Style Session: FTF Cozy Neutrals

I am so here for this style session—oh, that’s cute— we may need to officially name these Style Sessions…

Anyway, last week I had the opportunity to visit my Alma Mater, California University of Pennsylvania. Since the campus was closed due to COVID-19, my sister and I got to do fun little fall shoot at some of my favorite places on campus, mask free.

I wanted to do a super neutral look, because… well, I love her, and I wanted something comfy since we’d be walking all over campus. I ended up styling the Katherine Side Zip Sweater, which is an oversized cream pullover with gold zipper details on the side from Fashion to Figure. I paired it with these super comfy Jordana High Rise Shiny Leggings, also of the Fashion to Figure variety.

From there, I threw in these over the knee boots, which are super vintage Fashion to Figure, and my favorite fall accessory, a camel colored wide brim hat from Forever 21. This look is super comfy, super cute, super neutral, and super in season.

This Blog was sponsored by Fashion to Figure and you can use my code, FTFARI, for money off on all of your orders from fashiontofigure.com.

Style Session: FTF Warm Weather Fall Look

Fall fashion is everyone’s favorite, me included. I love the layers and extra accessories, as well as the nude and earth toned colors. Simply put, fall fashion is my aesthetic, and I love it here.

Most of you know I have an ongoing partnership with one of my favorite plus exclusive brands, Fashion to Figure. Because of this, I decided to start better documenting the outfits I style with their pieces and get consistent with blogging the style details again, and what better time than Fall to start?

I wanted to do a cute & casual warm weather fall look, with semi basic pieces, so I started with the Black Ultra High Rise Self Tie Skinny Jeans. These pants are ultra-fitted with a good amount of stretch. I especially love the self-tie belt because it gives that extra detail to your outfit whether you do a crop top or a bodysuit.

I coupled the pants with the Naomi Animal Print Ruched Blouse. This is my favorite crop top of the season so far. I love the sleeves, the material, and the neckline. More than that, I love the crop tie strings that allow you to adjust the shirt’s length.
To style, I added a black wide brim hat with gold detail from forever 21, and these very comfy red strappys from Torrid, paired with a red lip. Because my shoes have the bow detail around the ankle, I cuffed my skinnys, and what do you know? A look!

This Blog was sponsored by Fashion to Figure and you can use my code, FTFARI, for money off on all of your orders from fashiontofigure.com.

Reves et Cauchemar: A Fashion Production

Fashion shows don’t happen often in Pittsburgh, especially black fashion shows, especially black fashion shows with French names. It’s just not Pittsburgh’s “thing,” if you will. However, last Saturday was the premiere of Reves et Cauchemar, or for the sake of this blogger and the French language, Dreams and Nightmares: A Fashion Production. Jeremey Johnson of JKansepts and Reesha Jackson of RLJDesigns teamed up to bring what I would describe as, the show that could take the city form Pittsburgh, home of the Stillers, to Pittsburgh, that city with the New York mixed with Atlanta, vibe.

Producers Jeremy Johnson and Reesha Jackson

“My goal was providing a platform for guests to experience a fusion of art and fashion,” says Reesha. “I wanted this to be more than just a  show, but an experience including shopping, a live artist, and networking opportunities.”

That’s exactly what the duo produced, an experience. Yes, it was that real. No, I’m not exaggerating. The show consisted of 2 runways, sold out VIP and standing room, a red carpet, an in house pop up shop called the Fashion Village, and 8 incredible designers. Among the showcased designers were Destination Royalty, Zaughn Collection, Ooh Baby, Groov Gang, Shop Sittoy, E Adonis, Cherish by Cherie, and of course, JKancepts opened and closed the show. Not only was the show itself amazing, but with the incorporated ballet dancing, flute performance, dancing, live art painting, and nods to Jordan Peele’s US, it truly lived up to its name as fashion production.

Now, I know folks are here for the photos, so let’s just get to it, shall we?

JKancepts by Jeremy Johnson

Destination: Royalty by Asia Monique

Zaughn Collection

Ooh Baby

Groov Gang

Shop Sittoy

E Adonis

Cherish by Cherie

JKancepts

Ari wearing a deep V, high double slit, yellow print romper from Kingz & Queenz Boutique

I thoroughly enjoyed the show and can’t wait to see how Pittsburgh continues to incorporate more cultural events amid the clash of our traditional steel. I would like to see more plus options in the future, but some the designs that were showcased in straight sizes are also available in plus, so I appreciate that. I got my romper and necklace from Kingz & Queenz Boutique. My shoes are from Ashley Stewart.

Latrice Phoenix and Melanin Theory Apparel

Last week I got the chance to meet up with Latrice Phoenix, a business minded mommy from Pittsburgh who owns not one, not two, but three businesses BY HERSELF. In addition to her photography business, Latrice Phoenix Photography, and her non-profit, Melanin Mommies Pgh, Latrice’s newest endeavor is called Melanin Theory Apparel, which happens to be a pro-black fashion line designed to uplift and empower black folk through our biggest and brightest superpower, melanin. Naturally, when I found out about this dope brand, I had to learn more. I was able to catch up with Latrice and get the inside scoop on Melanin Theory Apparel and the direction she plans to take it.


Latrice in Got Melanin? Tee and Ari in Melanin Queen Tee

Ari: So, for those that don’t know, yes, you founded and own Melanin Theory but this endeavor is not second, but third to your photography business, Latrice Phoenix Photography, and your non-profit, Melanin Mommies Pgh. What inspired you to not only launch a third business, but also to create and supply pro-black fashion in Pittsburgh? 

Latrice: Melanin Theory has always been an idea of mine. I first designed the shirts a few years ago and went to my graphic designer with the idea. Unfortunately, I just had too much going on at the time to really launch the line, and it’s still not perfect. I eventually would like to add more apparel and accessories.

Ari: As a rising entrepreneur, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced with not only running multiple business, but also with being a double minority business owner?

Latrice: Financial support is always a struggle. I am juggling so many endeavors and I am a one woman show. Melanin Theory is fairly new, so it’s not perfect; I’m not perfect, but every day I strive to get better and put more into the brand.


Latrice in Melanin Theory Apparel


Ari: What motivates you to keep going every day? What is your “why?”

Latrice: My daughter is my why. I want her to always see her mom working and striving to accomplish her dreams. I want her to see me building towards wealth and financial freedom. Being an entrepreneur is hard, but I show her that it’s an option. When I was growing up I didn’t have anyone showing me other options. I knew going to school and going to college– even with that I’m the first in my family to graduate high school and college.

Latrice and her “why” in Melanin Theory Apparel


Ari: What can customers expect to see from Melanin Theory in the coming months?

Latrice: Great question. Customers can expect to see more apparel for kids. I’ll also be scouting for brand ambassadors and doing local photo shoots.

Ari: How would you explain your personal style?

Latrice: Honestly, at 29 I’m just coming into my “personal style”. I’ve done a lot of trial and error over the years trying to find my “style.” I’ve even hired a stylist a few times. I mostly wear what I’m comfortable with, I dress by my mood. If I’m feeling flirty and sexy I’ll look that way, if I’m feeling afro-centric I’ll look that way as well. Then sometimes, I want to look completely different and cater to my alter egos.


Ari in Melanin Theory Apparel


Ari: What is your overall goal with Melanin Theory Apparel? What is MTA’s legacy?

Latrice: My goal with Melanin Theory is to create apparel centered around the actual theory of the power in Melanin skin. Melanin Theory is an Afrocentric claim that the higher level of melanin in the skin the higher intellectual and physical ability ultimately creating supernatural powers. That is such a powerful theory and I want young black people to wear something that represents that–our magic.

Ari: What advice would you share with young WOC starting their own small business?

Latrice: Take the leap. Do it whatever it is. Just do it. Fight for your dreams and keep fighting. Yes, it’s hard, but no one said it would be easy so why not now?

Latrice and Ari for Melanin Theory Apparel

Special Thanks to Latrice Phoenix and Melanin Theory Apparel. Be sure to check out the Melanin Theory Apparel website here and keep up on social media through Facebook and Instagram as well.

Pittsburgh Fashion Week 2018

Last week Pittsburgh had the pleasure of hosting its very own fashion week to highlight and set new standards for the city’s fashion scene. The celebration consisted of three fashion forward events throughout downtown Pittsburgh. Ya girl was able to attend two of the three events and get all the info about Pittsburgh’s up and coming fashion elite. I won’t lie, this blog is a lot of pictures, but its fashion week…I mean what other way should I go about this?

Continue reading “Pittsburgh Fashion Week 2018”