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fashion

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SWIRL STYLE: STELLA JEAN


SWIRL STYLE STELLA JEAN via Swirl Nation Blog
The designer, Stella Jean

The designer, Stella Jean

Mixing African prints with Italian tailoring, Stella Jean’s designs are vibrant, yet classic.  Stella Jean is of Italian and Haitian descent.  She grew up in Rome which lends to her fashion aesthetic; however, she is undeniably inspired by Africa and her Haitian roots in her designs.  Jean is self-taught; however, Giorgio Armani took her under his wing early in her career and she is considered his protégé. 

She has collaborated with Christian Louboutin and has Rihanna and Beyoncé clamoring for her latest pieces.  Stella Jean is also conscious of the struggles of women and native people. Through her use of native craftspeople, she seeks to support struggling countries and communities and preserve their ancestral arts and traditions. She works with industry to generate commercial enterprise and self-sustaining local communities, focusing on women’s empowerment.  She began her partnership with Ethical Fashion Initiative in 2013 when she extended her reach into a wider range of ethically produced items like bespoke Bogolan (mud-cloth) from Mali and Jewelry from Haiti.

Stella Jean’s lines are not “fast fashion”.  Most of her designs fetch a price tag of over $500; however, each piece is unique.  With the addition of a kid’s line, I might have to live out my Stella Jean dreams through my daughter.


For more Stella Jean, you can follow her on Instagram 

Go HERE for her latest Look Books


 

 

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SWIRL STYLE: AFRICAN INSPIRED SWIMSUITS


Getting cheeky with it!

Getting cheeky with it!

It’s swimsuit season! This might not be exciting to everyone, but I live at the beach and if I could I would only wear swimsuits 24/7. A lot of people like a classic swimsuit, but I love color and prints. Some of my favorite prints come from designers like Trina Turk, Nanette Lepore, Mara Hoffman, and Maaji.


Many of them have an North African, specifically Moroccan, influence to the prints and colors. Nordstrom has some really beautiful ones right now. I probably have 30 swimsuits in my closet right now, but I can always use a few more:)

Btw as I was putting this post together a couple weeks ago I was pretty disappointed that Nordstrom didn't have much diversity in their swimsuit models. I think diversity in skin tone as well as body type would be a very welcome change in my opinion. As went and looked again today I found a couple new suits that still fit the theme with more diverse models you can see below! Now we just need some curvy bodies in there! I feel like fashion thinks everyone is either stick thin or plus size, but most of us are actually somewhere in between! 

What's your favorite swimsuit trend?


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CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN FLATS FOR EVERY SKIN TONE

For Spring 2016, Christian Louboutin introduces a pointy-toe ballet flat for every skin tone.

Christian Louboutin Pointy Flats For All Skin Tones by Swirl Nation Blog

Big cheers to designer Christian Louboutin for his new line of flats in a line of nude tones that encompass a wide range of skin tones from "porcelain Nude #1" and "deep chocolate Nude #7." In total there are seven shades and three styles to choose from; the shoes went on sale this week.

"The expansive collection ensures that every woman can find a nude perfectly suited to her complexion," the company first announced in a statement in January.

Like the brand's other shoes, the new nude colors don't come cheap. The pointy-toe ballet flat Solasofia, for example, is priced at $595. I haven't tried them on yet so I can't speak to their comfort, but I will always applaud inclusiveness especially in the world of fashion where it is often lacking. I agree completely with this Facebook fan:

"Designers often treat nude like it's a synonym for light tan, thereby excluding women of color," one Facebook user wrote. "So it's good news that Christian Louboutin has expanded its nudes collection, adding a larger spectrum of skin-tone shades to ensure that no matter what your ethnicity, you can find a shoe to match your complexion."

Who else is running out to buy them?!

Christian Louboutin Pointy Flats For All Skin Tones by Swirl Nation Blog

 

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SWIRL STYLE: MARA HOFFMAN'S MEXICAN INFLUENCE


SWIRL STYLE MARA HOFFMAN'S MEXICAN INFLUENCE via Swirl Nation Blog
SWIRL STYLE MARA HOFFMAN'S MEXICAN INFLUENCE via Swirl Nation Blog

I love color and long dresses so when I saw Mara Hoffman’s new Spring line I was instantly in love. One small problem is that in my experience Mara’s clothes are made for women with zero boobs so for now I will just admire the pictures. The campaign was shot in Mexico and you can see the Mexican influence in the prints and colors she chose for the collection. Makes me want to pack my bags and head to Tulum!


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Swirl Style: Moroccan Kaftans


I have always been drawn to the beauty and details of kaftans. I would see them worn during my travels and in fashion magazines. I became particularly fond of Moroccan kaftans when, a few years ago, a best friend gifted me two handcrafted kaftans during her trip to Morocco.  The wonderful thing about kaftans are the many variations of style, color, fit and detail that makes every woman looks fantastic and one of a kind.  

 

A kaftan or caftan (Arabic: قفطان qaftân) is a variant of the robe or tunic, versions of which have been worn by multiple cultures around the world for thousands of years. The kaftan is often worn as a overdress, usually reaching to the ankles. It can be made of wool, cashmere, silk, or cotton, and may be worn with a sash. The caftan is of ancient Mesopotamian origin, and is still worn by many middle-eastern ethnic groups.

 

The kaftan has evolved to include different cultural styles, purposes, and names. In many regions with a warm climate, the kaftan is worn as a light-weight, loose-fitting garment. The kaftan has served as a symbol of royalty in some cultures and as a symbol of marriage in others during some parts of history.  In the United States and modern Western cultures, a variation of the kaftan is a symbol of educational ascension (graduation robes) and judicial power (judge’s robes)


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SWIRL STYLE: Afropunk Fest Style and Fashion


Created after the 2003 documentary bringing to light the Black presence in American punk culture, Afropunk Fest is one of the most multicultural festivals in the US.  The festival brings together people of all different backgrounds for music, art, fashion, film, and more.  Their efforts encourage diversity in the media and access to the arts through volunteerism in under-served communities.  Past performers during the festival include Lenny Kravitz, Kelis, Grace Jones, and Lauryn Hill.

While the festival sounds amazing – promoting multiculturism, the arts, and philanthropy, I am particularly obsessed with the festival-goers’ fashion and style.  From the array of prints, to all of the natural hair, to my favorite, tribal face paint, the partiers are on point in creativity and originality.  I want to rock tribal face paint every day in suburban Dallas, Texas after seeing the photos; but considering I get perplexing stares when I rock my simple afro in public, I might have to save the tribal paint for when I finally attend the festival one day.


For more information about Afropunk Fest: www.afropunkfest.com .


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Swirl Style: Cause Couture


Visiting India in 2001, I was enamored with the never-ending range of color worn by the women.  Deliciously hued saris and salwar kameez, draped effortlessly on city dwellers and rural residents alike. The intricate details of the native garb oozed femininity and I couldn't image how all of the work in these garments was truly handmade. But an adventure to an underground loom shop revealed artisans chanting to keep track of the stitch, color and pattern. At shift change, the fresh craftsman knew exactly where to pickup without missing a beat. I was hooked.

 

In 2009, I landed a job with an unknown women's couture label whose mission was to combat sex trafficking. I learned the sobering facts: 

  • At least 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor
  • About 2 million children are exploited every year in the global commercial sex trade.
  • Almost 6 in 10 identified trafficking survivors were trafficked for sexual exploitation.
  • Women and girls make up 98% of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Committed to saving lives, my new bosses had been developing their line for two years. Completely created in India, this American mother/daughter duo designed and imported nearly 1000 one-of-a-kind handcrafted masterpieces to the US. Dresses, coats, pants, shorts, jackets, jumpsuits in cashmeres, cottons and silks in every color imaginable. Simple daily wear, red carpet worthy--and everything in between. My philanthropic boss presented me with a new wardrobe so I could properly represent the company. There is a palpable energy in ethnic fabrics that draws people in. Hanging at a Lakers game, I unexpectedly caught a certain Kardashian giving my black embroidered cashmere shawl the side-eye.

The company was eventually sold due to the owner's divorce and but continues its mission.  I moved on to become a stay-at-home-mom but to this day, I rarely leave the house without wearing something from India. If I want to make a lasting impression, I wear Scarlet Poppy Arte. Shoppers in NYC can see the line by appointment only. There is a small fraction of the line is available online.  Brace yourself--it's pricey. Queen Bey would have a field day in their showroom. The Ganesh Dress took six months to make and Zendaya could rock it on a red carpet. Would love to see Zoe Saldana in the Sunset Kimono.

All dresses are from Scarlet Poppy Arte, from L: Gnesh Dress, Sunset Kimono, Aqua Gala Gown, and Envy Lounge Coat


Thank goodness it's easy for the rest of us to incorporate the flavor of any culture into a wardrobe without breaking the bank. Shawls, bangles, earrings add texture and color year around. I usually keep it simple--detailed pants with a chunky turtleneck, all black anything under an embellished coat or a wiggle dress with glitzy bangles and animal print shoes. Ethnic designs keeps things fun and virtually guarantees no one will have an outfit like yours. 


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Swirl Style: African prints


This week we are all sharing ethnic clothing trends that we are loving. I was super excited about this because I have been crushing on the Zuvaa Instagram page for so long! Zuvaa is an online marketplace for African inspired fashion. The founder and CEO, Kelechi has said Zuvaa's mission is to shine the light on African fashion. 

Kelechi, Zuvaa CEO/Founder

Kelechi, Zuvaa CEO/Founder

I am very drawn to the colors and the graphic patterns. Some of my favorite pieces are the long maxi dresses and maxi skirts. My style generally goes in one of two directions depending on the season. In the cooler months I pretty much dress in all black. But in the warmer months I live in colorful maxi dresses and skirts.

 

On their site you can filter by occasion or by fabric. The fabrics are Ankara, Dashiki, Kente, and Kitenge. All are beautiful. Zuvaa also activates Pop Up Shops across the country, you can go to their site for locations. 

 

These are some of my favorite styles that I would definitely rock. All of them can be found on https://zuvaa.com/ and are very reasonably priced. 

All photos are from https://zuvaa.com/ and the @shopzuvaa Instagram page





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DENIM ON DENIM


I love denim!  The best pairing is to mix and match light and dark denims. When done right, it looks effortless and chic.  Plus denim for children provides multiple no fail outfits.  You can work this look by tucking in the shirt messy, buttoning it all the way up, rolling up the sleeves or layering it under a sweatshirt, sweater or jacket.  Finish the look with sneakers, loafers, booties or heels.

Examples from H&M, In Style and Media Prive


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SUPER CUTE MULTICULTURAL GEAR!


I recently came across Mixed Nation on Pinterest and love their shirts and gear for kids and adults. When my daughter was a baby I came across a similar clothing brand and purchased her the cutest shirt with a swirl ice cream cone on it so finding this site brought back some memories! 

I love anything that promotes self love and being proud of exactly who you are. If you know of other brands creating multicultural clothing we would love to know about it! 


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