Trendsetters: Follow the Leaders

by Catherine Trifiletti

The trendsetters upping Washington’s style quotient. 

Left to right: Meg Biram, Victor Nguyen-Long, Sara Azani, Desiree Venn Frederic, Dan Roberge, Holly Pan and Paul Wharton. (Photo by Nick Ghobashi)


Biram’s popular 10-year old lifestyle blog,, tackles fashion, beauty, art and travel. She mixes edgy, minimal and modern pieces to achieve her timeless aesthetic. Her style evolution over the years: a trade-off of jewel tones for neutral hues, with more focus on “texture, quality, fit and concept.”



A former marketing professional for big brands like Red Bull, Audi, and Nike, Nguyen- Long now works as a free- lance creative strategist and copywriter. His style is a culmination of influences from stints in LA and Portland. Here, he’s made a conscious effort to maintain his refined streetwear fashion sense (“the antithesis of DC,” as he calls it) by combining exaggerated, oversized Japanese silhouettes with urban mens- wear authorities like GANT, A.P.C. and rag & bone.



Queen of street style and the woman behind, Azani bounces between DC, New York and LA, dispensing fashion and lifestyle tips to her loyal followers along the way. “Less is more,” says Azani. “Build your ward- robe on foundation pieces and use accessories to dress it up or down.” She credits Oliva Palermo and Anna Wintour as style icons.



Formerly owner of vintage shop Nomad Yard, Venn Fred- eric is now involved in a range of creative projects through- out the city, including leading an artist-run advocacy organization called Artist Union DC. She says her “instinctual and inborn” sense of style shifts in tandem with her sense of self. “I maintain fluidity in style … I allow space for shifts, correction, progression, reinvention and appreciation.” Designer icon of the moment: Rosie Assoulin.



As a dancer with the Washington Ballet and freelance choreographer and creative director, Roberge has a discerning eye for beauty. In his closet: “flattering basics” and “brilliant vintage pieces” inherited from his parents. He calls his aesthetic 50s, 60s- inspired with a contemporary twist, leaving no surprise that he counts Marlon Brando and James Dean as style icons.



Pan’s style blog Petite Flower Presents showcases her knack for pairing a variety of trends while consistently maintaining classic, polished and cohesive looks. She calls her fashion choices “sophisticated with an edge.” Her advice to up-and-coming style-setters? “Invest high with the classics and low with the trends.”



When Wharton is not giving lifestyle advice on Fox 5’s Good Day DC, he is running his beauty line and writing (his book “Pulling it All Together” is due out later this year). To novice fashionistas Wharton’s recommendation is to “stand up straight and feel comfortable in who you are and what you have on … it will make the difference between looking good and looking great.”


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