The Here To Slay Collection​

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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

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.


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

Tatu Tube Top


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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.


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

Soleil Ballet Flat Lilac

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

Aminah Abdul Jillil

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words by Courtney Simpson

Featured image designed by Kyra James

Sign up today and be the first to get notified on new updates, exclusive events, retreats and giveaways!

More Posts
Tracee Ellis Ross On Why She Declined The Idea Of Someone Else Running Her Hair Company

Actress and entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross recently revealed the driving force behind her desire to become the owner of her haircare brand, Pattern.

According to its site, Pattern is a haircare company that provides a wide range of products, from shampoos, conditioners, oils, creams, and many more to individuals with curls, coils, and tight hair textures. Although Pattern would launch in 2019, the idea for the company first came to Ross a decade before --in 2008, when her hit show Girlfriends wrapped-- following a brief encounter at a beauty supply store and many wanting to recreate her past looks.

Keep reading...Show less
Here's What Happened When I Started Taking Ice Baths Every Day

I'm sure by now you've seen a crazy number of people pop up across your "For You" page or in a random YouTube ad doing ice baths, also known as cold plunges. You may be wondering why these people are intentionally sitting in a tub of water between 39 to 50 degrees. I know that's what you're thinking because for the past few years, every time I post about doing an ice bath, my comments and DMs get filled with questions.

Keep reading...Show less
What Is 'Vaginal Laxity' And How Can You Effectively Treat It?

If you’re either not yet (roughly) in your 40s or you’ve never given birth to a child, let me just tell you that something that’s probably coming your way that you probably never gave much thought to is some form of vaginal laxity.

Although I’ve been able to avoid it until, eh, the last several months or so, now that it likes to show up and out on occasion, I have definitely made it my purpose and mission to figure out how to get it under some level of control — not because I take issue with aging (I don’t); it’s just that, sneezing too hard and feeling a drip or two has never been a part of my life, so why start now, chile.

Keep reading...Show less
Amber Riley Is In Her Element

Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.

Credit: Ally Green

The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.

Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”

Credit: Ally Green

Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.

Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”

“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."

If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.

The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”

There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.

In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."

The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.

Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."

“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”

Credit: Ally Green

At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.

This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.

. . .

We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.

On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.

“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."

This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.

When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.

Credit: Ally Green

If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.

Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”

“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”

"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”

Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”

Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”

As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.

Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.

“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.

Credit: Ally Green

“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”

Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.

“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.

If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.

She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”

Credit: Ally Green

"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”

With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.

She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”

After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”


Director of Content: Jasmine Grant

Campaign Manager: Chantal Gainous

Managing Editor: Sheriden Garrett

Creative Director/Executive Producer: Tracey Woods

Cover Designer: Tierra Taylor

Photographer: Ally Green

Photo Assistant: Avery Mulally

Digital Tech: Kim Tran

Video by Third and Sunset

DP & Editor: Sam Akinyele

2nd Camera: Skylar Smith

Camera Assistant: Charles Belcher

Stylist: Casey Billingsley

Hairstylist: DaVonte Blanton

Makeup Artist: Drini Marie

Production Assistants: Gade De Santana, Apu Gomes

Powered by: European Wax Center

This Is Why Your Bright Under-Eye Technique Is Not Giving

If you are a fan of the bright under-eye, then you have the legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin to thank. The bright under-eye is only one of the major techniques that Aucoin brought to the forefront of the makeup industry in the ‘90s. The purpose of concealing the under-eye area is to hide blemishes and discoloration, redness, dark circles, and under-eye bags. However, according to Aucoin’s techniques, its main purpose is to lift and sculpt the face adding a new level of dimension.

Keep reading...Show less