Although the disability community seems to be steadily growing in numbers, adaptive clothing is not readily available for them in most clothing stores. That’s where Stephanie Thomas comes in.
To help the disability community stay fashionable and to feel good about themselves, Stephanie developed a simple, yet effective three-point Disability Styling System. “I just needed to know that I could provide a tool where people with disability would have the ability to dress with dignity, style and self-reliance,” she said in her TEDx Talk.
Stephanie is a Disability Fashion Styling expert, tastemaker and keynote speaker who has spent the last 26 years researching and styling clothing and retail trends exclusively for people with disabilities. But as a congenital amputee herself, she’s basically been a disability fashion stylist all her life.
She was born with one thumb on one hand. Three toes on one foot and four on the other foot. To put it simply, she was classified as a person with a “non-severe disability.”
“When it comes to dressing with disabilities, ‘I get it’ personally and professionally. I was born an amputee missing digits on my right hand and feet and I’ve spent 26 years researching clothing and retail trends for people with disabilities. I’m uniquely qualified to do this work and I love it!”
Stephanie’s personal and professional experience enables her to bring a fresh, inclusive approach to fashion styling. Guided by her Disability Fashion Styling System™, today she’s:
• the go-to stylist in Hollywood for actors and influencers with disabilities.
• the trusted stylist for brands interested in engaging fashion customers with disabilities.
• the author/editor of the anthology, Fitting In: The Social Implications of Fashion and Dressing with Disabilities
Her commitment to using fashion as a tool to challenge negative perceptions and to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities goes beyond her personal work. She also serves on the Advisory Counsel for Zappos Adaptive and the Board of Directors of No Limits Media.
Stephanie’s company, Cur8Able, is light years ahead of the fashion industry to when it comes to styling for those with disabilities and her talent shows no signs of slowing down. Here are some of the incredible looks and styles she’s put together over the years:
The Best Lip Gloss for Darker Skin
According to the fashion pros, a fashion-forward nude lip can be achieved by paying attention to the texture of the product and your own undertones. Your lips should look fresh, never pasty or pale.
One thing we can all agree on these days is, there’s nothing trendier than a glossy lip. Something about a high-shine finish that not only turns heads, it also sets off your face, your outfit and for some, even your confidence.
So we’ve created a list of lig glosses that work for all women of color through the winter, fall, and spring:
Grown Alchemist Lip Balm in Vanilla & Watermelon
This lip balm looks too-cool-for-school, but it’s what’s inside that has us hooked. The all-natural, petroleum-free formula contains castor-seed oil and beeswax to soften and moisturize and is thick enough to protect your lips from the harshest of elements (extreme cold, strong winds, your boyfriend’s three-day stubble). And the subtle watermelon-and-vanilla scent—made with real watermelon-seed-oil and vanillin—is truly good enough to eat.
Fenty Beauty Cosmic Lip Gloss
Transform your lips, your look, your world. Cosmic Gloss Lip Glitter is a triple-threat fusion of pigment, glitter, and gloss that takes sparkle to astronomical new heights.
Each hue is packed with iridescent glitter and drenched in mirror-like shine for a megadose of multidimensional shimmer in just one swipe.
Unlike any other glitter lip gloss, Fenty Beauty’s Cosmic Gloss is designed to be unbelievably smooth and creamy for out-of-this-world shine plus phenomenal comfort. Plus, it’s 100% cruelty-free.
John Masters Organics Lip Calm
This certified-organic lip balm isn’t thick or goopy—quite the opposite, actually. But with a potent blend of olive, sunflower, jojoba, and rosehip oils, the lightweight formula keeps lips hydrated for a very long time. Swipe it on when you get to work in the morning and you won’t feel the need to reapply until lunchtime. That is, if you can resist the temptation to reapply every five minutes. The delicious citrusy scent is seriously addictive.
NYX Butter Gloss
When I tell you, this is like the perfect nude for every day, it’s perfect! Buttery soft and silky smooth, Nyx’s decadent Butter Gloss is now available in 12 more sumptuous shades! Each glossy color delivers sheer to medium coverage that melts onto your lips and is never sticky, leaving your lips soft, supple and kissable. The delectable shades include Peaches And Cream, Peach Cobbler, Cherry Cheesecake, Maple Blondie, Fortune Cookie, Madeleine, Praline, Sugar Cookie & Raspberry Tart.
EOS Lip Balm Smooth Sphere
In addition to being the cutest lip balms ever, EOS’s adorable spheres are exceptionally good at maintaining soft, healthy-looking lips (which is probably why they previously won a Best of Beauty Award). Instead of petrolatum or parabens, they soothe and hydrate with jojoba oil, shea butter, and vitamin E, leaving a light, silky barrier on your lips. And the delicious scents like vanilla mint and summer fruit? They’re naturally derived as well, which means you can apply, and reapply, with abandon.
A Day In The Life of Black Model and Entrepreneur Afiya Bennett
It’s not every day you hear about someone getting the opportunity to be mentored by iconic supermodel Naomi Campbell. But in 2014, black model Afiya Bennett appeared on Campbell’s TV series The Face, and the coaching she received on the show laid the foundation for a successful modeling career. Beyond modeling for Maybelline, Fenty Beauty, Nine West, Mac Cosmetics, Nike, and Levi campaigns, Bennett also landed features in editorials for Vogue Italia, L’officiel India, Glamour South Africa, Marie Claire U.S./Indonesia, Instyle Magazine, Essence, and Self. With no plans of slowing down, the Brooklyn native also snagged a role as a Global Brand Ambassador for Fiji Water. Now, with the launch of The Afiya Collection, a luxury hat line offering a vegan-friendly range of materials including leather, patent leather, and wool—she adds entrepreneur to her long list of boss moves.
Fueled by the discouragement she received from people about her ambitious nature, she chose luxury military/biker styled caps not only to represent fashion and style, but to send women a message of strength, versatility, and ability to turn fear into greatness. Below, the Wilhelmina model takes us through a day in her life of casting calls, photo shoots, and running her own business.
My daily schedule varies from day-to-day depending on what brand I am shooting for and if they’re based in New York. Typically, I wake up at 7:30 a.m. for a 9 a.m. call time. When I wake up, the first thing I do is pray and thank God for waking me up another day. I normally eat breakfast at 9 a.m. I am a huge coffee lover, and most times breakfast consists of a cappuccino and eggs, nothing too fancy. After that the hustle begins.
My client list ranges from shooting campaigns for Nike and Nine West to editorials for Grazia and Vogue. Between running to castings, catching flights to shoot in the States or out of the country, working out, attending red carpet events, staying on top of your social media and building a brand, and maintaining a smile on your face, being a model is far from being all glamorous.
The three biggest misconceptions about models are one, models don’t eat, two, models lives are all glamorous, and three, models are uneducated.
All are false. I can certainly tell you I love food and being a model is way more than being pretty. Lastly, I have a degree in media communications and business. People would be most surprised to know that models have some of the lowest self-esteem. Although we live a life that may seem picture perfect on the outside, we are in an industry where we are constantly being critiqued and compared to our counterparts. No woman should ever be made to feel small.
I created the Afiya brand because it embodies standing together in solidarity. It’s for ladies who do not want to take ‘No’ for an answer. The Afiya Collection is here to inspire young girls to keep their heads up by following their dreams and not backing down. This collection is for women around the world to be reminded that strength is always in numbers, and it is time to make those numbers count.
Lunch always varies based on what is being served on set, but I never try and eat anything too bad, where if I got the booking of my dreams tomorrow I couldn’t bounce back
By the end of the day, I am often running home or running to an event. When it comes to meetups, I like to surround myself with other successful models, business owners, financial advisers, and personalities—all areas in my life that I am striving to be better in. A good friend once asked me if I had one more hour in the day what would I do with it and I responded I would invest it into myself and my business.
Once I walk through my door at home, I begin checking orders, shipping hats, and updating my marketing plan. It’s safe to say, I have long days. Dinner usually consists of chicken with sweet potato fries or brown rice and salad. The last thing I do before I go to bed is to pray the same as when I wake up. We live in such a crazy and unpredictable world. I love to acknowledge God in every aspect of my life both big and small; and when I do that I am just grateful to make it through another day.
LeBron James Unveils New Nike Sneaker Designed by 3 Black Women
NBA superstar LeBron James debuted his latest Nike collaboration Tuesday night, revealing that they were inspired and designed by African American women. The sneakers were unveiled at Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) style awards and fashion show, an annual event that celebrates people of color in fashion and empowers minority designers with a platform to showcase their collections during New York Fashion Week. This year, the event was sponsored by Nike and held at the illustrious Capitale in lower Manhattan.
“African American Women are the Most Powerful”
“I believe that African American women are the most powerful in the world,” said James at the gala while accepting Harlem’s Fashion Row’s “Icon 360 Award” for his style and philanthropy. “Why I believe they are the most powerful women in the world is because I had the example of my mother every single day.”
Along with his mother, the Los Angeles Laker credits his wife and daughter as a source of inspiration behind his 16th sneaker, the HFR x LeBron 16, titled “The Strongest.” “Being the son, husband, and father of strong African American women, I felt like this was something I wanted to do for them and for all the strong women out there who are succeeding despite what might be stacked against them,” he said in a statement.
James and Nike tapped Harlem’s Fashion Row to design the HFR x LeBron 16, making it the very first LeBron signature shoe to be reimagined by female designers. HFR founder Brandice Daniels, who created the New York City-based fashion collective in 2007, recruited three black designers for the project: Kimberly Goldson, Felisha Noel, and Undra Celeste Duncan. Together, Daniels and the trio of designers learned how to design a performance shoe at Nike World HQ, according to Nike News. They also worked closely with Nike global basketball footwear designer Meline Khatachourian and James’ longtime footwear designer Jason Petrie throughout the design process.
“The partnership with Nike came about because a great girlfriend, who I had met years ago, introduced me to [Nike’s team,]” Daniels told Black Enterprise. “Relationships are everything.”
Daniels also praised James for using his influence to make positive community contributions. “He’s absolutely a style influencer,” she told BE. “And what I love is that he is using his influence and his platform to bring so many other people along for the ride.
James, a philanthropist and entrepreneur, also talked about the other ways he is using his powerful platform to make an impact beyond the court. “Less than a month ago, I was able to go back home and build a school,” he said at the gala, referencing his newly opened I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. “What I stand for and what I do just comes straight from my heart.”
“I Stand with Nike”
James closed his acceptance speech by reaffirming his alignment with Nike, which is experiencing backlash and a drop in stock due to its new marketing campaign featuring former NFL star Colin Kaepernick. “I stand with Nike all day, every day.”
“I stand with @Nike all day, everyday.”
— Black Enterprise (@blackenterprise) September 5, 2018
The HFR x LeBron 16 will be released Sept. 7 exclusively on SNKRS in North America and on nike.com.
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