Personal Style with Alend Barzenji

Photography by Kristen M. Bryant

Photography by Kristen M. Bryant

Where are you from and where are you living now?

I was born in a city called Zakho, Kurdistan, located 2 hours south of the modern day Iraqi/Turkish border. Zakho is currently known for its fashion enthusiasts and expert Tailors. Today I reside in Simpsonville, a small suburban town in Greenville, SC.

When it comes to clothes, how would you describe your style?

I feel as though my personal style takes individual clothing items that appear simple and creates a collage of elegance by fitting everything together based on color schemes, textures, and patterns. If I had to describe my style using one word, it would be “simple.”

What are some of your staple items? Is there anything that you just couldn’t live without? 

As far as my wardrobe is concerned, I couldn’t live without the accessories. This includes socks, underwear, belts, necklaces, bracelets, and watches. I feel as though any outfit can be fine tuned and look just THAT much better by simply accessorizing. If we’re speaking in more general terms, I absolutely cannot live without a soccer ball in my life.

How do you decide what to throw on for the day?

Typically, I prepare my outfit a day in advance. First I check my weather app and then I dress appropriately. I make sure my shirts are ironed, my shoes are free of any scuff marks and dirt, and I never wear the same outfit twice in any given week. There have been many occasions where I discover a new outfit using the clothes I already own.

Do you have any inspirations for your style? and what are you wearing right now? 

Most of my inspiration comes from living my life day-to-day. I could see someone walking downtown who is wearing something I like, a piece of artwork that inspires an outfit, the way the sky looks at sunset, and things of that nature. Otherwise, I do look to GQ and Cristiano Ronaldo as two of my main style inspirations.

What are some articles of clothing that you feel the most comfortable in? 

Any clothing I would wear to play a soccer game is something I would consider the most comfortable. Often times I will throw on a pair of short Adidas soccer shorts, or 3/4 pants, and maybe a sweater or basic tee, and go on about my day. If I have to dress up, I feel the most comfortable in khaki pants and button downs.

What are some of your favorite brands/designers/stores? 

H&M is my go-to when I need new clothes. The clothing is inexpensive, great quality, and most of their stuff looks good. Zara for men is another favorite of mine, along with Southern Tide, Levi Jeans, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, and when it comes to athletic clothing I always wear Adidas. I love wearing Vans and Sperry’s for shoes, although sometimes I do buy outside of those brands if I see something I really love.

What advice do you have for other guys/gals that would like to achieve a similar style? 

Keep it simple and don’t second guess yourself when putting together an outfit. I find that it’s easy to overthink an outfit and lose the confidence you need to wear it properly, so I try to keep it as simple as possible and just flow with it. Use colors that match well but also throw some contrast into your outfit. Use your favorite color as the foundation of your outfits and wear solid colors.

Is there a color that you most often incorporate into your outfit, whether it be intentional or non-intentional? 

Do you really even need to ask? Blue has always been my favorite color so naturally I incorporate blue into a majority of my outfits. Blue, white, black, and gray are the most common colors in my wardrobe, but lately I have been expanding my options to green and reds as well.

If we could go through your family photos and see a photographic documentary of your style phases, which style phase would be the most embarrassing? We’ve all had them! 

Ohhhhhhhh boy, lets see... I would have to say the most embarrassing style phase I went through was when I used to let my mom pick out my outfits. I knew she enjoyed picking out an outfit for me when I was younger, so I would just go with it and let her have her fun. We’re talking ugly Christmas sweaters on Halloween:

Do you have a hidden hobby? or a hobby that not everyone knows about?

 I do enjoy videography, which I do not boast about too often. Poetry is another hobby of mine that only the most meaningful individuals in my life are aware of, but it doesn’t always happen with words on paper.

What goals did you want to achieve for your adult self when you were five or so? 

When I was a kid I would dream of becoming a professional soccer player in my adult life.

Have those goals changed? and what are they now?

I have never given up on my dream to play soccer professionally, and I have even attended a few professional tryouts with the most recent one being for Atlanta United FC, but I haven’t always had the opportunity to remain fully committed because life happens. Aside from my lifelong dream of becoming a professional soccer player, I have also set a goal to attain my Masters in Business Administration and use the knowledge I gain from it to dive into major account sales in the IT field, dealing with companies like IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Microsoft (sounds like something you would expect to hear from an adult).

Will you tell us about a struggle, recent or not, that you’ve overcome? 

There have been many struggles that I have overcome throughout the last 23 years, from losing my mother to breast cancer, to losing the love of my life. You will have to forgive me for not giving much depth on those situations. All that I have to say is we cannot control the events that go on around us, but we can certainly control how we handle those events and whether or not we grow from them. I like to believe that I am a stronger, wiser, and more optimistic individual because of the emotional upsets I went through early on in life.

Three Random Facts About Alend: 

  1. I often slip and fall in the shower because I get carried away dancing and singing to my favorite music.
  2. At least 2-3 times a year, I speak in front of hundreds of kids and tell them my story to provide them with motivation to do better and push harder to achieve what they want from this life.
  3. I can’t last more than 1 hour without taking my shirt off after getting home from work. It must come off!