"The purpose is pro-black. We're all about being pro-black and we love to be who we are."
-Nestraya, Dope On Arrival NYC
"The reason I love Bombchel so much is how its made and what it represents. All the clothing is made in Liberia, and all the women who work for the Bombchel Factory are various survivors, some women who work for the company are Ebola survivors. The creator of the line taught them how to sew and creates with them and works with them, she’s just an amazing person."
-Elecia, model, Bombchel Factory
"This is my favorite piece. What I love about it is that I can mix and match it. Some people like to keep it simple, but with this, you can use it with a couple of different pieces. I love the splits in this dress, you can flash a few people [laughs]. This is called the Resort Skirt."
-Hanah, model, Bombchel Factory
Where did you get these shoes?
These shoes I made about a year ago really, I was just playing with a bunch of fabric and stuff. The fur on the left shoe is my favorite, because that’s my favorite animal (cheetah).
So, tell me a bit about Overlook? What is Overlook?
Overlook is a brand that I started about two months ago. The meaning behind it is to just overlook the boundaries of the norm and do your own thing.
I see you’re inspired by the 70s, what inspires you?
The music, definitely, you know, funk music, disco music. I used to listen to James Brown when I was a kid, Little Richard, Pam Grier, Tina Turner- I’m a huge Tina Turner fan.
What are some of your closet clothing swaps that you find yourself doing from summer to fall?
I’m really into basics. My followers on Instagram understand that I maximize simple. So I’m really big on fit, and I like to use four monochromatic colors- black, green, grey and maroon.
What is your fall must-haves?
Describe your style in three words.
Authentic, personal and happy!
Where do you shop?
Anywhere I think that fits my personality, it doesn’t matter. If it comes from where I’m from or if it fits my personality, I’ll definitely shop there.
Do you have an inspiration or style icon for your every day look?
Yes! Do you have a favorite era of Kanye's style?
I would say now, because he’s more free and his clothes can can match with everything right now.
What are you wearing today, and how did you come up with your look?
I just threw it together this morning, and I’m glad people like it. I have a shirt and pants from H&M and sneakers from some store called Alumni in Crown Heights.
You painted this mural. What are you hoping it says to those who are passing by?
The inspiration was definitely the Chevy Cruze and the Essence Street Style Block Party as a whole. I hope it resonates, number one: energy, spirit, to always be vibrant to always be positive, and to always move forward. Chevy is always about tying that crowd in, those passionate people, those innovative people, to inspire them to keep going.
What would you say is your personal style?
My personal style is sporty, chic, street, cultured [laughs]. It changes from day to day!
How do you make sure your style reflects your personality?
I think I show it kind of in my clothes and also in my music. I love fashion but I can’t really dress myself well [laughs], so I kind of show my style in my music. I’m really particular about my song selections and I try to bring it in a direction that most people don’t go in.
What music do you often play?
I can play anything, I really like soul house, and I’m really obsessed with 80s music as well.
Is there an 80s style inspiration that you have?
I don’t think I have a specific 80s icon, but I love the bright colors. I also love a good platform shoe, which is more 70s which is coming back now. Big hair I love. I always say I was born in the wrong era!
How does your style fit the trends and your personality?
I go off how I’m feeling and I go off the trends…but I do the opposite of the trends. I’m a hair and makeup artist, so I try to put a spin on what’s happening, so it’s like, I can show you what I can do, but I can do it a little differently.
Who is your style icon and why?
Rihanna. Because’s she’s bomb as hell! She can wear anything, she’s courageous, and when she goes out, she has no limit and it’s very inspiring.
What’s your favorite Rihanna style era?
I liked maybe about a year or two ago, when she changed her hair every couple of months. I change my hair so often and it looked so cute on her!
"The line is black-owned, we’re all about celebrating curves, celebrating individuality, sisterhood and confidence. This print is actually called the Black Girl Magic print, and we thought, Essence Street Style Block Party was the perfect place to showcase it for the first time, it’s actually not even online yet. It’ll be online in two weeks. So we’re all about confidence and sisterhood."
-Nakela Harris, Rue107
How do you come up with your fashion?
I wake up, and whatever my mind tells me to do, I just do it!
Do you have a notepad and pen by your bed?
I just wake up and run with it!
Do you have a favorite fabric to work with?
Silk, I love silk. I love the way it feels in my hands. Most natural fabrics I love.
How did you come up with your outfit today for this event?
Well, I like big skirts, and I cannot lie!
Since you're a designer, are there any trends for fall that you think we can look forward to?
That’s difficult because I never follow the trends [laughs].
-Arlinda, designer, Sofistafunk
Who are some of your style inspirations?
I’ve been interested in fashion since I was born! I loved seeing movie stars like Sophia Loren and singers like Cher.
Who are you wearing today?
This is Arlinda's work! I’ve been modeling for her for two years, she made everything I’m wearing.
Tell me a bit about how Jam + Rico began.
This is my first year, I just launched. I already was designing apparel, and I wanted to create something on my own, not under a brand. So, I thought I’d go to my first love, which is making jewelry. It’s called Jam + Rico because that’s me, I’m Jamaican and Puerto Rican and I wanted to emphasize what I love, what I love to create and what I love to design. I wanted to provide that for my customers.
How do you go about finding the materials to make your pieces?
I source multiple places. I design the earrings in-house, but I get them hand made in India. The necklaces and bracelets, I source multiple places in the city to find different pieces like wood, horn, turquoise, just to get a multitude of materials.
Typically how long does it take to make a piece of jewelry?
On average, the design process takes too long because I get excited and I love finding inspiration from everywhere, to get my ideas all together, it takes a little bit. But, to make handmade, simple pieces like a necklace, it takes about 30 minutes.
Out of the style that you’ve seen on people passing by today, what do you see that stands out and what do you hope catches on for fall?
I definitely love color, right now I’m in love with salmon and dark, natural hues. I hope people embrace color in the fall. Don’t shy!
-Lisette Ffolkes, designer, Jam + Rico
How did you start your fashion blog?
It started off as rants about ratchet TV [laughs], and then it went to beauty, and then I posted an outfit I wore, and everyone went wild.
How many followers do you have?
Overall, I have a combined following of 300,000.
-Chante, blogger, everythingcurvyandchic.com
@priscilla.amado & @s.o.f.l.g.h