You can buy the most amazing designer items in this charity shop

If you love nothing more than trawling the charity shops to find a good bargain, then you might want to sit down for the news: Cancer Research UK has just opened a boutique store in Marylebone, entirely focusing on high-end fashion and homeware.

This means you’ll be able to shop a selection of designer and pre-loved pieces, which could well include vintage Chanel, Céline, Dior and more. Imagine that.

At the press preview, we spotted some lovely designer coats and suits, and don’t even get us started on the shoes and handbags. And obviously, the best bit is that all the money goes to charity, which you just can’t argue with.

Plus, you won’t need to work quite as hard to find something, as the concept is that of a high end boutique, which has been designed by Nadia Themistocleous.

The Marylebone store can be found at 24 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 4PQ.

The post You can buy the most amazing designer items in this charity shop appeared first on Marie Claire.

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China’s Li Ning Polishes Fashion Credentials With a Second Designer Collaboration

LONDON — Li Ning, China’s leading sports apparel-maker, is collaborating on a collection with up-and-coming designer Chen Peng that will debut at New York Fashion Week, part of a larger strategy aimed at giving the mass brand a more elevated, edgy appeal.
This is the second fashion collaboration this year for the athleticwear giant that was founded by the Olympic medalist of the same name. It was less than a month ago that Li Ning showcased its first fashion collaboration with Chinese men’s brand Pronounce during London Fashion Week Men’s.
For Li Ning, fashion associations mean business. Ever since the brand first presented its fashion collection in New York last January, it has met with a positive market response. Sales were up 17 percent in the first half of 2018.
The company’s market capitalization is at seven-year high and 67 percent larger than a year ago. The share price was 10.26 Hong Kong dollars, or $ 1.31, before the Hong Kong Stock Exchange closed for Chinese New Year on Feb. 4.
Feng Ye, general manager of Li Ning’s e-commerce unit, said the latest fashion collaboration falls under the newly launched division Counterflow, which focuses on streetwear and Chinese pop culture. “It has a more premium price

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Black Interior Designer Creates Beautiful Spaces in “Buying It Blind” on Bravo TV

Interior designer Michel Smith Boyd knows a thing or two about beauty. The star of Buying it Blind, set in Atlanta, on Bravo TV, is one of the top black interior designers in the country. His love of architecture and tailored details pays off each week as he work with people in decorating their dream homes. In an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, he discusses his hit reality show; home buying for millennials; and the art of mentorship.

BE: Describe the premise of Buying It Blind and how were you approached to participate in this reality show.

Michel Smith Boyd: A team of experts, including myself, a contractor and a realtor, meet real life couples who are desperately trying to purchase a house — and all of that is dependent on budget, school district, and other factor — and have decided to enlist us to find a property.

As a team, we are present in each space as we initially meet with each and every client. I became involved in this project because I was approached by a casting agency, and due to my reputation and level of work produced, and I just happened to be the guy they needed. Actually, it is so interesting that you find yourself rooting [for] and identifying with the couples. These strangers are making decisions, entrusting you with their life savings which makes the stakes much higher to deliver a stellar product. I find myself creating spaces I have never done before especially when preservation comes into play.

Tell us about your career as a celebrity interior designer.

That term is such a strange one because I tend to focus on being excellent and making a huge contribution for my clients every day. If it is based on doing amazing work, and then only if I am being great is being an inspiration to kids who look up to me — then yes, I accept that title.

buying it blind

Photo Credit: Tomas Espinoza

 

 What advice do you have for millennials or those seeking to purchase their first homes?

The most important thing to remember is to spend money once! Buy good quality over quantity. Never be in a rush to complete a space; make sure you design in phrases. Start with what you would use the most: sofas, mattresses and multi-functional pieces like dining tables. Always remember: Function before form.

 If you had your choice of a dream client who would it be and why?

My dream client is not necessarily a celebrity. My client who allows me to do my job. Interior design is all about Romanticism and we’ve lost the idea of letting us completely transfer a space without interruption. And big budgets don’t hurt either!

As a black man in this field how do you distinguish yourself in the design world?

The only one thing you can be is yourself; present your full authenticity. I don’t water down my presentation for no one. I always present myself as a professional and consider myself a student — always learning and constantly growing to be excellent in all areas of my life. I am obsessed with hospitality and design and love the genre. I love the idea that people live better in hotels than homes and I am changing that one home at a time.

Who are some of your mentors/colleagues in the business; and explain the importance of having mentors in your life.

Honestly, I never had mentorships and have suffered and oftentimes wondered if it is too late. Guess what? It’s not. I have a group of incredibly smart friends who have inspired me tremendously. In the beginning, I wanted to mimic Tom Ford, Kelly Werstler … and their career paths have somehow mentored me. My journey is different, but I don’t see myself as less than. I mentor young designers all the time and one of my favorite things to go (one of the few things I like about exposure). I teach them the importance of deciding what they want from this industry. You need to figure out what contribution you wish to make and then you will find direction, identify and supply your point of view.

Any words of advice for aspiring or burgeoning interiors designers of color?
Once you know your value, you can approach meetings and clients in a much more positive and confident manner. You should be well versed in art history, fashion, textiles. You cannot deny excellence regardless of what you look like or where you come from … Remember — if you don’t know who you are then you can’t offer expertise.

The post Black Interior Designer Creates Beautiful Spaces in “Buying It Blind” on Bravo TV appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Bicester Village Celebrates Chinese New Year With Designer Pop-up

Bicester Village is celebrating Chinese New Year — and its biggest consumer market — with a designer pop-up curated by fashion blogger Susanna Lau aka Susie Bubble. Titled “Celebrating China,” the pop-up includes pieces from 10 Chinese designers and will remain open from today until Feb. 17.
Bicester Village is a huge draw for Chinese consumers and according to the discount designer outlet, Bicester is the second-most visited site in the U.K. after Buckingham Palace for the Chinese. It also has a presence in China with two sister villages in Shanghai and Suzhou.
Of the 10 women’s wear designers, some already have a U.K. presence and others are using the opportunity to get more exposure, include Anaïs Jourden, I-Am-Chen, Marieyat, Matter Matters, Mukzin, Ryan Lo, Snow Xue Gao, Xu Zhi and Yang Li.
“I really wanted to do a pop-up that celebrated the real breadth of aesthetics that Chinese designers have to offer”, said Lau, who pointed to the variety of designs ranging from minimal to kitschy and graphic.
Lau, who hails from Hong Kong and has long supported Chinese fashion, is excited to provide an international platform for these young talents. While the timing is centered around Chinese New Year, she has steered

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Louis Vuitton Designer Virgil Abloh Pays Tribute To Michael Jackson At Paris Fashion Week

PARIS (AP) — Louis Vuitton’s designer Virgil Abloh transported celebrity guests at Paris Fashion Week to the graffitied streets of New York in a dramatic menswear ode to Michael Jackson.

Abloh, the first African-American to head a major European fashion house, used his unique platform Thursday to celebrate one of America’s most globally recognized and celebrated black performers.

Here are some highlights of Thursday’s fall-winter shows.

LOUIS VUITTON GOES OFF THE WALL

Model Naomi Campbell and actors Timothee Chalamet and Joel Edgerton seemed amazed to discover a reconstructed cityscape that evoked the King of Pop’s famed music videos, all inside the Tuileries Gardens.

A young, skinny actor resembling the late Jackson as a boy drew applause as he ran and danced across the impressive set of a poor New York neighborhood.

No detail was spared.

Guests clutched their show invites that comprised a single bejeweled white glove, as their eyes were led past a Chinese business store, New York street signs, sidewalks littered with dead leaves, and a barber shop ending at a saxophonist playing on the street.

Campbell nodded to the beat of the soundtrack — an infectious checklist of Jackson’s greatest hits that had some humming well after the show had ended.

“It’s Michael Jackson. My hero,” she exclaimed.

VUITTON’S ABLOH REVISITS JACKSON

It was the flamboyance of Michael Jackson as seen through the classical prism of Louis Vuitton.

The silhouettes of some of the late star’s most eye-popping looks were taken by Abloh and revisited in a slightly more pared-down style.

A military jacket and large sash — that might have come across overly showy — were designed in a tasteful pearl-gray monochrome cashmere.

Elsewhere, a giant cropped jacket with stiff padded lapels was saved from excess with soft charcoal flannel twill.

The signature layering of the singer, who died in 2009, was ubiquitous in the 64-piece parade that went from the subtle to the not so subtle toward the end.

An overlaid silver parka coat in aluminum foil leather and a silver safety vest were among the most literal of the Jackson odes and recalled some of his most spectacular concert performances, as did the models who wore jeweled gloves.

Later in the show, Abloh made a series of prints based on a cartoon in Jackson’s 1978 film “The Wiz” that became a cult classic among black audiences.

Abloh called his hero, Jackson, “the universal symbol of unity on the planet.” Though touching, the collection could have perhaps done without the scarf shirts fashioned out of global flags that came across as a tad busy and somewhat obvious.

___

RICK OWENS BLOWS A KISS

A brooding and saucy mood overtook lauded American designer Rick Owens in a 70s-style collection Thursday.

The show was entitled “Larry,” after U.S. designer Larry LeGaspi, whose silver and black space looks were worn by rock groups such as Kiss.

The fall-winter show was very much an homage to the bombastic styles of LeGaspi, about whom Owens has written a book.

Tan, sienna, deep vermillion and lashings of black in the clothes were highlighted by sensually dappled lighting.

Excess was simply everywhere.

Enveloping retro shades, peaked shoulders, oversized sleeves, flares and David Bowie-style tight waists set the time-dial very much to the era of Glam Rock.

As if that weren’t enough, Owens pushed the envelope further with painted white faces and inset leather appliques that resembled women’s genitals. They contrasted purity with provocation.

LeGaspi “helped set a lot of kids like me free with his mix of art-deco sexual ambiguity,” Owens said.

___

ISSEY MIYAKE BRINGS THE WIND

The Franco-Japanese house of Issey Miyake put on a collection in homage to the wind.

In the fall-winter silhouettes, it was not the wind of an angry storm at work, but more a gentle breeze that served to curve and soften the clothes’ shapes.

The result was a low-key affair by designer Yoshiyuki Miyamae.

A welcome sharpness did appear in the collection via its print detailing, but its power was diluted by the rounded shapes.

For instance, some jagged yellow diagonal motifs evoked the strong movement of wind — but the looseness of the suits and coats on which they appeared lessened the effect.

The prints were conceived by an Asian wax resistant dyeing technique called batik that the house frequently uses. Issey Miyake is one house that cannot be faulted for its use of cutting-edge fashion-making methods.

Elsewhere, another Asian technique, ikat — a sort of tie-dye — was employed to produce the collection’s strongest pieces.

A silk-wool series sported beautifully defused white horizontal bands across icy blue-gray pants and shimmering coats.


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Designer Space: Modern Holiday Chic

The goal for this holiday décor scheme was to incorporate a holiday tree without compromising space – namely, seating space and traffic flow, and to include some kitchen décor.

We focused on using space around the windows. The design of the rooms is traditional with modern lines, and the palette pairs sophisticated black and white tones with gold metals, so we chose a heavily flocked pencil tree to blend well with the white interior.

We also used some blackened manzanita and artificial branches with snow in traditional planters/vases to add a natural but dramatic display.

We chose Chanel for our inspiration with black, white and gold ornaments, black shopping bags and wrapped boxes, and white faux fur under the tree. We used the homeowner’s Chanel black boxes and white satin ribbon, along with any other black boxes we could find.

We loved repeating the black and white theme with fur, feathers, flocking black boxes, ribbon and ornaments in black and white. Adding snow with natural elements of greenery and branches brings the outside in and really made everything look fresh!

Homeowners tend to be too heavy-handed with holiday décor, and pieces are often disconnected. When things flow, the look is much more spectacular! Incorporating natural elements is always a good idea. Fresh greenery, pinecones, real branches and snow that looks real always works.

Design By Jillian Straky, www.housewears.ca

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Designer Space: Vintage Modern Renovation

An outdated home gets a modern update with a nod to its original character.

CANADIAN HOME TRENDS WHAT INSPIRED THE OVERALL DESIGN FOR THIS RENOVATION?

FRANCESCA COSTA We wanted to keep the character of the home and play off of the solid wood oak doors throughout. We went with a vintage feel with black fixtures and white cabinets. Then, we added a punch of modern with the navy blue island and gold hardware.

CHT DID THIS RENOVATION OFFER ANY UNIQUE CHALLENGES?

FC The biggest challenge with this home was the layout. Sidesplits have interesting layouts. Most people either love them or hate them because there are so many closed off rooms. We decided on an open concept layout to maximize the space and make it feel more open. Doing this means removing some walls, putting up others and the challenge of figuring out which ones to do.

CHT IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE THE FINISHED SPACE IN A FEW WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

FC Modern, classy, elegant and bold.

CHT WHAT IS A COMMON MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE WHEN REMODELING A HOME FOR RESALE?

FC The most common mistake is that they don’t touch everything. If you are going to remodel, you have to make sure the look is cohesive. If you create a modern space but don’t remove the outdated popcorn ceiling because it’s time consuming, you end up with an unfinished look. The same goes for staircases and handrails which are another common thing that homeowners will leave because it’s too much work but the result is an outdated or unfinished feel!

CHT WHERE DID YOU SAVE AND WHERE DID YOU SPLURGE?

FC When choosing pieces for a renovation, we prefer to splurge on items that will make the house unique and fabulous, like the wine/coffee station in this house. To save, we focus on shopping around and we scope out deals like clearance sales, tax free events, etc. – Francesca Costa

http://www.costagc.com

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Designer Space: Simple Drama

CANADIAN HOME TRENDS CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE KITCHEN’S DESIGN?

ANNIE KANG We wanted to create a multi-purpose space with an island designed to be used as a food prep area, dining table, work table, breakfast nook, bar and entertaining area with a great backyard view. We also included an open shelf cabinet unit to house cookbooks and decorative elements! The use of two simple, contrasting colors, in a polished high-gloss finish, results in a space that is both dramatic and exquisite. Using the same black for the surround moulding brings the kitchen together.

CHT HOW DO YOU DESIGN AN ON-TREND YET TIMELESS KITCHEN?

AK Slab doors are a timeless trend we have seen at Lucvaa since the company started in 2007. With all the advancements in technology, there are thousands of melamine products to choose from. The price range is wide so it can work with nearly any budget. You can choose from a range of colors, sheens and textures. Your choice of flat, high gloss to concrete, wood or metal textures will customize the look to suit your personal style.

CHT WHERE DID YOU SAVE AND WHERE DID YOU SPLURGE?

AK We saved on decorative hardware by choosing a Slab MDF Door with touch-to-open functionality. This gives the space a clean, modern look. We spent more of the budget for the cabinets’ aesthetic finishes and accessories to optimize the organization of the cabinetry. We used drawer organizers, pull-out pantry units, and pull-out spice racks. The homeowner chose to splurge on the countertops and the finishing touches for the space.

CHT CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE HOMEOWNERS?

AK The homeowner is a big pet lover so we included a pull-out feeding station for her pets. When she is entertaining, the feeding station disappears into the island.

Design by Annie Kang for Lucvaa; Cabinetry, Lucvaa, www.lucvaa.com; Hardware, BLUM, www.blum.com

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Designer Space: Family Class

HOMEOWNERS, JANET AND VICTOR, AND THEIR TWO TEENAGED SONS, LIVED IN THEIR HOME FOR 15 YEARS BEFORE DECIDING IT WAS TIME FOR AN UPDATE. Their property contains four floors with three bedrooms and a basement. At 2,640 square feet, the homeowners knew a design overhaul was no small job, so they procured the expertise of award-winning designer Yvonne Whelan to head the project.

Save for a few special requests, Janet, an IT professional, and Victor, a finance executive, put their trust in their designer. Says Yvonne, “I sent them a mood board and we went from there. The goal was to bring in some fun and not to be too serious, but always classy.”

Though the home was well overdue for an interior update, the project was born from a desire to renovate the kitchen. “We wanted a fresher look and to brighten things up a bit,” says Janet. “One special request was to maintain an eat-in kitchen. It was important for us to have a proper table around which our family could easily gather every day for meals.”

From the outset, the kitchen had good bones. As such, Yvonne chose to keep the layout and cabinetry intact. After redesign, the kitchen boasts custom millwork, a modernized fireplace, and custom banquet – ideal for convening as a family. Yvonne also opted to paint the cabinetry, and change the backsplash, hardware, sink, and faucet. She divulges the sphere-shaped pendant lights in the kitchen were a splurge made possible by saving on replacing cabinets.

The furniture interspersed throughout the home is a mix of old and new. “They had some beautiful pieces that were investment pieces, but the homeowners were open to upholstery upgrades and painting,” explains Yvonne. “They were also open to suggestions to add new pieces, especially built-in options, to maximize their space.”

As for the color scheme, the homeowners credit Yvonne. “The great thing about working with Yvonne was that she really took the time to get to know our style and understand our family’s day-to-day living preferences. Using these insights, she narrowed down all of the numerous design choices and presented them to us in a way that was less overwhelming than trying to source everything ourselves and make decisions on our own.”

On the main floor, the designer opted for a trend-forward greige for the walls. Vibrant accent pillows and polychromatic artwork serve to permeate any monotony. Says Yvonne, “The homeowners love color so I brought it in wherever possible.”

“As for the bedrooms, we wanted calming and timeless colors to stand the test of time,” says Yvonne. She cites the circular motif wallpaper as the jumping off point for the rest of the master bedroom design. “We kept
the homeowners’ beautiful bed and dressers but updated the hardware. We also brought in stunning drapery, art, lamps, a chandelier, and a new custom bench and chaise.”

Post-renovation, the family has nothing but positive things to say about their like-new home. “My favorite thing is that the design aesthetic flows everywhere throughout the house and feels consistent,” says Janet. “Every room reflects our personal style and we all feel comfortable in the space. I look around and feel both a sense of calm, and excitement about the home we’ve created for our family at the same time.”

Sources:

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Cher’s Favorite Designer Bob Mackie to Speak at 92Y With Fern Mallis

Theatergoers, who haven’t lined up tickets for “The Cher Show,” can catch her famed fashion designer Bob Mackie at a Jan. 29 Q&A at 92Y.
Looking to give the glitzy bedazzler his due after more than 50 years in the fashion industry, Fern Mallis said she has been trying to get him to commit to the stage for a year. About a year ago, the Fashion Icons interviewer started the process. “Booking people for this is not exactly easy,” she said, adding that news reports of the Cher-inspired Broadway show only made her more impassioned to seek him out.
Mallis said she first met Mackie more than 30 years ago through the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “I remember going to one of his shows in the tents at Bryant Park that was just mind-boggling. It was so theatrical that it was like watching a Broadway show. The crowd was just on their feet. It wasn’t about the latest trends or fads. It was spectacle.”
While Cher remains perennially linked to Mackie’s career, he worked with Carol Burnett for 11 years, and dressed standouts like Judy Garland and Diana Ross, too. Mackie also sketched the nude-colored rhinestone-encrusted gown that Marilyn Monroe wore

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This Costume Designer Wants You to Look as Marvelous as Mrs. Maisel

Amazon

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is on hiatus now, with its costumes dry-cleaned and safe under “beautiful plastic” in Donna Zakowska’s Brooklyn studio.

However, the designer still dreams of the show’s impressive array of marvelous coats.

“We’re thinking about doing a line of four or five of them.” Zakowksa revealed to The Daily Beast. “So many people have written into me about wanting their own pink coat.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Designer Carla Fernández to Receive Miami Award

MIAMI HONOR: Talk about stirring the political pot. A Mexican woman has become the first fashion designer to receive DesignMiami fair’s Visionary Award. Carla Fernández will accept the honor in tandem with her husband, visual artist and designer Pedro Reyes, during Miami Art Week in December. Speaking from their home in Mexico City, she wasn’t aware of the distinction, but was elated that fashion is getting its due. “People think of fashion as superficial, but the boundaries of what’s considered art, design and fashion have to change,” said Fernández.
Beyond their marital status, the couple comes as a unit a lot these days for their shared, recurring themes of political protest, social justice and helping out the little guy. Their anthropological practices were another impetus for their first museum exhibit, “Double Agents,” which is on view at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art through Feb. 3. During DesignMiami, one of their booths will disseminate information on global migration and split proceeds from the sale of limited-edition tunics, ponchos and totes between indigenous communities and migrant children separated from their parents. Linen and cotton pieces are printed with a text-based map of the Americas that documents first nations. The original, large-scale map, their

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Kerry Washington’s Designer Boot Collection Is Next Level and Very Expensive

ESC: Kerry WashingtonIf most boots are made for walking, Kerry Washington’s boots are made for strutting.
No one wear boots like the Scandal star. From street style to the red carpet, we’ve taken…

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Sharifa Murdock On Being A Black Woman Fashion Designer and Mentoring

Having worked in retail since age 16, Sharifa Murdock understands the business of fashion and rightfully so: She’s enjoyed a successful career in men’s fashion and is one of the powerhouses behind several fashion market shows. This black woman fashion designer dynamo connects with buyers, editors, stylists, fashion enthusiasts, bloggers, and influencers, proving she is leading the pack for women to thrive in the fashion world, which remains predominately led by male designers.

Murdock also has a mentoring program, The Brooklyn Intern as well as the newly minted ENVSN Festival.

For a deeper understanding of her journey, Black Enterprise interviewed the designer about emerging and established brands, her daily work life, and why ‘paying it forward’ is always in vogue.

Black Enterprise: How does it feel being an African American woman in a mostly white, male-dominated retail field?

Sharifa Murdock: Honestly, it wasn’t until I got older that I noticed a difference, and the short answer—I’m proud. I have been so fortunate throughout the years to work alongside someone, even at a young age, who never saw color or differences in races and this is the person who helped me become the businesswoman I am today. For the majority of my career, my work environment has been filled with people from all different backgrounds and filled with understanding and acceptance of different cultures. To that point, as I grew older in the fashion industry I realized how segregated the rest of the industry is and how hard it has been for the majority of African American women in this space. We’re surrounded by an industry that, on the surface, wants to promote “multi-centralism” but sometimes comes off in-genuine and insensitive. It’s those things that wake you up and make me appreciate the journey I’ve had and really empowers me to uplift other African American women in the industry.

Explain your introduction to the retail field.

I was young and hungry and just wanted to be part of the cool-kids-club. When I was 16 years old, there was a store called Atrium, down on Bleecker Street. It was the hottest store where every athlete, rapper, rock star was shopping and I just HAD to be part of it. I started off as a sales associate on the floor and worked my way up over the years to senior management. From there I ventured off working in-store and corporate for Louis Vuitton; change of pace to say the least. But it gave me the experience to work in a different setting and understand two different sides of the retail game. Ultimately, I ended up back at Atrium, which led me to launch tradeshows.

black woman fashion designer

You juggle a lot of ventures including Liberty Fairs [an annual fashion tradeshow in New York]. You make it look effortless but I am sure it is demanding. How do you handle the stress of such a full workload?

It sounds cliché but if you do what you love, it’s not work. It’s honestly how I feel. Every day I get to have meetings with people I have the pleasure of calling my friends and meet new designers to discuss how we can help each other grow within the industry. There’s no normal schedule—it’s running around and making things up on the fly, always! With the ever-changing landscape of the retail industry you never know what you’re going to need to do next; one day I’m selling tradeshow booths, the next I’m planning a networking dinner to host at home with my chef husband: ‘Dinner with the Murdocks’ has become a specialty of ours.

This year we have seen a great number of African American female power movers and shakers: Essence Magazine’s return to 100% black ownership, Harlem Fashion Row’s shoe collaboration with LeBron James and Nike, and your involvement with the Cabana show [ a trade event focusing on swim, resort, and year-round travel lifestyle]. How have those moves changed the direction of the black buying market?

I don’t know if it’s changing the way we buy but it is for sure finally bringing recognition from places outside our own community that African American women are just as powerful as any other person in the workforce, if not more. The past year has given our community a stronger voice throughout all industries to say ‘we’re more than just entertainers or athletes’ and we don’t have to fit in this box that society has granted the norm for African Americans. We, as females, are strong and dedicated, but we, as black women, are unbreakable and determined to make our mark.

black woman fashion designer

What are five things do you do to start your business day?

I have an actual routine: Get up early and workout; eat a healthy but tasty breakfast; pick an amazing outfit I know I’ll want to be photographed in (but with comfortable shoes, always); drive into work while FaceTiming my friends (I know that’s bad); get my daily dose of Oprah’s wisdom through her podcast

Why is the mentee/mentor relationship, especially with young women of color, so important to you?

It’s so important to me now because I never had it. I know I talk about how fortunate I’ve been in my work life throughout the years, but I actually never had someone that looks like me to guide me through the experiences I’ve had. There are times that something may happen, even something small, that makes you doubt your worth and it’s so important to have someone that you can have honest conversations with and ask, ‘Is this normal?’ or ‘Why are things this way?’ Having someone who can share their experiences with you for the good and the bad and have a little bit more of an understanding of what a controversial and crazy world we live in. Not to mention, this age of social media and what people choose to share about their lives online creates such a false expectation of success. Media, overall, also makes it seem “cool” to be in competition with the girl who is like you and encourages only one to be on top. I want to change that rhetoric; I want to help girls take the higher road and be true to themselves and help one another to be better as a whole. If we want to grow as a community, we need to break the stigma black women can’t work together. It’s so important to stop playing into this and start uplifting one another to make each of us, and us as a whole, great.

If you could give advice to burgeoning brands and even millennials about business what would it be?

Be true to you. Everyone is going to have an opinion on what’s best for you and what you need to do. Take criticism in a constructive way but trust your gut and know that you don’t have to fit into everyone else’s version of cool.

You have a heavy following on social media, specifically Instagram. How is social media important in today’s fashion and retail worlds?

It’s more important than we’d like to admit. It’s the driving channel of everything—it’s giving us access to information that, in decades past, have been impossible to come by unless you were in that very moment. It gives us access to other people’s lives, breaking news, global fashion, expectations, etc. For good or bad, it’s there and I hope that I can use mine in a positive way to showcase my story and my most genuine self.

 

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‘When did dripping in designer swag become our only definition of a successful wardrobe?’

Words by Katherine Ormerod. Why Social Media is Ruining Your Life by Katherine Ormerod, is published by Cassell £12.99

Do you remember how you used to feel on a Friday night as teenager? You’d maybe have bought a brand new top to go with your jeans, spent approximately 90 minutes on your mascara and after having the best time pre-partying with your besties, you’d be buoyed with the confidence of the pack, excited to hit your school disco—or more likely use your fake ID to get into a pub or club.

For me, these moments are some of my favourite fashion memories, partly of course because I was young and excitable, partly because getting ready with the soundtrack of Pure Garage II in the background brings me right back to a rose-tinted version of my youth, but also… partly because there were no phones, no pictures and no social media to capture any of it.

Today’s teenagers get ready in a very different environment. If you can remember the days before the 24/7, 360-degree era of social media, you like me, will now be in your 30s. If you’re younger, you might not even be able to imagine what getting ready, going out, or just dressing up to leave the house at the weekend could be like without a visual record of it all. Because these days if you don’t capture an outfit for Instagram, is there even a point wearing it?

‘Who do you dress for?’ used to be a big conversation, with the right answer being, ‘myself!’ and the wrong answer being, ‘men.’ And while many of us truly are taking the male gaze out of the picture when it comes to the way we present ourselves to society, I’m not so sure it hasn’t been replaced with another, equally problematic set of imaginary eyeballs.

Dressing for social media, or for the validation of the community that follows you isn’t a niche issue in today’s digital, mediated world. Attempting to impress other women with your fashion choices is again nothing new – especially the ones we look up to or admire. But today, there’s a whole generation of women, not just ‘influencers’, dressing for other women they may never have met, let alone got to know well enough to esteem. And the currency of this new women vs. women judgement arena isn’t originality or a pretty dress here or there.

Instead it’s more like an endless conveyor belt of fresh off the shop floor, designer status pieces with eye watering price tags which are seemingly only worn once, photographed artfully then discarded for the churn to continue. That is what fashion has become for a lot of women.

As a style journalist in my 20s, I used to sit looking at other women on the fashion week circuit and my mind would boggle over how the hell they had so many expensive designer clothes. Like, did everyone else in the industry have a trust fund? Over time I realized that yes, some did. But the others?

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I did my first fashion week when I was 22 and 24 seasons later have finally worked out how not to take any of it too personally. One season you’re front row at Marc Jacobs, the next it’s a standing ticket at an unknown debut designer and while it can be easy to read it all as a comment on your success, it’s always swings and roundabouts. I’m also done with doing it on my own, because it’s lonely, ditto borrowing clothes to wear, ditto feeling left out. This season I’m rolling with my girl @thelondonchatter loving going to what I’m invited to and not sweating any of the rest. Thank God I’m not 22 anymore (although apparently I never learn that free alcohol is just as effective when it comes to hangovers as the stuff you buy at home 👀😂) #lfw

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They were simply borrowing clothes or wearing clothes that had been given to them. Receiving free clothes is something which has been part of my career for over a decade now, so it’s something I know at least something about. As an influencer I’m in a privileged position, but as the vast majority of the brands I’ve worked with personally are high street, I’ve definitely gone through phases of thinking that I needed to spend (much more) money to up my designer game.

It can feel very easy to feel that you’re the only one trying to make a Hobbs skirt and COS blouse look like Céline, while everyone else is wearing actual (old) Céline and I’ve definitely been there as I’ve looked through my peer’s feeds. Amongst influencers there’s almost an acceptance that you have to invest in buying expensive designer clothes to create an expensive looking wardrobe so high-end brands would want to work with you (i.e: spend money to make money, or in that case, expensive free clothes).

But I’ve just never earned that kind of cash, and even if I did, at the moment with a 7-month-old baby and a freelance career, the only place it would be going is into savings. I have gone through phases when I’ve panicked about what to wear to work and industry events and felt almost embarrassed that I didn’t have a gorgeous head to toe luxury look when it felt like everyone else did. From there it’s just a short step to starting to believe that something is wrong or lesser about your life because you can’t afford this stuff and everyone else is more ‘stylish’ than you because they have this stuff. It’s impossible not to compare and that can start to make you feel really insecure about your wardrobe and your own sense of style.

But I don’t really feel like that anymore. The first, most important thing is to remember that style and endless consumption of new, expensive stuff is not synonymous. Let’s not beat about the bush—buying something gorgeous and brand new and wearing it and feeling like a million dollars can be an incredibly empowering and exciting and I’ll be the first to say ‘never undermine the power of a truly great dress.’ BUT. That awesome outfit doesn’t have to send you to debtor’s jail. While I do like to support emerging designers, ultimately, I don’t care what the label at the back of my clothes reads.

If I see a great dress from a brand which some might not deem to be ‘cool’ —like Boden or M&S—I don’t give a t*** that some people will think it’s daggy to be wearing it. Because they are just being unbearable snobs. A great dress is a great dress is a great dress ad infinitum and we should never forget that. What isn’t chic is to spend money you don’t have, because financial irresponsibility and debt are not aspirations any woman who isn’t just waiting for a knight in shining armour to pay her credit card bill should have. And social media can make you think you need to do that and that is something that can be seriously dangerous.

When you look at women’s wardrobes on social media and feel envious of the never-ending designer names tagged on a single picture, you just have to remember that either a) they are richer than you and that is obviously envy-inducing, but unless you are planning on ditching your career and retraining as a stockbroker, it is what it is OR, b) they are influencers who probably live a much more modest life than the #gifted designer booty they feature on their social media accounts would lead you to believe OR c) they are bankrupting themselves spending money they don’t have on clothes trying to keep up with other people they don’t even know.

Owning 100 handbags that cost the same as your monthly mortgage is not ‘normal’. It’s bonkers! I’m not going to say it’s obscene, because every woman has the right to spend their money as they wish, but that crazy standard should have no power to dent your style confidence, or influence how you dress, because it has nothing to do with the skill of being able to express yourself creatively through what you wear.

My personal recipe for building a wardrobe is a mix of old pieces, timeless high street buys and a sprinkling of beautifully made designer pieces, generally bought at a fraction of their RRP from an outlet store or resale site (past season at Bicester Village, pre-loved at Vestiaire, then reconditioned at The Restory is how I roll).

It doesn’t always make me the most effective influencer and I know some of my followers get frustrated that they can’t buy something I’m wearing, but it’s important to me that I make the point that I wear old clothes, buy past season and I’m not dripping in designer swag 24/7.

Because when did that become our only definition of a successful wardrobe? And where’s the panache in that? Don’t get me wrong, I take my hat off to the fashion week street style celebrities who spend weeks planning and coordinating samples and putting together outfits to inspire us all—but that is just not realistic benchmark for anyone to try and achieve on a normal salary and we need to remember that whenever we’re scrolling though 947 Dior saddlebags. Dress for yourself, dress for your bank balance and always remember that a great dress is a great dress.

The post ‘When did dripping in designer swag become our only definition of a successful wardrobe?’ appeared first on Marie Claire.

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