Monday, July 9, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Spotlights

Perspectives Yoga Wear!

A few weeks ago, I was excited to participate in 90s Hip hop and RnB yoga with New Yoga State of Mind.  Afterward, I realized my leggings weren't going to cut it for this type of workout.  After all, I was going to yoga a few more times with friends, and just wanted something better to wear.  So, I started searching my phone for yoga brands, and came across Perspectives Yoga Wear.  

I was not only taken by the cute (and symmetrical, because I'm nerdy like that) designs, but the quality and variety.  I made an order right away.  Not only did I receive some cute new yoga pants for my next class--both which served me well--but I also experienced great customer service.  With a personal thank you note and quick shipping, and I had to learn more.  I reached out to Jemea, creator and owner of Perspectives, and she agreed to help me get you guys to learn a bit more about Perspectives, too. This post was a no-brainer.  Her words are untouched, and beyond inspirational.  

Here's what...  

1.     How did you get started in fashion? Were you ever in a completely different field?
 I started as a child, I was sewing doll clothes at 4 or 5 years old. That passion for fashion and design never left. I got my Associates in Fashion Merchandising and my BA in Graphic Design and Digital Imaging.

2.     What sparked your interest in yoga?
In high school I was really into fitness because my older brother was a weightlifter. I sampled a gym class in like 1998 and thought it was a pretty cool way to stretch before and after my workouts. I started watching yoga videos on VHS tapes, haha, I’m showing my age…clearly way before YouTube. I didn’t get serious until I got into the intense corporate world had a serious abdominal surgery and couldn’t get back to the gym. In 2014 I reconnected with yoga because it was enough low impact for me but intense that I still felt the improvements in my body. Loved it from that point on… 

3.     What do you see as Perspectives' impact on the fashion industry?
First to show that you can be yourself in fashion, I think that’s really the goal of every major designer that has had a breakthrough. They had a perspective and they said other people will get it. 
I also wanted to make women with curves as well as women of my culture as an African American woman and those of minority races feel that they could be welcomed into what the US has previously narrowed into a small demographic of elite suburban women. My plan is always to make my fashion accessible, stop the excuses like ‘I have nothing to wear’, ‘it’s not made for me’ or ‘I don’t fit in’ from preventing you from getting into better health.
I also have a personal dream of attending NY Fashion Week, like since I was in high school I’ve wanted to go. Now I actually want to be an anchor designer in one of the shows. I think I’ll shoot for that, why not?

4.     As a fashion law blog, we have to ask, what are some legal issues or challenges you have faced in the fashion industry, if any?
 I have not had any thankfully. I was careful to use only my artwork and my patterns to create my brand, from logo to product to my workbook. I’m grateful to have really great clients, retailers, vendors and manufacturers that provide the services that we agree upon. I do get everything in writing or on contract so there is no confusion for either party. It’s just something I want to avoid ever coming up. If services, or what have you, are clear from the start everyone can just do their best to continue delivering great products! 

5.     How do you work to protect your brand, especially with social media sometimes being just as much of a negative in doing so?  
 That’s a great question! I have to say I’m just happy I’m in the yoga niche market. I think there is a small level of sensitivity there just by the nature of the craft. I’ve gotten a few odd DMs but I always take my time responding. I will not respond in anger or reaction because I do not actually know the perspective of the person writing…again the brand is all about respecting perspectives and I hold true to that, even online. Sometimes after a couple of days, I’ll read the same message and see a different angle.
You will always find that negative social energy if that’s what you’re looking for. But I make a point to look for the positive side of it, and sometimes just completely back away. I think social media breaks are super healthy, I take about a month or two off, at least twice a year.

6.     What sets your brand apart from the others?
 I designed a line that has a reasonable price point while still offering quality activewear. Sports bras, capris and leggings retail from $29 to $49. The prints are a break from the norm with vivid colors that reminded me of traditional African fabrics that I really love and intermingle a style of malas with energetic geometric prints of my own artwork. I have ranged the sizes to fit XS to 3XL to include women of all shapes and curves.
Now I’m experimenting with bringing a few more designers onto the website because I saw a request for more on the website.

7.     What do you feel the yoga community needs most? What does the fashion industry need most? What do you plan to do to help achieve those needs?
 The yoga community needs to simply keep growing. I don’t mean grow to become even more mainstream, but grow to become unique and important to more practitioners. Yoga will resonate in different ways for everyone but the mental and physical benefits cannot be ignored. I’m not sure what else the fashion industry needs, I know I needed brighter, louder leggings and a better size range, so I made them. 

8.     How did you choose the name "Perspectives"?
I had a meeting a first meet with my now Business Coach, Katherine Gonzalez (@katherinealexiss) and I was just getting out of a relationship where we had planned to open a yoga studio. I was the administrative type and he was the yoga instructor. I had saved up the money and didn’t know what to do with the 12-page business plan I had written. She helped me see the good in what I was doing and the positive attributes I could still offer being a team of one. She reminded me of my passion for design and fashion and said ‘scrap the business plan, do what you love’. I was sitting there crying at the end of this hour and a half meeting with a stranger, I was like ‘you gave me such a whole new perspective’. I knew that was the name right then. She had reminded me of the respect I had missed giving myself for a while. That night I started playing with a logo design and saw that Perspectives is spelled with RSPECT. The rest was history.

9.     What are your favorite ways to promote Perspectives? 
I’ve tried a many methods over the years, from Facebook, magazines, Instagram, blog writers like The Root and smaller bloggers, Miami farmer’s markets, local trade shows, Pop Up shops. My favorite is and always will be the in house yoga studio events. I get to see who is wearing my clothing, know their name, see their face, give them a hug and say thanks for believing in my brand!

10.    What is your favorite yoga pose?  Why?  Is yoga your go-to self care weapon?
Pigeon pose. The stretch in the legs, it’s not always perfect. It changes depending on my body that day, but there is a very calming humility in this pose, I love it, I feel grounded when I’m there. Yoga is definitely a part of self-care in the asana aspect. I’ve found that SLEEP is the ultimate weapon followed by meditation. If my body and mind are tired I must have rest, the strength that I get from a good nap and even 10 minutes of meditation are worth a 60 minute yoga session. I think it’s because at the end of it yoga is all of those things, the physical practice is just one angle of yoga.

11.    What's next for the Perspectives brand?
I guess just keep watching. I have many ideas, but it’s never what I planned, it’s what it’s meant to be…

12.  What should people know about Perspectives?
The brand is still growing, it’s still new, just turned 3 years old this past February 12th. The growing pains are there and it is difficult to be a team of one. I think because of the work I’ve done people assume that there’s a whole team, but it’s just me. I would love to take it to a new level with the right people and partners involved.

13.  What advice would you give to aspiring designers in niche markets?
1.    Don’t give up. 
2.    No need to fear change.
3.    The purpose is to learn and grow, not to be perfect.
4.     It’s okay to design outside of your comfort zone, you may find a new niche, a better product or a great new demographic base.

We can't wait to see what's next for Perspectives.  In the meantime, we'll be following on social media and ordering these cute, comfy, peace-giving items!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Fix

Dressing the Underrepresented--

In a society recently reinvigorated with divisiveness, many are using this challenging climate as an opportunity to emerge.  Adaptive fashion is gracing the runway these days, making it easier and more comfortable to fit in, in style.

Adaptive fashion slides right into the niche for the segment of our population needing assistance with dressing every day, and finding stylish clothes to fit into their worlds.  Many young people with disabilities find it difficult to wear clothes worn by those not having the same every day challenges.  More than 40 million people in the U.S. have a disability, with about 14 million experiencing challenges with daily living.  Of course pre-teens and teenagers often have the extra struggle of fitting in at school or extra-curricular activities--disability or not.

Clothing brands are meeting the challenge and taking fashion to the next level.  With both Target and Tommy Hilfiger launching lines with easy closures--magnets or velcro, one-hand zippers and more, families are now finding a bevy of options when dressing their young ones for everyday life.  These brands are not only offering stylish adaptive options, but options for fitting into the workplace as well.  It's high time for the industry to realize this market existed.  

MagnaReady is also doing its part with its line of magnet closure shirts.  Styles are varied, and dressing is made easy.  Even Zappos is in on the action with adaptive shoe options--trendy adaptive shoe options.

This news is quite refreshing with so much daunting news weighing downs the airwaves.  Check out some of these brands if you know someone needing an easier time dressing. Or, expand your own line. Adaptive fashion can be great for seniors, too!

Inclusion is everything.  

Sunday, May 13, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Celebrates

Happy Mothers' Day!!

It's always a pleasure to reflect and share the things my Mommy taught me. There are so many, countless things she's taught and continues to teach me, but here are some of the ones that stick me time and time again.  Some, she taught me and I got right away, some took time, others...still working on.

What has your mom taught you that has changed or directed your life in a certain way?   Share yours with us!


1. Be nice.
This is a simple lesson, but it goes a long way.  Being nice to people not only gives them a good feeling about you, but also puts out good Karma to come back to you.  My mommy still reminds me today the importance of being nice, especially when it is easy not to.   I see traces of her whenever I feel the need to bake for friends and coworkers, have guests over, style for people, advise on legal matters, or whatever comes to mind to allow me to lend a hand to someone else. I carry this with me all the time.

2. Beauty is simple.
Mommy has made it clear to me, loads of make-up does not make you pretty, and there's a way to look your best without a mess!  Going back to being nice on the inside, it is easy to look nice on the outside, too.  Too much of anything is usually just that--too much and it will catch the wrong eyes most times.  As I put together my looks for each day, I definitely think..."what would Mommy say?"

As Tatyana Ali put it: "My mother is my beauty role model.  She's gorgeous, giving, and gracious - a true G!"

3. Be strong.
I haven't come across a strength like the strength my mother has, and am not sure I will.  Her lessons in being strong go far beyond helping my dad out in the yard against my will.  They extend to knowing things won't always go my way, and when they don't, I cannot give up.  I will encounter some challenges, and as cliche as it sounds I hear her telling me "this, too shall pass".  I may not want to hear it, but I always want to believe it...and in due time, I see it to be true.  I know my mother got her strength from my grandmother, and great-grandmother, so I work hard to be sure I can pass it on someday as well.  Because of my Mommy, I feel there is nothing I cannot do.  

4.  Be....patient!
Ugh!  I am still working on this one, and actually, so is Mommy.  She's been trying to teach me patience all my life, and I think I just may be starting to get it--a little.  I remember as a little girl hearing her tell me "beee..." and waiting for me to say "patient". I'm not sure I always understood the value of patience as a youngster, but I have gotten a much better understanding in my adult life.  I can't count the number of times I hear her in my head reminding me...and sometimes it is her actual voice.  I have found patience to be so critical, especially as I get older, and can say I have received and encountered some wonderful things from being patient.  I keep this lesson with me.  But, she and I both know, I'm not done learning it.

5. Always do your best.
I often look at my mom and think she has so many things on her plate...and wonder how she balances them all.  Then I realize I am, in my own way, doing the same thing.  I have learned over the years, she not only has a lot on her plate, but only enough for her to handle, and handle well.  It appears to be a lot to the onlooker, and I know it is to her as well.  But, the way she handles family, work, and social activities is always with ease and grace.  Mommy has taught me about not taking on too much, but being there to step up and step in if necessary.  Sure, you may have a lot going on, but giving each your very best is all that's acceptable.  I keep this lesson close.

I could go on and on about the lessons my mother has taught me, but the space here is limited.  I am endlessly thankful for such a loving and giving mother, and wouldn't trade her for the world.  Thank you, Mommy for everything.

Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing Mommys out there.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. For the Culture

Meek--Inheriting the Earth...

For anyone with a bit of a scriptural compass, you know the Beatitudes, and you'll recall "blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."  Surely this has its own spiritual meaning, but over the last couple weeks, famed Philadelphia rapper Robert Rihmeek Williams, known as "Meek Mill" has been living that Beatitude and so much more.

As you may know, Meek was sentenced to 2-4 years in prison for violating his probation in November of 2017.  He'd originally be incarcerated on weapons charges, and battled with probation violations for the last 4 years.  Despite also struggling with a opioid addiction, Meek did what he knew best in trying to make a life for himself--traveling for work to do shows and appearances.  In conjunction with his probation woes, be was under the oversight of Judge Genece Brinkley, who often gave him personal and professional advice, both on and off the record.  She even urged him to leave his record label and sign with a friend of hers.  Yes, this is way more off the rails than we thought.  Pitchfork has all the details--including the shoutout she requested on a song.  

While the tea on the Judge's deep, and maybe curious, interest in Meek's case can take us into a whole series, the main point here is the obvious imbalance in probation standards and need for criminal justice reform.  In so many instances, men of color find themselves not only in a situation of perpetual probation, but over-criminalized in the first place.  These are circumstances where they should actually be referred to services, educational opportunities, and guidance onto the right track.  Sure, consistently making the wrong decision must have its consequences, but there is more than enough to be said for the deck being completely stacked against you from the start.

Since Meek's heavy-handed prison sentence was announced, he's received a bevy of support from the music industry, fans, and even sports powerhouses in Philadelphia.   Owners of the 76ers have been openly supportive of Meek, along with legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving--all calling out the injustice his line of sentencing has represented.   Since being released from prison last week, Meek has taken on criminal justice reform as his mission for change.  He's been outspoken about changes needed to level the playing field, and has more than enough credibility to lead on the topic.  It was a challenging, unfair and winding road, but it looks like Meek is using his experience and support to evoke progress.  

Now that's how the Meek inherit the earth.

Photo from FACT Magazine's Meek Released from Prison article

*Catch Dateline this evening at 7/6 CT to hear directly from Meek and those who've been working with him along the way. 

Monday, April 30, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

Business and Legal Tips for the Emerging Designer--

Just this past Friday, I got the magnificent opportunity to sit on a fashion law panel, hosted by the Fashion Law Society at John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  It was a great event, and now the 3rd time I've presented at one of their Symposiums.  Always a great time.

As I, and the 3 other attorneys on the panel took questions, we were asked everything from the best way to set up a fashion business, to the means for protecting a brand once it's up and running.  We gave many tips and cautions, but it reminded me of the information right here to share with designers and brand managers for protecting what's rightfully yours.  

Here are some of the tips we've shared in the past.  Take a look, and let us know what else you'd like to see.  


Saturday, April 28, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Cares

Project Style - Dressing Girls In Confidence!

As you know, Project Style was launched late last year as a means for increasing self-confidence and awareness of self-worth in 
girls.  The mission is to dress girls in confidence
​--teaching them about self worth​
, using fashion as the hook.

Project Style hosts in-school workshops 
 educate girls on how fashion and self-esteem intersect; teaching them the link between confidence and personal style, the difference between expression and objectification, and how to find and embrace their authentic selves.   To date, Project Style has provided programming to over 250 young girls.  Help in reaching more by supporting the inaugural Casino Night event.  Follow the journey at or @projectstyleorg on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

​Come out to
Chips For Charity Casino Night, Thursday, May 3rd at The Montgomery Club in Chicago.  100% of the proceeds will go to Project Style's school programs.

In addition to attending Casino Night, you can join the mission by mentoring a student, volunteering at a youth event, donating
​ to​
 the Casino Night Silent Auction, or sponsoring a table at Casino Night. 

Casino Night will be an evening of fun for all
 attendees at this wonderful event. Your ticket purchase will include an open bar from 6pm-10pm, catering courtesy of Gibson's, and your first $1,000 in chips to use towards blackjack, craps, roulette, and raffle prizes.

Get you tickets now!  Click here.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Honors

 The Magic That Was #BlackHistoryMonth ...and the Further Excellence Ahead-- 

It's been a little while B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Followers, and we apologize for the gap in posts.  Today was the perfect day to pop in and talk about the great things that have been happening recently.  Despite the tragedies so widely reported, there have been so many good things happening.  They deserve attention.

As you all know, February is Black History Month.  African-Americans are celebrated at a heightened level, and encourage year-round celebration through activities, campaigns, events, and inspiration.  This month, world-renowned Marvel Comics film, Black Panther took theaters and box offices by storm.  It also inspired many.  The cast has been gracious in their promo tour--inspiring kids to believe in the magic of Wakanda and know the power of their own strength and intelligence.  This movie broke records, reignited interest in STEM, and deepened the pride those with African descent feel, walking their walk in life each day.  We hope this vibranium-powered movement is only in its beginning stages.

The Triibe, a West Side (Best Side) of Chicago-based news outlet has launched an indigogo campaign.  The Triibe is a fresh face in telling the untold story of African-Americans in the City of Chicago.  Their events are intelligence-powered, and their content is something the young Black professional has been waiting for.  Check out their indigogo, and share in their growth.

Project Style launched!  Project Style’s mission is to educate at-risk youth on the connection between self-esteem and the way we dress, with the goal to increase confidence, self-worth, and academic success rates. To donate to this cause, click here!

My Block, My City, My Hood shoveled its way into our hearts.  Led by the socially innovative Jah​mal Cole, My Block My City, My Hood has not only taken children out of their Chicago neighborhoods to explore others in the City, but it's also working toward exploration in other countries.  Following the City's last snow globe experience, Jah​mal used the power of social media to gather over 100 people to shovel snow for seniors.  This is Black Boy Joy.

Black Lives Matter pushed further for gun control.  In addition to the empowered voices of the teen survivors and mourners of the Florida high school shooting, the voices of African-American teens has grown louder.  Gun violence plagues our country in a way no other nation experiences.  It's sad to know our reality, but it's magnificent to know how energized young people are in forcing change and leading the conversation.  We commend all of these teenagers, and support them as they take our society to the next level--positively.

In the, now Wonder-Woman World of Sports, NBA team Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced Cynthia Marshall as interim CEO of the organization.  As sexual harassment has plagued many industries and organizations--from entertainment to sports, to government, we have seen and heard some tough stories.  Here though, is something good.  We're seeing a seasoned telecommunications executive take the lead of an organization needing to overcome obstacles.  We're also seeing a change in tide in a male-dominated industry.  Cynthia is breaking barriers as the 1st female CEO in the league.  This trailblazing is amazing and necessary for young women to follow.  Aspiration on 100!

​Speaking of sports, ESPN's The Undefeated aired Dear Black Athlete--a look at the impact Black athletes have had on professional sports, and the impact sports has had on them.  This feature examined race and protest in sports, in today's backdrop, while reflecting on the same over time.  Hosted by ​Cari Champion, athletes spoke about their individual experiences, wrote letters to their communities and fans, and told stories of courage and the work their doing to progress their worlds forward.  This is more than worth watching.

In beauty news, Shark Tank competitors of The Lip Bar have signed a deal with Target!  This bit of Black Girl Magic was great news and a fantastic leap forward for African-American beauty brands.  Getting placement in Target is just proof dedication and hard work always pay off.  Whatever is for you, is for you.  No one (or voting panel) can take it away.  Order now!

Forever (in our hearts) FLOTUS, Michelle Obama announced she will be releasing her "deeply personal" memoir this coming fall.  Can't wait!

So here's some of the amazing stuff that happened in February.  What do you have to share?  What's up for Women's History Month in March?

Stay tuned...

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