Spring is a time for rebirth, renewal, and regrowth. It’s also an ideal time to update your wardrobe, so out with the mess, and in with the fresh! Thanks to sites such as esty and ebay, a plethora of online boutiques and shops have sprouted all over, each offering a unique fashion statement and stylistic vision. As shoppers, we now have access to a wide range of clothing and accessories like never before–the virtual sky is the limit. In addition to providing us with one-of-a-kind duds, these über-talented designers have made their daydreams into reality by embracing an entrepreneurial business model. Meet two designers that stand out from the large crowd. What’s best is that they both incorporate elements of Black culture and style into their designs. We guarantee that these women will have you funky, fresh dressed to impress and ready to party!
This native Brooklyn virtuoso challenges convention with the bright graphics, old-school swag, and larger-than-life concepts. Mcmillan, who also goes by America’s sweetheart, currently has two labels: NaKIMuli (appropriately translating to “flower”) and Shanae, both of which feature women’s fashion. Like a breath of fresh air, Mcmillan disregards the notion that emaciated equals beautiful and that tall means model. Most of her groundbreaking designs come in plus sizes, a fact that sets Mcmillan above the crowd. Did we mention that she also models these designs? Measuring in at a petite 5’2”, Mcmillan models her own label attire like none other. Her fun personality shines through each and every photo, adding yet another rockstar dimension to her designs. Recently, Mcmillan has added a collection of snazzy leggings, cute bowties, vintage jewelry, and afrocentric bangles to the NaKIMuli website. Keep checking HERE for the NaKIMuli collection and head HERE for a sneak peek at her upcoming spring collection!
We at naKIMuli want to create a fashion revolution: replace the cookie cutter model with one that embraces individuality, comfort, and fun. Become your own trendsetter. -Tennille Mcmillan
From the earliest civilizations to the new millennium, jewelry has been known to make as loud of a statement as clothing. In the case of Rachel Stewart’s jewelry line, her earrings, necklaces, and headbands make artful proclamations, affirming the glamour in natural beauty and Black culture. Born in North Carolina, Stewart was drawn to art of multiple mediums since birth, particularly painting. What began as a small interest in making and selling peacock earrings soon grew into an in-demand jewelry line. Whether you’re a diva, african queen, bohemian sister, or b-girl, Stewart has something for you. Especially noteworthy are her pieces that feature Black entertainment icons, such as Stevie Wonder, Pam Grier, and Micheal Jackson. Even some of the earrings’ names–Assata, Makeba, and Ankh–demonstrate a recurring theme in Stewart’s work. She clearly understands the importance of remembering and celebrating Black culture and has found a way for her customers to look fierce in the process. Clutches, purses, and personalized pieces are next in store for Stewart’s line, but in the meanwhile check out her store HERE. Hurry though, because her pieces sell fast!
Art is whatever you have the NERVE to do. -Rachel Stewart
Maya Amina Lake
When it comes to breaking new ground, there’s one simple formula that continues to stand the test of time–fuse an old school concept with a new school twist. Hip hop producers have done so with sampling, Converse has done so with Chuck Taylors, and now Maya Amina Lake has done so with her woman’s clothing line, Boxing Kitten. When describing the look of her line, Lake uses the term “ethnic rockabilly” to define her extraordinary pieces. Reminiscent of West African fashion, the african wax block print fabric used for each outfit takes center stage in Lake’s collection. Because of the arbitrary process involved in creating the fabric, Lake ensures that no two patterns are ever the same. One look at the impeccable construction of her designs and one would never guess that this Boogie-down Bronx native is actually self-taught. Lake’s fusion of funky, African prints with vintage-inspired, feminine designs circa the 1950′s displays a clear understanding of creative irony. Of course, having a large celebrity following doesn’t hurt either. Erykah Badu, Rihanna, Solange, Fergie, Goapele, and Jack Davey–to name a few–have all been spotted rocking Lake’s signature pieces; and keep a look out for Alicia Keys’ music video ” Put It In A Love Song” featuring Beyonce, because we hear the two songstresses are decked out in Boxing Kitten gear from head to toe! Head HERE to cop some pieces for yourself and give B a run for her money.
Powerful women from all walks of life inspire me. Inspiration is everywhere and always evolving. It’s very important to grow and I am constantly learning new things, and being inspired by all kinds of women in my life. -Maya A. Lake