During fashion week, all eyes are on the new designs coming down the runway.
But what about the fashion and style trends we see on those attending the shows? Street style is the epitome of creativity and self-expression and the Black community is the leading force behind what’s fresh and new. Though we don’t always receive credit for our contributions to street style and fashion in general, our impact is undeniable.
On Thursday, the ESSENCE Fashion House crowd heard from amazing street style photographer and author, Seleen Saleh, producer/rapper, Young Pairs and celebrity stylist, Mensor Kamarake, who each dissected the dynamics of style from their unique perspectives during an enlightening panel discussion.
Beautifully moderated by ESSENCE Global Beauty Director Julee Wilson, the panelists weighed in on everything from increasing diversity, to combating conformity in the style space.
The general consensus was that street style is a way of self-representation that transcends through culture and time. But no one said it better than Seleen, who noted: “We sell ourselves from our experiences, as well from our lineage.”
The panelists also addressed how style isn’t solely personal, but also the influence of those around us, emphasizing that one of the best ways to evolve our own style is by taking style cues from others.
Shedding light on the reality that certain opportunities may be missed because of stereotypes often associated with certain personal style choices, Young Paris spoke on the importance of staying true to one’s identity even when under pressure to conform.
“I love the idea of disrupting and doing something that is against the conversation until it becomes the conversation,” he said. “When you really believe in who you are, there is no dollar amount that’s going to make that change.”
The panelists closed out the incredible discussion by highlighting the strides we’ve made in diversifying fashion, acknowledging that since we are demanding our respect, the world at large is changing.
“There’s definitely been a move forward in terms of [diversity] because we celebrate ourselves more,” Mensor noted. “And we’re not waiting for approval.”
Check out the panel discussion in full above.
For more of everything you missed at ESSENCE Fashion House, head back to ESSENCE.com.