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#WomenatWork - I think you are a Lost Queen | Interview with Eboni Merriman

via LostQueens.com

If you recognize this catchy tune from Pharrell ...

then you're already familiar with most of the intentional magic that went into the launch of Eboni Merriman's e-commerce boutique, Lost Queens. 

But, since rebranding what began as a spontaneous meeting of passion and necessity, Eboni's baby, Lost Queens, has grown to a self-sustaining nationally-recognized brand.

I've been curious about (and admittedly hardcore stanning for) the Lost Queens Instagram account for awhile now. I've watched as it's grown by thousands of followers, boasting black girl fave ambassadors like Jamilah Lemieux, Nina Amour and Pinned x Stitched's Meron B. But when the new collection launched, inspired by Beyoncé's "Formation," I knew I absolutely needed to have a sit down with Eboni.

But it's 2016 and we're working women on different coasts. So we did what any two long lost girlfriends who had never met would do ... we hopped on the phone.

I won't make you endure the details of the many moments I fell in love with her raw and present energy. But, I will say, baby girl showed up ... in full authenticity.

Five minutes into our convo, Eboni had already offered me her full self, her full spirit, and revealed herself in a form that's rare for many. I'm talking revealing everything from how she couldn't keep a job before pursuing her dream, to her relocating about 15 times since moving back to NY from VA in 2011, to the balancing of depression and being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2015. Did I forget to mention that Eboni is only 24 years old?

Catch the best from my chat with Eboni below.

And shop the new Lost Queens collection with 15% OFF when you enter "LQCARRIEK" at checkout.

On how Lost Queens became a thing ...

I was sitting at home with a friend, typing ideas on a computer - [Eboni and another friend, Nik Adams had previously begun a blog for creative women that would be a spring board for Lost Queens]. I felt like I was just going in circles … and that Pharrell song came on and took me. I felt it and went with it.  I had already been experimenting, selling things on Ebay. So Lost Queens was a way to spread my love for women and pretty things.

 

On creating ...

I can’t pretend like I'm this business woman that has it all together. I didn't have business experience coming into this. I’m just myself, what I go through is what is reflected in the collections.

On trusting herself ...

I do second guess myself a lot. It’s something I’m working on. But, Lost Queens was something I needed. It gave me a chance to say to myself and other women, "It’s ok to be beautiful, be yourself, be different."

On the Lost Queens collections ...

The jewelry is secondary to the girl. It's complementary. Lost Queens is all about that moment when they pull out the phone to take a selfie because they're like "Oh, I look poppin’ today.” Or, "Oh, my hair is poppin', so let me put this headband on."

On what she's learned from her brand fans and followers ...

Everything, really. Black women are the most vocal. So I take their feedback seriously ... I take the advice and fix the problem. And put the growth back in the business.

It's hard to want to end this with anything more than a "Thank you." So, sincerely, Eboni. Thank you. For being and doing you.

 

By khoLi.

 

EXPLORE: @KariFaux has something to say. And, we're listening.

 

collections, style

Selfi's Celeste Arendse presents women's "Breasts of Desire"

selfi breasts of desire

It is at once arresting and jarring to encounter the ways in which society's reading of women's bodies (particularly women's breasts) are often enveloped by a male, pornographic eye. This eye, historically, has been both damaging and derogatory.

However, Celeste Arendse, the designer behind Cape Town-based fashion label Selfi, is choosing to celebrate women's breasts - to reclaim them and expose them in a tellingly abstract, poignant, and raw manner: through clothing that celebrates and imitates art.

"Breasts of Desire," Selfi's SS16 collection, pulls its inspiration from two prominent 20th century artists: Picasso and Matisse. 

Picasso pioneered Cubism, an avant-grade art movement punctuated by abstracted works where the subjects (and objects) are analyzed from different perspectives, disassembled, and then reassembled (think of Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon). Matisse was a leader of Fauvism, an art movement that revisited a painterly style (erring from Impressionism) with attention to dynamic colors and abstracted subjects.

via Selfi

Arendse's collection takes these artists' renditions of the female body and reimagines them on moss crepe (a crisp material with an intentionally crinkled appearance) through the digital printing of abstract images of breasts. The result? Stunning apparel - wearable works of art - that reveal women's breasts in a way that isn't sexualized.

According to Arendse,

With this collection I wanted to focus on the areas of women’s bodies that I feel are being portrayed in derogatory ways and in ways that are more pornographic than beautiful. I wanted to make women’s bodies appear beautiful.

via Selfi

The collection features a white top featuring thick black lines that nods to Matisse, and a dress featuring blocks of color and abstract forms that nods to Picasso. 

The inspiration is present, forward, and articulate. And we're listening closely.

Design Indaba, like most, believes "It’s easy to read the breast prints on the garments as feminist statement about body positivity." But in her interview with the publication, "Arendse gently opposes this: not because she isn’t a feminist, but because she doesn’t want to box her work in – 'What if I have penises in the next collection?' she asks."

via Selfi

I think in terms of direction, what I want is my brand to always express itself, however it may be inspired that season. I don’t want to be confined to any colour, prints, shape or silhouette.

In a world where women's bodies are perpetually policed, where the slightest hint of an areola in an Instagram photo is reported and removed for abuse and violation (and now, cue Janelle Monae's "you cannot police me, so get off my areola" line from "Yoga"), it is empowering to see Arendse portray women's bodies - women's breasts - through clothing influenced by art, clothing telling a story about the beauty of breasts, clothing that speaks louder than words. 

via Selfi

via Selfi

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Fanm Djanm has a new collection … and so, of course we’re in love! 

Not only does Fanm Djanm vibrant collection of headwraps to celebrate strong women of all ages, but they’ve got some pretty bomb clothing and jewelry selections as well.  We love their Queen Ania crewneck!

Do us and yourself a favor and check them out.

with <3,

khafra co.

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Mataano Resort 2016

Photographed by Sara Melotti

Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim, identical Somali-American twins and Creative Directors of the womenswear fashion label Mataano, have released their resort 2016 collection. 

We’re not sure if you can tell but it’s absolutely ridiculously mind-blowingly fabulous. And it’s simple.

There’s sheer, there’s long, there’s loose, there’s light. The line has everything you would want for a holiday abroad. that you would then want to pack up, take home, and use as beautiful layering pieces year round.

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In the meantime, if you’re not up for waiting to shop the new Mataano line, don’t There’s too much goodness in their online shop to ignore.

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Also, if you’re anything like us, and love the hats from this shoot, CLICK THIS and check out Orlando Palacio’s Worth & Worth hat shop.

with <3,

khafra.co

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Rosie Assoulin Resort 2015 



Hard to believe that it’s been just one year since Rosie Assoulin launched her namesake line. Since her debut last summer, Assoulin has quickly captured the industry’s attention with her modern takes on occasionwear, which notably earned her a Swarovski CFDA Award nomination. While fashion Cinderella stories like Assoulin’s are few and far between, her new Resort collection stands as further proof that the designer’s overnight ascent was no fluke. After establishing a distinct language for the brand early on, Assoulin continued the conversation this season by updating signature plays on sculptural volumes and vibrant color combinations. Current fans will gravitate toward the block-striped strapless tops and halter gowns with cascade details, as well as the crisp white cotton look that paired a crop top featuring dramatic sleeves with wide-leg trousers. “I feel like this girl is ready to walk onto the set of a Quentin Tarantino film and kick ass,” said Assoulin of the latter outfit during her intimate presentation.

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