There are many new and old complexities in the fashion industry. It seems that the industry is becoming more common nowadays for people to embrace who they are. This factor is more apparent in the way companies are marketing themselves and coming to be more inclusive. In parallel with the embrace of different cultures, body types, etc. people are trying to find who they are in the midst of all the madness. It is important that we reflect on the fact that no matter how much money or fame a person has, they are still human. They have feelings, traumas and more likely, a luggage full of emotional baggage. Keeping this in mind we can bring light to creators such as the director of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing. Being one of the biggest names in fashion, Rousteing started his career with Balmain when he was 25 years old. With all of the success and fame, he still had questions revolving around his identity and knowing who he truly was. Being adopted at the age of one, he never truly knew who his birth parents were. In his later years at the age 31, he wanted to be apart of a documentary about his life. Rousteing then tried to find his birth mother, and he discovered that she was Black. This tells us it’s never too late for self-discovery no matter the level of success or age.
Before his great stardom, Rousteing was a French student. He studied at Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (EMOD) in Paris and graduated in 2003. After graduation, he started working for Robert Cavalli. Earning the position of creative director in 2011, at 25 years old, Rousteing became one of the youngest creative directors in the fashion industry. Rousteing has put Balmain on the map as an iconic brand with stars such as Kylie Jenner endorsing his work. In 2018, for Beyonce’s Coachella performance, Balmain was the powerhouse behind the majority of outfits that today are copied and even put in current museums. Behind all of the success and dressing stars, there are still people out there trying to discover themselves.
The documentary is titled “Wonder Boy.” “With Olivier, we wanted to tell the story of someone looking for their origins because we believe it’s very important to know who you are to know where you’re going,” said film director, Anissa Bonnefont at the premiere. “He had an insane amount of courage to accept being filmed during his search. I believe it will help others. It’s a topic that goes beyond us.”
Emotionally, it takes a lot for a person to search for their birth parents– to do so in front of the world can even be harder. One might not know how to handle what they discover, and, in this case, Balmain personally discovered his true race which was the opposite of what he’s been telling himself for years. Mentally that is very tough to handle. Your thoughts about yourself have been not necessarily a lie but not true either. “It’s a strange moment in my life. Usually, a documentary happens when you’re 80 or 90, or when you’re actually dead,” Rousteing told the audience. “But it’s more than a biopic, it’s a story to which we didn’t know the end.” The documentary explores the journey of one person with an issue that speaks to many.
For the fashion industry, this means that there is another African American in the lead roles, behind the scenes and putting clothing on your favorite models. The lack of diversity in fashion has been extremely rare up until recent years. Rousteing was under the impression that he was mixed with a variety of races due to his lack of knowledge of his parents, and his light skin tone. However, being fully Black in this industry is another hurdle and can come off as a completely different variety of situations and stigmas than the other different issues people deal with being of mixed races. This changes the conversations that people have regarding the creative diversity in fashion. For example, in 2018 when Virgil became the creative director for Louis Vuitton, the news spread like a wildfire. Instagram and Twitter were flooded with posts that ranged from “History has been made. One of the first black leaders of a high-end brand” to “This is inspiring, now any young Black boy can make history just like this.” Now I am left to ponder whether or not this changed people’s sentiments when it comes to those higher-paid roles in fashion. Of course, it may not change the history of what happened with Louis Vuitton, though, in essence, it does change the narrative of who is inside of the powerhouses.
There has been this dynamic change in fashion in such a short period of time from all aspects. The glitter and glamour are still present, yet there is a transparency that has never been seen before but is starting to surface now. In this documentary, you see behind the scenes of the fashion industry. Even better in the personal life of those creative leaders you know and admire. You can log onto Instagram and see Olivier walking down the catwalk; but when sitting looking at this screen, you see a man that’s alone. Not quite lonely, but sitting at a bare table, no longer surrounded by stars — there’s no glamour. It is still the same industry you know and love, but the much more relatable side. The other side, the life that we can all say we’ve experienced before. The searching for our identity, a night alone after we’ve had the time of our lives out, the unknown; these are all things we’ve seen in ourselves and others.
When it comes to fashion, beauty and overall bad-assness, there is one person who we all admire: Rihanna Fenty. The Barbadian icon has paved the way for women and people of color in almost every industry. She has transformed her enormous popularity from her music career into a billion-dollar empire. Newly labeled “the richest woman in music” surpassing long reigning champs Madonna and Celine Dion, Rihanna has become a powerhouse we’ve never seen, showing the true power of what Black-owned brands bring to the table.
Known for her outlandish outfits, Rihanna has given birth to phrases such as, “it’s not cute until Rihanna wears it,” or “Rihanna can wear anything.” With such a big hype to live up to and such a notable reputation it was only the smartest move to drop a fashion brand. Leave it up to the mega star to create not only fashion but luxury clothing. Rihanna is now the owner of her very own 600-million-dollar fashion brand. Starting by being creative director of Puma, she got her first whiff of being the frontrunner of a brand people were wearing. Fenty, which began as one of the first brands to include a larger range of shades including more variations for darker skin colors, transformed itself into a beautiful makeup brand that now includes highlighters, lip glosses and more. “I’ve been slowly evolving throughout the fashion world,” Rihanna told The New York Times, “First wearing it, buying it, being recognized for my style and then collaborating with brands. I never just wanted to put my name on something and sell my license. I’m very hands-on, so I wanted to take it slowly and gain respect as a designer.” The multi-faceted artist was the first Black woman to join the Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy (LVMH) empire along with other brands such as Fendi, Dior and other high rollers. This is also the first time the company has added a brand under their belt since 1987.
However, with luxury comes a price, sometimes even a hefty price. Rihanna created a brand that was high fashion and, in turn, a portion of people were not happy about the price point. It seems as though no one juxtaposed the idea of quality and money when the advertisements came out. The thought of Rihanna launching a brand that would be in the best budget for college students, for example, could have been due to the price point of her beauty line, Fenty Beauty. While it’s still quite expensive compared to the drug store brands of make up it doesn’t exactly break the bank with its $18 lip glosses. Also, on the list of Rihanna’s more affordable products, her company SavagexFenty, does not cost too much of a pretty penny either. The brand sells undergarments such as their wide range of sized panties and bralettes for as low as even $20. On June 19, 2019 when Fenty first opened up for the world to shop, the bustier white dress tops, one-piece denim dresses and retro-styled glasses all caught everyone’s eye, but the price threw everyone for a loop. The cost of a pair of glasses by Fenty started roughly at the cost of $300. It came as a surprise to the customers who were used to quality products, but low-pricing associated with each item.
Being in the social media age of the world this divided the internet in two. Half of consumers were of the opinion that this reaction is what is expected when you are dropping a luxury clothing brand under the famous name LVMH. The other half complained and said that the price was simply too high. This started the argument that people believe when a Black brand is the face of something it automatically has to be cheaper because that is what everyone expects.
Nonetheless, whichever side you may seem to fall on, this is not detering Rihanna from creating anything her heart desires. Never addressing comments such as these, the star talked about creating this line all from her own artistic expression; “Designing a line like this with LVMH is an incredibly special moment for us. Mr. Arnault has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits,” Fenty told Business Insider. She says she never puts out anything that she would not wear herself. These items come straight off the runway to your closet, which she prides herself on being the first innovator to do. Surely, other high quality brands will soon begin to follow suit due to consumers living in the moment of now and having everything accessible to themselves within seconds or days.
There is a high importance placed on what this brand represents that is far more than fashion — it displays the mark of a new era; an era that includes genderless clothing, people of all body types and no limit on what the front runner of the show looks, sounds or comes from. “I’m young. I’m new to the family. I’m a woman. Those factors do come into play, but I will not apologize for them, and I will not back down from being a woman, from being Black, from having an opinion. I’m running a company and that’s exactly what I came here to do,” Rihanna informs Time Magazine. As a child who grew up on the island of Barbados, to now being one of the richest women in the world, it is hard to put a limit on the possibilities of someone’s dreams. The world is changing, and whether Rihanna is making music or creating clothing, one thing’s for sure: she’s shown us the power of having a widely inclusive brand. Using her influence, she has inspired others by showing that everyone matters, and anything is possible.
Always remember let happiness find you Pray for joy. Pray for a healthy mind. Pray for a good heart.
I know a lot of people preach about self love. Yatta yatta yatta. But yall not really loving yall selves. I see people get upset at other peoples happiness. I see a lot of y’all shoot down things you should be excited for. I seem many of you take your anger out on other people. All that hate and anger you have stems from unhappiness with self. You’re confused with yourself so everyone else is the problem. When you get to know yourself you will truly have your own mind. What do you like what interests you? Do you even like being alone? When you find that comfort zone you can find a source of happiness. You stop putting so much focus on everyone elses actions and all energy is placed on self. Then gradually things start to work in your favor. You must first love yourself. It sounds so easy but its the hardest thing to do. Learn you in and out what makes you happy what makes you sad. What you no longer enjoy being around. Things you like to do not just for money or popularity but for your soul.
The number one reason self love is so important is b/c that weird person you think you are. That music you like, the books you love to read, the art you’re interested in whatever it might be there are people out there that fit you like a puzzle and like it too. Thats why its important to stay true to self. You are going to miss out on the people you want to be around trying to get the acceptance of everyone else.
Self awareness is living in the moment taking it for what is it. And becoming aware of the reason youre doing some thing. Take a moment, wherever you are and ask yourself what am I doing and where do I plan to be. Be aware of how you spend money and if it has any long term beneficial reward. If it only makes you happy for short term you might want to consider letting it go. Be aware how you talk to others and if your communication needs to be improved. How do others feel after you speak to them. Be aware of how you feel. Are you happy or sad more often than you should be? Try to speak to everyone better even if you do not want to. The energy you put in the universe gets reflected back to you.
Practice meditation. Download the calm app and listen to the gentle breeze. Take a second to breathe and realize where you are. Just feel your hands your toes. Breathing in and out move the way your body carries you. Meditation provides a connection with the mind and the body. It allows you to unlock that self awareness. Helping you to make better choices, better habits, and a better connection with self. You can also try yoga. Moving around a lot its always beneficial to find a practice that helps you to unwind and clear your mind. Realize where you are in this moment feel the breeze, feel the chair, enjoy the colors that you see and take the action to continue the rest of your day. Whenever you have a moment take a few seconds to breathe in and out clear your mind and keep going. It helps to improve your mood.
If you really want to extend your path to happiness and working with things like anxiety here are a few more tips.
1.Read your bible. Or fully practice whatever spiritual things you’re into. (You do not have to be religious)
2. Read Podcast. Check out Therapy for Black Girls by Joy Harden Bradford or She’s Beauty and the Beast by Tracy G.
3. Exercise. Its a great way to clear your mind.
4. Always remember to pat yourself on the back. Keep going do not give up. You deserve it all.
5. Eating right! Eating is a big part of your mood health and mind. Don’t forget the fruits and veggies.
I don’t want to keep trying to make a change in the world and tell people to love themselves when I don’t even love myself and have not changed myself. I have so much I’m trying to do, so many things I want people to see. I want others to see the halo I have or what I see when I see myself. Then I begin to wonder why some days I don’t see myself. One day Im super woman, Im GODS Angel and the next day… I don’t even know who I am. I want to learn how to love, I want to teach the world how to love, I want everyone to love each other. Thats what my heart feels. But I have learned that there is a way it can be done. You cannot save everybody. You can’t especially save people when you.
I’m tired. Physically I’m tired but mentally I’m even more tired. I feel myself burning out. I WANT TO BE THE BEST. The best version of me I can be. I try to be good at all things. Realizing that its ok to be good at some things. It does not make you less. I try to control every aspect of my life, friends and family. Thinking I always have to be in control. I’m tired because I put the problems of others on my plate too much. Simply tired because I have this voice in me filled with anger and hate. I want to defeat the negative space that I have in my mind that tells me that no cares, the no one cares what you have to say, no one cares how hard you work, no one cares what you want to be, thats if you’re going to be anything. NO ONE CARES. Im tired of feeling wrong for having feelings, or always wrong for not being perfect for other people. I’ve heard I’m tired because I put the problems of others on my plate too much. Well I can’t help it.
When you’re working hard doing things for yourself no safety nets no back up plans the worst thing you fear to be is vulnerable. Vulnerability is my biggest fear. Love is my biggest fear. I think being vulnerable is to allow people to come in and hurt you once you put your guard down and then assume the worst and just stay away. Now that isn’t really super woman of me. Scared of a little pain. Of a little hurt. If I don’t take the time to self love myself I will always have a wall built up. Learned that the hard way!
I always say when you have a pure soul that allows you to see the best in everyone and never hold grudges or never do anything out of spite or anger you have to be careful. I do believe you always have to keep that spirit tho. Being childlike is what I call it. Then, I have to take myself out of a space where I am constantly trying to compete with the next person. No one in the world is like me. They do not have my drive, vision, or work ethic. I am learning that I do not have to be superwoman for them I have to be superwoman for me. My life is not the best but it is not all bad. I can wake up everyday and can do anything I want to or go anywhere I want. Listen you are truly bound by nothing.
I have so many people in my ear trying to change every aspect of who I am. “Why do you talk like that”, “you not hood enough”, “you not proper enough”, “you not working hard enough”, “you work too much”, “you are a bitch”, “you are too nice”, “look at the mole”, “you’re lazy”, “that career doesn’t make any money”, “I’ll help you”, “wow I thought you were strong enough to do it on your own”, “you’re so smart”, “you’re so dumb”.
Isn’t it so funny how the harsh words cut so much deeper than the compliments, but the compliments never seem genuine anyways so neither matter much. I see the best in everybody but I see the worst in them to. So imagine being me. Trying to figure out who I am and trying to please everyone in the process. But no more.
Once I was in an elevator and the lady who had got on made a comment. She said “wow I should have took the stairs” I was puzzled because the elevator was going down. I said to her you only have to take the stairs going up there is no benefit when you’re going down. It is actually quite funny because I seen her the other day getting on the elevator and I asked was she going to take the stairs and she laughed and said I will on the way back up.
Taking the stairs up is an analogy to life. What benefit does taking the stairs down have if you haven’t even practiced going up? Think about it in relation to your body. Which one is more beneficial. The walk up or the walk down? The walk up is so crucial so hard when all you’re thinking about is the many more flights you have to go. But think about the self reward you have after you made it to the top. A little tired, that’s ok but glorious. I know no one enjoys the walk down either or the “bad days” is what I like to relate it to but those times come when we must go down those stairs. See but the down is only significant if the climb back is more powerful. Without that climb up the walk down is just a pop down the stairs, you don’t even count the flights. So why focus so much on the fall down when you have not even prepared yourself to get back up. You have not even practiced the hard part. The hard part is climbing those three flight of stairs. Then when you think about the bottom of those stairs and maybe have to start over again you won’t be afraid of going back up because you have mastered it. If we are comparing this with life, things get tough. Work gets tough, school gets tough, our relationships get tough. But the hardships only overcome our success when we haven’t practiced climbing those stairs enough. The wrong thinking is that you must work 40 percent and rest 60. Or any other ratio where the work is less than the rest or even equal. Its just simply not right. Success is a full time sacrifice. Not being afraid to fail. Not being scared of the going down. Not stopping because things get hard. And most definitely not relying so much on the simple part. Falling is so simple. Its the most simplest thing you can do. “Let go” pop down those stairs. But that’s not what winners do. When we think of stairs we think of the climb up. The climb down is not even important to us. We think about each flight up. Today 3 tomorrow 5. And when you have mastered those stairs, when you have mastered overcoming fear, when you have mastered seeing yourself in a certain position and then doing the work to put yourself in that place. You can be successful in any endeavor you chose to pursue. It all starts with you. It all starts with the stairs. It all starts with thinking up.
Often times us women tend to give out all our love and never receive anything in return. To family , to friends, to lost or current lovers. You try to fix everybody but only end up losing yourself. But oh darling you should never lose yourself trying to fix everyone else. See I do so much in a days times, so much crying, so much working, so much school. What good have I done? Am I really doing any good at all? Questions I had to stop and ask myself. See this love letter is not just about bragging its about recognition. Admiration for all the things I forget to see. A remembrance for all the things I want to be. SO…
You know you are going to win because you put God above anything else like no one I have ever seen. Your smile lights up a room. Almost like your presence gives life to the world. Imani I wonder what makes you go? What keeps you pushing forward? What makes you so happy? The way you push all the negative thoughts away to put a smile on the face of others is so amazing. You are so amazing.
Did you know I love you girl? I love your hair, your corny jokes, and your silly dance moves when no ones watching. I love your teeth that are too big and your little tiny finger nails. You know how your feet sometimes look too big or your stomach sits out? I love that too. I admire your drive, your ambition. I love the smell of your natural hair. The way you smell like paradise and wonder. I love the look in your eyes when you tell a story. Or how you listen so intensely when someone’s talking. Or how vibrant you are when no ones watching. How everyone stopped believing but you still believe. Yes there is love in the world.
Funny enough some of these words were things I wished others would have said to me. A few words so short and simple. Appreciation for what I was doing. In relationships, in friendships I always tried to find others who loved me more than I loved myself. I just would go day to day without loving myself. I’m still trying to learn how to love myself fully but damn at a point I didn’t even like me. I could have at least liked me. I constantly wanted to change every aspect of who I was: my identity, skin color, hair texture when in reality there was really nothing wrong. Have you ever went to bed crying to God? Asking him why did he make you this way. Praying by the morning or maybe one day you could be worth something. Damn that shit really is a fucked up feeling. I’m saying y’all that is a really a fucked up feeling. How did I survive feeling like that?
You yourself should have a love letter appreciating you. Everyday you should wake up and see how beautiful you are, how strong you are, and how these men out here don’t stand a chance. To those wiped tears and long, long nights, and secrets only you keep. It took me a long time but I realized no ones going to appreciate you like yourself. I always wanted this constant admiration from others. I never received it. So I gave it to me. I would write in my notes things I have accomplished or just positive notes. And whenever I would break down crying I would have to reread, reread and reread. See because now things are changing and self love is the best love. And nothing makes me feel more complete knowing that I got someone on this earth who loves me more than anything. ME!
I want to know 5 things you love about yourself? 5 goals you have? Something about you no one else knows but you. WRITE YOUR LOVE LETTER!
I wanted to start blogging because I have so much to say and I feel like everyone should see it. Looking around its hard to find others who relate to me or understand. I grew broke I had to struggle I practically raised myself. Both my parents left me when I was young, hopeless, and lost having to figure out the world by myself. I was emotionally damaged. Crying all the time and blaming it on the sky being blue. Feeling like those tears made weak. In turn I think what I really ever needed was a family but of course 6 year old me didn’t know that. My life was going to church because grandma said so, going to school because grandma said so. For a long period of my life it was just grandma and I.
“I give you everything you want why are you always so unhappy Imani?” This was a questions my grandmother asked me for years. For a long period in my life I never smiled I just sulked. And me telling her I miss my mom or saying I just want love, somehow didn’t connect I guess.
I had nothing , no one, no help and I kept going working my way to the top. Anything you want you can do my grandma once told me recently. She said I made myself from scratch. She never spoke words like these to me before with so much positivity. For most of my life when a tear fell I was told to pray. No comfort no compassion just shut up and pray. Suddenly, I felt myself at a constant drift pushing myself forward feeling as though I had no backbone no love or support but something about this particular time it fell as if her words were what I was longing to hear for the majority of my childhood.
For a while I was just drifting unable to launch myself forward until that moment gave me a specific boost. I had to step into my greatest form. I had to remember what I was fighting for. Fighting to be the first person in my family to go to college, I was fighting to accomplish goals no one in my family had reached before, I was fighting for happiness, a peace of mind, sanity. I WAS FIGHTING TO CHANGE THE WORLD.