Solange Knowles Launched An Online Store, & It’s As Awesome As You’d Expect

A photo posted by Solange (@saintrecords) on

Solange Knowles is a busy woman: In addition to being a songwriter, musician, and serious style inspiration, she's also creative director of the website Saint Heron. Now, Knowles is taking the multimedia platform to the next level with a new online store. Saint Heron has been rooted in celebrating diversity through fashion, arts, and cultural content; and the new store's selection of products — clothing, housewares, bags, shoes, jewelry, accessories, and beauty products — reflect that mission. In partnership with Bigcommerce, Saint Heron worked with designers including Bloom & Plume, Linea Germania, Morgan Parish, Tactile Matter, and Bernadette Thompson, as well as many others. This isn't Solange’s first foray in the fashion world: last year marked her third campaign with Puma — one of which was, in fact, launched in partnership with Saint Heron. On Friday at SXSW, Saint Heron celebrated the store opening with a music showcase and shopping event. Read more about the shop, as well as who inspires Knowles' style, below.
Which brands does Saint Heron feature?
"Saint Heron as a whole was birthed from my frustrations about specific needs and that need to be talked about as an artist as well as a woman of color. I really wanted to create a space that spoke to me as a young girl in the way that I wanted to be seen and represented with the imagery and the scenes I wanted told. "As an R & B artist, specifically, I became really frustrated with how music was written about culturally: There were a lot of insensitivities and a lot of holes in the storytelling. So, Saint Heron was really birthed to bring together a community of people who want to celebrate diversity and want to push people of color to the forefront of music, fashion, culture, and art. Fashion can be a way that we express ourselves in a space. So much of what you wear and how you present yourself is actually about holding your space in the world. It felt natural to expand this through fashion and designers of color. It’s been a really incredible journey connecting with designers who are doing really interesting things, but who are also really incredible people who want to expand their brands outside of fashion." Which designers are you most excited about featuring in the new Saint Heron store?
"I’m super excited about a young designer, James Flemons [of PHLEMUNS], based in Los Angeles. Saint Heron works as a community: It's really just about friends of friends of friends. There's an incredible story [on the site] about musician Moses Sumney by a writer that I’m a huge fan of — Taiye Selasi, the author of Ghana Must Go. We wanted to shoot editorial [photos] and I called and asked some young stylist friends of mine in L.A. I only knew James as a stylist, but at the end of the shoot, he said, 'Here’s some of the personal pieces I’ve designed.' I was just blown away. We’ve been working with him to create pieces specifically for the site. "This is just kind of how things roll with the community of Saint Heron. There's another young girl out of Brooklyn named Gamut who just makes really beautiful clothing; [I love] the way she showcases it on young, beautiful women who are killing it. She’s also one of our designers. We also collaborated with a ceramic artist named Kenesha Sneed; her line is called Tactile Matter. We’ve been working with her over the past several months on a beautiful ceramic homeware line. "One of the women featured in the 'Word To The Woman' campaign, Mengly Hernandez, does incredible textiles with scarves. We thought we’d go a little bit further and do beach towels and blankets, to extend her beautiful textiles onto other items. She has an incredible piece that we’re super excited about that's focused on femininity and power; it makes a strong feminist statement. "It’s really special that all of these women and men are designers of color. There’s a huge void in the fashion industry, in terms of supporting emerging designers of color. I’m really excited that Saint Heron is going to be a part of that conversation."

A photo posted by Solange (@saintrecords) on

Why did you decide to time for the launch of Saint Heron’s e-commerce site to SXSW?
"Well, SXSW has played a huge role in a lot of my artistic endeavors. It’s a time to really able to immerse yourself with your fanbase and your supporters, as opposed to other festival shows, where there’s a lot of separation between the artists and the festivalgoers. At SXSW, artists are doing five shows in a day. Because a lot of the shows are free, your fans are able to come to a lot of shows; you start to recognize their faces. SXSW involves community-building, and that’s what Saint Heron is really about. So, I thought that would be a perfect opportunity to immerse ourselves as a movement with the people and community." How has Saint Heron dabbled in e-comm in the past?
"In the past, we had the Saint Heron shop; it was a mild, small launch based around the Puma collection that I art- and creative-directed. That [first] collaboration with Puma was actually with Saint Heron, which was the 'Word To The Woman' campaign. It honored and celebrated women who were really just killing it, excelling in and redefining their roles in society. We had everyone from a makeup artist to a medical researcher — a really diverse group of women. That was what the campaign was built on. When it came to giving it a space, we live in such a digital world now and most projects are now experienced online." Why did you decide to partner with Bigcommerce on this launch?
"I wanted to create something that was true to us as a brand from the bottom up and to be able to have the access and opportunity to build that as true to us as possible. That means: color and textiles, but still being able to have that minimal aesthetic. Bigcommerce has done a really incredible job of giving us a platform to build that from the ground up. I’m so excited for the launch; we’ve been working so hard on this. Our community is super psyched for us."

A photo posted by Solange (@saintrecords) on

Beyond Saint Heron's roster of designers, who's influencing your personal style right now?
"I’m constantly going back and reconnecting [style-wise] with the same rotation of folks; my childhood heroes and style icons. They’re Diana Ross, Erykah Badu, Björk, and Kate Bush. Recently, I’ve been really inspired by a singer, Syreeta. She used to wear these really beautiful headpieces and the lighting on them on the stage was really incredible. I’ve spent a lot of time looking [at headpieces] online; I guess they don’t make them like they used to."

How is Saint Heron’s new shop different than other celebrity-curated e-comm sites?
"The intent of our shop is to celebrate innovation and diversity through designers of color — I don’t think that’s something that everyone has focuses on. I think everybody is kind of waking up and realizing that we have to do a better job of diversifying our industries and to do that in the right way. I’m just really glad Saint Heron is a part of the conversation."

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