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

Celebrity Collections You Need in Your Closet

Rihanna has the entire fashion industry shaking in their boots with the release of her first Fenty Collection, making history as the first black woman to head an LVMH brand. But she isn’t the only black A-lister who is forging diversity in the fashion industry. In fact, a groundbreaking number of celebrity collections have been released this year in partnership with women of color  -- and of course, we’re here for it!

While every celebrity collection isn't created equal, these MILQ favorites certainly are! Here's a roundup of the celebrity collections that we're coveting right now, and where you can shop them!

Zendaya x Tommy Hilfiger

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With the help of her fairy God brother Law Roach, Zendaya has become a full fledged fashion icon in her own right. Just in time for Paris Fashion Week, she announced that her covetable style would now be shoppable via her Spring 2019 collab with Tommy Hilfiger. Tapping into the playfully color and expressive trends of the 1970’s, the collection is bold yet incredibly wearable for the everyday woman. During its Paris Fashion Week premiere, the collection was modeled by all-black models in a diverse range of ages, shapes and sizes -- including 70’s icons Grace Jones and Pat Cleveland.

Gab Union x NY & Co

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In 2017, Gabrielle Union added fashion designer to her resume when she premiered her debut collection in partnership with New York & Company.  With an average price tag of less than $100 and a wide size range of 0-20, the collab is known to make headlines for its chic designs and easy accessibility.  Her most recent collection is inspired by “busy moms who need easy, cute and comfortable clothes “ for the entire family to match in -- including the dog. It features a wide range of chic & cozy separates, dresses, and denim.

Lala Anthony x Ashley Stewart

LaLa Anthony might be known for slaying red carpets, but she has a sporty side that  she puts on full display in her recent collection with Ashley Stewart. Realizing the lack of options available for curvy women besides “florals and ruffles,”  she designed a capsule collection featuring items that she considers her go-to’s while she’s on the run.

Serena by Serena Williams

Serena Williams is after much more than her 24th Grand Slam  -- she’s after a seat at the fashion table, too! Serena by Serena Williams doesn’t solely  aim to create pieces that are stylish. The Tennis champion also wants to empower women to feel unapologetically confident and authentic when they’re wearing her pieces. Showcasing an incredibly diverse range of models and style choices on her website, the collection is challenging both fashion and social norms simultaneously.

Ivy Park by Beyonce

Sporting an athletic collection from the woman who claims to rehearse for hours then do a lap on the stair master seems like a no brainer -- especially when that woman is Beyonce. Ivy Park was once exclusively owned by Beyonce but recently, she announced  that the brand will be re-launching soon in partnership with Adidas. On its own, Ivy Park was already pushing the envelope of style by seamlessly merging athletic wear with street fashion. Now that Adidas has joined the bandwagon, the brand plans to expand its collection to include sneakers.

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Your Fave Childhood Trend is Back: Hair Clips & Statement Barrettes

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Do you remember back in the day when your mom would make you sit down for hours to deck your hair out with colorful clips and blinged out barrettes? Well it turns out that she might have been on to something! Who knew that in 2019 hair clips, aka barrettes, would make a massive comeback in high fashion? Embraced by luxury designers and indie brands alike, statement clips aren’t just a trend; they’re a form of expression, spelling out everything from the name of your favorite brand to trendy adjectives or phrases. The trend has even been embraced by fashion heavy hitters like Rihanna and Solange, making it a must-have accessory for all unfiltered fashionistas.

It's time to make a statement with your hair accessories. Here are our favorite style mavens who've been spotted in the statement barrette trend, and the black owned brands where you can shop it now.

SHOP THE TREND WITH THESE BLACK OWNED BRANDS!

Humans Before Handles

Lace by Cataleya

The Style Animal

More Places to Shop the Trend

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#OOTD: Snakeskin and Sequins

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Snakeskin is still ruling the concrete jungle as this season’s statement-making favorite and sequins are still a sure way to shine day or night. They’re both considered statement pieces in their own right, but you can definitely break the rules and rock these trends together. Let me show you how to pull off a trend-setting look that will break the Internet. Get ready to experiment and let your own personal style shine through!

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First, I took this black sequin over-sized Donna Karan top I purchased from a second-hand store years ago. I love this top because it’s SO versatile. You can wear it off the shoulder, tie it up in the front for a cropped look, or wear it as a t-shirt dress. I chose to wear it as a t-shirt dress with a short bodysuit underneath. This was the perfect combination because I could wear the top off the shoulder and also have the appearance of shorts below for extra coverage.

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Next, I added these snakeskin over-the-knee boots from Ego. The boots SET IT OFF! Here’s why it worked so well. The neutral snakeskin boots complement the black sequin top. Some may assume that it would be “too much” to rock these textures at the same time. But when it’s in a black and white colorway, the print can be mixed and matched with anything. If done in a bold color, the snakeskin print would definitely be the main statement piece. Remember: complement, don’t compete. You can also rock these boots with a similar snakeskin print dress or blazer in a tone that will compliment each other well.

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I added this trendy leather newsboy cap from Nasty Gal and the infamous “Migos” glasses that I picked up from the local beauty supply. Holy Chic! I was ready for whatever wearing this look—walk the streets in style, hit the runway, photo shoot for an album cover, and even attend a trendy late night function. You will seize the day or night in this fit!

This look was so dope because it was all about experimentation. Sometimes you think things may be “too much” and it ends up being just right. My best advice is to never shy away from risk-taking. You can rock the trends in a way that don’t fit in. Remember, be unique. But, most of all, BE YOU!


Keep up with Ashley on My Living Spree by visiting her blog at www.mylivingspree.com or follow her on Instagram @ashleycockrell

Outfit details:

Top: Thrifted

Boots: https://egoshoes.com

Bodysuit: https://www.missguidedus.com

Hat: https://www.nastygal.com

Glasses: Local beauty supply

Photographer: @jp.hanney

Stylist: @thefashionchase