From the moment that I realized one could use the internet to watch fashion shows, I have been doing so. And despite the hype and pretension, I still have a desire to attend fashion week in the future. However, my longstanding love for fashion week waned as I learned more about social injustices – and saw them reflected on the runway. Reading accounts by black models of how difficult it is to have their hair properly styled or even being turned away because well-known designers aren’t “casting black models this season” disinterested me. I realized that I had been in love with an entity that never really saw or understood me.

In recent years, there’s been a shift and NYFW has become more inclusive. This September (a.k.a. Fashion Month), I appreciated the diversity in terms of race, body type, gender identity and age on the runways and in presentations. This diversity on the modeling side has restored my hope for fashion week’s future, yet I was reminded that we still need more designers of color. I was dazzled by the designs of my longtime favorite Cushnie et Ochs and rooted for Shayne Oliver’s Helmut Lang debut, but my total count of designers of color came up short.

I am doubly disappointed to be underwhelmed by this season as a whole, but my love for the art persists. All of the above photos are my favorite looks from the season thus far (hover over image for designer credit). When reviewing runway shows, I ask myself: do I like this only because I would wear it? Also, can I separate my respect from the artistry from my desire (or lack thereof) to wear it? Answering no to the former and yes to the latter is ideal. Here, I’ve tried to strike a fine balance between being fair and wanting certain pieces for myself. I just really want a lucite briefcase in my closet ASAP and to see more black and brown designers going forward.

Visuals

The Highs and Lows of Fashion Month

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Jams

(late) summer of love

June and July flew by and, at this point, we are doing our best to enjoy what is left of this summer. Remember our summer bucket list? There’s still time to accomplish those goals and more; let our summer of love playlist be the soundtrack to your endeavors.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist/late-summer-of-love/idpl.u-55D66M1TxZRvBD

*The Apple Music version has a couple tracks that weren’t available on SoundCloud. Enjoy!

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Fleurish Five

Fleurish Five: Summer Solstice Edition

Shanté

Happy Wednesday! It’s the beginning of the summer solstice, which means we’ve officially entered Cancer season (and we’re one step closer to Leo season, but I digress). The last month or so has been about introspection for me and I foresee this continuing during the summer. I’ve been getting all of these signs that it’s time for growth, so I’m embracing the summer solstice as a time of continued reflection and maturation.

Summer Solstice Ritual

Delving into my spiritual work is very important for me at the moment; I’m working on trusting myself and my intuition. Per my mom’s influence, I’m beginning a total energy clearing decree tonight, which I will repeat for the next seven days. I’m also going to continue my daily self-care rituals: eating foods I enjoy, listening to music, drinking water, and spending time outside (usually with my crystals). The literature and daily insights of other femmes of color is also highly recommended!

WCW/WCE

I believe that society’s collective Gemini hatred is unwarranted. So many of my faves are Geminis and that includes one of my #WCW, Kelela. I’m celebrating her as we exit Gemini season (although have my sister tell it, it extends to the full month of June). Here’s Kelela, looking alt-babe AF in a recent Niijournal feature.

kelela nii journal by campbell addy

credit: Campbell Addy

I’ve got love for my Cancers too; my other #WCW is Cancer queen and Fleurish fave, Solange. She’ll be celebrating her birthday on the 24th. Also, I’m super excited that she will be performing at Afropunk in Atlanta!

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credit: Robin Eisenberg

Cleo | Charlotte Dos Santos

I’ve talked about Charlotte Dos Santos here before and how much I enjoy her music; she decided to bless this solstice by releasing her debut EP. It has a few songs that I’ve already grown to love and more that I will have on repeat this summer.

Dream

It’s the beginning of summer! I am in a finally hot, sticky, sweaty New York City and I wouldn’t have it any other way– Although I will say, not having ubiquitous central air has certainly humbled me. Summer and I have a deep affection for one another and no matter how many bad ones I’ve had, it never seems to sour. For me, the solstice marks a kick off of endless sunsets and great experiences. Vive el verano!

Rooftop Garden of Met

Only open when the weather permits and most likely hella crowded even then, I had the lovely pleasure of going to the rooftop garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art when my friend visited last month. I expected to think it was cool but it never expected it to make me “feel”. I have always said NYC feels different, it vibrates some special frequency and at the top of the MET, our vibrations met once again. The museum is on the outskirts of Central Park and from the roof, the skyline and the park. It’s definitely a must see, must experience quintessential summer view. Here’s my pictures from when I visited. I promise you it feels amazing up there.

 

“Why Don’t We Fall In Love” | Amerie

I’m pretty sure one of everyone’s favorite summer jams but when you’re from the Northeast, I’m sure this song is more special to you. When I hear it, I can feel the icee man with his helado cart, I can hear the screams of the kids playing the streams of the water from a re-appropriated fire hydrant, the jingle of Mr. Softee and loud streaks of the train. Of all the summer classics, it’s the one that most reminds me of roller skating at Riverbank and watching summer sunsets from the train. Even though Amerie doesn’t quite agree, this is the song that makes me want to bust out my short shorts.

How are you welcoming in the summer solstice? What are your summer must-haves? Let us know on Twitter @fleurish1994!

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Fleurish Five

Fleurish Five: 5.20.17

Shanté

1. That post-grad life.

This time last year, one of us was a college graduate and now both of us are! The day I walked across that stage was the day I felt relieved. My spirit felt lighter and I felt ready to move on. In fact, the day after I finished my finals, my mom did a card reading for me and the first card related to acknowledging that a chapter in my life (in this case undergrad). Through that, I realized that I needed to actively relax after 5 years of school and not move right into something else. Since then, I have been putting in the (light) work to grow on many levels. I’m beginning with decluttering my physical space (think of years of papers and texts I can now discard) and I’ll see where that takes me! As far as enjoying the summer is concerned, I’m digging the path I’m on and finding summer anthems on the way (“Crew” by Goldlink has been on repeat; DAMN. in its entirety is a summer anthem!)

2. “Cold Little Heart”

Now that summer is in, I have so much time to watch new TV series and movies. This past semester, I devoted my time to Six Feet Under. Since completing that, I have caught up on new seasons of other series and watched a few miniseries; I could only make it through the first season of American Crime, which I honestly still need to digest and discuss. One miniseries that I was convinced I needed to see was Big Little Lies. While I thoroughly enjoyed the show, the theme song really captivated me (after it grew on me). Michael Kiwanuka’s “Cold Little Heart” is a tragically beautiful ten minute track with an equally tragic and beautiful video to match (co-starring LaKeith Stanfield). I’m a sucker for long songs and the radio edit is perfect so I can’t lose either way. It’s a good song to practice singing to (or maybe just sing in the shower if that’s more your forté).

3. Deidra and Laney Rob a Train

In my summer haze of picking through Netflix selections, I stumbled upon Deidra and Laney Rob a Train. Besides thinking that it was a kid’s movie, I went into it with little expectations and really enjoyed it. It’s a somewhat satirical crime drama about life in a small town and the desire for more. What I loved was that it situated blackness in a rural area through this family but that their race was not the focus. The family dynamic is interesting (spoiler: the parents are not together anymore but co(s)mically drawn to each other) and the scenarios (robbing trains, pageantry, high school drama) were refreshing through this rural lens. The movie is light-hearted while reinforcing a notion that most kids have no idea the sacrifices that parents make to see them happy.

Dream

It is hot in New York. Hot, hot, hot. New York is crowded and on an average day, a fair amount of heat can lead to what my aunt calls, the ants. Also known as the people who don’t leave the house until they can flood the streets. But that’s what makes New York so much fun. Everyone and everything is out. I’m talking farmer’s markets, brunch spots, roller rinks, all of that. The city just vibrates higher in the heat. So my picks for the week will revolve around my new faves for summer.

4. Mario Badescu Rose Facial Spray

Yes, I admit, I jumped on the bandwagon. If you have an Instagram at all, you probably have seen this pink liquid in a clear bottle with a white label and green font. I am, in short, obsessed. I’m certainly not saying it’s a miracle product but it genuinely has helped my skin. While many contest the efficacy of it, I believe it’s all in the application. I apply after my toner and before my oil and moisturizers and it has left me radiant and hydrated each and every time. It’s perfect for summer, especially in this heat.

5. Heatstroke | Calvin Harris, Young Thug, Ariana Grande and Pharrell // Slide | Calvin Harris, Migos and Frank Ocean

Summer songs are tricky. It has to feel somewhat breezy for daytime but heavy enough for lots of dancing at outdoor night parties. These new songs by Calvin Harris feel like day drinking and brunch parties on green lawns underneath my toes, while wearing a linen sundress with all my friends surrounding parties. They’re kinda classic but new and fun like when I discovered lemon pepper wings for the first time.

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Resources

Women of Color and Mental Health: A Masterpost

The APA has stated for years that women of color are more likely to have a number of socioeconomic risk factors for depression. These include racial/ethnic discrimination, lower educational and income levels, unemployment, and single parenthood. According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. The rates of suicidal ideation/attempts among Native American and Hispanic adolescent females are alarming.

These are just a few disparities surrounding mental health in communities of color. Coupled with these statistics is the fact that women of color are less likely to seek treatment for mental illness compared to their white counterparts. Factors that prevent women of color from receiving mental health services include stigma in their communities, socioeconomic status, and previous adverse experiences with mental health services. In order to spread awareness about mental health, race, and risk factors, I have compiled a masterpost of educational links and texts relating to these topics, as well as mental health services and resources. The first step to addressing mental health concerns is the ability to talk openly and honestly about it. Many of the links below are about removing the stigma from mental illness. Feel free to suggest relevant texts and content warnings to keep the list updated.

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Interviews

Love: The Pathway of the Heart – an interview with Julius D. High

Just in time for the calendar day of love, we have an interview with the lovely Julius D. High about his social project Love: The Pathway of the Heart. In 2016, High set out with an Instax Mini camera to photograph people and ask what their interpretation of love is. Since beginning the project, he has garnered the perspectives of folks in Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles and Love… was also featured in Dazed. I was already familiar with High and this project after we took a class together (coincidentally, we have the same major and minor). After being introduced by a mutual friend, I was even photographed for Love… and appreciate what the project represents. So, without further ado, here is a peek into the pathway of the heart.

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The artist himself

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