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Elevate Your Closet With These Black Woman-Owned Apparel Brands

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No matter what part of the world you live in right now, I'm almost positive that the weather is doing whatever the hell it wants to. Where I live, a full-force hail storm let loose in July, so I know that there's no telling what the rest of the year has to hold weather-wise, but I do know that rain or shine, my wardrobe will be on point.


The countdown to this year's ElevateHER event is on, and with only a few weeks until we all gather in a utopia of black girl bliss, we need to get our wardrobe together, sis.

One of the most difficult tasks in the world can be shopping for clothes when your city is constantly under attack by unpredictable weather patterns; but buying black isn't a motto, issa lifestyle. We're here to help you can attain the ultimate drip in any climate with the four black woman-owned businesses listed below:

J. Dow Fitness

Dr. Jacqueline Dow's motto is to not stop until you make yourself proud, and that's exactly what she plans to do with her athletic apparel brand, J. Dow Fitness.

Before launching her company, Jacqueline got her doctorate in Public Health and gained more than eight years of experience in the sector and now, she's on a mission to confront health disparities that exist for women of color through advocacy and research. The collection currently offers a unique line of tops, sports bras, and leggings that will help you attain all of your fitness dreams.

Click here to shop J. Dow Fitness.

Swank Blue

Created by the legendary Olori Swank herself, Swank Blue is guaranteed to give you the ultimate drip for any and every occasion, even at Waffle House. Olori, who is a renowned entrepreneur, celebrity stylist, and author, originally enrolled as a student at the University of Georgia with plans of going to med school, but as it turned out, God had other plans.

After graduating with honors with a bachelors in Psychology, an unexpected meeting with the VP A&R at Jive Records led Olori to jumpstart the celebrity stylist career or her dreams. Since then, Olori has worked with artists like Childish Gambino, Teyana Taylor, and Lance Gross, and now she's bringing her signature style to your closet with her brand, Swank Blue, which offers a unique collection of dresses, sets and onesies.

Click here to shop Swank Blue.

The Working Beauty

Janelle Henderson used her God-given talent of thrifting to help women get fly AF on a budget, and we stan for an unapologetically frugal Queen. You might have bought a style box in the past, but you've never had a monthly subscription quite like this. The Working Beauty sources specifically curated, thrifted items all over the world that you can buy either a la carte or as a part of a 10-piece package deal for under $100.

Click here to shop The Style Box.

Poise Ann

Corduroy and buttons and textures, oh my! *Inserts heart eye emoji* Poise Ann is a bad and bougie black woman's dream, and offers a collection of business-casual pieces that will turn every head in the boardroom.

The company's goal is to help busy women not only embrace their beauty and power and shatter gender-based obstacles, but to help them look damn good while they're doing it. This brand offers a unique collection of bottoms, dresses, blazers, jumpsuits and tops that range from $54 to $105.

Click here to shop Poise Ann.

Featured image by Instagram/@swankblue.

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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