#WILL: HLZBLZ Newcomer, @dwntwn_deadprez

DeadPrez1First it was Facebook, then it was Twitter, where words were the predominant means of communication across said platforms. Through Instagram, visuals have slowly but surely taken precedence. Instagram allows for creative expression and storytelling through the most minute everyday lens. Here at The 5th Element Magazine, we want to highlight some the most entertaining, aethestically-appealing, inspirational and overall dopest of profiles that our fingertips have crossed paths with. Continuing our feature, #WILL: What It Look Like, we move on to highlight HLZBLZ’s newest bae, @dwntwn_deadprez. 


For the past decade, HLZBLZ has paved the way and set the tone for females to infiltrate the male-dominated streetwear game. As Lanie Alabanza-Barcena’s brand evolved and grew, so did her team of self-proclaimed baes and bad bitches, emulating and honing the street-influenced, subversive bad-assery that is HLZBLZ. Denise Perez — bka Deadprez — is no stranger to the HLZ culture, and the newest Bay Area bae to the team has assimilated well into the squad, as exemplified in the hybrid of streetwear-influence and her own Bay/Bae-centric visuals posted on her Instagram profile. Check out our interview with Denise below regarding brand aesthetics and being the first to admit why we all love Instagram — for taking selfies, of course.

1. When/how did you start using Instagram?
I started using Instagram probably back in 2011 when IG was still super new and there were like no users. I really only used IG back then ’cause the app had cool filters.

2. What apps do you use for editing?
VSCO Cam and Montage for sizing.

3. How would you describe your photo aesthetic?
Colorful, symmetrical and vain — I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love taking selfies.

4. Do you feel like people do too much with the selfies on Instagram?
I do think some people’s selfie game is a little too serious or they’re just feeling themselves a little too much. If you got like, two straight rows of selfies on your IG…DTM.

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4. What would you say is HLZ’s aesthetic? How has joining the HLZ team influenced what/how you take your pictures?
HLZ’s aesthetic always highlights the lifestyle of a woman and all her alter-egos — one of a confident woman, a sultry lady on the streets, but a freak in the sheets and the baddest bitch you’ll ever meet.

Since joining HLZ, I’ve definitely gained more confidence in posting pictures of my outfits. I didn’t post as many outfit posts, cause I felt like no one really cared. But now, I mainly just post outfit pics for myself — ’cause I’m hella feeling my outfit that day or something. And like I said, I’m vain as fuck, and I’ll just stare and stare at my outfit in the mirror for days, so I figured a photo lasts longer.

5. Has Instagram had an influence on streetwear or fashion altogether?
Instagram most definitely influences streetwear and fashion! Especially now, with the whole explore page. Sometimes, if I’m bored, I’ll go on the Explore page, and it’s like IG already has a feel of my style and aesthetic.

And the hashtag game on IG is on fleek. If I’m doing a blogpost for WHATTHEHELLZ, and I need to find a picture that matches the trend I’m talking about, I can just hashtag it, and easily find a picture.

6. In your opinion, how does to creating a uniform aesthetic help a brand’s social media?
Having a uniform aesthetic that is consistent helps followers to recognize a brand’s style, no matter what the picture is. The aesthetic should be a reflection of who the brand is, and off top, followers should know exactly who posted the pic. This allows people to create their own perception of who the brand is without having to tell them.

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7. What do you think you look for more on Instagram, dope aesthetics or dope content?
I feel like both go hand in hand. You can have dope content, but people might just skim by it if it doesn’t look visually appealing — at least that’s how I am. And if you have a dope aesthetic, but people don’t understand the content behind it, then they might not understand the message you’re trying to relay.

8. Any Instagram profiles you recommend we follow?
@misslawn — (her pictures are always fireeee. She’s such a babe), @whatthehellz, @alealimay, @virgilabloh and @sammyjofruition. Dope aesthetic, dope content. Hands down.

Want to see more of @dwntwn_deadprez’s photos? Follow her and us on Instagram and peep a special collabo as Deadprez takes over The 5th Element’s Instagram handle, @the5thelmntmag, tomorrow!

Nina Tabios

Nina Smoove aka Champagne Ninang. Certified hooligan. $F Bay Area born and bred.

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