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Editor’s Letter

Summer 2018 | #YHMTravels

It’s hard to put into words the life-changing experience I had this past spring. I’m always thinking of the next “big thing” for the magazine, but sometimes life happens, and I can’t make the next “big thing” happen. Of course, I face obstacles rising entrepreneurs can nod to such as having a small team or having limited access to much-needed resources.

This past spring it wasn’t about my team or what we lacked; it was about my health. After suffering from on-and-off headaches for a few nights, I decided to look into my issue only to learn I was suffering from cluster headaches. It was a relief to know what was going on, but I was still terrified of the whole situation. Please take a moment to learn more about cluster headaches if you don’t know what they are.

After my diagnosis, I was on the road to “recovery,” that’s when all the next “big things” for YHM came creeping into my relaxing moments of headache-free days, weeks and now months! We didn’t post much—on social media or even on the site. My health came first; sadly my team and you, our readers, paid the price for that. My health scare made me realize more now than ever that I have to take a few duties off my plate.

I’m doing better, and I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. Team YHM is growing, and we’re looking for fresh talents to help us discover even more amazing stories.

Moreover, it’s summer, and I for one, am excited to hear from you. Head on over to our Instagram channel, and tell us about your stylish and adventurous summer vacations using the hashtag #YHMTravels. We’ll take notes, and share your fun-filled days and nights with everyone. Plus check back here for the hottest summer trends and fall fashion inspirations, including our next blogger lookbook collaboration in August.

There is a lot to talk about, so stay tuned.

Yegide Matthews
Editor-in-Chief

When You Think of Knitwear, Think of PH5

PH5 goes beyond the limits of fashion to incorporate the use of technology into their state-of-the-art and year-round knitwear designs. We met up with co-founders Wei Lin and Mijia Zhang at their Autumn/Winter 2018 presentation during New York Fashion Week to talk more about their new collection which highlights the matriarchal system.

Lin and Zhang drew inspiration from The Memphis Group, an Italian design and architecture group from the 1980’s. The group’s structural designs and use of bold colors left their customers thinking whether functionality and design can seamlessly coexist.

“People often think that if a design is too dramatic and too colorful it’s not functional anymore,” explains Zhang.

PH5’s leading ladies successfully tackled the challenges of balancing their bold designs and structural frameworks with the elements of comfort and wearability. The A/W18 collection plays with asymmetry, architectural shapes, and Post-modern expressive color similar to that of The Memphis Group’s art deco movement. The graphical and decorative pieces also feature pockets for added comfort which provides the functionality Lin and Zhang aimed for.

PH5 has shown us that there is more than one way to remix the traditional sweater. Rather than reaching for your basic black, white, or beige, cable-knit or chunky sweater, opt for a funkier knit that stands out rather than blends in.

Similar to us, PH5 also aims to connect women across the globe. So it’s no surprise that half of the models in their A/W18 presentation are real women.

Their street casting included Kahlana Barfield Brown, InStyle’s Fashion and Beauty Editor-at-Large; Nowell Boardman, pediatric NICU nurse at Georgetown Hospital; sculptor Dina Satti; De’Ara Balenger of the Hillary Clinton campaign; and two young women from Girls Who Code.

The models come from job titles of varying backgrounds, but share a commonality in strength and diligence. Lin explains that “it’s not about what you do; it’s about how you do it. If you have confidence in what you do, [if] you’re hardworking, and you care about what you do, then you’re our girl.

Every season PH5 refreshes our palettes with new colors and designs. Zhang says that their objective is to be bolder than the previous year and that it starts with a bit of fear. The fear comes from balancing their designs over the thin line of editorial versus commercial.

Nevertheless, they never let that hold them back from adding innovative elements to their garments and testing new designs. From designing on new silhouettes to testing new yarns and stitches, the duo tune out the critics and guidelines to remain faithful to their niche.


By Serée Joseph | Photos: Courtesy of PH5

Raye Boyce on How to Make an Impact in the Beauty Industry

It’s unexpectedly warm this Friday afternoon, and I’m feeling a little rushed as I juggle my day job and YHM. A feeling most entrepreneurs can agree on. It’s lunchtime, but I’m pacing back-and-forth in my office, eager to find a quiet space for my much-anticipated call with Raye Boyce—the stunning entrepreneur behind the international beauty brand, ITSMYRAYERAYE.

I don’t mention the word “brand” lightly. Raye has journeyed a long way from posting beauty deals on Tumblr and uploading makeup tutorial videos on YouTube. She transcended her passion from a social media reach and brought her “A” game to the consumer marketplace.

Her reigning YouTube channel, ITSMYRAYERAYE has received massive attention from magazines such as Elle and Cosmopolitan. She is no longer highlighted for her trendsetting looks alone but instead tapped on the shoulder to share her expertise in the beauty industry. While all this attention comes with the territory of having over 1.7 M YouTube subscribers, Raye admits she never envisioned being worthy of such admiration.

“It’s a feeling of accomplishment. It’s cool to see that I started from the ground-up and now I’m compared to pros in the industry.”

Her résumé is stacked with a number of collaborations, recognition, and partnerships yet she remains genuine throughout her success. Raye’s recent partnership with BH Cosmetics features a luminous eye and cheek collection. It launched last November and has already sold out multiple times. Raye shared via social media that she worked on everything from the colors to the collection’s design.

This partnership was a testament to her entrepreneurial creativity as well as her loyalty to her audience. She pours her heart into everything she does. She is on a continuous grind to spoil and educate her “bays bays” with the latest—and most affordable—beauty products. She did just that when her collection with BH Cosmetics dropped.

In our last interview, Raye said that she puts “everything in the hands of God” from her successful collaborations to the stress of the business. In a video where she discussed her battle with depression and anxiety, she gave praise to God and her family. It’s an empowering video. The beauty and fashion world on YouTube can be superficial, but Raye gets personal and expresses her vulnerabilities in such a relatable way.

“It’s a bit nerve-wracking. I don’t want anyone judging me. My supporters go through the same things, so I share that I go through the same things too; there is hope. I can live out my dreams and not be a victim of anxiety.”

Raye constantly reaches out to her “bays bays” encouraging them to ask her questions, express themselves, and so much more. She is committed to connecting with them far beyond the screens and they empower her in return.

“A woman messaged me [on Facebook] about the hardship she was going through. She was in the army and had suicidal thoughts, but watching my videos helped her escape. When I upload, it’s just makeup and it’s not making a breakthrough in life, but for some people, it’s a break and it gives them hope.”

It’s safe to say Raye is more than a vlogger. I’m positive she has become a virtual “counselor” for a number of people. It’s not just about makeup anymore. There is a lot at stake as she continues to venture into the consumer marketplace. She has to be decisive about the content she publishes and every project she takes on.

In 2015 she collaborated with ColourPop on a lip collection, which was a huge deal for her. “I got to see my selling power. I didn’t think anyone would care about it, but it was a big accomplishment for me to collaborate with ColourPop. [One day] I want to have my own makeup line.”

Her journey on YouTube is over five years old—that’s a lot of videos. Each year we get to experience a new side of Raye and new projects. While beauty tips and trends are all in her field, Raye has broken into fashion editorials over the years—posting more about her fashion sense. She explains that it wasn’t a marketing tactic her team cooked up, but more of a natural transition.

“I’ve always been experimental. I didn’t think that anyone would care, but [people around me] encouraged me to do more.”

It’s refreshing to watch Raye’s personality shine throughout her platforms. She’s funny, dorky, chic, and smart. Her team, sociaLebs has propelled her career by helping her navigate the ever-changing influencer world while still being true to her humble beginnings.

“My management sociaLebs helps with everything. They helped me grow. It’s really cool because we all get along.”

Raye’s mission is constant—brag about affordable products, have fun, and be honest. While there is a number of companies sending her PR boxes, she doesn’t just let anyone influence her and her audience.

“I turn to my friends for new lessons and tips. About a year ago a friend told me ‘you don’t use transition color.’ They told me to try it and ever since then I’ve used it.”

This season Raye is all about bringing old-school trends to the forefront. “The trends I’m loving right now are coming back. Lip-gloss is coming back!” She is just as fanatic about makeup as she is with products that keep her skin looking and feeling healthy. “I’m obsessed with facemasks—I have so many detox and clay masks.”

This rising beauty mogul is not putting too much pressure on herself, but her next venture already has a blueprint. Before starting her YouTube channel, Raye enjoyed working behind-the-scenes and hopes to do so again by working with new talents.

“It would be really cool to invest and give [others] the resources they need to succeed.”

As I begin to wish Raye the very best of what’s to come, she raves about YHM’s continued support for her. No worries Raye, we’re rooting for you every step of the way.


By Yegide MatthewsPhotos by Juan Veloz

Mac Duggal; Couture for the Modern Woman

“While I’m not dashing off to fancy galas and award ceremonies I couldn’t help but tiptoe into the magical and feminine world of couture at Mac Duggal’s Spring/Summer 2018 New York Fashion Week runway show. According to industry insiders, the Indian born and Chicago based designer is said to be the “biggest designer you’ve never heard of, yet.”

Fashion Designer Mac Duggal walks the runway for Mac Duggal Spring/Summer 2018 show at New York Fashion Week, NYFW Art Hearts Fashion

Mac Duggal designs have been modeled by stars from reality shows such as Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, American Idol, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, and The Real Housewives series. Mac has had a massive impact on fashion and up to this point, quietly so. His triple threat influence of dressing Hollywood celebrities, reality stars, and prom queens nationwide is finally gaining more attention.

I made my way through the crowded lower level of the Angel Orensanz Center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan to talk more about Mac’s star-studded résumé with the designer himself. Although celebrities indulge in Mac’s glamorous designs he’s not chasing A-list celebs for popularity.

“I don’t work that way. I put out a collection that looks best to me, and it should be worn by the woman who feels the energy of the dress. I don’t think [my team] should be running after anyone to wear a dress.”

There is nothing vain about Mac’s perspective. Fashion designs have been compared to works of art for centuries. His approach steps away from that concept just enough to bring the essential reason for dressing up to the forefront.

“My gowns are accessories to enhance the beauty of the woman and her energy. Nobody should just be telling you ‘your dress is beautiful.’ I think everybody should be saying ‘you’re beautiful and by the way, your dress looks good on you.’ That’s how we design, and that’s how we feel.”

Mac’s SS18 collection is another reflection of how his gowns are in sync with the women wearing them. The designer used a combination of advanced production techniques like 3-D prints of lace, the artisanal handwork of embroidery, and beading and sequins—an absolute feminine touch with the most modern design methods.

“It’s a new season coming up, a new year—everything changes. It’s cutting-edge fashion. We take you back 100 years ago and infuse [designs] to be more modern and that’s why you’ll see a lot of fringes and a lot of beading inspired by the 1920s.”

Mac was not quick to dive into detail about his brand’s upcoming fashion ventures, but one thing is for sure, he will continue to design unique pieces that are a representation of the modern woman.

“I’ve been doing this for about 30 years. I really, truly believe it’s not about the dress. It’s about the woman.  It’s always about the woman. You have to feel the inside of the woman shown on the outside. It’s all about body-positivity.”

Here are some of our favorite looks from the upcoming Mac Duggal collection.


By Yegide Matthews | Photos: Courtesy of Arun Nevader/Getty Images for Art Hearts Fashion

MonicaStyle Muse: Be True, Be You

“Be yourself.” A simple, but often complex piece of advice that everyone has heard at least once in his or her lifetime. But what does that really mean? For Monica Veloz, the beautiful mastermind behind MonicaStyle Muse on YouTube, this means coming to terms with being black and Dominican. In one of her most popular videos on her channel titled, “I Am Too Dark to Be Dominican,” Monica educates her following about the emotional realities of giving into the world’s cultural and racial stereotypes and how she decided to brush off the haters and embrace her heritage.

The bomb fashion and beauty vlogger from Bushwick, Brooklyn became motivated to start her channel when she realized that she wanted to turn on the television and watch more people who looked like her: dark-skinned Dominicans. “I used to look up Afro-Latinas and would never see myself and assumed people would just know that we existed,” Monica tells us. “It’s important to start educating people and to let people know that black people speak Spanish and so many other languages.”

After hitting over 100,000 subscribers on her channel six months ago, it’s safe to say that Monica is helping to put Afro-Latinas on the map. Monica’s channel provides her audience, also known as her “muses,” with fashion inspiration, makeup reviews, hilarious bilingual videos featuring her closest loved ones, and so much more. Her content is often inspired by her friends and her family, who she claims can be crazy but incredibly relatable to anyone surrounded by a circle of people who love the camera.

While discussing her creative process and her incredible team of influencers, Monica says she believes a person’s circle indicates where he or she is going professionally. “Stay around people who are hungry and motivated. It’s important to feed off of energy and constantly motivate each other. A great team keeps you grounded and in check.” Monica tells us that her brother, Juan Veloz, is one of the most important influences throughout her production process. “When I start working on a new video, I write things in a diary and tell my brother. He has a final say in many of the things I do because he has a different eye and a similar vision. He could honestly be ‘JuanStyle Muse!’”

Despite her growing fan base, Monica doesn’t like to think of herself as a public figure, but she realizes that being Instagram and YouTube famous comes with its pros and cons. “It’s tough to stay politically correct because we live in a day and age where you have to be vocal. I want to be a voice for people who can’t speak up and for those who are speaking up and can’t be heard.” She stresses that social media influencers do things that may be seen as controversial, but it is essential for people to remember that these gurus are people of substance with things they stand for. Monica believes that using her platform to represent the underrepresented and educate others is one of the most rewarding parts about her job.

There is so much to learn from Monica’s humbling journey to becoming one with her identity as an Afro-Latina and having the opportunity to put Afro-Latinas on our radar. For anyone who might be struggling to come out of their shell or be comfortable with being their true selves, she advises people to dig deep and understand your history and culture. “Growing up in my culture, you’re not taught to be an Afro-Latina. You’re told you’re Dominican,” Monica expresses. “Society makes you want to choose between being a black woman or a Hispanic woman, but that’s not a decision you have to make.”

What’s next for Monica? A year from now, Monica hopes that her MonicaStyle Muse channel will hit the 500,000 subscribers mark on YouTube. Eventually, she hopes to have her own talk show on a digital platform featuring all kinds of influencers of all genres and have the chance to really engage with her audience. While it’s difficult to tell what’s going to happen in anyone’s future, we do know one thing for sure: Monica’s determined and down to earth energy has brought her a long way in her career thus far and she’s only just getting started.


By Josephine Bathan | Photos by Juan Veloz

A Very Colorful Oasis: Leanne Marshall Spring/Summer 2018

Leanne Marshall’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection was like having a taste of the rainbow—in a magical way—from head-to-toe. Our team walked through buzzing corridors and dressing rooms to get a glimpse of Leanne’s latest collection before her big show. I remember hearing one of her makeup artists saying, “Think of the perfect sunset.” As I got closer to the models’ adorned faces I saw just how detail-oriented the MUAs were about Leanne’s vision. The models’ eyelids danced with the perfect blood orange palette that faded into a tropical yellow accent.

Before heading out from backstage, we were able to watch the model’s runway walk through, witness the designer adding final touches to her garments and get an exclusive interview with her as well.

Sitting front row –and loving every second of it—I was so grateful to experience Leanne’s S/S 2018 ready-to-wear collection. One thing that caught my eyes was the different body sizes Leanne used as her collection’s muse. #bodypositive Right away I could tell that using a diverse range of shapes, sizes and skin tones was important to her.

Her collection featured an explosive burst of colors on flowy and lush garments. Leanne’s standout accents included stripe-patterned dresses and blouse, diamond-shaped cutouts, one-shoulder gowns, and asymmetrical ruffled skirts. Take a look at the colorful oasis Leanne brought to New York Fashion Week in September.

 


Video and story by Stephanie Campian, Runway images: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Leanne Marshall/Brian Ach/Getty Images for Leanne Marshall