Fashion and self-expression go hand in hand. Every day, the clothing we wear serves a purpose. An outfit can show the world who we are, how we feel, and what our beliefs are. A crop top speaks volumes about our confidence. A matching sweatsuit could be a sign of comfort. A vibrantly printed dress could be a sign of cultural celebrations of color. It all depends on the day, the mood and the need.
The call for diversity has been loud and clear over the past year and half in all industries, including fashion. This brings new voices and important stories. Black-owned fashion brands and Black designers deserve to be in the spotlight. They bring something that is needed: new perspectives, new styles and new ways for fashion lovers. Macy’s invited five visionaries – Zerina Akkers, Misa Hylton and Aminah Abdul Jillil as well as Ouigi Theodore – who will weave their personal experiences into bold capsule collections. Each designer creates great-looking ways for people to dress up and puts their own style on display through their creations.
Zerina Akers was a costume designer, stylist and the creator of Black Owned Everything. This directory includes Black-owned businesses. Zerina had a passion for fashion since a young age. Her capsule collection encourages fashionistas and has encouraged her to embrace the freedom to experiment. She calls her twisted basics “classics” but they have a new twist. Even jewelry is included in the mix. The pieces can be mixed and matched to create your own fashion-forward combinations. A simple suit can feel stiff these days. For a professional yet casual look, blazers with bandana prints can be worn with matching pants or separately with jeans and sneakers.
Misa Hylton has been in the fashion business for 25 years, envisioning the style of R&B and hip-hop stars. Her collection is filled with vibrant colors, punchy prints and accessories that make it easy to wear. This is a nod to her Asian heritage and love of color. No matter how people incorporate her pieces into their wardrobes (from a cozy and versatile kimono sweater to an elegant, date-worthy ribbed maxi dress), she hopes to inspire women to get dressed up and show them the way.
Accessories can transform any outfit into a complete ensemble. Aminah Abdul Jillil is a former professional dancer who loves the positive effects of a pump. Aminah switched from dancing to shoe design, and launched her own brand in 2012. She choreographed her own moves. Aminah’s latest collection of flats, pumps, and embellished booties is designed to boost confidence. She also adds jewelry to her collection, adding striking necklaces, earrings and bracelets.
It’s not impossible to have an elevated aesthetic. Not Allen Onyia. UpscaleHype, the fashion designer and founder of UpscaleHype’s men’s fashion platform, brings wearable pieces with an artistic point of view to his Macy’s capsule line. His Houston-based upbringing inspired him to incorporate a clean design aesthetic into his Macy’s capsule collection. It’s the result: Cargo pants, sweatshirts and joggers that are perfect for everyday dressing.
Ouigi Theodore is the founder of Brooklyn Circus and the store. His formula for great style? It all boils down to being true to yourself. His collection combines his love for history, vintage and storytelling to create utilitarian shapes with modern twists. His style is casual yet elegant, and he manages to achieve a balance that is as effortless as a beach-goer. He does it with a unique flair. He invites anyone who wears his pieces to do the exact same.