FASHION

Shop StitchFix’s new Elevate Collection, featuring the work of six black entrepreneurs


Stitch fixes tend to be smart. Launched as a personal styling service in 2011, the company has recently expanded into e-commerce, launching a “personalized mall” called Freestyle that offers separate products for users who want to avoid the hassle of snail mail. But the company has made clever investments in the fashion industry – launching today, October 8, as proof of the brand’s elevated collection.

Elevate, an annual grant and membership initiative, was launched in 2020 in response to George Floyd’s protests. The goal was to improve and launch the next wave of industry-transformed black fashion designers, get $ 25,000 in grants, in addition to access to advisory sessions and stitch fix product analysis.

“It takes a long time to change that [fashion] Space, “said Loretta Choi, general manager of women’s fashion at Stitchfix.” We wanted to use our resources and create a program that would be evergreen, where we could actually provide deep insights to entrepreneurs who may not be an accessible resource to us. “

This year’s recipients represent an impressive array of global talent from different angles of the fashion marketplace. They are connected:

  • Diarblue, owner of Diarblue. Inclusive sizing, the specialty of women’s fashion brand Diarrablu is to call algorithm-generated prints, made permanently in Senegal.
  • Kahmun is owned by Jamela Achempong. -11-11 size high quality footwear is Kahmun’s sole focus; Each shoe is made to incorporate skin tone-matching colors.
  • Busayo Olupano, the owner of Busayo. Inspired by traditional themed African prints, Busayor gowns and blouses have eye-catching pops ranging in size from 0 to 16.
  • Marcus Thomas, owner of Marcus Alexander. The gender-inclusive footwear brand makes unique but useful sneakers in sizes 8-13.
  • Bettina Benson, owner of Chloe Christine. A classic, sophisticated women’s clothing brand making workwear sells in the form of chic, chloe christine blouses, bottoms, dresses and knits 0-16.
  • Robin Sirleaf, owner of Sarip + Rose. As the only accessory brand in the Elevate line-up, Sarap + Rose already stands out. But the company’s ethically produced materials, which are made in handbags by all African entrepreneurs, are what make the products brighter.

    Sewing fix

    The Elevate Collection moves away from each brand’s lookbook and includes stitch fix-exclusive products such as Kahmun’s first-time booties and Sarap + Rose mini bucket bags. But while curation allows buyers to purchase new choices from outside traditional themed retailers, it also allows donors to know exactly what their customer wants.

    For example, print popularity has skyrocketed since the rollout of the Olupano Covid-1 vaccine. People are ready to dress up again.

    Trained as a lawyer, Olupano has been running Busayo only since 2012, but he has been designing patterns since he was little. “Coming from Nigeria, there is some advantage in the sense that we have our own culture that you make clothes for yourself,” he says. “If you have an event, there is something called Come EB in our culture, which literally means family attire. So for each of your events, we pick a fabric, a special print that we have to wear that identifies us [relatives]. ”In 2012, he began learning how to create specific textiles in bold and beautiful prints, an attitude that eventually became the encapsulation of the Busayo brand.

    During the epidemic, she made a bio maxi dress, thinking that no one would want to wear it without her. When a customer bought the dress, Olupano sent him a message about where he planned to wear it. A gala? A wedding?

    “He lives in Chelsea, and he was,‘ Well, I think I’m going to wear it to the grocery store, ’Olupano says. “The point where I was,‘ OK. We have something here. ”

    A Busayo garment from the Sewing Fix Elevate 2021 collection

    A busayo dress.

    Sewing fix

    But finding out exactly which prints will trigger this reaction is Olupano’s most difficult challenge. He needed guidance from a source with more sources, more information. The Elevate program first came to his notice in 2020, the day of the application deadline. He saw potential rewards of $ 25,000 and those key analytical insights – and decided to cancel his plans for the evening. He dropped his application within two hours, and in the end won.

    “It was really incredible,” she says. “I do not know. There are many programs created by different companies after George Floyd. [But] I think what’s really strong about this is the opportunity to talk [mentors]… see the gap between where you are and where a sewing fix will be. So I felt like I was taking a masterclass every month. ”

    Olupano and his colleagues have become close friends in the process. “We text all the time,” he says. “When we all met each other, we felt like we’ve known each other for a very long time.” Such comments have led Choi and the rest of the StitchFix leadership to believe that the program is much more than a face-saving D&I initiative. It’s a collaborative fashion, reaching out to the global future.

    Elevate products can be purchased through Freestyle and Stitch Fix’s traditional themed subscription box. Take a look at some of it HeFavorite choice below

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