One thing you can count on is Black women showing up and showing out in style. No matter what social media platform you favoured in 2021, you couldn’t scroll without seeing Black fashionistas on your timeline. From creatives showcasing their personal style while promoting sustainability, to beauty experts and hair gurus taking their entrepreneur skills to the next level, it's apparent that Black women are breaking through barriers and making their mark in the fashion industry.
For this year's edition of Black Is The New Black, R29Unbothered is shouting out Iesha Gilchrist, Alicia Scott, and Nia Wellman. Not only did they keep us looking great, but they also showed us how to take our fashion from URL to IRL.
You’ve probably seen many videos of fashion content creators sharing their shopping hauls and showing off how they styled their items. Georgia-based content creator and entrepreneur Iesha Gilchrist — better known for her social handle @Ieshatheg8 — always takes her content a step further.
What makes Gilchrist stand out from the rest are her bold reel transitions, styling techniques, and unique thrift shop finds (she's been thrifting for 14 years). And while fast fashion has gained popularity over the last decade, Gilchrist's content inspires you to be both sustainable and creative when styling yourself. On her second Instagram page, Thrift N’ Tell, she creates serviceable videos about shopping at Goodwill and offers clever style hacks — from tailoring oversized items to thrifting blazers for your closet. This year, she released an e-book called 28 Days of Aesthetics, an in-person Thrift N’ Tell boot camp event. She’s also hosted many thrift reselling livestreams on IG.
We’re giving Gilchrist her flowers for teaching women that you can still be fashionable while thrifting. It's not about where the clothes come from, it's about how you personally style it.
Nia Wellman has been Youtubing her journey as a beauty and natural hair guru since she was in college, so it’s no surprise that she continued to follow her passion and launched Imania Beauty during the pandemic. In 2020, she released her first product, High Maintenance Elixir, a multipurpose hair and scalp oil that is infused with CBD and stimulating herbs. Wellman made it look easy, and consumers enjoyed using the hair oil (the before and after photos speak for itself). Brands like Sephora and 15 Percent Pledge took notice, and she was able to participate in the Sephora Accelerate program this past year.
Wellman is utilizing all of her talents and furthering her hair journey as a stylist. She recently opened her own salon, Imania Beauty Studios, in Atlanta, Georgia. She plans to enroll in cosmetology school very soon, but she’s already started showcasing her talents via Reels and TikTok. It’s not always about getting to the destination, it’s the process many forget to talk about the most. We’re shouting out Wellman for showing us to never to forget to walk in our path and allow ourselves to enjoy the journey along the way.
Beauty brands would be hard-pressed to compete with Alicia Scott, founder of Range Beauty. After spending part of her career backstage preparing models’ makeup and hair, she witnessed the lack of makeup shades available to Black models. Inspired by an issue that many makeup brands don’t always consider, Range Beauty was born.
Scott's personal journey with eczema and acne contributed to the success of her brand. In addition to offering makeup for all shades of melanated skin, she also promoted real conversations about skin. No one has perfect skin; it’s about learning what can work for you.
Scott is also helping others find success as entrepreneurs. This year, she shared how Range Beauty made $300,000 USD and how applying to grants helped her make major money moves. Her determination is what led her to be noticed by Target, and most recently, she was able to use her own makeup brand on the models in the Hanifa Fashion Show that took place last month. For that, Scott deserves all the flowers for constantly pushing the envelope in the fashion and beauty industry.