Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Albert Samaha Dresses Like Hemingway Writes

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Albert Samaha, 22 Delmar Blvd. near Westgate Ave.

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​In an effort to celebrate the people who keep our city interesting, Daily RFT is launching a new weekly blog post, "Bold Types," featuring photos and street interviews with the fashionistas, fresh faces and free spirits of our town.

What do you do? I'm a writing fellow for the Riverfront Times.

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Tell me about your sweater. It's part of a clothing line of a guy named Teddy Willingham who I met reporting a story. He's a former drug dealer and gang-banger but turned his life around, and now he's a clothing designer. The line is called ASOG, which stands for A Soldier of God. The shirts have big shiny patches on the front or back. It borders on loud, but in a tasteful way.

What was the story about? A community organizer named James Clark and SLU criminologist named Norm White have constructed an innovative crime-fighting strategy by channeling as many resources and volunteers as possible into narrow pockets within communities. Teddy Willingham was one of the kids who used to work with James Clark, but now he's in his 30s. (See story here.)

Does anyone ever give you crap about the sparkles on the sweater? [Laughs.] Yeah, that's apparently been the case. Not too many people can pull off a shirt like this. But it's not too sparkly. It's still muted and elegant. Nothing too extravagant.

How would you sum up your sense of style? I try to dress the way Hemingway writes: economical, minimalist, confident.

What's the most important thing you think people should know about St. Louis? It's a divided city. It's very stark how the demographics are split along Delmar. The divide has become so ubiquitous that some people write it off as pure myth, but there's a lot of reality behind it. I've lived in cities with segregated pockets within individual areas, but I've never seen it so down the middle like it is here. It reflects City Hall, political representatives and how people vote.

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