Whose World Is This? The (Black Design) World Is Theirs

Whose World Is This? The (Black Design) World Is Theirs

The haters say they're going to hate it. But they won't. They'll love it just as much as the fans.

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Photo: Kennedi Carter

Simone Biles is the World’s Greatest. This month, Biles brings her unequivocal joy and grace to Glamour, as the greatest gymnast in history graces the June cover wearing a white embroidered dress and grin that would light up a whole room.

The Olympian stuns in a collection of red, white and blue garments and backdrops, photographed by The Glow Up 50 2020 honoree Kennedi Carter. Biles’ physical and mental strength are evident in this shoot models both flowing and body-skimming silhouettes, showing the juxtaposition between her newly discovered and cherished mental state and the mind-blowing physical strength that has been seen in the four moves named for her.

In the cover story, she discusses the emotional weight of being quarantined, explaining how she “got to go through being angry, sad, upset, happy, annoyed. I got to go through all of it by myself, without anybody telling me what to feel.” The phenom is still not sure if she’ll continue competing past the 2024 Olympics (“I’m just really excited to see what’s out there in the world and to see what else I’m good at,” she says), but as depression descended, she was reminded of why she does what she does—and what would happen if it all went away.

So she trained like the Tokyo Olympics were tomorrow, and all her hard work paid off. She debuted her new leotards on June 6 at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, each bedazzled in the word GOAT, reminding her fans—and her haters—who really is the world’s best.

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Fashion. Culture. Futures.

Fashion. Culture. Futures.

One of the best things to come out of quarantine? Virtual events and symposiums. There are so many events I want to attend but I don’t always want to take off my sweatpants. That being said, some of the greatest designers and figures in Black fashion are making that “sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on,” vibe happen while giving us a boatload of information about Black fashion and culture.

Case in point: the two-part symposium titled Fashion, Culture, Futures: African American Ingenuity, Activism, and Storytelling hosted by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The program will cover all facets of the fashion world from academics to critics and designers to models, artists and activists. Noted fashion historian and 2020 TGU 50 honoree Kimberly Jenkins will moderate a discussion between Kennedi Carter, Aaron Rose Philip and Essence CEO Carolina Wanga and Law Roach will present the keynote conversation. The first day of the program is June 17 and the second symposium date is October 21, 2021 (subject to change).

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Tiffany’s Got the T

Tiffany’s Got the T

The Tracee, that is. After being a fan for decades and constantly showing us how jewelry can be so definitive to one’s personal style, it’s high time she was named one of Tiffany & Co’s global house ambassadors. Ross tells Harper’s Bazaar: “We lived at 59th and Fifth, and I used to make little excursions and walk to the Tiffany’s store, and visit with the jewelry—particularly the pieces that I was coveting. I remember I landed on the gold Elsa Peretti kidney bean necklace, and I messaged my mom [immediately about it].”

Though Ross has kept us all enraptured with her glamorous Instagram pictures during the last year and a half, she is now able to infuse some of that trademark Tracee joy into Tiffany’s collection, “T1,” just in time for red carpets and events to open back up again.

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Pharrell x Chanel

Pharrell x Chanel

Pharrell and Chanel are not frontin’. Pharrell’s initiative Black Ambition, which provides resources to HBCU students and entrepreneurs, has teamed up with Chanel to incorporate their mission and ideals into the label’s two-part learning program. Part one includes a discussion between a diverse panel of women who each have different areas of expertise. The conversation, set to start on July 11, will be moderated by Harper’s Bazaar Editor-in-Chief Samira Nasr, Black-ish actor and founder of Pattern Beauty Tracee Ellis Ross, co-founder of Good American Emma Grede, and more. Setting out to support HBCU students, Pharrell finds this initiative close to his heart, especially considering he has had multiple partnerships with Chanel, was friends with its late creative director Karl Lagerfeld, and is one of the brand’s many ambassadors.

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It’s All in the Details

It’s All in the Details

Black hair is something to be treasured and seen through joyous eyes. For its 50th year, British luxury and lifestyle brand Mulberry tapped Priya Ahluwalia, recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s design award, to create a collection celebrating Black hair. Ahluwalia uses her expertise in combining symbolism and the intersectionality of race and fashion to create a small capsule of handbags and accessories. This collection marks Ahluwalia’s debut in accessories, but her bold and creative patterns make it clear consumers will want her to continue with these types of products in the future.

“Mulberry is a brand that I have memories of from childhood, ever since I used to borrow my mum’s own bag, so this was an opportunity to collaborate with a brand that is very meaningful to me,” Ahluwalia told Harper’s Bazaar. The collection was first shown at Ahluwalia’s runway show at London Fashion Week and was directed by BFTA-nominated Akinola Davies Jr. as “an homage to the role hair plays in Black culture.”

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#BlackDesignVisionaries

#BlackDesignVisionaries

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Image: Instagram’s @design

Instagram started as a place of #SelfieSunday and #ThrowbackThursday and has since evolved into a space where Black designers can showcase their work for the world to see. And the world—or at least the Brooklyn Museum—has seen it. The museum has partnered with Instagram’s @design to roll out a $130,000 grant titled #BlackDesignVisionaries, to provide funds to Black designers. #BlackDesignVisionaries has two tiers of awards—the first awarding $10,000 to three designers between the ages of 18 and 30, and $100,000 to a small Black-owned design or fashion business with under 10 years of public practice.

Applications are open now through July 16 and will be reviewed by a “committee of trailblazing Black designers and design thought leaders,” per a press release provided to The Root.

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The Real Housewives of Telfar

The Real Housewives of Telfar

Telfar Clemens and the Real Housewives of Potomac recently collaborated on Telfar’s newest collection, Ugg x Telfar. Clemens is the creator of one of the most popular yet exclusive handbags to date, so it seemed only fitting he recruit Mia Thornton, Gizelle Bryant, Candiace Dillard Bassett, Dr. Wendy Osefo, Karen Huger, Robyn Dixon and Ashley to model his new line over a two-day fun-filled shoot at his home. The collection features boots and handbags—obviously—as well as other retail items, including couture sequin gowns. This little shoot is only a prequel for what is to come in September. More information about the collection and collaboration can be found here.

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Lounging with Leyna Bloom

Lounging with Leyna Bloom

Lounging in the center of a lush green field, actress and TGU 50 honoree Leyna Bloom models and debuts Victor Glemaud’s Resort 2022 collection. This year, the Met Gala may be delayed until September, but we have the theme: American fashion—and Glemaud has taken that mood and incorporated it into his knitwear collection, “American Beauty.” Bloom models multiple color-blocked sets with detailed side and back paneling as well as chic white, red and tan one-pieces. You might be skeptical upon hearing the words “resort knitwear” but the beauty and grace Bloom exudes as she debuts the collection wipes all of that skepticism away.

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