I posted my very first OOTD on the internet when I was nineteen years old. Eleven years ago, I was standing on a beach 40 miles south of this one. I can still remember that I wore all those years ago: a blue plaid shirt, a pair of grey shorts, and a pair of black sandals. At nineteen, I didn’t know that this decision would change my life forever: that I’d go on to win a contest that would send me to NYFW; that this contest would then afford me two more chances to attend NYFW: once as a writer attending and covering fashion shows, and once as a speaker at a conference; that I’d then go on to blog for many more years after that before settling into a life of slow fashion and slow living. I’ve met and worked with so many fabulous people along the way, some of whom I’m still very lucky to call friends today.
At nineteen, I wanted to simply figure out my personal style. What I didn’t know then was that I needed to figure out who I was before I could out what my style. Well, eleven years later, I’m happy to say that I have a better sense of who I am and have made huge strides in even loving the person I am. At nineteen, I would’ve never guessed that my swan song outfit would be a chore jacket, a crop top, and a pair of linen pants. All black, of course. All ethically made. An outfit that is so quintessentially me, composed of 3 of the 55 carefully curated pieces in my wardrobe. But here I am!
I know my style so well that I can confidently get dressed in the dark and have had to in our tiny apartment in the early hours of the morning before work, while Brandon was still asleep. What I don’t know quite as well is how to speak up when things get dark; how to keep going when things get dark; and how to find the light when things get dark. I know my wardrobe so well that I can name most of my pieces from memory, but what I don’t know from memory is history (real history), words and sentiments from change makers, or books I have read or need to read. And so if in the last eleven years, I accomplished and grew so much, I can only hope that the next eleven will be just as great and full of growth.
So this is going to be my last OOTD to close my chapter as an influencer. No more partnerships. No more gifted pieces. It’ll just me and the stories I have to tell moving forward here in this space. I couldn’t have asked for a better last partnership to end with than Only Child. We agreed to collaborate Ten days before George Floyd’s death. Fourteen days after his death, I reached out to them to give them opportunity to change their mind and make space for Black creatives (and suggested a few to take my place). They replied back saying that they would reach out to those Black creatives AND that I deserve a space within this world of sustainable fashion too; that my voice does not take away from their work of amplifying Black voices. At nineteen, I didn’t know it then, but what I really wanted to was to feel like I belonged somewhere, anywhere. Now at thirty, I’m beginning to see that I belong EVERYWHERE. It’s just up to me to trust in and see my worth, and hopefully at 41, I’ll believe those words to be true.
For full transparency: I was given store credit and a discount code to shop Only Child’s summer collection. These are the amazing Ryan pants that are going to take me through this summer of inner work and beyond. Thank you to Only Child for being a part of this moment.
Thank you to all the brands I’ve worked with in the last 11 years. It’s been an amazing, wild ride. I’ll continue to support you as a loyal customer. Here’s to the next chapter.