Models: Nia Hardwick and baby Torii
Creative director: Nia Hardwick
Photographer: Takeem Omar photography
The Black Woman— we are such powerful beings. I love this picture because it embodies strength, divine beauty, joy and the unbreakable bond between a mother and her daughter. To have the strength to carry someone for 9 intense months and give birth to that little person is amazing. It is God given power. As women we are naturally nurturing, passionate and super emotional beings and that’s okay. On the contrary, we are forced to control our emotions daily and charge at life’s challenges head on. Whether it be issues with family, relationships, work or even societal views.
As black women, we are doubted and straight up taken for granted. We are abused mentally, physically and emotionally. We tend to be given the short hand of the stick and then questioned “Why do black women have attitudes?” The nerve of us. We bottle so much in. In fact, we’re subconsciously taught to do that from young. It’s a cycle.
This blog is an open field to all but my priority is to always inspire and uplift women. All black women need to hear and repeat this:
First thing first. You are BEAUTIFUL. You are STRONG. You are a QUEEN. You always have been and you always will be. It is in our blood. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. It is okay to express yourself. Do it! We are destined for greatness and are on the brink of it! Be 1,001% confident in yourself and all that you do because it starts with you. And let’s uplift one another while breaking the cycle of being torn down and mistreated. We are GOLD✨. From this moment on....
WE KNOW OUR WORTH.
Finding an unbeatable BARGAIN is one of the most fun things about shopping. Online shopping has certainly become the norm and the upside of that is that you can always find a sale. Boohoo is one of the top sites that I always suggest. They keep up with trend, I’ve never had an issue with the material or fit of items, shipping is always on point AND THERE’S ALWAYS A SALE!
Whenever I shop, whether it be in store or online, I try to go in with an idea of what look I’m going for. It makes the process much quicker and easier opposed to aimlessly searching. However, we all have our days where we may not know or have an exact idea of where to start. What I find really cool about their site is that they have an “Inspire Me” tab. This tab will lead you to new arrivals, what’s trending this season and their latest campaigns. It’s very directive and I’m sure it’ll assist you in figuring out what it is you may need to add to your wardrobe or even an idea for an overall look. Boohoo provides a variety of styles and is broken down by category.
Before creating the look above, I had in mind a blazer dress, a pump and a clutch. I searched “blazer dress” and ended up finding this satin belted blazer romper for $33! It comes in red, navy blue and black. To make it more fun than business casual, I wore a neon pink heel ($40.) Very effortless but classy and the goal, AFFORDABLE. The shoes also come in green and orange. Super cute and all under $100.
Successful bargain shopping is all about how you throw different pieces together. Yes, it does require patience but it’s so worth it. The weather is getting warmer and we’re getting closer to summer. Check out https://us.boohoo.com/ for cute looks for day to day, date night, work and/or even rack up on your swimwear. Everything is 80% off today!
Every time I’m asked “Who are you most inspired by in the fashion industry,” my reply is always “Claire Sulmers.” For those who may not know, she is the founder and Editor-in-chief of Fashion Bomb Daily which is one of the MOST influential style blogs in the world. Her success results from her incredible work ethic and the passion she has for fashion.
FBD launched in August 2006, reaching over 2 million people! The fashion blog promotes diversity, provides exceptional tips on beauty and style as well as keeps us up to date with who wore what and even who wore it better. As a style blogger, I’m very proud to say that I always refer to Fashion Bomb Daily. I call it my fashion bible because it keeps me informed of what’s trending whether it be runway or street wear. The team works diligently around the clock to keep us in the loop of what’s going on in fashion.
Claire is a woman who is always on the go. We catch her on red carpets one minute and hosting fashion networking events the next. One of my FAVORITE events is Convos with Claire.
You are sure to walk into a room full of passionate people who are eager to connect. I’ve grown so much from attending these events and the need for me to keep striving is confirmed every single time. Meeting and chatting with people like Ty Hunter, Misa Hylton, Duckie Confetti and so many others who have great involvement in the industry is so encouraging. It’s a blessing to listen and learn about the different paths they each took to get to where they are today. These are people that we look up to and even wish for that one on one time for advice. Claire is to be commended for opening the door to such opportunity for myself and so many others. She enforces the importance of facing your fears, growing from your mistakes and accepting the challenge to just go for it. Whatever your it may be, make a plan and execute that plan.
Claire and I at her shopping event this past Wednesday, April 3rd, at Alice and Olivia in Soho
Claire wore a vibrant flared Alice and Olivia suit and I wore SHACI’s Faux shearling and fur denim jacket with Fashionnova’s distressed high waist jeans and a white body suit.
As a woman who has so much passion for writing, styling and fashion overall, I like to remain inspired at all times. I keep up with designers, stylists and other bloggers, Fashion Bomb Daily being # 1 on my list. The site is a go-to for all fashion lovers. Knowing the story behind FBD motivates me even more. This past year, Claire faced the adversity of the site being taken down. But you know what they say: For every setback, God has a major comeback. The way Claire gracefully handled this situation showed me that if you really want something in life, you must keep your faith strong and fight for it despite any circumstance. Fight for your it.
This Queen’s tremendous success in building a multicultural online magazine and an invincible team could never go unnoticed. Every encounter I have with Claire is heart felt and I walk away with reassurance to keep pursuing my dreams. Looking forward to her next event!
Everyone knows the name Dapper Dan and if you don’t, you need to get your life! This is a man who has opened the doors to luxury fashion for the Hip Hop culture. Growing up in a home that openly spoke on the ugly reality of what society saw as right opened his eyes to the change desperately needed not only in the fashion industry but in this world. Struggle and the streets of Harlem is what made him the passionate talented LEGENDARY designer he is today.
Success is never handed to anyone and there’s always a starting point to your path. This king started out by selling clothes out of the trunk of his car. In ‘82 he opened Dapper Dan’s boutique on E. 125th Street in the heart of Harlem. Catering to the look needed in Hip Hop, he created statement pieces using luxury logos BUT added flavor.
Eric B & Rakim wearing customed jackets by Dapper Dan “Follow the leader” ‘88 album
Working with industry artists like Salt N Peppa, LL Cool J, Eric B and Rakim and one of my favorites in the game Mary J Blige, he caught the attention of the same big brands that wouldn’t even acknowledge his potential early in his career. Some brands tried to talk business and others seeked opportunity in taking him out of business. He was sued and forced to shut down his boutique. It’s a funny thing that whenever a black man becomes “competition,” he has to be taken down. But the fact of this matter is, those brands tried to cut our culture off by any means. Their brand had no intent, no interest in serving our people. (They still don’t.) All of these high-end brands were never made for our people and that is why I find Dapper Dan to be amazing. This man literally did it for the culture. He used these logos and created REAL statement pieces. Those big brands thought they were doing something and King made them realize otherwise. Dapper Dan showed every brand how it was really supposed to be done by creating something their minds couldn’t touch. Pieces that made Hip Hop what it was and what it is today. They could never ! That is exactly why they were in such rage. The same rage that led them to go after this man legally and take away what was his. But that didn’t keep him down.
WHAT GOD GOT FOR YOU, IS FOR YOU.
Regardless of the setback, Dapper Dan hasn’t lost his touch. The irony of this all is that “big brands” overlooked his genius back then but are looking to him for inspiration today. His collaboration with Gucci is a huge thing and I find it to be validation of the point “what God has for you is for you.” His gift in designing cannot go unnoticed or taken lightly. Gucci knows wussup. They even used a spin-off of his design he created in ‘89 for Olympian Diane Dixon.
I know there’s so much controversy going on about Gucci’s latest design that appears to be inspired by black face. It puzzles me as to why a designer would even feel the need to create such look. Let’s be real, who’s wearing that? What runway would it be necessary to see that on and in what aspect of fashion was that needed? This confirms their desperate need of Dapper Dan’s expertise and guidance. At 212 Day, he brought this up in conversation and expressed his disappointment. He stands for us and will be meeting with the CEO of Gucci to discuss the matter.
Dapper Dan’s passion is built on not only his love for fashion but for our culture and the need for us to rise. Unfortunately we live in a world with a societal structure that is designed for us to fail. There is a path set up that is intended to lead us to failure, whether it be getting caught up in the streets, turning to drugs, etc. But we have to overcome all that and do our thing. One of my favorite quotes from Dapper Dan’s MTV interview with A$AP Ferg is “I ain’t gone be serving crack on the corner. Ima be making crack outfits.” As a style blogger and wardrobe stylist who is eager to break a few doors down myself, I am nothing short of inspired. Forget all these other “big brands,” HIS BRAND defines Hip Hop culture. He is the definition of fashion, designer, path paver and living legend.
Li Li’s Creations is a clothing brand that’s African inspired and uniquely made. I love that every print is hand picked by her and each piece is handmade! Her passion, creativity and love for the craft is in every stitch. While prepping the models, I couldn’t help but be in awe by how art like her line is. She literally creates art in wardrobe. The combination of bright colors and different prints meshed together beautifully. The vintage flair of the dresses and skirts were EVERYTHING. Her brand added SO much to the looks that graced the runway.
It was such a pleasure assisting Li Li for the Short Hair Don’t Care Runway event. Not only did I get to do what I love but I got to learn so much in the process. We had awesome conversation about her background, attending FIT, the fashion industry, creativity, the start to finish process of bringing a sketch to life and so much more. Presentation is memorable and her brand reflects her down to the T: Elegant, graceful and powerful! Her brand does exactly what she intends “...stand as a reminder of our creator who has deemed us fearfully and wonderfully.” Love it. Below I’ve posted a few of her gems from her website and you can shop at the following link lili-girl.com/collections/all
KENEGELE BELL SKIRT
WELCOME 2019!!! I hope everyone brought in the New Year with love, fun and positive vibes. This year is going to be the year of prosperity. I’ve set goals to exceed my own expectations and to test the highest level of potential I can reach.
2019 will be the year of networking, continuing to build my portfolio and to keep striving down the path of my career. Through my styling, I’m going to challenge myself to get so creative that I amaze my own self, my clients and others! Through my writing/ style blogging I want to be led to events I never even thought I’d be at. Educating myself in my field of passion and perfecting my craft is the focus. Last but not least, I challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone and tackle any job offered to me even if it doesn’t require me working BTS (behind the scene.) I claim it all, I pray over it and I’m putting in the work to accomplish each goal and some !
What’s your resolution?
We all have big dreams to do what it is that we’re passionate about, AS WE SHOULD. However, the journey to get there is never easy. It’s never handed to us and we tend to end up in situations that we may sometimes question in the spare of the moment. But, it’s all apart of the process.
Lastnight I was invited to a VIP screening for Jlo’s new movie “Second Act” thanks to Claire Sulmers! Claire is the founder of Fashion Bomb Daily, one of the TOP most influential style magazines in the world. I love that she chooses to host fun and informative events that promote growth, purpose, ambition and networking! Her brand brings so many beautiful people together that shares passion for style and the goal of breaking into the fashion industry. Like, who wouldn’t want parts in the fashion industry?
I’m sure everyone knows I attended her event Convos with Claire a couple weeks ago (can’t stop talking about it.) I left feeling more empowered than ever and I had the same experience yesterday after watching this movie. Second Act served as confirmation for me to keep chasing after my goal to perfect my craft in wardrobe styling and style blogging. I’ve quit jobs, been laid off from jobs just to apply to another job that doesn’t serve my purpose and most likely will end up just being another one of the list (what we call resume.) In that moment, I felt frustration, disappointment and confusion but once everything unfolds you realize the “why.” I consider my Second Act to be my decision in breaking that cycle for the opportunities I’ve been blessed with in the last month that have been adding to my growth, both within myself and in my work. I choose to put all my time and energy into turning my “dream” into my reality, no matter what.
I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone so I won’t go into detail about it but what I will say is this:
You can do any and everything you put your mind and your heart into. Life happens so all we can do is roll with it and enforce the change that’s needed to put us back on course. Go after that position that you feel is meant for you. As long as you are ready to put in the work and apply your ALL, it’s yours so claim it. Don’t allow yourself to be cornered in by the doubt and opinions of others because you’ll only limit yourself to what you are capable of doing.
For inspo, go see Second Act directed by Peter Segal
Out in theatres December 21st!
Today marks the 1st day of a NEW month, NEW goals, NEW energy and NEW opportunities. Take advantage of being as creative as you can and if it requires you to team up with someone, do it! Feeding off of positive, creative energy is an amazing feeling. You get to share the experience of being super passionate about your craft and believe it or not, that’s rare.
Lately, I’ve been forcing myself to buckle down and center all of my focus on perfecting my craft while continuing to build my skills in style blogging and wardrobe styling. As I was putting my portfolio together, I realized how much work I’ve put in so far. I came across the shoot that I assisted in styling Selah Marley. The story behind that is insane: I’ve always been a huge Lauryn Hill fan. Her song “Peace of Mind” was always on repeat around the time I was offered to assist in this shoot. At that time, I was trying to find myself and I was going through some things at that time. The lead stylist and I share a mutual friend who put a really good word in for me and he invited me to be apart of creating such an amazing cover. Walking into the studio, I felt super nervous but I was confident that I could do the job. When Selah walked in, I was a bit star struck and I forced myself not to be dumb enough to tell her what I was thinking, which was “wow, you’re gorgeous you look just like your mother.” I’m pretty sure the girl has heard that all of life and I’m glad I held back. The more we all chatted and prepared to shoot, I realized there was no need to even be nervous or intimidated. Everyone was there for the same thing, for our passion. The vibe was so chill and conversation was so organic. I genuinely enjoyed assisting in minor fixings in between shots, helping her change into different looks, steaming pieces and whatever else was needed of me. I became so comfortable that I began to share my ideas and suggestions which were recognized and applied to the shoot. So dope.
My point is pour all of your energy into what you want to do in life and your passion will attract opportunity. Take risks and accept them too. Be willing to work with people who are just as passionate as you are because you never know what door can open from you doing that.
Super glad I attended the Pop up shop event held at the Philly Art Collective Gallary. I enjoyed checking out the dope art work, jewelry and style pieces that were offered and was even more pumped to chop it up with Al! Al is the owner and creative mind behind Styling Stingy!! The brand focuses on an inexpensive lifestyle but maintaining a sense of style ALWAYS.
Al was kind enough to step away for a moment for a Q&A. We discussed what his brand is inspired by, how he goes about selecting pieces for his brand, his Top 5 for stylists and designers plus more. He gave a lot awesome pointers and words of encouragement that need to be heard. Check out the interview below!
This woman has become a style guru for me over the years so you will indeed be seeing a lot of her on this site! In her latest interview with InStyle Magazine, Tracee Ellis Ross shared what she defines style as. She stated:
“I feel like Style is how you do things, not what you wear.”
So many people confuse fashion with style, throwing them into the same pot without realizing that they’re two different things. Fashion is a popular trend while style is the manner of doing something.
Yes, it’s very important to stay up to date with trends for inspo and overall knowledge if you’re interested in working in the fashion industry. However, as a wardrobe stylist it is crucial to know what your personal sense of style is in order to be capable of applying it to your own work. It’s kind of like putting together a puzzle. Forcing the wrong pieces together will never work for you.
I like how Ms. Ross described her personal style with clarity and I love how she made it a point to mention that as she gets older, she feels more comfortable wearing what she wants to wear. She just goes for it and this backs up my notion of having a sense of style is to have a sense of self first. Recognize what works for you, what shades make you feel sexy, what challenges you to step out of your comfort zone yet makes you feel real good! These are some of the important steps we as stylists need to take to perfect our craft and lead our clients.