In the past weeks I have really taken a good look at the accounts I follow on IG and what value they bring to my day. Turns out that little by little my Instagram world became very bland. A mix of mainly blogger and brand accounts, many of which told the same story over and over. I was surprised that I didn’t see this sooner. That I forgot what I loved about Instagram when I first discovered its vast creative world back in 2013. That my own creative bubble needed a major bursting. And as I started to dive into hashtags and artists, tagging other amazing creators, I found myself falling in love with this platform all over again. In this blog post, I wanted to share some favorites whose work inspires me to no end. I hope you enjoy these black brands who inspire as much as I do on a daily basis!
ARTIST: RON NICOLE ROBINSON
ABOUT: (source – MarthaStewart.com feature and artist’s website)
Ronni Nicole Robinson describes her environment growing up as a concrete jungle, but that landscape is actually where her love for flower preservation took root. “[Dandelions] grew up through the cracks in the sidewalk, and each one was like a little ray of sunshine. My grandmother would walk me to church, and I would pluck the dandelions along our route and press them into my Bible,” she says. “I didn’t know this was a form or preservation at the time, I just wanted to collect as many as I could.” About five years ago, Ronni made the step to make her own works after she and her husband went to an art exhibit at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Once she saw a wall-sized bronze relief with a tiny flower in the corner, it clicked in her mind that creating her own flower preservation pieces was destined in her future.
Today, Ronni creates “Flower-Inspired Fossils,” which is her signature form of botanical art using hand-pressed clay, a bloom from her land, and white plaster to create one-of-a-kind reliefs. While she draws inspiration organically through details like the shape of the leaves, the curve of the stems, and the way the flower blooms, her art that graces global magazine platforms is meant to be subtle and nuanced. “It’s meant to hang in the background of your everyday life without consuming the room it’s in,” she explains. “It’s meant to blend into your environment, much like nature itself. It’s only when you give yourself permission to slow down that you would even notice it being there.”
Every design I create is purposeful. My Floral Inspired Fossil are meant to make you feel a certain way when you look at them. They are also meant to give you permission to slow down in life. Since many of the details captured from the flower are quite subtle, you will need to stop what you are doing. Your undivided attention is absolutely necessary or you might miss something. Once you walk away, they will do what they do best. They will hang in the background of your home until you are ready to slow down again.
ARTIST: NATASJA SADI
ABOUT (source – artist’s website): Throughout my life I’ve been captivated by vivid environments filled with light and colour. The world around me has always been an endless source of intrigue and creative inspiration. These fascinations fuel my work, from my background in bridal couture to now designing elegant cakes adorned with delicate sugarflowers, to share and keep as a memento. I’ve transitioned from focusing on the personal moment to a shared one. I’ve been honoured to have created cakes and sugarflower arrangements for clients from New York to Paris. My cakes, sugarflowers and photography have been featured in international magazines such as Elle Décor USA, Flower Magazine and Dutch Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
BRAND: ESTELLE COLORED GLASS
ABOUT: Estelle Colored Glass is a luxury brand of hand-blown colored glass cake stands and stemware in a mix of jewel tones and soft pastels. The Estelle Colored Glass collection is comprised of original commissioned pieces made by glass artisans in Poland at a glass making company with a rich 100-plus-year-old history. Estelle Colored Glass pieces are best described as “jewels for your table.” We just hope our vintage-inspired yet refined and modern colored glass collection starts a revival of colored glass that is reminiscent of a past time.
Estelle Colored Glass is inspired by my grandmother, Estelle, who loved antiquing and had a special day of the week where she visited her favorite shops looking for new treasures in small neighboring South Carolina towns. During the summer months, I had the pleasure of coming along on many of these treasure hunts. My favorite collection that she was always adding to was her colored glass collection. This marked the start of my love for colored glass.
ABOUT: (source – artist’s website) Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht specializes in the creation of unique floral arrangements that celebrate enchanting flowers and natural beauty. Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht is the owner and creative director of Wild Bloom by Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht. His career began in New York City where he worked for some of the top designers in the industry.
Kristen describes his design philosophy as a combination of editorial with a sensibility for distinctive and organic perspectives. He has an exquisite and rich design eye which has helped to transform the role that florals play in weddings and events. In addition to his extensive portfolio, his studio also provides private classes and workshops for emerging floral artists and enthusiasts.
Kristen views floristry as a gateway to a happier more sustainable life that focuses on bridging the gap between nature and modern living. He continues his work towards elevating the artistry of floral design as a fine art while expanding his design portfolio to include gardening, house plants and home decor.
ABOUT: Designer, entrepreneur and Nigerian-American, Buki Ade is changing the fashion industry through her culturally inclusive designs. She was inspired to start a swimwear line after searching for a unique swimsuit while on vacation; there she realized the industry lacked creativity and representation of African designers. One swimsuit and more than 200 thousand social media followers later, Bfyne swimwear has been featured on the pages of Vogue, Glamour and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Her line, an unapologetic tribute to women’s curves and confidence, with purposely-cut lines and strategically placed seams, make even the most boyish figure alluring.
ARTIST: CALIDA GARCIA RAWLES
ABOUT: (source – artist’s website) Merging sharp photo-realism with poetic abstraction, Calida Rawles paints African-American women and men submerged in glistening water; bodies are swarmed by a flurry of bubbles, ripples, and refracted light. For Rawles, water is a spiritually healing element for all people – yet she recognizes its historical connotations to racial exclusion and cultural fears. She uses the complicated duality of water as a platform to address identity politics while reimagining her subjects beyond cultural tropes. At times, her work alludes to current events, even making topographical maps of cities where acts of racially targeted violence have occurred. In other moments, her works are purely celebratory of the resilience, strength, and beauty of African American culture.
BRAND: HOUSE OF AAMA
ABOUT: (source – brand’s website) Est. 2015 House of Aama is poised to become the next “great expression” in fashion and design. Manufactured 100% in Los Angeles, California. House of Aama is not just another clothing business. House of Aama is the spiritual expression of mother and daughter design duo, Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka in material form.
House of Aama explores the folkways of the Black experience by designing timeless garments with nostalgic references informed by historical research, archival analysis, and storytelling. We aim to evoke dialogue, social commentary and conversations around heritage, remembrance and shed light on nuanced histories.
House of Aama presents its fashion items as an offering for raw, primal energy to exist in physical form.
BRAND: SAINT FORT BRAND
ABOUT: (source – VoyageMIA feature)
My desire for design and fashion started way before I was born. My granny was a single mother of two, my mother being her only daughter. MY mother and granny did a lot of bonding while playing dress-up. My mom would tell me stories about my grandmother dressing her up like a doll and those were some of her best memories she held on to.
So being stylish and dressing up was already written in my DNA. I won best dress in High School, I started a styling service in 2012 and eventually decided to relocate to New York City to study Fashion Design at Parson “The New School of Design”.
I launched my brand in 2014, with the intent to create signature pieces, and help pay tuition. I started selling through social media and eventually built my website. I love telling stories with my pieces, giving them meaning, and allow my customers to engage in “dress up”, just like mother did when she was younger.
SAINT FORT represents, the “will minded” woman. We specialize in signature pieces, pieces that literally causes the world to stop! What sets us apart is we create a limited amount each designs, we create with the intent to inspire, we don’t follow trends and try to monetize on it. We design and set the tone for the next trend.
ARTIST: GENEVIEVE GAIGNARD
ABOUT: (source – artist’s website) Genevieve Gaignard is a Los Angeles based artist whose work focuses on photographic self-portraiture, sculpture, and installation to explore race, femininity, class, and their various intersections. The daughter of a black father and white mother, Gaignard’s youth was marked by a strong sense of invisibility. Was her family white enough to be white? Black enough to be black? Gaignard interrogates notions of “passing” in an effort to address these questions. She positions her own female body as the chief site of exploration — challenging viewers to navigate the powers and anxieties of intersectional identity.
Influenced by the soulful sounds of Billy Stewart, the kitschy aesthetic of John Waters and the provocative artifice of drag culture, Gaignard uses low-brow pop sensibilities to craft dynamic visual narratives. From the identity performance ritualized in ‘‘selfie” culture to the gender performance of femininity, Gaignard blends humor, persona and popular culture to reveal the ways in which the meeting and mixing of contrasting realities can feel much like displacement.
BRAND: AUTUMN ADEIGBO
ABOUT: (source – brand’s website)
Ethical fashion entrepreneur, Autumn Adeigbo started a colorful, women-focused, fashion brand with the vision of positively impacting the lives of women across cultures.
Autumn became inspired to become a fashion designer by watching her Nigerian mother sew the clothes she wore as a little girl. Because of her mother, Autumn was voted “Best Dressed” in the 4th grade.
After graduating with degrees in Economics from Spelman college and fashion design from Parsons School of Design, she worked her way up from intern to associate assisting some of the top fashion stylists in the world- including Andrea Lieberman, Leslie Fremar and Rebecca Weinberg. She launched a collection of 7 African inspired dresses while working days and W magazine as a fashion assistant and nights hostessing at NYC hot spots- pitching her collection to magazine editors as she sat them at their tables to dine.
Autumn designs clothing for women who love to stand out from the crowd, who make educated purchases with compassion and embody sophistication of the heart. You can find her designs on Rent The Runway, Anthropologie and small boutiques in the USA.
I hope you enjoyed diving into these beautiful images and work as much as I enjoyed putting them together. I look forward to bringing you more spotlight posts like these! For a bit on my own creative journey, click HERE