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Although no season truly requires an overhaul of your wardrobe, it can't be denied that this summer season has us all more excited than usual. Along with the return of bottomless brunches and tropical girls' trips, the need for style to be fun and personalized is arguably more noticeable post-lockdown. After a year of athleisure and loungewear, it's unsurprising that our feeds are saturated with looks worthy of the streets of Paris.

What's also not surprising, but equally as satisfying, is seeing the amount of black-owned looks curated via various TikTok trends, from style icons to celebrities. Black-owned clothing brands seemed to boom last summer, and while the listicles have stopped and fewer brands are standing behind the black squares posted on Instagram, Black-owned brands are still of the utmost importance. Equality, at all levels and across all industries, is something that needs to be done more often. It's a dance we have to keep participating in and perfecting as we go.

From ready-to-wear premium clothing to ethically sourced African garments, this collection is curated to stock your entire wardrobe in woman-owned, Black-owned clothing. Each product is quintessential for the season, whether you're looking for a trend-worthy piece for the summer holidays or an investment piece to effortlessly elevate your professional wardrobe.

Itohan High-Rise Thong Orange

Cut from a premium printed polyamide fabric, the Itohan swimsuit bottoms are high-waisted and thong-shaped for a little cheeky excitement.

Kai Collective
$100

Vacation Me Please Bikini Set

The Vacation Me Please bikini set by Curvy Fox is a sweet suit perfect for any vacation you have planned. The tie-front top allows for the perfect fit for any body shape while the inclusive sizing means anyone can be pretty in pink.

Curvy Fox
$129

Adore Me Ruched White Skirt Set

We love melanin dripped in white! This all-white set is sexy and feminine, and perfect for any summer day party.

Rich Addiction
$60

New York Chain Necklace

The New York Chain necklace is a go-to piece for minimalist and effortless summer styling. Handcrafted and available in a variety of platings, this simple chain is the piece that'll keep giving for years to come.

Sammi Maria Jewelry
$84

Venom Ear Jackets

Say hello to the newest (and sexiest!) earrings in your collection. The Venom Ear Jackets are the perfect cherry on top of your steamy summer nights.

Sucre Couture
$55

Kelli Necklace

This Kelli Necklace is a simple style that you can wear day or night. It's bold, edgy, and totally reflective of its brand hometown, LA.

BYCHARI
$189

Gold Bamboo Hoop Earrings

Jump onto the 80's trend wave with oversized bamboo earrings like these from 1929 Galore. They are available in two sizes and perfect to dress up or down.

1929 Galore
$55

The Nabi Ring

The Nabi Ring is a simple and understated stunner that's easily adjustable and easy to pair/layer with other rings. It's available in gold and silver.

Oma the Label
$59

Good Eye Pendant Necklace

Keep yourself fully aligned and make a bold statement with the Good Eye Pendant Necklace. It's available in two colors and with additional chain links for your preference.

The Good Vibe Collection
$18

Stay Wavy Bucket Hat

Bucket hats are an absolute must in 2021 when it comes to on-trend accessories. Do yourself a favor and go ahead and cop CocoxRobyn's rendition of the season's hottest accessory: the Stay Wavy bucket hat. It's lit.

CocoxRobyn
$30

Joey Suit Trousers Macadamia

Elevate your summer style with an incredible pair of suit trousers, such as the Joey Trousers from Re Ona. Constructed using the finest fabric, these trousers feature deep pockets as well as an elasticated waistband to ensure a waist-cinching fit.

Re Ona
$165

Tatu Tube Top

cdn.shopify.com

Talk about a vibe, the Tatu Tube Top as well as the other offerings in the House of Ivy collection are all beautiful nods to Africa, with fabric for the products sourced from West Africa. The minimalistic designs blend everyday with easy breezy vacation looks.

House of Ivy
$45

Josie 4.0

A standout piece in any wardrobe, these vintage Levis with grommet detail are the key to nailing any streetwear look this summer.

Samaria Leah
$225

Toni Halter Dress

Spice up every room you walk into with the Toni Halter Dress from Citrus Husk Boutique. The multiway self-tie halter has ruched side detail and guaranteed a favorite ths season.

Citrus Husk Boutique
$41

Ruched Mesh Dress - Merlot

A dress that understands the assignment, this merlot rouched dress is a staple for any special occasion this season.

Undra Celeste New York
$225

Red Oval Place Skirt

It's hard to find the perfect skirt but this one from Sammy B Designs is in the running. With a hidden elastic waist and modern wave hemline, you can easily pair this with a lightweight pullover for a casual occasion, or a form-fitting bodysuit for a cute night out.

Sammy B Designs
$80

Sage Children's Joggers

These pull-on joggers are so fashion-forward, we couldn't exclude it from our must-have list! Made with 100 percent organic cotton in the USA, who doesn't want their little one in these?

Minibrook Kids Apparel
$29

Yarra Biker Shorts

The biker short is the perfect staple for summer because it's so easy to style. This version from Roam Loud has a longer hemline and high-waisted for a cinched in feel.

Roam Loud
$40

ZEN-105 Aviator Sunglasses

Nothing says summer quite like a pair of classic aviator glasses, like these from Coco x Breezy. The coveted silhouette is a long-lasting trend that's well worth the investment.

Coco and Breezy
$285

Rosé Sunglasses

See the world through Rosé-colored glasses this season. These lightweight Rosé sunnies are perfect for those days sipping Rosé with your best friends. We're just saying.

Tribal Eyes
$170

Floyd Sunglasses

If you're in need of an easy, nostalgic vibe this summer, look no further than this cute pair of sunglasses from 3rdeyeview. Plus, the oversized square shape is a fun trend to try for summer.

3rdeyeview
$43

FINN Sandal

This sultry strappy sandal will be your summer go-to for every event. Handmade in Italy, the FINN Sandal by Chelsea Paris comes in a variety of colors.

Chelsea Paris
$595

Tamu Gold Sandal

Stand up and stand tall before you conquer the world in these sleek and sophisticated strappy gold sandals. The Tamu gold sandals are absolutely the standard in the shoe game hall of fame.

KEEYAHRI
$659

The Jojo Flat

A coveted leftover from 2020, a good flat will take you far this summer. This hand-dyed leather flat by Salone Monet is effortlessly chic with a timeless silhouette.

Salone Monet
$200

Soleil Ballet Flat Lilac

Add sophistication to your outfit without sacrificing comfort with these lilac flats from Aminah Abdul Jillil.

Aminah Abdul Jillil
$398

Adia Boot - Yellow

This show-stopping shoe is perfect for slaying any party this season. Made in Italy with applique detail, you won't regret this investment.

Tori Soudan
$798

Flashdance Roller Skates

Rolling skating is a trend that's not going away, and the Flashdance roller skate is perfect for dipping your toe in the trend.

Moonlight Roller
$250

Carenage Stripe Robe

You can never go wrong with investing in luxurious sleepwear. This multicolored robe by Fe Noel is perfect around the house, or paired over a casual outfit for a day out.

Fe Noel
$498

Cloud Sock

The Cloud Sock will be one of the coziest investments you'll make this summer. Made in America, a portion of the proceeds from the lavender color are donated to food distribution in Kenya.

Brother Vellies
$35

Tiwa Washable Silk Shorts Set - Blue

This reversible silk set is the chic alternative to traditional loungewear this summer. The buttery soft set by Ejona Label is flirty and easy to wear but with ample coverage.

Ejona Label
$130

Jewelled Paisley Pyjama Set With Matching Headscarf

This modern three-piece set with luxury French seams and double-turned hems screams, "Black girl luxury." The LJ Signature pattern and exquisite quality exude comfort and elegance.

LJ Signature
$140

Words by Courtney Simpson

Featured image designed by Kyra James

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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