Filed In: style fyles
I had the pleasure of meeting Paula Bland at the Rizos On The Road event back in May. She was this fabulous lady, with long flowing braids and gorgeous dewy skin. I went over to her table and introduced myself. She began to tell me about her hair and skin care company “The Love of People,” in that moment I knew I had to feature her on this website!
As I listened to her speak, I quickly realized Paula was more than just an advocate for natural hair, but more of a person that wants everyone to see the true beauty within themselves. As if speaking with her was not amazing within itself, I left Paula’s table with a bag of goodies as well. I could not wait to get home and try them. I instantly fell in love with the TLP “Whip It” Skin and Hair Butter. Not only does it moisturize and hydrate your skin but it beautifully coats and nourishes your hair also. Plus it smells simply divine!
I recently got a chance to catch up with Paula Bland to discuss all things The Love Of People. After doing this interview with Paula I learned there is so much more to her than meets the eye (which is already pretty awesome btw). She is not only the owner of a natural hair company, but a woman that intends on using her brand for activism all around the world. Be sure to read this inspirational and incredible interview with Paula below. Enjoy!
DM: I know The Love of People (TLP) was created right before the natural-hair movement, what made you want to start a natural hair care line?
PB: I had just finished my degree in Biology and Chemistry after Hurricane Katrina and a rigorous 18-month long accelerated Nursing program; I had made a conscious choice to go natural while in my Nursing program. During this time, I always say that, “I lived under a rock.” *laughs* With the knowledge that I received with these multiple degrees under my belt, I was determined to live a more holistic life to decrease health comorbidities for myself and my family and friends around me. Other than going natural, cutting out certain foods was also a focus of mine at that time. When I decided to take my hair out of braids and truly experience it in a free and natural state, there was nothing out there to tame what I had growing from my scalp and that is how TLP came to be. Bettering others lives and not just being another product in the cabinet became our focus as a brand.
DM: What inspired the name of the company?
PB: The Love of People derived initially from the initials, T.L.P. which stand for my sisters and myself, Tara, Liza, and Paula, in that order. Shortly after I started on my natural journey, my two older sisters followed. None of us had ever seen our hair without some type of processing added to it. When we “Big Chopped” and really got to experience our hair we saw so many different curl patterns and textures in each of our heads! My oldest sister would say, “We have all people right here.” So, from our initials and that concept, The Love of People was born.
DM: I love that! Let’s discuss your natural hair journey a little more. Besides the choice to live a more holistic lifestyle, what else would you say influenced you to embrace your natural hair?
PB: I was influenced to start my natural hair journey to truly see what God gave me and to embrace my natural state. I was newly married and I wanted to share my true self with my husband and the world. I wanted to know how I looked with my God given texture and I wanted to see if it was truly all that bad, which wasn’t the case.
DM: As black women it’s so important to openly accept ourselves and appreciate our hair, especially since society constantly tells us that we shouldn’t. Why is it so important for black women to embrace their natural hair?
PB: Embracing your natural hair is so much more than just that. It is hopefully a shift in our consciousness. The natural hair movement to me is to embrace the differences that society has tried to deem as negative and ugly and take those things back. To start to see our uniqueness as beautiful again, from our crowns, to our big lips, to our hips and butts. Every inch of us is beautiful! The quicker we see that the quicker we become more comfortable in our skin and move on to more pressing issues like world hunger and equal education.
DM: I hear that! One thing I love about The Love of People brand is its’ emphasis on being hollistic and natural, how important was it to create a product that reflected that?
PB: The Love of People knows that what you put on your body is as important as what you put in your body. Your body still has to filter all the things that we apply to the outside of our bodies as it would what you ingest. That in itself is a big deal to TLP! Your skin is the biggest organ on your body and we put it through so much on a daily bases. From air pollutants, to water toxins, to product toxins, and on and on. It is no question to why we have so many health issues that plague us. Holistic management of self is something that TLP would love for everyone to embrace and take very seriously.
DM: What impact would you like TLP to have on the natural-hair community?
PB: The Love of People is so much more than a natural hair product line. It is a brand that truly has the consumer at the heart of production. Placing the consumer at the driver seat of what products are made is what TLP strives to do. The Love of People takes our research and the consumers needs into each and every formulation to make products that truly service your needs.
DM: What advice would give to naturalistas about caring for and maintaining their hair?
PB: Firstly, you should always have 2-3 product lines in your arsenal. Your hair gets used to the coating mechanisms in products and they can cause the hair to appear dull. Secondly, you also need to switch products because your hair needs certain things based on the season, climate, hormonal shifts, etc. Thirdly, you should always use a product for at least a month before making a decision on whether or not you like it. Last did bit, always clarify your hair before switching between brands, this will stop your hair from rejecting a product, i.e. it will stop/decrease product balls/flakes.
DM: Noted! What would you tell anyone contemplating on “going natural?”
PB: Do it, it is totally worth it! Most naturals that make the change for the right reasons also make a conscious shift that is usually a positive change and it reflects in all aspects of their lives. From what they eat and drink to the people and things that they allow in their space.
DM: What can we expect next from The Love of People brand?
PB: The Love of People, like I said earlier is more than a brand of products. TLP will become a household product but it will also become a brand that professionals use in their shops. TLP is enjoying it’s organic growth right now but plans about future products and collaborations are in the works so just continue to follow us throughout this journey.
To mark the commence of Summer my cousins (more like my sisters) and I took a much needed Memorial Day Weekend getaway to Miami. To say our vacation was fabulous is an understatement. It was a time filled with cocktails, exploring, and delicious food.
When I think about Miami, the words bright and bold come to mind. So I made sure everything I wore from my makeup to my wardrobe reflected that. For the very first time I tried an extremely vibrant lippie, (seen in the photos below) that I fell in love with by the way. I even my sported a vivacious hue on my nails.
My cousin’s and I stayed at The Confidante Hotel, which was so breathtakingly beautiful for the first couple hours upon arrival we just relaxed poolside with cocktails because we just had to take in all of the ambiance. The staff was super friendly and helpful as well.
We went to all of the must-go Miami places like Sugar Factory, explored Ocean Drive, and shopped until we dropped at Lincoln Road Mall.
I’d have to say my Miami vacation was all kinds of amazing, and I can’t wait to go back. Below are some of my snapshots from my vacation. I hope you enjoy them.
Have you ever traveled to Miami?! If so, tell me all about it in the comments. I would love to hear about your experience!
Look 1: Top x Forver21; Skirt x Forever21 (old); Sunnies x Fendi; Earrings x Hive&Honey; Purse x Michael Kors; Sandals x Enzo Angiolini
Look 2: Cover-Up x Forever21; Swimsuit x ASOS (old); Sunnies x Fendi; Necklace x Jean Therapy; Earrings x UO; Cat Ears x Forever21
Look 3: Bodysuit x Forever21; Denim x Vintage; Heels x Francesca’s Collections; Body Chain x Go Jane; Cuff x House of Harlow
To see more of my many adventures be sure to follow my instagram: @devandthecity !
I met Malena Crawford at a book signing during the 2017 Essence Festival a few weeks ago, she stood out from the other authors that was there. She had this radiating glow about her, the kind someone has when you know they’re not only beautiful on the outside but have an amazing spirit as well. As we briefly got acquainted I could tell Malena was more than just an author but a true story-teller. One that God had chosen to tell a grand message.
After reading her debut novel A Fistful of Honey, I can confirm I was right. This book tells the story of a woman that finds herself in turmoil, trying to gather a solution to escape it all, only to find that the real answer lies within her and the divine power she was born with.
Be sure to read my empowering interview with Malena below. Enjoy!
DM: So I hear it’s your first time visiting the city of New Orleans, how are you liking the city thus far?
MF: I love New Orleans, it has a lot of heart! The people here have been so welcoming and of course the food is on point.
DM: Yes! There is no place with delicious food quite like ours! Let’s delve into your novel, which is AMAZING by the way, I know your main character Alena’s life is based on your real-life experiences tell me about that?
MF: Thank you! Alena Ford is actually a play on my name, M-Alena Craw-Ford. She is an old part of myself that I released to become the woman I am today. Now, “A Fistful of Honey” is work of fiction, not all of her experiences mirror my own, but a great deal of them do. Or the experiences of women I have known. What Alena and Malena have in common without a doubt is the journey that the character takes from not knowing her place in life and feeling broken, to moving into purpose, forgiveness, and self-love!
DM: Well you definitely expressed that journey throughout the book. One of the main reasons I was intrigued by your novel is the mysticism throughout it. It’s very similar to New Orleans mystic culture. Why did you feel it was important to include this component in your book?
MF: It was important to me that women of color, black women especially, could themselves in God; to be validated as the image and likeness of the Divine. I found in my experience that we were largely missing from mainstream ideas of who God is and what holiness looks like. So having Osun, the Yoruba Goddess of Love, a black Mary Magdalene, and Isis as key characters was only natural for me.
DM: I loved how you gave an authentic account of the Black Woman’s Experience by showcasing how powerful yet taxing it can be. How does your experience as a Black woman relate to the characters in the novel?
MF: At the heart of A Fistful of Honey is the truth of black women: that we are powerful and divine. This truth was something I had to reconnect with in a major way, and it changed my life. It is a truth that Alena Ford has to reconnect with. She tried to find solace from racism and mainstream acceptance by denying her power and divinity as a black woman. She has to accept herself and get to her joy just like I had to. Not long before I began writing, I realized that in my experience as both black and woman, I was spending so much time in fighting and survival mode that it was distracting me from the joy of living. It was an “aha” moment for me. I made the choice to live the grandest life I can despite the onslaught of challenges and injustices hurled our way. We and only we define ourselves and create our lives.
DM: Wow, those are such powerful and true words! As a fellow storyteller I know we often learn a profound lesson about ourselves by sharing our art, what did you learn about yourself through this process?
MF: Writing A Fistful of Honey has absolutely changed my life. I learned how to surrender and be led by God, this was the only way the story would be told through me. I learned that vulnerability is power. Vulnerability makes you a pliable and whole vessel for miracles. I cannot tell you how many readers have written in or come up to me sharing how this novel has changed their life. That has nothing to do with me and everything to do with God.
DM: I totally understand when you say that. I believe God is the storyteller and we are just the vessels that are used. Besides the idea of the Divine often shown throughout the book, what else would you say makes A Fistful of Honey different than any other fantasy fiction novel out right now?
MF: A Fistful of Honey is different because our protagonist is a black woman who is in her 30s and also a mother. This is something almost unheard of in fantasy fiction. Also, it’s what I would call “hybrid fantasy”. The story has fantastical elements, but it also has a rich and layered emotional story of literary fiction with a little dash of hot romance.
DM: What do you hope to bring as an author to the world of fiction novels?
MF: I want everyday women to see themselves in my stories and get inspired by them! I stand out as an author because I’m not afraid to be a pioneer or the underdog. I write characters that come from my life, fuse together genres, and pose non-traditional or even controversial ideas for a new and juicy experience.
DM: I definitely can concur with that. I was able to see my journey in this story. What can we expect from you next as an author? Will there be A Fistful of Honey novel series?
MF: You can definitely expect a sequel to A Fistful of Honey for sure! You may even see some nonfiction how-to books since I am so passionate about self-development and living our best life.
DM: That sounds great! I’ll be looking forward to it.
*Malena Crawford currently resides in Washington, D. C. Besides being an author, she is a transformation coach and motivational speaker. She studied at George Washington University and holds a BA in Psychology and Neuropsychology. Malena is also the founder of the Black Divine Feminine Reawakened movement; a revolution dedicated to the way black women see and experience themselves. Her novel has received phenomenal reviews from renoun authors such as Iyanla Vazant, and has been featured in magazines like Blavity, Rolling Out, and Uptown.
A few Sundays ago I had the pleasure of attending an amazing event entitled “The Loc’d and Curly Hair Affair!” An event dedicated to highlighting the beauty that exists within the Black, natural hair community.
Earlier this month, I interviewed the event’s creator Brittany Eve, she expressed she wanted to create a space that fused the natural hair community together, all while making sure those with locs were adequately represented. Well, Brittany was flawlessly able to bring her vision to life. Every type of natural hairstyle was showcased at the event from locs to box braids to kinky coils.
The event began with a live how-to tie a headwrap tutorial. Every naturalista(o) knows headwraps are a staple for us. Not only do they protect on hair and add flare to our outfits but they also help us honor our ancestors. Next, was a tutorial on how-to properly install a wig. A segment I was happy to see included in the event. Often there is a stigma attached to wearing weaves or wigs in the natural hair community, but when done correctly can be a very healthy protective hairstyle. It was good to affirm those who choose to wear that particular protective style. It made a statement that being natural doesn’t have to look a particular way.
Lastly, the event was brought to a close with an incredible discussion panel with the ladies of the “Baby Bangz Hair Salon.” By far my most favorite part of the evening. Along with a Q&A about natural hair care tips, the ladies emphasized the importance of self-love and unity. Two things that I feel can never be expressed enough within the black community.
*Hats and necklaces from Shop Ellusions, owner Reiona Star (top picture), Chokers and paintings by B. Sam (bottom picture).
The Loc’d and Curly Hair Affair was a marvelously produced event. It was well thought-out and executed to perfection. I left the event feeling empowered and proud to belong to such a powerful and influential community. I want to thank Brittany and her team for creating an event that was filled with so much black talent, black beauty, and overall black excellence. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next Loc’d and Curly Hair Affair event!
*DJ Legatron Prime was on the 1s & 2s.
*Artist and Designer, B. Sam.
*Owners of “Major Joose All Natural Juice Beverages,” Major and Joose.
*Andrea D. Easter, owner of Bijoux de Delone and assistant.
To learn more about Brittany Eve and The Loc’d and Curly Hair Affair visit: www.facebook.com/MRWLLC and be sure to follow the event’s instagram page @locdandcurlyhairaffair!
I met Candice Grace a little over a year ago at a press party hosted by Fashion Week Lake Charles. She was dressed to KILL, and being the bonafide fashionista that I am, I had to who this fellow fabulous girl was. I complimented her on her gorgeous shoes that had me, well…gagging. She expressed to me she had a recently launched an online shoe boutique called GAGG Shoes. What I didn’t know at that time, was when Candice said recently she truly meant recent. GAGG Shoes had only been up and running for one week, but you would have never known it. Not only was GAGG Shoes featured in FWLC, but she also had a vendor booth where FWLC attendees could purchase her items as well. If there’s one thing I love more than a fashionista, is fashionista that is also an amazing business woman. I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Candice and we talked shoes and so much more, read my interview with her below!
DM: GAGG Shoes has been in existence a little over a year now and is doing extremely well, how does it feel to watch your business flourish in such a short amount of time?
CD: I haven’t reached my pinnacle, [but] it feels amazing to get the business started from an idea on a vision board to the accomplishments I have made today. In business, we expect instant results. We want to just press a button and be instantly successful in business, but unfortunately, this is simply not the case. So keeping this in mind, GAGG is making great strides.
DM: Yes, it is! What gave you the idea to start GAGG Shoes?
CG: I started GAGG for a couple of reasons. I LOVE shoes. I’ve always wanted to have my own shoe store. [I remember] my mom and I wrote a rough draft for a business plan [back] when I was in high school. I spent $50,000 on my LSU education only to end up working as a beverage server in the casino, I make at least 5 times more money serving drinks than what a news reporter would make starting out. In short, bills were heavy and I couldn’t afford to follow my dreams as a TV personality, so I settled for the big bucks of cocktail waitressing. I loved the money, but hated the company. I mashed the gas on starting up GAGG by first conducting research. GAGG became my way out. After working at the casino I realized I never wanted to work for anyone again. I want to be my own boss and make my own rules. Also, being from Dallas, TX, I noticed that fashion in Lake Charles was scarce.
DM: One thing I love about GAGG Shoes is how moderately priced the shoes are, how important was it to have a company that provides affordable fashion?
CG: I grew up kind of poor. I am the product of a single parent home of four. Even though I am the only child of my mother to attend a major university and graduate. I didn’t have any support in college. I worked part-time and took 18 hours so I could finish quickly. I couldn’t afford to shop and be cute. Luckily for me being busy with school and work I never had to hang out and party like a real college kid anyway; But the point I am making is that it is important to make my products affordable because I know the struggle. Not only that, I have to be price competitive with online retailers such as Amazon and Fashion Nova who both carry some of the exact same products we carry. People are more likely to purchase from these two retailers because they have a bigger and more reputable brand.
DM: Very true. Let’s talk a little about your journey as an entrepreneur, and a small-business owner. I’m sure it can quite challenging at times, what has your experience been?
CG: It has been a challenging game of trial and error. There is a lot of work that goes into growing your business and some key traits that cannot be left behind, like endurance, passion, persistence, drive, motivation, commitment, patience… the list goes on. All of these things are so important because without them, you’ll quit, give up, get frustrated and walk away. There will be times when you put a ton of time, energy, passion, and pure hard work into growing your business, and nothing will happen, not right away anyway. That’s because growing your business doesn’t happen overnight.
DM: You’re a very fashionable girl, how would you say your style is reflected in your company?
CG: My style is the epitome of my company. While I am not the designer of the products I sell, I hand-picked each style. Every product we carry is something I would wear. In other words, I literally wouldn’t sell you something I wouldn’t wear myself. [Even] my favorite color pink [is incorporated] in my logo.
DM: I love that. I’m always more willing to shop with a company if I can see the owner’s personal touches throughout the brand. So what’s next for the GAGG Shoes Brand?
CG: This fall I plan to add accessories and handbags to the collection! [Longterm] the goal is have a storefront. If God says the same GAGG will have a storefront in the [near] future.
To learn more about Candice Grace and her shoetique GAGG Shoes visit: www.shopgagg.com!
*Myself and friend India Brooks with the event’s hostesses Rocio Mora and Ada Rojas.
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Rizos On The Road Tour: New Orleans, an event dedicated to unifying naturalistas and multicultural women of color. To say the event was simply beautiful is an understatement. It was held at the super chic People’s Health New Orleans Jazz Market, which made for a very chill yet vibrant ambiance. The event included a discussion panel, delectable food and drinks, scalp massages, a product swap segment, and a live curly hair cut transformation.
The Rizos On The Road Tour is hosted by two fabulous naturalista bloggers: Rocio Mora, a New Orleans-based blogger and Ada Rojas a New York-based blogger. During the Q&A segment, the ladies shared a very detailed account of their experiences as Afro-Latinas. They recalled how people would constantly ask them to select a box to classify their identities, and how difficult that often was. An aspect of their experience I could definitely identify with. As a black creole woman, my entire life people have never quite understood how I could be black and still have a multicultural upbringing. It was heart-warming to be surrounded by other women who shared similar stories to mines.
There were several incredible moments throughout the night, but my most favorite was being able to have one-on-one moments with the event’s hostesses Rocio and Ada. They were so down to earth, and made you feel like you had known them for years. We shared laughs, stories, and future business ideas. Another thing I loved about the event? The amount of Women’s Power you could feel throughout the room. Not only is the tour hosted by two wonderful ladies, but the entire production team is filled with fierce women of color.
I truly enjoyed my time at the Rizos On The Road event, and I recommend it all of the multicultural naturalistas around the country. I guarantee you’ll leave the event feeling empowered, validated, and high-spirited. I just want to say a big thank you to Rocio Mora for inviting me to such an amazing event.
*The Rizos On The Road Tour will be making 3 more stops in Los Angeles, Chicago, and NYC to purchase tickets visit: www.rizosontheroad.com
Brittany Eve is a New Orleans creator and writer, she holds two degrees: one in Marketing and the other in English, and like myself she is a self-proclaimed jack of many trades. She is the owner of Modern Renaissance Woman, LLC and the founder of The Loc’d & Curly Hair Affair, an event dedicated to bringing the natural hair community together.
Brittany and I go as many New Orleanians would say, way back. We attended high school together (shout out to that Purple and Old Gold). As the years grew, and we followed each other on social media, I realized she and I ideals aligned. We’re both black women that recognize the importance that lies within black beauty, and the sanctity that comes when you begin to appreciate your blackness.
When Britany announced she was producing an event dedicated to black hair and black beauty entitled “The Loc’d and Curly Hair Affair,” I knew I had to not only attend it but feature her on DATC. Enjoy our interview below!
DM: So the event is only one week away how are you feeling?
BE: Honestly, I am a nervous wreck, lol. I have coordinated/ produced events before but this is my baby. I feel the way my mom probably felt when she dropped me off for the first day of school; I’m excited and proud to present this event to the world, but beyond nervous of how the world will receive it.
DM: What made you want to produce an event such as The Loc’d and Curly Affair?
BE: The idea for this event was created over brunch with a close friend of mine. We were talking about what goals we wanted to achieve for the year and some how shifted the conversation to my hair (my favorite subject, lol). I spoke on the lack of representation of locs in the natural hair community and how there needed to be something that united curls and locs instead of separating them. After my mini rant, my amazing friend said something along the lines of, “Why don’t you create that space?” I thought about it, sipped my coffee and my mind was made up. Now it’s five months later and the Loc’d & Curly Hair Affair is here.
DM: As you mentioned earlier, you’re not new to producing events, but how does this particular event differ from your past ones?
BE: This [event] is my baby. LCHA differs because I have literally lived my life through curls and now with locs. This event is a medley of everything I love, event planning, natural hair and people of color. LCHA is more than something for me to do, it is a platform that was created to help others learn to celebrate loving themselves naturally.
DM: Speaking of loving yourself what was your experience like growing up as a dark-skinned black girl in New Orleans?
BE: Growing up in New Orleans was a life changing experience. A lot of people don’t know, but I moved to New Orleans when I was 7 from Las Vegas where there were mostly Caucasians and Hispanics. So being home, in N.O., I felt like I belonged. Of course, there were moments when kids would tease me about being “too dark” or having “nappy hair” when my new growth was coming in, but my mother always let me know that I was beautiful. She always raved about how pretty my brown skin was. She was/is my constant reminder that no matter what anyone says or thinks, I am a beautiful black queen.
DM: I totally understand that, my mom always reinforced how my skin was beautiful as well. As a New Orleanian, how important is it to have an event such as this one, and others like it around the New Orleans area?
BE: It is very important to have these events because it brings a little light to shine within the city. These spaces help people to let go of the outside noise and just breathe. We need as many outlets as possible to let loose and show love.
DM: I agree. New Orleans is a hectic city, we all are in need of a space where we can just be sometimes. So what can people expect from the The Loc’d and Curly Affair?
BE: I want everyone to expect a celebration! This will be different from most natural hair events. I’ve partnered with amazing people to bring this event to life. The talented DJ Legatron Prime will be spinning black girl magic, Baby Bangz Salon is gracious enough to be on the panel discussion and answer questions, there will be live demos from Ed, my stylist and Queen’s Crown, vendors from all over the city and many more goodies. I also can’t express enough that this event is for EVERYONE, men that includes you too. I can’t wait for everyone to experience this.
DM: It all sounds so exciting! What impact would you like this event to have in society?
BE: I want this event to catapult a change in the natural hair community. I want this to get people excited about who they are and wanting to support others that are just like them. My goal is to take this celebration on the road. I want to travel to different states, especially HBCUs, to share this experience with others. Then make the Loc’d & Curly Hair Affair brand worldwide. I promise it will be a household name.
DM: I’m confident it will be a household brand very soon. Any future endeavors you would like to share with the DATC readers?
BE: Yes, this is just the start of the Loc’d & Curly Hair Affair brand. I have a lot of ideas cooking up for more LCHA affiliated events, possibly releasing merchandise for the new year and making sure the annual Loc’d & Curly Hair Affair continues to grow bigger and better every year.
*The Loc’d and Curly Affair will take place this Sunday, June 4th at the Propeller Incubator for 3pm
To learn more about Brittany Eve and The Loc’d and Curly Hair Affair visit: www.facebook.com/MRWLLC instagram: @locdandcurlyhairaffair @_brittanyeve
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Fashion Week Lake Charles, and acting as the media correspondent for the second year in a row. As always the 3-day event did not disappoint. Day one showcase consisted of emerging designers, day two featured seasoned designers, and day three highlighted swim and children’s couture. The event had an host of vendors from around the SouthEast region, a silent auction, and fantastic hor d’oeuvres and cocktails.
This year’s theme was centered around the Late-Great artist Prince. Elaborate fashions, big personalities, and hints of eloquent self-expression was seen all over the runway. The founder of Fashion Week Lake Charles (FWLC) Julie Brandon expressed she wanted to reflect everything Prince was (and truthfully still is) “I wanted to give a bigger and bolder presentation to the attendees for FWLC 2017, and since the first day of the event fell on the anniversary of his passing it just made sense.”
If I learned anything from participating in Fashion Week Lake Charles last year, is that it is unlike any traditional fashion show event I have ever attended. Instead of a traditional fashion show setting where beautiful models simply walk up and down the runway, the shows included such things as a Lake Charles-based dance squad as an opener to a freestyle runway segment that allowed the models to showcase their own personal style. FWLC 2017 Emerging Designer Competition winner was Jeanne-Claire Benton, a college student from Lafayette, LA. Her line was filled with vibrant and unique pieces that exemplified the theme of FWLC ’17. Tracee Dundas founder of Fashion Week New Orleans was this year’s honoree, her speech about breaking barriers within the fashion industry, while staying true to her roots was something I still replay in my mind. You could feel the essence of Prince being celebrated in every ounce of the event.
My most favorite thing about FWLC? It’s more than just a fun and fabulous time, the event benefits a good cause as well. A few years ago Julie Branden’s granddaughter was diagnosed with junior diabetes, and a portion of the proceeds from Fashion Week Lake Charles are donated to the Junior Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) to help further research to find a cure for the disease, and turn “Type One To Type None.”
FWLC 2017 was such an amazing event, and if you missed it you definitely missed out. It was full of glamour, eloquence, and purple reign. I am looking forward to what fabulousness Julie B. and her team come up with for 2018.
Be sure to view all of the amazement that FWLC 2017 was below, including bts footage as well.
Hope to see you all there next year!
*James Porter, winner of FWLC 2016 posing with models wearing his Spring 2016 collection of James Allen.
To say Fashion Week Lake Charles was just fabulous is an understatement. FWLC was the epitome of a beautiful fashion extravaganza, and definitely made a splash in the city of Lake Charles! When Julie Branden said she wanted to show the great city of Lake Charles the fashion world she was used to, she truly meant it. The event was well thought out, thoroughly planned, and eloquently presented. From the fashions to the parties to the food I was beyond impressed. Everyone that attended the FWLC events brought their fashion A-game, and I was inspired by all of the grand style I was surrounded by.
Julie Branden, founder of Fashion Week Lake Charles, gave me the wonderful opportunity of being the media correspondent for FWLC. I have to say I was a tad nervous, seeing that I had never been given this type of task before. However, after my first interview I felt right at home. I discovered I have a niche for interviewing people. It was fascinating learning about all the designers, vendors, and attendees. I got a chance to interview some passionate and driven individuals. It was a hectic job, but a fun one!
Be sure to check out all of the footage I captured while I was at FWLC below!
Day 1: Media Soirée Party
Day 1 of FWLC took place at a swanky bar called “The Heist” located in historic downtown Lake Charles. The venue was very glamorous, and set the perfect tone for what Fashion Week Lake Charles had to come. I got a chance to get acquainted with the designers and fellow media personnel’s.
*Candace Grace, owner of GAGG Shoes.
Day 2: FWLC Launch Party
Day 2 was all about fun! The FWLC launch party was held at the sexy “Blue Martini Room” in the Golden Nugget Casino Resort. It felt like Las Vegas had come to Lake Charles. There were models covered in body paint, lavish show girls roaming the party, and the drinks were flowing.
*Body paint artwork done by Skin Wars finalist Angela Roberts.
Day 3: FWLC Runway Showcase Day 1
Day 3 was the first day of the fashion showcase, which featured emerging designers. As well as, vendors of all sorts in the Style Lounge. This event was held at the Isle of Capri Casino Resort.
Day 4: FWLC Runway Showcase Day 2
Day 4 was day two of the fashion showcase, which featured seasoned designers and an array of vendors in the Style Lounge. Hosted at the Isle of Capri Casino Resort.
FWLC was an extraordinary experience. Lake Charles is more than just boudin or cajun country (as I call it). It’s a city filled with some insanely talented designers.
I want to say thank you to FWLC videographer Jason Keyes of Light Media for being such a joy to work with and making my first correspondent job a pleasant experience. Last, but certainly not least, I want to say a huge Thank You to Julie Branden and the entire FWLC production team for allowing me to partake in such an amazing event. It was truly an honor. Even one week later, as I write this, I am still in awe at how beautiful this event was. I am looking forward to Fashion Week Lake Charles 2017!
*Be sure to be on the lookout for more FWLC posts coming soon!
It was no surprise to me when I recieved a call from Julie Branden back in December to be a part of Fashion Week Lake Charles (FWLC), an event she was entirely producing and coordinating by herself. I’ve known Julie practically my entire life, and as far back as I can remember she has always been a fashionista and what I would call an all-around fab girl. Originally a New Orleanian, Julie Branden found herself in Lake Charles, LA due to the displacement of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. “Lake Charles has the potential to be a huge fashion destination,” Julie said to me at the FWLC casting call back in January. Something I would have to agree with, the city is filled with exquisite hidden boutiques, and fabulous up-and-coming fashion designers. (Click here to view my interviews with Lake Charles-based designers Indrea Gordon and James Porter.)
Of course when people think of fashion, Louisiana is usually not correlated with it. However, Julie Branden intends to change that and put Louisiana on the map for great fashion, and grand style. As the owner of Vivid Image Consulting Salon and Styling Studio, and the only certified image consultant in Louisiana, Julie is the perfect candidate to take on that task. Be sure to read my interview with Julie Branden below!
FWLC is just a few days away! How are you feeling?
Crazy…nervous…making sure I don’t fall flat on my face. *laughs*
What made you want to start this event?
I wanted to introduce Lake Charles to the fashion world I know, and since my granddaughter Gabbi has junior diabetes I figured this event would be a great platform to bring awareness to this dreadful disease.
I know the theme of FWLC is “Beautiful Chaos.” Why is that?
When diabetes hits your household it causes chaos, and we all associate fashion with beauty…cue in the event name.
What can attendees of Fashion Week Lake Charles expect?
All around fabulousness! It’s a total of 12 shows, and there will be something for everyone. Womenswear, menswear, swimwear, and even kidswear. During the show’s intermission we will have a silent biding taking place. And I’m even going to be bringing a little of New Orleans to Lake Charles!
What designer’s showcase are you most looking forward to?
Barbara Ndrake! She designs fascinators. She’s actually flying in all the way from Nigeria for this event.
Being a fashionista yourself, do you think you will ever get into designing? I know you can sew.
*Laughs* No, I’m busy enough! But I do feel I’ve passed that down to my granddaughter Laci. She’s super creative.
What is the outcome you would like to see from Fashion Week Lake Charles?
I want people to put Lake Charles on their radar when it comes to fashion, we have a lot of talent here but no one knows it. More importantly, I want to turn junior diabetes from “Type 1 to Type none.”
Fashion Week Lake Charles festivities begin this Thursday, with the “Patron Launch Party,” taking place at the Blue Martini Lounge. The fashion showcases will be Friday, April 15th and Saturday, April 16th at the Isle of Capri Casino and Resort. To purchase tickets click here.
I will be bringing you all the behind scenes coverage of FWLC right here on my website, as I will be serving as the red carpet correspondent for this superb event.
To learn more about Fashion Week Lake Charles. Visit www.fashionweeklc.com