Today was the perfect kind of Monday. I woke up to my routine that I’d like to follow each day. Anytime I can do that, I know the day will be a good day because I’ve created space for positive vibes to dwell. I met up with my friend Ashley for a late lunch at The Buren in Brooklyn. It was a cute cafe and the perfect spot for catching up with a friend. I had avocado toast , a mimosa, and a chai latte with coconut milk to go. My friend had the chicken sandwich and I have to say it looked amazing!
I know you’re like what’s up with the friends with benefits though. lol. Okay! Well when I say friends with benefits I mean friends that you can network with and the relationship you have together literally benefits your life in a positive way. Using your time wisely is so important and spending time with your friends is also important. Why not add value to your friendships by networking with your friends. Meeting up for lunch and bouncing ideas around, talking business, and pouring knowledge into each other. It’s cool to have friends to hang out but it’s even more dope to have friends that add value to your life. There’s a lot happening in the world and we really have to lean in to each other and use our own resources. Everything I have is everything I need. I’m truly just grateful for this time to be still and reset and recharge my life. There is really a silver lining in anything that happens to you in life and nothing lasts forever so embrace life as it comes. When you have to force it, it’s not for you. I am so grateful my friends are pretty much boss babes so it’s easy to connect with them on deeper topics. I have many friends with benefits!
After we chatted a bit about future business ventures, we decided to take a little stroll. Me being me I wanted to grab dinner because I didn’t plan to cook. We went to a nearby Caribbean place. On the way was a beautiful mural so that was a perfect photo opportunity. LOL. It’s never a bad time for a photo op. I love how photos hold memories and tell a story of a time before. We had a lovely day.
This weekend I wanted to celebrate the birthdays of two amazing beautiful black queens that I met during my time at Barney’s New York. They both had quarantine birthdays this month so I felt it was only right to celebrate together now that New York restaurants are open for outside table service. I love a good pasta and also just good food so Bar Pitti off Sixth Avenue was the perfect place. The meal was delicious. We got there around dinner time like 6pm which was perfect just before the crowd came. It was almost like the moment we seated was when the crowd showed up and there was a long line. Thank you Universe.
After dinner we wanted to walk off some calories so we headed into Soho. The night was beautiful. The streets were emptied so that we could really enjoy the beauty of Soho. It was different seeing all the luxurious stores boarded up with wood. Many artists took this as an opportunity to speak out about racism and the injustices against Black people in America. The art was mind blowing and I heard the message loud and clear. I just hope everyone else who visits Soho , NY for all it’s glamour and beauty got the message loud and clear as well. #Blacklivesmatter
I had a beautiful start to the weekend with my good friend who’s name is also Ashley and boyfriend Chuck. We started the day at L Train Vintage, a cool spot in Brooklyn that has amazing vintage clothing. It was nice to be out and about since the pandemic and actually be able to shop in a store again. The fitting rooms weren’t open yet due to the virus though. I told myself I wasn’t shopping and just there for moral support for Ashley who was buying denim shorts. My boyfriend got some cool pieces as well. Long behold, there was a beautiful sequin beaded top that I could not resist. Luckily I have the best boyfriend, and he bought it for me. So technically I didn’t shop. Lol.
Next, we got hungry from all the shopping so we grabbed a bite at Sisters, a Brooklyn bar and eatery, just some blocks away. The ambience was beautiful. It had a open rooftop for the most amazing sun light to come through. It was such an LA vibe as soon I stepped into the space and between me and you I’ve never been to LA. My friend did though and she agreed so much. It’s funny how we can tell how a place is or imagine it without ever having been there. Anyway, the food was yummy. I’m trying *keyword trying* not to eat meat so I had the Veggie Burger with fries and Brussels sprouts. I also had a frozen margarita that was def not shy on the alcohol. I enjoyed the outside seating because the day was beautiful. Most restaurants in New York are open for outside dining and/or takeaway.
After, we headed back to my friend’s place which has the most amazing rooftop. We hung out on the rooftop for a bit and caught some vibes. It was the perfect way to end the day but it didn’t end there for me. My night ended unexpectedly at a barbecue where I gave into a beef shush kabob. It was so yummy but my stomach was not happy the next morning. All in all I had an amazing start to my weekend.
Being that the weather has been so hot, I decided to keep it light and airy with my outfit. The warm tones I chose complimented my skin tone so well. My satin skirt from Vince worked perfect for exploring around Brooklyn because of its elastic waistband. Not only is the color divine, but the comfort of the skirt is unmatched. Keeping the brown tones consistent with my look, I paired my skirt with a nude Zara racerback tank, which actually is a set to be worn with matching biker shorts. I love breaking looks apart as well as mixing and matching to maximize my wardrobe. Lastly my shoes, were the perfect touch to complete my feminine but still comfy roaming around in the Brooklyn heat. I love a good cheetah print and they were the perfect print to add a pop to the otherwise minimal look. They were also super comfy. I got them for a decent price during a big sale Nordstrom was having. They’re BP label which is a Nordstrom brand. Would you wear this summer look?
Click the Links below to shop similar styles to my Fun in Brooklyn #ootd
June is the official month of Black American music. I know some people are ready to argue me down, but hear me out. Did you know it was Black people who came up with the idea of having not only Black music month but also establishing a Black American Music Association? Yup, including the amazing Dyanna Williams and the legendary Kenny Gamble in the videos below. Kenny was inspired by what they did in Texas with the Country music association and thought why not do the same for Black music. Dyanna was responsible for lobbying to get the bill signed after contacting the White House about the Black Music Association gala held at the White House times before. Apparently, President Jimmy Carter acknowledged the month but hadn’t officially signed so Clinton told Dyanna to get it the bill through Congress and signed. With the help of then Congressman Chaka Fattah and Dyanna, it was no easy task lobbying to get people in high up places to admit and acknowledge the influence of Black music, but Dyanna knew better. Eventually the bill was signed and Black Music Month . She is an amazing example of what we all can do and be to make a change to protect and preserve our culture. It’s not an easy task at hand but it is worth it for the preservation and celebration of black people and culture that has influenced the rest of the world. In honor of Black Music Month, I’ll be sharing some of my fav tunes on my Instagram stories @chanelbunny for the rest of the month. I would love for you to join in and feel free to tag me and Black music month. I will repost and share on my Instagram stories! I’m not certain if the association is still around, but Black music month is still in June and celebrates and remembers the rich history and legacy of Black music and Black history! Check out some more cool information on the legacy of Black music month below. Don’t forget to share, tag, and comment on my posts. Thanks guys. Stay blessed.
In the height of the moments of riots, looting, and peaceful protests for the prolonged injustices and racial violence against black people in America, I am praying for peace. Peace to be still so that I can continue to walk in my purpose that God has set out for me. I am no longer living selfishly and abusing myself by working tirelessly without a purpose. We all have a legacy to fulfill and its solely up to us if we do or do not. I’d rather look back on my life years from now and say “Wow” instead of “What if”. I’m trying to be more mindful and for some funny reason the word “mindful” somehow always comes up some place in my life. I encourage you to write your dreams down on a piece of paper, have faith, do the work and actually allow things that take time to manifest. As a fashion stylist and fashion lover, I am definitely being more mindful of places and brands that I am shopping. I don’t know about you guys, but I personally love shopping cool brands that inspire me. This is why I am always really happy as a black woman in fashion to also shop a black owned brand. I’m sharing with you guys some of my favorite black owned brands right now. Check them out. Don’t forget to drop a black owned brand in the comments below! I know I didn’t get them all here ya’ll. Stay blessed loves! -Chanel
When 2020 started, I set networking as a goal for myself. I wasn’t expecting God to really challenge me by throwing in a whole pandemic. Wooh Lordt! So of course, I had to get crafty and clever and find new ways to network without being face to face. Recently, I decided to take Ronne Brown’s Prerequisite class to 1. help me build structure for my fashion business and 2. to network with other women who wanted to own their life and have freedom. Since doing so, I have found new and better ways to form content, learned valuable information to grow my business, and I’ve made new connections with business owners like me! Jessica is one of the amazing #Girlceos that I met. She is a boss babe and has a vintage thrift shop business called @ChicFrugality. She recently had a virtual sale on Instagram and I couldn’t resist snagging a few pieces to add to my wardrobe. I purchased THREE bags that I am so excited to incorporate into my existing wardrobe. This is also my beginning stages of practicing with iMovie so bare with me. Enjoy!
Ashley Dezarai is the Executive Assistant of Global Showrooms, Runway Shows, and Architectural Design at Ralph Lauren. Ashley has been in role for 11 months. She is also celebrating her 28th birthday today. There is a lot she has to be celebrate and we wanted to share in her accomplishments. Not only is she excelling in her career and breaking many barriers for brown girls around the world, but she’s also a major fashionista and killing her goals in style. In honor of this queen we decided to have a chat and catch up with her since the pandemic and see how she’s holding up.
C$BNYC – Your role at Ralph Lauren currently is MAJOR. You are the Executive Assistant of Showrooms, Runway Shows, and Architectural Designs. That is major because you’re literally a pillar of their creative business. How does that feel for you and what is the experience like? I can’t even begin to imagine your day to day agenda!
Ashley – It feels amazing. To be honest before this role I never would have imagined all the things that go into creating a showroom or a runway show. I work with everyone from the designers to the florist to the contractor to put together these magical experiences. The process is ever changing, consistently adjusting and you have to be adaptable. Details are very important to Ralph Lauren as a brand and I think that’s one of the things I’ve learned from the projects I’ve worked on thus far.
C$BNYC – What are your proudest moments or achievements while working at Ralph? Time flies you’re going on your one year anniversary and also you have your birthday coming up. So I’m sure you have a lot to excited about and celebrate.
A – One of my proudest moments at RL was definitely working on the Sep 2019 “Ralph’s Club” runway show. That experience changed my life.
C- Your resume background is so interesting. I love that you were a flight attendant! That was like the most admirable thing knowing that you left your job in retail and had the fearlessness to do that with no prior experience. Do you feel like each job you had set you up for the next? What are some of your skills that you gained and sort of took away and still carry with you to this day from working in these different roles ?
A – I do believe each job I’ve had has set me up for the next. Being a Flight attendant prepared me to be flexible. I had to learn quickly and my schedule was never consistent. When I started my first corporate job at Bloomingdales that position prepared me for the business side of the fashion industry. I learned how to work with multiple teams and communicating effectively in a corporate setting.
C- What was your major in college. What would you tell your freshman in college self?
A – I majored in Fashion Marketing and Management. I would tell my freshman self “Keep believing in yourself, everything that is meant for you is already yours!”
C- Now that we are all quarantined, what are you doing to stay sane. Do you have any guilty pleasures? Binge watching anything? You make the best chocolate chip cookies! Have you been baking?
A- To keep myself sane on quarantine I’ve been digging deeper to have a stronger connection with God. I don’t really have any guilty pleasures… maybe wine lol I have not been baking as much as I would like. I try to only have sweets like once a week.
C- Do you feel that dressing the part was an important factor for the success you’ve had in your career?
A – I think it’s important to feel confident when you walk into any room and a part of feeling confident is dressing the part so yes. When you look good you feel good.
Special thanks to Ashley for taking time to share with us her success. Let’s wish this queen a Happy Birthday! @ashleydezarai
A Milwaukee native and New York City implant, a Parsons graduate, a designer, a creative for sustainable fashion, and Virgo among many other admirable benchmarks and fun facts, NYFW designer Elena Velez gives us some insight to her world as if we couldn’t catch her at a more busier time. She was just selected to show her collection at the VFiles runway show presented by Sprite. We find out that sustainability is not a gimmick but the foundation that her brand stands firm on. She has a valuable eye and passes along history and knowledge of how real life tragedies affect us all. The beautiful irony of her collections is that it shows us as a humanity how we can ethically and sustainably recover and evolve.
C$BNYC: Happy 24 years of life! How does it feel to be a year older? What do you plan to do differently or more of to grow yourself now that you have experienced so much from the previous year alone. How do you plan to top that? Congratulations to you!!!
Elena Velez: Thanks! I celebrated a birthday between NYFW and LFW. Growing older has been kind of a scary thing for me. When i was a child i received a lot of attention as a designer for my unprecedented age and i think it’s given me a bit of a complex that I’ve had to work through growing up – that my professional success isn’t directly related to my young age…
C$BNYC: You grew up in a very different environment than where you are now in New York. There’s no place like it. Tell me how has your childhood and upbringing influenced who you are now as a woman, as a designer, and where you want to be short term and long term?
Elena Velez: I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the only child of a single mother who worked as a ship captain. My childhood was spent in spaces that were very industrial and utilitarian – ship yards, docks, engine rooms… I’m sure it has influenced my aesthetic. My mom is a woman who has had to command respect from men as a profession. She also had to assume the role of both mom and dad when I was growing up. Her strength, independence, and unconventional femininity have really inspired me as a person and a designer.
C$BNYC: How has New York changed you if any at all?
Elena Velez: New York has shown me unprecedented opportunity, immense disappointment and instilled me with a very true sense of realism. It’s a place where a walk down the right street or a chance encounter can change your life.
C$BNYC: Tell us about Machine Shop and how that came to be and your intentions for the project?
Elena Velez: Originally my film Machine Shop was to be a short fashion film released with my collection but once i began to cast talent and realized what an amazing group of multidisciplinary artists i had access to, i wanted to widen the scope of the project to allow for their talents to shine through as well. Ideally I’d like to do an extensive project like that in my hometown with the launch of every new collection.
C$BNYC: What made you pursue design and what makes you stick to it?
Elena Velez: I’ve been interested in design as a hobby since childhood. Professional ambition is only a recent development. It’s an outlet for me to develop personal skills like entrepreneurship, self awareness, critical engagement, and storytelling while making something tangible, useful, and potentially corrective in an industry in need of serious rehabilitation.
C$BNYC: What do you think of the influence of social media in society today? What are some pros and cons and how do you think they should be addressed? This sort of virtual vs reality world is very tricky especially for someone who is looking for guidance or inspiration in their own life.
Elena Velez: Content is king. Instagram is probably the ultimate advertisement channel. Everything is manufactured and a production: It takes a team of people to compose an image. Instagram is the LinkedIn for creatives in the visual arts industry and followings and engagements become essentially your professional endorsements. It’s nice to be able to have a curated, accessible, one-stop landing for people to engage with your brand, but it also makes the experience one dimensional, glossy, and formulaic.
C$BNYC: In a world that’s always looking for the new or next best thing, how do you plan to keep this idea and concept of sustainable fashion fresh and new? Right now I think you have really hit the sweet spot because you’ve tapped into history and so people generally want to learn but also you’ve created this sort of real life scenario of how fashion and normal lives are affected by a tragedy like war. So is it a continuation of that or do you have completely other different ideas for where you want to take your brand?
Elena Velez: The sustainability component of my brand is not a sales pitch or a special feature. It’s an essential and non negotiable reality of creating a product in the world today. Treating the conversation on conservation and sustainability like a trend is irresponsible and out of touch with reality. What I’d like to do with my brand is to continue to interpret sustainably ingenious techniques applied during other aftermath industries into design for today and tomorrow. I imagine each collection as a discovery of a new bank of techniques that roll over into the next season and ultimately become the codes of my brand. Each body of work is a progressive culmination of its predecessors, evolving and expanding as my brand grows. It’s important to me to offer something of merit to the industry and not to enjoy a comfortable yet self congratulatory career as someone who simply makes pretty things for rich people. •