Fashion, food, lifestyle

The Budget

New York is slowly opening up and I’ve been working kind of regularly for the past month. Not full time hours, far from that, but keeping my toe in the water while I try and build up my online businesses. Sales picked up while people were locked in the house with an extra $600 a week from unemployment (I mean, who wasn’t shopping?) but that extra benefit is gone and we’re all back on a budget again. Possibly with nicer clothing and a red wine habit to kick, but back on a budget So let’s talk about that right now.

  1. Buy staples and stock up for winter: I’m sure you have toilet paper, but now that people have relaxed a bit, stock up on flour, yeast, dried or canned milk, beans, dried salted fish (it can be delicious), canned goods (I love canned potatoes) dried fruit, etc. If you know how and have room , make some preserves and pickles, and cook ahead and freeze it. You may not need it… but then again, you just might.
  2. Save: hopefully you put away some money ever week while it was pouring in. I get that you may have kids and bills, but a piece should have been put away every week. If you didn’t save then, well try to scrape your pennies together now because winter is coming and all your grasshopper friends will have is an empty fridge and a lot of liquor bottles to share (if they even have a place to stay anymore).
  3. Cook at home: you’re not rich anymore and there are too many cooking websites for you to keep pretending that you’re too good to even try to learn how to feed yourself. There are even meal kits (but really, you should just make a list of foods you like and then google recipes on how to prepare them).
  4. Wear the clothes you have: yesterday I was out in Manhattan for work and suddenly realized how nice everyone looked. Months of online shopping got people looking right for the summer. If you don’t have a ton of money coming in then you need to stop shopping. Cut it out. Learn to sew up holes (sashiko mending looks cool and makes garments last longer), turn stuff inside out or upside down. Go thrifting, a lot of places are open and practically giving their inventory away.
  5. Double up: if you and your friends are realizing that you can’t keep paying individual rents and mortgages then pick a place and move in together. Create a food budget and chore schedule, decide on which bills to split. Go home to your parents and help out. Don’t be ashamed, just get on with it.
  6. Start a business: tbh, you should have been started a side hustle but if you just hung out and ate lobster (I did, too, so no judgement and I also developed a crab leg addiction to kick) then try to make something out of the discarded shells. Maybe you can recycle the wine and liquor bottles you have around the house. Sell some of the clothes you can’t fit anymore. Give lessons! I paid $150 for some guy to come help me learn to ride a bike and I’m waiting for swimming classes to open up. I took a zoom dance class (never again, I felt like she was looking around my apartment and it freaked me out). If you have knowledge, charge other people to learn it from you. I invested money in crafting supplies and spend hours making soap, paper and cement soap dishes. This is in addition to selling new, used, vintage and upcycled items on various retail platforms. Make a list of things that you think you’d be happy doing, google about how to do those things and then do them. Try. Then try again. Then try some more.

It’s been a crazy year, and since we’re about to have another election, the crazy is only going to get ratcheted up (at least on twitter where it’s a trash fire free for all) just remember that no matter who wins you still have bills to pay, kids to raise, food to forage for. Regardless of what your political preference (I am and have always been a republican) you are going to be on the hook for credit card debt and utilitities no matter how much you protested and marched and instagrammed for justice. Wake up right now. Winter is coming and you need to get it together. Stop bullshitting yourself.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMARKETBK

art, diy, entrepeneur, entrepeneurship, Fashion, recycling

The Paper

Way back in the mists of time I studied photography and at the time I already felt like I wasn’t going to make a lot of money taking pictures, so I took graphic design, public speaking and book and paper making to give myself a fall back plan just in case. As we all know, just in case is happening right now.

Book and Papermaking actually made me really happy, and I loved making books. For a little while I was actually selling my handmade blank books at Quimby’s in Chicago (apparently they moved to Brooklyn, too), which let me know that if I were willing to put in the work, making books and paper could be a real hustle. Unfortunately I let it fall by the wayside as I chased a photography career and it’s been years since I even thought of making paper or books.

Enter the pandemic!

My papermaking warehouse on the windowsill

When it became obvious that this quarantine was going to be a long haul thing, I racked my brains for ways to stay busy and creative and make money. My job is retail adjacent so I wasn’t optimistic about going back full time. With unemployment kicking in an extra $600 I bought supplies for all of my creative endeavors so when the money ran out I would have everything I needed to sustain my efforts. One thing I bought was a papermaking kit. One sunny day I ripped up about two cups of printer paper and some Starbucks napkins and got started making my first sheets of paper in a decade. And it calmed me down.

Once you get started, it’s like riding a bike; you just get in and start creating. And since I can never just leave stuff alone, I started experimenting. Using water color paint to color pulp or paint on finished sheets, layering in found objects, and finding new ways to recycle paper scraps. I spent some time tie dying and saved the paper towels that I had laid down to soak up excess dye during the process. When I ended up with excess pulp, I put it in baggies an popped it in the freezer. It’s a zero waste kind of hobby.

I used one of my little cards as packaging for my first custom soap order. I think I’m going to make cards with envelopes to start with, because I’m really liking the process. Of corse I posted everything on instagram, as one does these days, and I was approached to create a papermaking tutorial video for Creative Sunday, which is going to be a new app and marketplace for creative makers. Much respect to bloggers, because I found making a video to be a monumental pain. I shot in little steps and over the course of a week figured out iMovie and realized that you need a compression app to make the movie small enough to email.

But check out my reward… and since I was curious, I did a little interview with Creative Sunday founder, Lauren Michaels.

Click to check out my igTV video on Creative Sunday’s instagram page!

Creative Sunday interview:

SEBMARKETBK: What is Creative Sunday?

Lauren Michaels: We are a new app to get crafty! Creative Sunday was made to help anyone create and shop their craft, whatever that may be. With thousands of supplies, that next project (big or small) is just a checkout away. You’ll be able to peek at projects from other makers and share what you’re doing too. 🙂

SEBMARKETBK: What inspired you to do this?

Lauren Michaels: I always loved making (drawing actually, but I’m not very good!). It is pure joy and gives me comfort. But, starting a new project is sometimes really overwhelming for me. Plus, I found myself shopping materials from multiple places and always wanting to see how others do their craft along the way, so that’s when I realized there might be a way to bring this all together. And, here we are! With a great team, we are creating a new app to bring ease and fun to your next project.

SEBMARKETBK: When do you launch?

Lauren Michaels: We are hustling and building away! The team is making strides each day and hope to have this coming your way soon. 

SEBMARKETBK: How can makers participate?


Lauren Michaels: I absolutely love meeting new makers (like you, Faith!). It’s the highlight of my day. 🙂 Our Instagram celebrates the process of creating—messy, colorful and all. We love highlighting amazing creations from all types of makers, so just use the hashtag #creativesunday, to show us your project for a potential feature. And, please feel free to DM us anytime—we would love to hear from you and do something fun together!

You can follow Creative Sunday on ig until they get their app built and watch my papermaking tutorial here. Keep checking my etsy for paper products to drop in the next few months. handmade holiday cards! (Or thank you cards, I’m leaving them blank). here’s a list of Papermaking Resources on Amazon if you’re interested in trying to make paper yourself.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMARKETBK

accessaries, black fashion designer, Fashion, ootd, personal style, recycled fashion, streetstyle, Style, stylist, upcycled

The Fresh Stylist

I started following Jerelyn Tavarez of DresslikeJ on instagram after participating in a #consistencychallenge led by lifestyle inluencer The Mattie James during quarantine. I got to witness her work at stayI got creative when we were all stuck inside and slowly I started looking forward to her fashion styling magic. It’s not just about looking at some random person wearing clothes? It’s that she messes with her stuff so that it completely expresses her personality. At this point, I cringe at them word fashion (honestly) so it takes a lot for me to like personal style bloggers. But how can you dislike someone who will turn her clothing inside out, upside down and backward?

You can’t. It’s impossible. She makes dressing up look like fun, plus she will have you running to your closet to play with your own stuff which can either lead to a lot of compliments or just a fun evening drinking wine and dressing up. What I like about DresslikeJ is that she leaves her followers room to be delighted, both with her ingenuity and their own possibilities. Who doesn’t need that? So I sent Jerelyn a few items from my online shops to work her magic on.

The dress:

Jerelyn chose a Farm patterned kimono top dress that slimmed down to a pencil skirt, bold statement earrings and an upcycled denim jacket that I designed. I can’t lie, I was really excited to see how she would work with these pieces. She did not let me down.

Jerelyn Tavarez of DesslikeJ

Perfection! Jerelyn gives off a casual but glam summer vibe, and I love how she puts a red and blue dress with a bright yellow shoe and gold bag. It’s a subtle nod to the gold flecks in the earrings, and brings a shot of surprise to the outfit that makes it a head turner.

True to her style, she turned the dress around and it’s stunningly sexy. The tie across the front is reminiscent of a harness bra or a lariat necklace. It’s sensational. Jerelyn told me “I loved the dress as is! Wanted to add a pop of yellow to feel a little vibrant. Then I thought of wearing it backwards. Instead of hiding the strings figured I would create a cute little detail in the front. Voila, a different outfit!” 

The jacket:

Jerelyn Tavares of DresslikeJ wears SEBMarketBK upcycled denim jacket

Here’s how Jerelyn styled my upcycled piece: “The jacket was the main focus so I didn’t want to take away from it. Decided to do something different and align the jacket a bit uneven. Paired it with a pair of blue track pants and wore my strappy sandals. Decided to wrap the straps around the pants for a more stylish look!”

Of course I had to get Jerelyn to give a little interview for the blog.

The DresslikeJ interview:

SEBMarketBK: What got you into fashion blogging? 

DresslikeJ: I would always get compliments on my style. People would ask me, “where did you get that?” I would tell them it’s just a top I wore backwards or a dress I wore as a skirt and they would be shocked. Social media started becoming such a huge source for information so my friends started pushing me to start expressing my love for clothes and style on IG. In November, I started with Fashion Tip Fridays then during quarantine, I was able to dedicate more time and work on new ideas. I also have to thank Sidewalker Daily. I was taking a group coaching class and they played such a huge role in me creating the newsletter. 


SEBMarketBK: You have such a fun, sexy style! Where does your inspiration come from? 

DresslikeJ: Thank you! My inspiration comes from everywhere. I get ideas from anything and I also like to switch up the way we might normally wear a specific item. I love both Solange & Tracy Ellis Ross’s style. & I love combining different patterns and prints. Accessorizing is key to me. 


SEBMarketBK: If you had to pack a bag for a mystery trip leaving in an hour, what would you grab? 

DresslikeJ: Giiirrrlll!!! I’m going to assume this is a summer trip and it’s for the weekend haha! So I would grab two swimsuits, sunglasses, 2-3 head wraps, a maxi dress, a bikini top to pair with some dressy pants, Nike sandals, two pairs of biker shorts, two tees, one sexy fitted dress, a pair of dramatic earrings. Oh and a pair of cute flats that go with everything plus a pair of sexy heels! Oh and can’t forget my liquid highlighter!!! Need to have that glow where ever I am!  

SEBMarketBK: Have you picked up any new styling skills from quarantine? 
I’ve been able to be more creative with my own fits and recycle pieces I never thought I’d wear again. I’ve also been trying to learn how to use safety pins correctly! Sounds crazy but I would always have my friends do it for me. 

SEBMarketBK: Where do you see DresslikeJ in five years? What do you want for yourself and your brand? 

DresslikeJ: Wow! I am hoping to have my own fashion consulting business and an online boutique where people can buy my pieces! 

Check out DresslikeJ on instagram and don’t forget to sign up for her Fashion Tip Fridays newsletter. You can also shop her closet here.

Until next time!

Faith/SEBMarketBK

art, black fashion designer, Fashion, fashion designer, fashion photo, influencer, photo, Photography, recycled fashion, upcycled, vintage

The Beautiful Flowers

I don’t usually feature other photographers, but I have a soft spot for perfection and I had to do a post about an amazing woman who makes art out of old clothes, bedsheets and her gorgeous daughters Jayla, Jada and Ella. I’m usually super jealous… but her work is so good that I had to get over myself.

photo courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @jabellafleurs

I started following Alissa Bertrand’s page during quarantine and it kept me engaged with the old. I started waiting for Alissa’s posts. They’re like a portal to a fairy tale world where all the princesses are black with beautiful natural hair. Her work reminds me of old Ralph Lauren ads, or Sally Mann’s revealing body of work that starred her pre-pubescent children. Every image is stunning. The lighting is soft, the girls are self aware and graceful, and the clothing is everything a girl or woman wants in her wardrobe.

Phot courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @labellafleur

I studied photography at Parsons and Columbia College Chicago, and I don’t think that I’ve ever seen such a cohesive body of work or such consistent excellence. Enter the fact that she is doing all of the styling with clothing that she designed, and all of the hairstyling and grooming for the girls and you have a one woman fashion army. If she decided to sell prints, I’d buy them. And I wouldn’t mind a grownup version of this stunning white cotton dress with eyelet lace, either.

photo courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @jabellafleur

I got Alissa to answer a few questions about her images and her plans for the future.

Alissa Bertrand with her daughters Jada, Ella and Jayla

The Jabella Fleur interview:

SEBMARKETBK: What inspired the photographs that you take of your daughters? Was there an artist or designer or magazine that informed your distinctive photography style? 

Alissa Bertrand: What inspires the photographs I take of my girls is just simply trying to capture them and the clothing I make for them! It’s also a way for them to have some really amazing pictures of themselves as children, to look back upon and remeber all the times we spent together along with all the fun adventurous stories too. I don’t look to others to inspire what I do. I’m a vintage fanatic and I love vintage aesthetics, so a big part of my look is evoking that style. 

SEBMARKETBK: Did you study photography or take any lessons? 

Alissa Bertrand: I’ve never studied photography! I wish I had some more knowledge in photography. I simply know the basics of what I like and what I want to capture along with the feeling.

phot courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @jabellafleur

SEBMARKETBK: When did you start designing clothing? Do you remember your first garment? 

Alissa Bertrand: I started sewing from the 8th grade, and designing and repurposing about 10 years ago! The first garment was a maxi dress for the girls. 

I don’t look to others to inspire what I do. I’m a vintage fanatic and I love vintage aesthetics, so a big part of my look is evoking that style. 

Alissa Bertrand, creative designer and stylist

SEBMARKETBK: Do your daughters take pictures or create clothing like you? 

Alissa Bertrand: My daughters don’t take pictures. They’re just my mini-muses. They do enjoy sewing and creating little things. 

SEBMARKETBK: Where do you see your artwork taking you? Are you interested in being in galleries or museums? 

Alissa Bertrand: I see my fashion and photography taking me to the next level in fashion. I’m currently working on a fashion collection for girls, hopefully coming out SS21! I hope my work will end up in magazines and introduce myself and designs to the world! 

So as a way to thank Alissa for helping me hold onto sanity during the horrible weeks of quarantine and then the first weeks of the protests against the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, I’m doing this blog post. She reminded me that art has the power to heal, and that consistency is key in creating a successful art process. Her work reminds me to look towards my family for inspiration and savor the small pleasures and victories available to me.

Please follow Alissa and her girls on @jabellafleur (and tell others!) so that she’ll be a mega-success and I’ll get the coffee table book I keep begging her for. Any requests for collabs or publication should be directed to her on instagram.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMarketBK

Fashion

The Fro Expert

I have a hair issue. Not about my 4C texture, and I only just learned about porosity, so that’s not it. I’m ok with the length, it’s kind of thin if you straighten it and apparently my edges are not even close to the standard of fleetness necessary these days. But…these are not my hair issues. Not even close.

Curious?

My hair issue is lack of knowledge and inconsistency. Period. I’m not sure why but one day I was minding my business and realized that Black women’s hair had had a revolutionary upgrade. natural is not just in, it’s supported, studied intently and discussed with passion and fervor. Suddenly everyone seemed to have a huge mane of unprocessed hair growing out of their heads and I was caught out there, completely unaware of how it had happened. I think I tested some products from Cantu and Ojon back in the day, but only because pr people gave them to me. On my own, I had no clue what was good, so I had to start researching.

I used to buy from another brand, and while I loved the products, I wasn’t crazy about the shipping times or customer service but I wasn’t going back to the drugstore aisle brands. I found Fro.ology on etsy when I was looking to add to my list of natural haircare brands and ordered immediately. I liked the minimalist design of the labels (very important for me, because I think clean design is a sign of clear thinking and efficiency). I started with the Onion & Garlic Oil, Aloe Vera and Agave Deep Conditioner and conditioning Tea Rinse and I was not disappointed. My scalp and hair are completely satisfied.

So of course I ordered more. And I follow the brand on instagram like a stalker so I can stay up to date on new products like the Avocado Pre-Shampoo Mask and Growth Oil. This week we have a short interview with the amazing founder of Fro.ology, Gianni Alexander, who shared her reasons for starting the business and some insights on Black haircare.

The interview:

SEBMARKETBK: Where did you get the idea to start your hair care brand? 

Fro.ology:  I got the idea in fall of 2018 after I got my mini chop. Everyone at my job was so amazed at my Afro and kept coming to me with their hair questions. While most of the feedback was positive, some was not. I didn’t let the negative offend me or trick me into thinking that I needed my hair straight again but it did trigger a light bulb in my head: 


Why is my hair and how I wear it such a big deal? 


My friends told me that if I made hair products they would buy from me for sure. I made my goal to have my business started in April of 2019, the same month I quit both of my jobs and moved back home to Atlanta. I used it as a hobby and a way to keep me busy and out of depression while I looked for a job.


SEBMARKETBK: I love using your products, and my hair is definitely improving. How did you develop your recipes? 

Fro.ology: I began researching how to make my own formulas after I realized most of the chemist I found used toxic ingredients. I started with basic formulas that didn’t require a preservative: butters, oils, dry clays…and then found whatever I could on different beauty formulating blogs and YouTube. They taught me how preservatives and formulas work. I worked with one product at a time until I had the formula perfect, logged the formula down and moved on to the next product.

SEBMARKETBK: What is the one best thing a woman with 4C hair can do to encourage growth? 

Fro.ology:  The best things a woman with 4C hair can do to encourage growth are: sealing in moisture through proper protective styling and not getting upset at shrinkage. Shrinkage means your hair is healthy!


SEBMARKETBK: What do you think the beauty industry can do better for black women? 

Fro.ology: The beauty industry can start by hiring more black models and stop brainwashing us into thinking that we need to have straight hair to be hired or simply just to be beautiful. 


SEBMARKETBK: Where do you visualize Fro.ology going in the future? What is your ultimate goal for the brand?

Fro.ology: There are a lot of things in the works with Fro.ology! I am hoping to be in a major retailer by year 3. Right now I am just taking it one day at a time.

Keep up with ro.ology s it develops on instagram and order Gianna’s amazing products (recently featured in Teen Vogue) at fro-ology.com.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMARKETBK

american made, beauty, beauty products, black fashion designer, Fashion, fashion designer, influencer, makeup, recycled fashion, summer beauty, upcycled, woman boss

The Beauty Boss

I was thinking about what to blog about this week as I was scrubbing up in the shower and then I realized that I wanted to write about some of the black owned brands that I’ve been buying from. As a former beauty and fashion influencer, I now hate everything. Partly because I was just used as a lure for big businesses that find it cheaper to throw a party and give away merchandise that they can write off and still profit. Partly because after testing so many products that were not meant for my skin or hair I realized that I was a pure idiot to keep promoting a system that doesn’t really see me as valuable. So, now I try to buy from small, independent and Black companies. If I’m going to influence people, then I want to influence them to help build new companies and business moguls.

I came across Goldenbrownskin LLC after they posted on Fashion Bomb Daily’s instagram page. I started with the Rose lip gloss ($4) and ended up going back for the Coconut and Rose brown sugar scrub ($27.95) that looks super expensive and pretty in the bathtub edge. My items were created, packaged and shipped quickly, and the owner was really nice about answering messages and whatnot. You really feel that there’s a human being behind the screen making beauty magic for you.

8 custom tubes of lipgloss, with custom labels from Goldenbrownskin LLC

One night I was looking for something to buy and I noticed that they were offering Wholesale lipgloss. You get 40 to 100 tubes custom made for you. I chose five flavors and GBS worked with me to create the colors that I wanted. They basically went flavor by flavor with me specifying my color choices and then sending me photos of the progress. I sell them and give away tubes with items that I sell in my online shops and people adore them.

Of course I had to be nosy. I love finding out about people’s processes and ideas. So here, in her own words, is Goldenbrownskin LLC:

SEB Market BK: What made you start a business for yourself? 

Goldenbrownskin LLC: I started a business for myself because I noticed I work better alone. I’ve always been a leader, a creative & I enjoy helping others. 

SEB Market BK: What inspired your Upcycled designs? Did you go to fashion school? 

Goldenbrownskin LLC: I have a lot of old clothes & I don’t like being around crowds of people so I normally just rework the items I have. I love to see ideas come to life. I’ve never been to any fashion school, I just watch a lot of YouTube, lol.

SEB Market BK: Your lipgloss is amazing! How did you get into creating your collection and what got you into selling wholesale? 

Goldenbrownskin LLC: Thank you so much! I started making lip gloss because I wanted to experiment with a variety of products, that women would shop for all the time. I enjoy doing wholesale more than making individual lipgloss because I like helping others start their own business.

SEB Market BK: You’re taking orders for custom t-shirts now. Are you going to be designing a collection exclusively for Goldenbrownskin? 

Goldenbrownskin LLC: I have started taking t-shirt orders, but I am still practicing. I’m not sure if that’s something I’d get into, I really enjoy making custom tees for other people. But of course a branded t-shirt with “Goldenbrownskin” has to happen! 

SEB Market BK: Tell me about your latest product, Dragon Butter. It looks like the secret to perfect summer skin! 

Goldenbrownskin LLC: Yes, so my body butters are my new favorites. Everything is natural & homemade. My fav body butter is the dragon butter, I love the strawberry scent. The body butters a natural raw African Shea butter. The Shea butter is great in healing and evening out your skin tone. Works great for individuals with any skin disorders via eczema, psoriasis, rashes etc 

SEB Market BK: You’ve been really outspoken about the protests. How has the current climate affected you and what are you doing to make a difference?

Goldenbrownskin LLC: I haven’t personally been too affected by what’s been going on. I have a blended family so it’s a hard subject to speak on, but I have been donating 30% of each order to fund the BLM movement. It’s a very sad situation, something I truly don’t understand.

So, basically a savvy business owner with empathy, kindness, and social conscience as part of her business plan. In other words, a Queen building an empire of love. Yes, I do see what just wrote. I said what I said. Click to check out Goldenbrownskin, and follow her awesome instagram, too.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMarketBK

black fashion designer, Fashion, fashion designer, lifestyle, recycled fashion

The Chair

I promised las week that this would be about nothing, and here it is…nothing.

This week I had a job at Macy’s Herald Square and I was scared that it would be all ruined and busted up because of looting. It was actually normal inside, down to the snotty security guard who always tries to imply that I’m a criminal (no, he’s not that color, he’s African). I basically had to go in with a team of two and supervise sending a company’s merchandise back because it’s all stuff that was on sale while we were in the house on quarantine. So that’s reality; stores getting ready for all of us to go shopping this summer.

I tried making bath bombs, using a kit that I bought from Organically Bath Beauty. I’ve been thinking about making them for a long time, and this list solved all of my issues by having pre-mixed dry ingredients and a decent sized mold. I also got the refill kit, so I’ve have a lot of material to experiment with.

I sold this jacket. I was really proud of it the day I finally finished it, and I was so sure that it would get snapped right up. I even paid for photos because I wanted to make it as appealing as possible. A year later someone plopped down $225 and it was gone. Amazing, right?

This is a chair. I broke off the leg of this chair in February, I think. For some reason I was convinced that I couldn’t fix this chair. I was using a spray can to prop it up instead of fixing the problem. This week I managed to fall off of the chair four times because the cap on the spray can was not meant to bear the weight of a quarantining woman who knows how to cook. So I finally resolved to fix the chair. It took about 15 minutes.

This chair symbolizes my procrastination issue.

I will do anything but the thing I’m supposed to do. Which is why I went into quarantine with an expiring state ID and an expired passport. I had also put off studying to take the driving test and I had put off bike riding lessons (I’m terrified about riding in the street, I just need lessons for reassurance). I had put off fixing up my apartment, buying a new mattress and calling my mom. It was really sad. It’s a terrible thing to know that a pandemic was the best thing to happen to you. I needed this time to get a life.

I’m still putting off exercise, though. As you can see…

I’m not big on combing my hair anymore, either. I take care of it with Fro.ology products, I twist it and then let it out to be free. It’s summer now. My head gets hot really quick, so wigs are out right now. The world is going to get this 4C perfection.

Anyway, that’s it. Until next time,

Faith/SEBMarketBK

black fashion designer, ecofashion, Fashion, fashion designer, recycled fashion, selling, vintage

The Way Out

More of the same drama going on. Today I woke up over it. I can’t be miserable forever. Last week was utterly horrifying. I felt like there was something pulling me down, and I couldn’t enjoy nothing. I took an online dance class and realized that I was just throwing my body parts around and not really enjoying the moves at all. A week of feeling helpless and sad and angry and now I am done. I have to move on with my life. Starting next Saturday this blog goes back to being about nothing, just the way I like it.

Feel free to drop by any of my online stores. Right now I’m working on taking photos, listing new merchandise and working on upcycling projects. Between covid and looters, my immediate visual merchandising gigs may not be as plentiful as I’d like so I have to build up my side hustle just in case. I’m probably going to start looking at selling photos, books, and handmade beauty products in the coming months as well. The year is half over. I don’t want to end up homeless and on welfare because I was too depressed over something that I can’t control. I have to shift focus back to myself and making sure that I have revenue coming in to cover rent, bills, food etc.

If you want to support a small black business, feel free to click on any of these links and start shopping:

depop.com/sebmarket

poshmark.com/closet/sebmarketbk

tradesy.com/closet/sebmarketbk/

ebay.com/usr/sebmarketbk

grailed.com/sebmarketbk

mercari.com/sebmarketbk

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SEBMarketBK

Fashion

The Week

I spent this week feeling more and more awake and in charge of myself. Made sure to do the grocery shopping, made sure to get up and tend to my online shops and social media. Made sure to get to the one day of work I had scheduled this week and be on time. Paid bills, and laid the groundwork for whatever is on the other side of the current situation. Made sure to talk to my mommy on Fridays, the routine that I committed to back in March.

Exercise is spotty, but I’m doing it. Along with trimming my cuticles and washing the dishes. I made a rule that there is no drinking before Friday afternoon and after Sunday evening. I’m remembering how fun cooking is and enjoying creating good food and enjoying the weekly trip to the store. I’m enjoying watering my plants and decorating my apartment. I’m enjoying the way I feel when I come through the door and realize that this is all mine, my space to change as I please.

I’m enjoying remembering, even when the memories hurt or make me ashamed of my words or actions. I lived a life, I did some things. I enjoy knowing that I was there and am now here. I am living. I am breathing and seeing and hearing and tasting and smelling and touching, using everything that’s been given to me and grateful to have a self to be. There’s death all over the place and I am alive and healthy and I can finally appreciate that without inflicting fake judgements on myself.

Until next time,

Faith.

black fashion designer, Fashion, fashion designer, fashion photo, personal style, recycled fashion, styling, stylist

The Stylist

One thing I miss about my old creative life was discovering new talent to showcase. I’ve been in the house looking through images and thinking about how much I miss working with other creatives on fashion shoots. Building ideas, pulling looks, finding models is all really exciting and fun. Obviously right now is not the time to be doing that? But a funny opportunity came up and…

I had a shoot! Kind of.

I’ve been following this awesome stylist named Chi Ilochi (@igbohippie) because I love the colorful backdrops she poses against wearing outfits that exemplify thrift store chic. I’ve been dying to work with stylists and cos time designers so I took a chance and I asked her if she would be interested in styling with some vintage pieces from my etsy shop. After looking through everything, she settled on a 40s theme representing the more formal way that black women dressed during that era. She chose a pair of vintage 90s silk pants by Valerie Stevens, so of course I sent all of this:

Because I am what’s known as extra. I felt like these pieces together would be a good jumping off point for her idea. The rabbit fur jacket from 90s label Absolue Paris has a real 40s feel, and I think this type of plaid blouse would have been popular then. The blouse and the Anne Klein woven paper bag were pieces that I bought for inventory recently and hadn’t listed yet. I was really curious to see what Chi would do with this box of vintage slayage.

Here’s what happened:

Not bad.

She was also kind enough to answer a few questions about her burgeoning career, how she scouts locations, and ways to stay stylish on those zoom meetings. Get into it!

 I love how you bring the color and flavor of Pittsburgh into your styling. How do you find these amazing backdrops? 

Thank you so very much, that truly means a lot! It’s funny you ask, a lot of my inspiration for backdrops, various locations is inspired by Brooklyn and its murals and black artists. Oftentimes I find backdrops by accident, or I see something bright and bold while out and take a mental note that I’ll shoot there. I can honestly say it’s rarely planned but it’s always destined.

I read in an interview that you felt like an outcast growing up. Now that your fashion career is taking off, do you feel that your individualistic outlook is paying off? 

Absolutely! I’m a firm believer that any and everything we experience in this life is for a reason. And that reason may be to help ourselves as we grow, or help someone else from experience who may have experienced something similar. It’s safe to say that those feelings I felt during adolescence became the core of the inspiration for my style. Of course I didn’t know that at the time, but I see now that it was confirmation and there was a divine plan and purpose set in place for what I felt and experienced. I must say the thought of  “my fashion career taking off” makes me very nervous but I’ll just buckle up for the ride!

Do you feel pressure to sexualize your look or to conform to the current exaggerated body proportions that we’re seeing on social media and entertainment? 

Wow. Great question! Now that I think about it I’ve never felt any pressure to conform to the current exaggerated body proportions that we see today. I never let the pressure of the world take me out of my element. The world wants we black women to do that in literally every single aspect of our lives. I always have to remain true to myself above all else. If I want to serve a sexy, chic, casual, streetwear look I will, it all depends on how I feel and the kind of piece I’m styling. 

Chi Ilochi/Igbo Hippie wears vintage Valerie Stevens silk trousers from SEBMarketBK with her own items.

If I want to serve a sexy, chic, casual, streetwear look I will, it all depends on how I feel and the kind of piece I’m styling. 

Chi Ilochi, Igbo Hippie

You recently won Bombshell of the Week on Fashion Bomb Daily. What led you to compete for that and how is the visibility impacting you right now? 

Thank you! Fashion Bomb Daily nominated me for it after they highlighted me as “Bombshell of the Day”. I wasn’t expecting that at all! To be Bombshell of the Day was an honor considering the fact that it’s been a goal of mine since 2017. I figured why not go for “Bombshell of the Week”! Winning doesn’t take anything away from me or anyone else, and losing doesn’t make me less than. It was truly an honor all around I still can’t believe it!

How do you deal with quarantine stress and do you have any wfh/homeschooling styling tips to help our readers prep for those zoom sessions?

I’ve been handling it well I must say! I believe at some point humans need to be around other humans no matter how strong you are mentally. We thrive off of it. I’ve dealt with my stress and anxiety through prayer, reading, positive affirmations, walks, working out.

I recommend stylists listen to Brittany Diego’s Podcast “The Fashion School Dropout”, it’s AMAZING and very inspirational and informative. I also recommend stylists try virtual styling, virtual styling sessions, consultations, studying their field of styling, creating vision boards of what they want, who they want to work with, and how they envision themselves after this quarantine is over. It’s transformative and it works!

Chi Ilochi has been featured in The Stylette, The Northside Chronicle and Voyage Houston Magazine. Keep up with Chi Liochi’s adventures at @igbohippie.

Until next time!

Faith/SEBMarketBK