collin’s shoot for Gucci in Paris, Texas. However, I don’t exactly have a Gucci budget, and thus, I improvised.
The first two looks are modeled by sisters Reem and Tamara Al Bishah. I really like the way pink and green look together, so I made sure to keep these two looks pink and green, to give wicked witch of the east and west vibes to the whole thing.
In green, Reem’s intricately designed dress suit creates a very powerful, and fierce look.
Could she be the town mayor? Maybe. Could she be on the run after murdering her husband? Maybe. This look lets the mind wander, but it also lets the imagination do some time traveling.
Tamara was styled in a pink dress with thick shoulder pads that just screams southern belle. Perhaps she is the prized jewel of her town, and every boy is vying for her affection.
The gloves and belt used give this dress a more polished, stylish look. I’ve been told that the overall look has “Mitski” vibes, and honestly, I live for that.
The cowboy hats both girls are wearing came from Arne’s Warehouse, a party superstore located in the Heights that is absolutely stocked to the brim with cowboy hats, in case you decided you need one after Solange’s I-D interview following the release of her new album “When I Get Home.”
While the first two looks were more traditionally feminine, I wanted the other two to have more elements of both femininity and masculinity.
Reem was styled in a silk green pajama blouse from my personal closet that I thrifted ages ago. I decided to put it off the shoulder to give this look more of an edge. The green silk top was tucked into a pair of yellowish-green velvet wide-leg pants also from my closet. I love playing with different variations of the same color like this.
A pink fringe poncho was tied around her waist, to give this look pink and green elements to match her sister’s outfit which also includes pink and green elements.
A black corset was added on top to really push this look into a more high-fashion, editorial-esque realm. I love playing with antiquated pieces of fashion like this, and I think that corsets were definitely a mainstay in the fashion of the Wild West, and this is just playing with the item in a modern way.
Finally, I accessorized with a skinny black scarf, thrown over one shoulder. The scarf is also in velvet, to match the material of the pants.
For Tamara’s look, I wanted to keep things a little more neutral.
The pink blouse I styled her in also came from the depths of my closet, and was tucked into a nice pair of camel colored pants so that the pink would look less like a statement color, and more like a neutral.
A green poncho was added on top to give this outfit a very comfy, more androgynous appeal. However, I did cinch in her waist with a brown belt so that the poncho wasn’t so overwhelming, and her figure could still be seen.
Both girls wore their same hats from the previous outfits, which I felt complemented their outfits perfectly.
After about an hour and a half of shooting, we headed back. The town was about a two and a half hour drive, but I think it was totally worth it to get the shots that I did, and I hope that these looks inspire you when you to explore abandoned ghost towns in wacky outfits on your next Texas roadtrip.