Category Archives: CULTURE + HAPPENINGS

Forever 21 Celebrates Black History Month

February 5, 2021

This is Forever21’s first-ever collection celebrating BHM!

Designer and photographer, Ashley Sky Walker (of Leimert Park Threads) and illustrator and designer, Stormy Nesbit whose work was featured in an op-ed written by our VP, Kamala Harris – who are both launching limited edition capsule collections this Thursday, February 4th with Forever 21 in celebration of Black History Month.

“This partnership and Forever21 created a space for black creatives like myself to really have a hands on approach from start-to-finish. F21 allowed me to be fully immersed, and to create from my heart, and present my most authentic self without any reservations – so my excitement is an understatement, I’m ecstatic to have my work in a Black History Month capsule. This has shown me that there really is no limit to my art,” says Stormy.

Forever21’s first-ever partnership collection celebrating Black History Month, is a collaboration with three up-and-coming artists and creators, Ashley Sky Walker, Stormy Nesbit and Henry Jones.

Each collection showcases the range of beauty and power of artistic expression. A portion of proceeds from the collections will be shared with the artists, as well as donations made to charity partners including Sole Folks, Tec Leimert and Project Level.

Celebrating artistry and community, the capsule collections will launch online at www.forever21.com and select retail locations!

Stormy Nesbit’s Collection

Stormy draws inspiration from the people she’s surrounded with, her environment and God. She’s able to source feelings and emotions that she picks up on when she is surrounded by the people she loves and translates that in each of her pieces. Every single piece was secretly inspired by someone she personally knows and loves – Stormy says, “they might recognize it, they might not.”

Her art collections represent people of color, specifically women in the highest form. Representation matters and Stormy wants to be able to reach her community in the largest scale possible and remind them that they are seen. Stormy has learned her best work comes from her heart, and not what people expect; her best work is created at night while she plays Maverick City music and designs that she feels.

Ashley Sky Walker’s Collection

Much of Ashley’s inspiration for his F21 capsule came from within; he looked into archives of his photography and paintings over the years and was able to spot consistencies reflecting Black life. By showcasing moments of joy, rebellion and magic through his work, he realized that was the collection he needed to design – celebrating Black History through the lens of his camera and paintbrush.

“When F21 reached out and asked me to be a part of their Black History Month campaign, it felt amazing and honestly validating. I had a quick stint with the company back in 2016 to shoot their e-comm and was let go after a few months, which ultimately led me to launch Leimert Park Threads. The studio where we photographed the campaign shoot was the same studio where I was told would be my last day…I could not have planned this journey any more than the universe did. It was an unreal full circle moment!” says Ashley.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Stormy Nesbit is a Phoenix-based illustrator and designer with roots in the Midwest whose works primarily expresses the beauty and strength of America’s Black communities, with a focus on the women within them. Her brown-skinned characters echo the pride she has for her community, and the modern aesthetic provides a new take on the elegance in melanin. Stormy’s work has been featured in campaigns by national brands and in several publications, including an illustration created to run with an article written by Vice President Kamala Harris (linked in the intro paragraph).

Ashley Sky Walker started his career as a photographer the second he got his first camera, beginning to see work in a different light and experience. Being raised in South Central Los Angeles, Walker learned the importance of respect and patience when dealing with the ebb and flow of life. After studying at Howard University, Walker lived in New York City for over a decade which allowed him to work with brands like DVF, NIKE and VIBE Magazine and show off his raw but elegant photography style.

Walker eventually returned to Los Angeles with a new venture in mind and Leimert Park Threads was born in 2017 – a unisex clothing brand motivated by the struggle to bring awareness to black, brown, and colored life. Designed by Walker himself, he aims to create original streetwear pieces that are empowering and a tribute to cultural movements of the past. The brand first launched with the COLORED Collection, a line meant for every race, gender and creed standing for unity and equal rights for all and has been worn by celebrities like Issa Rae, Beyonce, and Chadwick Boseman.

Demee Koch On The Conscious Beauty That Will Define 2021

February 2, 2021

Demee Koch by Ryan Arbilo

The start of the year 2021 pretty much feels like season 2 of 2020. The psychological impact of the constraints caused by the pandemic is enormous.

In our industry, how we respond to the current crisis is translated into what we call trends. In fashion and beauty, those trends are visual mirrors of the collective moods of societies. Working from home has decreased the relevancy of fashion in our lives – to give you an example, Milan just reported a fatal drop in the usage of dry cleaning services in times when even the design loving Italians are spending their times at home in sweatpants. Studies report that the focus is on beauty, since we are mostly showing only our faces in video calls and Zoom meetings.

Trends have also shown a decline in the usage of face filters and layers of make-up (“contouring“). This is driven by our longing for authentic human interaction, which calls for showing our raw beauty in return. Now is the time to dedicate to extended self-care, with a classical approach using natural ingredients. We allow our skin to breathe.

After all, self-care is about self-love – and this is what we need in times of stress. To shine, a holistic approach to beauty is needed which also entails physical and mental balance, and the commitment to do our part of good in this world.

Ethical consumerism in beauty flourishes now – consumers are looking for cruelty-free, vegan products from sustainable brands. There is a need for a 360° approach to beauty, which means that it is also important to take into consideration giving back to society.

Now we have the time to wisely use our purchasing power by researching about the brands and products we are using. We must remember prestigious brands promising luxury does not necessarily translate to a holistic approach in beauty.

What is luxury in beauty today? It is artisanal products using natural ingredients in a time of mass production. And this raises the question: How would you exercise your purchasing power?

As it transpires, consumer demand is about so much more than vanity. We want ethical and fairly sourced products that do not only provide a great value to ourselves, but the environment and everyone involved in the production process and society as a whole. We are entering a beautiful time of conscious beauty.

Wish you all the best for 2021 you beautiful souls.

About Demee Koch
Demee Koch is a serial entrepreneur with a solid experience of 21 years in the health and beauty industry. With DE MOI BY DEMEE KOCH, she launched a social and ecologically friendly beauty brand that develops high quality and results driven cosmetic products with active ingredients, made with principles of honesty and fairness. 
Demee is an advocate for inclusivity and women empowerment, and is hands-on involved in charity works. Next to timely events based charities, she supports the Lumad tribe in her home country the Philippines with their scholarship program for education and level up needs, as well as local female business entrepreneurship programs. Since 2005, Demee shares her knowledge in conscious entrepreneurship as a trusted business advisor and director with successful global brands in the fields of sports, fashion and beauty. 
In 2019, Demee received the award as GLOBAL FWN100 2019 MOST INFLUENTIAL FILIPINA IN THE WORLD at the 16th Global Filipina Leadership Summit in Paris.

Kiva Confections, Cannabis And Keep A Breast

January 14, 2021

Keep a Breast, is a nonprofit devoted to early breast cancer detection through consumer education and the promotion of regular self-checks.

Called CHECK YOURSELF, this campaign is spearheaded by cannabis manufacturer Kiva Confections in tandem with San Jose dispensary Airfield Supply Co.

Kiva created a new limited edition Lost Farm Live Resin Passionfruit Gummy, the sales of which will support Keep a Breast. The campaign’s goal is to raise $20,000 for this nonprofit.

The Lost Farm Live Resin Passionfruit gummy is available for purchase at Airfield Supply Co. (San Jose), The Apothecarium (San Francisco), Jayden’s Journey (Modesto), King’s Crew (Long Beach), March and Ash (San Diego), Solful (Sebastopol), and Sweet Flower (Los Angeles).

Additionally, you can support the work of Keep A Breast through point-of-sale donations at Airfield and Sweet Flower’s registers.

SWEET FLOWER

8163 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Beauty Entrepreneur Demee Koch Chats About Her New Book

November 13, 2020

Demee Koch is a serial entrepreneur with solid experience of 21 years in the health and beauty industry. With DE MOI BY DEMEE KOCH, she launched a social and ecologically friendly beauty brand that develops high quality and results-driven cosmetic products with active ingredients, made with principles of honesty and fairness.
Demee is an advocate for inclusivity and women empowerment and is hands-on involved in charity works. Next to timely events based charities, she supports the Lumad tribe in her home country the Philippines with their scholarship program for education and level up needs, as well as local female business entrepreneurship programs. Since 2005, Demee shares her knowledge in conscious entrepreneurship as a trusted business advisor and director with successful global brands in the fields of sports, fashion, and beauty.
In 2019, Demee received the award as GLOBAL FWN100 2019 MOST INFLUENTIAL FILIPINA IN THE WORLD at the 16th Global Filipina Leadership Summit in Paris.

Let me start by clarifying that I am a person in the public, but more so I am a very private person. Yes, I am giving interviews, and yes, I do write guest articles for magazines, and yes, I am active on social media. But I turned down every TV home story or reality tv like inquiry (so far). The reason is, I need to be able to decide the outcome, not a producer nor anyone else. And nowadays I realize more and more that this is what I always did, to create my own narrative based on an intrinsic belief system, and that I can be proud about the fact that I always walked my own way – even if I myself did not know where it would lead me.

Now I publish my personal and entrepreneurial journey as a book.

My business is beauty and branding. I rock the beauty industry for over two decades now. I love traveling the world to research local, power-botanical ingredients that enhance natural beauty. I find hidden beauty regimes, mixtures, and addictive smells from around the globe to compose them into new products. The success behind my own brands and the brands that I consult is a highly purpose-led and community-driven approach.

I am doing very well for myself, and I still have so much to go for. But I am driven by something else. And that is to be able to give back; giving from the abundance that I created for me.

As a mentor for several female entrepreneurs, I found that this is what they are looking for when consulting me. The “secret sauce“ to where I stand as an “accomplished businesswoman“. A need of shouting it out into the world started boiling inside of me.

I took ownership of my dreams early on. It was a rough journey to who I am and where I stand today. There were mistakes and failures, tough lessons to be learned. My drive and passion to go further comes from a deep desire to be able to give back – to share the fruits of my labor that grew from using my talents and committing to them. So while I may have talent in developing beauty products, my passion lies in making a difference for the charity community projects I am able to support with the dollars I make.

When you focus on the goal of creating a value and leaving a legacy of kindness to this world, then you will leave your focus on your own shortcomings. You will make it happen, no matter how small your resources may seem at this point.

I am sharing my own personal story to show that it does not matter where you are coming from to make things happen for yourself and others. It is a story about a human figuring out and exercising her potential. With the hopes that it inspires readers to pursue their own dreams, not for profit, but for making a difference in this world. Money is a by-product that will come towards you when you walk towards the path that is right for you and the world. Success and wealth should be measured in the quality of people you attract to work with you, and the good you are able to create in this world. And let me share the ultimate beauty secret with you: it is kindness.

Click here to read a free chapter of Demee Koch’s upcoming book Breaking Conventions In Heels.

L.A. Jewelry Company The Pearl Source Partners with Dress For Success to Support Local Women

August 24, 2020

A great partnership is happening on August 26th between Dress for Success Los Angeles and LA based jewelry company The Pearl Source. They join Chrissy Metz, Minnie Driver, The RealReal, and Louis Vuitton for Women, Wine and Wardrobe Event.

The Pearl Source, among other fashion and accessory apparel, will be available for sale at discounted rates as part of Dress for Success’s Women, Wine and Wardrobe event, which will be held virtually on Wednesday, August 26. Proceeds from sales will be used to support local women in need of training, development, and professional clothing, and accessories for job interviews and everyday workplace attire!

The Pearl Source, one of the largest pearl importers, distributors and online retailers in the U.S., today announced a partnership with Dress for Success Los Angeles, the non-profit organization empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and development tools.

Shop for Success is the charitable celebration that invites Los Angeles to shop guiltlessly and give back stylishly. A division of Dress for Success Worldwide-West, this fashionable can’t-miss event brings together thousands of off-the-rack designer labels and showcases them under one fabulous roof. Items are marked down to unbelievable prices for a limited time only, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to support women complete powerful personal transformations.

“Every woman should have the tools they need to nail the job interview or further advance her career, and that includes professional and stylish workplace attire,” said Leon Rbibo, President of The Pearl Source. “Women throughout Los Angeles and the country as a whole are struggling right now. The community needs to come together to support them.”

The fundraiser comes at a time where more people than ever find themselves unemployed or underemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies show that women and people of color have been disproportionately affected, putting many on shaky ground professionally and financially. Retailers, fashion labels, and celebrities such as Chrissy Metz, Minnie Driver, and Zoey Deutch have joined efforts for the event to help offset some of the hardships women face in the Los Angeles area.

In addition to The Pearl Source, other fashion labels and brands participating in the fundraiser event include Louis Vuitton, Rag and Bone, The RealReal, and Manolo Blahnik.

About The Pearl Source

The Pearl Source is one of the largest online pearl jewelry retailers and distributors in the United States. As a leading Foundation Member of the Cultured Pearl Association of America, The Pearl Source specializes in high-quality pearl jewelry imported from the South Pacific, Japan, and China.

About Dress for Success

Dress for Success is a global nonprofit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help them thrive in work and life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to nearly 150 cities in 25 countries. To date, the organization has helped more than 1.2 million women work towards financial independence. Visit www.dressforsuccess.org to learn more.