Culture | February 2nd, 2022

Isaiah ‘Bleu’ Lysse on Breaking The Fashion Mold

By: Kayla Delcham
Isaiah ‘Bleu’ Lysse on Breaking The Fashion Mold

Isaiah Lysse — known to his devoted Instagram base and friends as Bleu — is introducing his community to a new way of stylistic expression. Breaking the boundaries of gender stereotypes through fashion, Lysse explores the realm with versatility and shows the world that “there is more than one way to be a Black man in America.” 

The 18-year-old admits that he has not always been the most in touch with his sense of style because of the environment he grew up in. Lysse was born in Miami, Fla., however, he was raised in Broward County in a predominantly white and Hispanic neighborhood. “Moving from Miami to Broward, it was kind of hard not seeing a lot of people like me. It was definitely a huge culture shock,” he says. 

Being bullied about his weight and his gap, Lysse decided at the brink of the pandemic, or what he thought was an “extended spring break,” that it was time for a change. “My breaking point was when COVID-19 started. That’s when I really started to tap into my style,” Lysse says, recounting the moment he adopted his alter ego “Bleu.” 

Photo of Isaiah Lysse. Photo courtesy Journey | Justyn Thomas

“I would say Bleu is my alter ego in a sense because it is me when I am one hundred percent myself,” he continues. “Commonly at FAMU, I feel like people have this ideology that they have to mask themselves, but I feel like, especially for Black males, once you find that one thing that makes you different, that’s when you truly become confident.”

Choosing to go to a historically Black university for Bleu was an eye-opening experience. Being able to be around people who also “dress like it’s a fashion show every day” was a relief because he is now able to feel comfortable in his own aesthetic.  

“I would describe my style as a mesh of minimalism and modern grunge. Other times, I like to go for more sophisticated looks that are clean and professional,” he says. Fashion and style have become important to Lysse because he recognizes that how he dresses reflects his grounded confidence.

“This is just one of the ways I take care of myself — through my fashion”

However, even though he has started to feel more at ease in his environment and in the way he has decided to start dressing, he still faces some challenges from some of his peers. “When I get ready I like to really take my time, and a lot of my friends will say things like ‘Whoa bro, you’re doing way too much’ or ‘You’re not handsome, you’re pretty,’” he says. For many men who indulge in the art of fashion, they endure society’s perception of masculinity. “I disagree because there is no problem with wanting to take care of yourself. This is just one of the ways I take care of myself — through my fashion.” 

Photo of Isaiah Lysse. Photo courtesy Journey | Justyn Thomas

Despite the backlash, Bleu knows gender norms have no place in his aesthetic, noting that he’s found some of his pieces in the women’s section. He says much of his inspiration to start exploring more fluid clothing options comes from YouTube influencer Richie Le.“Whatever you put on does not have a gender,” Lysse says. 

Lysse finds that he gets the most support from Instagram, where his charming looks and monochromatic color palette accumulate anywhere from 600 to 900 likes on each photo. Paying close attention to detail and meticulously choosing the scenery of his pictures has become staples of his page. 

“I’m living life the unorthodox way”

With his newfound individuality, he equally recognizes his duplicity. “I can be the big brother, the biology student, the future black dentist, and the student leader,” says Lysse, who was recently elected as a student senator last fall. All of these roles have shaped his character and he assumes the responsibilities each come with. That is why it is especially important that he maintains his sense of identity even through the hard times.

“I do this thing where I hide notes around [my room] that say ‘Be you; Be Bleu.’ Sometimes my friends find them but they’re really a reminder for me when I’m having a bad day to be confident and happy because I am individually me and I am living life,” said Lysse. 

Nonetheless, the emerging influencer has a strong support system that urges him to be the most authentic version of himself. “I’m living life the unorthodox way. That may sound negative but that is one of the best ways to live life. When you gain your independence, that’s when you gain your confidence.” Lysse is bound to continue his legacy as a leader on FAMU’s campus and more importantly in the world of fashion influencing.