Be Free, Be Fly, Time to Step Out and Shine: A Pandemic Makeover

Be Free, Be Fly, Time to Step Out and Shine: A Pandemic Makeover

As America reopens, there is an eagerness to step away from our screens and step out into the warm summer days and nights that are filled with the electric energy of people connecting, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. From bottomless mimosa brunches to scenic rooftop views with great music to dance to, there will be no shortage of invitations to fill up your social calendar. 

There is, however, a new challenge to overcome—feeling like YOU again.

How we look and feel will always speak for us in any room we enter. From the top of our crowns to the soles of our feet, there is bold and beautiful confidence one will exude when their style of dress represents who they are authentically and unapologetically.

And there is no better time than now to refresh our summer wardrobe. Sometimes, all it takes are those perfect accessories or the one-of-a-kind jewelry piece you've fallen in love with that can take your look to a whole other level. Or finding those timeless staple pieces that you can remix, so it always feels brand new.

For others, making a fashionable statement may not be the concern. Revitalizing your hair and skin to achieve that sun-kissed summer glow might be all you need to have you feel like your best self.

A post-COVID makeover could sound overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be.
No matter the size of your wallet or your waistline, there is an abundance of options to explore in this curated guide of talented Black and Brown Southern California designers and business owners. Soon you will find yourself channeling Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams in Mahogany to Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade on any given day.

Adrien Sauvage (Menswear) 
London-to-Beverly Hills transplant of Ghanaian descent has dressed the likes of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. | IG @adriensauvage

Beatrice Valenzuela (Apparel)
The Echo Park designer, known for her feminine apparel, accessories, and minimal sandals, started the famous Echo Park Craft Fair—an annual festival devoted to Los Angeles makers—in her backyard with friend and fellow designer Rachel Craven. | IG @beatricevalenzuela | PIN @beavalenzuela

Bephie (Apparel)
Founded by Union Los Angeles co-owner Beth Birkett, Bephie's laid-back, gender-neutral garments are inspired by feminism and the Black Southern California experience. | FB/IG @bephiesbeautysupply | IG @bephie

Brownhaze (Jewelry)
The use of rocks and stones, wood, seashells, and plants give Len Brown's handmade unisex bracelets and necklaces a chunky, hewn-from-nature vibe. | FB/IG @brownhazeshop

cj's elegance (Women's Apparel Retailer)
Launched by Orlean Dubuclet, one of the oldest black-owned women's retail clothing businesses in LA, CJ's recently marked a half-century in business selling “fashions for fashionable women...and other finishing touches.” | FB/IG @cjselegance

CJ2w/Love (The next generation of CJ’s Elegance)
Created by Carol Jo, CJ2w/Love is globally-sourced for young contemporary fashion for the “round-the-way” girl.
IG @cj2wlove

Curvy Bombshells (Swimwear)
Launched by Nicole Rionne in September of 2019 with the mantra "embrace your curves," swimwear brand Curvy Bombshells specializes in women's swimsuits sizes 14 to 28 and sells online only. | IG @curvybombshellss | FB/TW @curvybombshells

Cuyana (Boutique)
Classic bags and simple separates designed by Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah with the philosophy that creating “fewer, better” quality pieces will last. | @cuyana

Gentle Riot (Expressive Tees)
T-shirts designed to celebrate Latinas and women of color. | IG @gentleriot

GRL Collective (Apparel & Accessories)
Clothing, jewelry, stickers, and more from the Latina lifestyle brand, founded by Kristine Rodriguez, are dedicated to ethical and sustainable practices. You can catch them IRL to celebrate with a launch party on July 17th. | IG @grlcollective

Kutula by Africana (Retailer of African-inspired Fashions)
Specializing in modern African-inspired styles and run by second-generation owners Kay and Bo Anuluoha, whose handiwork appeared both on-screen and at the red-carpet premiere of "Black Panther." | TW @KutulaAfricana | IG @kutula | FB @kutulabyafricana

The Lace Lounge (Bras)
Tiffany Fitzgerald has been in the bra business for the last five years, stocking bra sizes 28-38 and cup sizes A-K and providing expert bra fittings and in-house alterations and repairs. | FB/IG @thelacelounge

Luna Magic Beauty (Cosmetics & Accessories)
This Afro-Latina-owned and operated beauty brand founded by sisters Mabel and Shaira Frías offers cosmetics, T-shirts, and hairpins. |FB/IG @lunamagicbeauty

Los Angeles Oils and Butters (Skincare)
Licensed aesthetician Jerron "Ronnie" Mitchell launched his DTLA-based skincare line in 2017 and sells his acne-zapping, skin-toning Tea Tree Serum Kits and spot-fading Emu Serum Kits (the brand's two bestsellers), oil-infused African black soaps, and other potions and lotions online. | FB/IG @losangelesoilsandbutters

Lucy’s Boudoir (Lingerie)
Owner and head-fitting specialist Crystal Rogers aims to have a bra for every body type and need (including unique bridal, nursing, and postmastectomy bras) at her Long Beach boutique. If she doesn't stock it, she'll source it. | FB/IG @LucysBoudoir

Nyakio Kamoche Grieco, a first-generation American of Kenyan descent, tapped family beauty hacks for skincare line recently launched Target in partnership with Sundial Brands. | FB/IG @nyakiobeauty | IG @nyakio

One of A Kind Hats
Second-generation owner Meeka Robinson Davis specializes in custom-designed hats worn by the likes of Patti LaBelle and the late Aretha Franklin. | IG @oneofakindhats

Perry White (Women's and Men's Apparel)
From briefs and multi zippered track pants for men to latex bodysuits and mesh dresses for women, Perry White has you covered. | IG | FB @perrywhitela

Sana Luv (All-Natural CBD and Herbal Apothecary)
Handcrafted vegan, hemp-infused body and skincare products, and plant-based sweets by Silvana Zamara. | IG @sanacanna

Selva\Negra (Apparel)
Ethically sourced apparel and accessories informed by the Latina heritage of designers Kristen Gonzalez and Sam Romero. | IG @selvanegra

Viva la Bonita (Apparel)
Rachel Gomez's Los Angeles-based Latina lifestyle and apparel brand includes T-shirts, sweats, jewelry, and phone cases "inspired by the spirit of the women who are fearless." | IG @vivalabonita | FB @VivaLaBonitaShop | TW @VivaLasBonitas