Tracy Reese's New Clothing Line 'Hope for Flowers' is Stylish, Sustainable, and For the Culture

To many of us, Tracy Reese is the black aunty of high fashion. For over 21 years she’s been out here shining, achieving every accolade that a designer could dream of from dressing First Lady Michelle Obama and THE Oprah Winfrey, to continually staying relevant in a highly competitive, ever-changing industry. All the while, she’s used her platform to celebrate ‘real women’ by advocating for diversity and inclusion long before the rest of the industry caught on to the game. Now, Tracy Reese is out here innovating once again as she leads the wave of fashion designers who are making the switch to sustainable fashion, while creating the blueprint for other black designers to do the same.

Source: Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese

Source: Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese

During a recent conversation with Vogue, Tracy Reese shared about why it was important for her to return to her roots in Michigan to create Hope for Flowers; her newest brand that is focused just as much on helping the planet as it is on helping stimulate her home state’s local economy. Not only is her brand’s reinvention a testimony to defining your own path, but every flirty silhouette and handcrafted pattern in her newest collection is a vibe.

Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese
Pascaline Silk Midi Dress

“This many years into my career, I needed the challenge. I needed to shake things up and to recommit to my work in a fresh way and in a way that I felt good about. Not just the routine of designing collection after collection, but a slower, more thoughtful model where everything has intent. I’m getting back to all the things I love about design.”

Hope for Flowers is everything that we’ve come to love about Tracy Reese’s bold yet sophisticated designs, but created with natural textiles and produced 100% domestically. Not only did Reese draw every print for the collection by hand,  but she trained and employed local women who work in her newly opened factory located in Flint. The pieces they make at this factory are exclusively sold at a black owned boutique in Michigan, Detroit is the New Black. There’s levels to Hope for Flowers’ ethical approach, which prioritizes ethical use of natural materials and human labor while keeping the black dollar circulating in our community longer.

Source: Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese

Source: Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese

Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese
Cleo Striped Midi Skirt

The more I learned about fast fashion and cheap production in general, I just knew that was the antithesis to everything I was thinking about...If you’re selling a garment for $10, let’s just do the math and understand what that means for all the people along that supply chain. It’s like slavery. I knew I didn’t want anything to do with that, so it made me get really serious about what I did want.”

Tracy Reese’s switch to sustainable fashion also signals an opportunity for small black designers to gain a competitive edge over fast fashion brands as ethical production becomes more important to customers. While fast fashion brands like Forever 21 and Zara are busy releasing ‘green collections’ for clout, black designers like Aurora James of Brother Vellies and Sindiso Khumalo have managed to sustain truly ethical brands with far less resources. Their small production runs are already a great first step, and as more black designers venture into sustainability and even open up their own small factories, they’ll be more knowledge and resources accessible to pass around. 

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Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese
Michelle Floral Midi Dress

“Everyone can do a little bit, and then you can do a little bit more, and a little more. People are mystified about where to begin, but there are a lot of ways to approach it.”

We stan for Aunty Tracy for using her platform to create real change for the environment AND for the culture! Hope for Flowers is now available at Anthropologie and at Detroit is the New Black. Shop the collection now.

Summer Style Is In Living Color: An Expert Guide with Hanifa

Hanifa Designer Anifa Mvuemba explains why you should transform how you feel about color in your closet

When we think of our ultimate Summer style mood board, Hanifa is undoubtedly the first brand that comes to mind. Scroll through their Instagram feed and you’ll find an awe-worthy compilation of black girls in all shapes and sizes, dripped in the most vibrant ruby and neon hues, playful textures, and curve-hugging silhouettes.

The brand’s colorful aesthetic can’t be credited to trend-watching; since its inception in 2012, color and texture have remained a key focal point of their brand aesthetic. Designed specifically with black women in mind, Hanifa is unafraid to set its own rules  (rule #1: all colors look great on black women, period) and adamantly challenges the long list of fashion faux-pas that we’re conditioned to avoid. It appears that at long last, mainstream fashion brands have finally taken note and caught up to the black owned indie brand, as neon colors continue to be one of the biggest trends on Spring/Summer 2019 runways. While bold colors may be a seasonal fad for many of these brands, Hanifa is making a serious case for how important it is for black women to re-imagine their relationship with bold colors and embrace whatever makes them feel confident, regardless of the season.

We’ve asked Anifa Mvuemba, designer and founder of Hanifa, to share her top tips on how to effortlessly incorporate color, texture, and silhouette to create the ultimate Summer-ready wardrobe (Hint: Break every rule you’ve ever been taught). Whether you’re looking to master this season’s viral neon trend or simply looking to break up the monotony of the neutral staples in your closet, take note of these expert tips from the architect of Hanifa herself.  


COLOR

Anifa’s TIP #1: All colors look great on all black women

I don’t restrict color choices because I embrace all skin tones on different hues, textures, and colors. In fact, I’m usually inspired by the confidence that black women exude in colors which inspires my palette selections. Look at Lupita Nyong to Tracee Ellis Ross - they range in skin tone and look beautiful in so many colors.
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courtesy of shuttershock

courtesy of shuttershock

Anifa’s TIP #2: Don’t hold back on experimenting with neon tones, jewel tones, pastels, bright and dark colors

My favorite color is any color that makes black women feel powerful and special. I think that color is best when it is used to create and to be different.

Anifa’s TIP #3: Be different and be yourself.

Don’t play it safe and go according to what it seems like is the best color just because you read it or saw it somewhere. You are the expert and know what makes you feel good and look good, so go with that.

TEXTURE

Anifa’s TIP #1: Shake it like a tail feather

My current go-to texture has been incorporating fringe and fur accents in my pieces. It makes a big statement while allowing you to be unique and fun.

Anifa’s Tip #2:

The key to mixing and matching textures is balance.

SILHOUETTE

Anifa’s Tip #1: 

I always appreciate silhouettes that are natural and womanly. Staying true and adapting to the body forms of woman overtime will never go out of style.

ANIFA’S STYLE INSPIRATION

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1. What’s your favorite style era?

I love the fashion revolution of the 1960s and 1970s - those amazing styles from that era have inspired some of my pieces. It was truly the time of style transformation, and set the tone for many of the styles we have today.

2. Who is your ultimate style muse?

Rihanna, Rihanna, Rihanna! She does what she wants, and walks her own path when it comes to style. She’s everything that I want women to be when they wear Hanifa - confident and dynamic.

courtesy of the fashion police

courtesy of the fashion police

courtesy of people mag

courtesy of people mag

courtesy of we heart it

courtesy of we heart it