Student, Alabama School of Fine Arts
Written and styled by Tracy James
Photography by Chuck St. John
When David Bibbs began seventh grade at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, his father challenged him to select one day of the school week to dress up. When a flurry of compliments from fellow classmates followed, the weekly exception became a habit. Now a 16-year-old sophomore, Bibbs describes his personal style as “spiffy,” collects watches and bowties, reads GQ magazine, and says he enjoys how dressing up makes him feel. No doubt that is the result for which his father, pastor at Repairers Church in Fairfield, had hoped.
Upon meeting in person the spectacled, bowtied, and slim-framed Bibbs, a music major who identifies himself as a hip-hop artist, one cannot help but be reminded of Outkast’s Andre 3000. Bibbs cites as his musical inspiration Christian hip-hop artist (yes, there is such a genre) Andy Mineo, and straight-outta-Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, who set the 2016 Grammys on fire with a whopping 11 nominations, more than any other artist. Bibbs, whose stage name is “D-Bibbs,” is blazing a trail with his own kind of hip-hop, not hard to believe when you consider he is a viola-playing rapper. Bibbs says he chose the violin-like instrument in elementary school because “That was the only instrument my family and I knew nothing about.” Soon after his arrival at ASFA, Bibbs picked up piano, and he is currently learning to play guitar. At his father’s church, Bibbs plays the drums.
Bibbs’s father has been an important influence in his life, first inspiring musical interest in a young Bibbs and his brother when the two siblings would sit with their dad in front of his computer as he composed music. Today when inspiration strikes, Bibbs retreats to his bedroom to compose and record thanks to the technology of his own computer. Another evolution attributed to his father is Bibbs’s eventual upgrade from clip-on ties to real bowties. “It’s time to switch to the real deal,” his father prompted, and so Bibbs learned the tying technique thanks to repeated watching of online tutorials. What does Bibbs’s mother think of her son’s style? “She tells me when I’ve tied it wrong,” he says with a smile. His mother is a worthy critic but also one of his biggest fans.
Bibbs’ style isn’t limited to dress-up clothes, which he sources from Men’s Warehouse and Burlington. The teenager also digs more casual urban duds, usually enhanced with a pop of color or touch of pattern and found at stores like Rue 21, Aeropostale, and Urban Outfitters.
You can check out D-Bibbs’ street style in his music videos posted on YouTube in the links below. Many songs are collaborations with friend, classmate, and fellow rapper Eric Latham aka “ErBeeko.” Their single “Abracadabra (Magic City at Night)” won the 2014 songwriter’s competition held by Alys Stephens Center. See for yourself why David Bibbs is a stylish talent to watch.