The Making of the 'Shades of a Black Woman' Collection - By Iman Akilah



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August 21, 2020 2 min read

As a Black woman, I feel most empowered in my femininity. 

Despite society’s attempts to villainize Black women, I’m here to tell you that NO ONE can take away our stories, our grace, and our femininity. That is why my current designs and upcoming collection are inspired by us and cater to us in all of our natural beauty. 

It Started With Joyce

My very first Iman Akilah design was inspired by my grandma Lucinda Joyce. Her style, grace, and strength as a Black woman have always been one of my biggest inspirations. I wanted to bring that same inspiration to Black women everywhere through the Joyce Puff Sleeve Dress in a silhouette that celebrates the features of our bodies that we're often taught to hate. Since I've released the Joyce Dress, it's been incredible to see so many Black womenall over the country bring my design to life.

It Continues With Shades of a Black Woman



Amidst all of the trauma that Black people, and specifically Black women, are experiencing in society, I wanted to create a collection that uplifted us, reminded us of our beauty, and represented us as worthy of being considered 'high fashion.' The Shades of a Black Womancollection takes everything that makes being a Black woman magnificent; from the hues of our melanin to the curves of our body and our effortless style and reflects that in 11 signature styles that we can rock from the office to the club.

"Buy Iman"Embroidered T-Shirt (Available for Pre-Order)

My team uplifts me in my creativity, so I also wanted to pay them respect in my newest collection. I can’t say I am surprised by their graciousness, as I have a team full of beautiful Black women, but I am still incredibly grateful for their support. I decided to name every piece after one of my team members --from our production manager Lenese to our social media manager Kay. Every piece is a reflection of their personalities and their unique style and with the purchase of each piece, you'll receive a hangtag with a QR code that will link to the story of the member the piece was named after.

The official signature print of the Shades of a Black Woman Collection, designed by Iman Akilah.

The Shades of a Black Woman collection also features a signature print I hand-designed, which features all of the faces of the women on my team: 

Kay, Shenee, Gabby, Lenese, Katrina, Tanesha, Yadaira,Akilah, Mia, Kiki, Asha, and LeNaye. 

I love this print because, to me, it represents how dynamic Black women truly are. We are all different complexions, with different hair, and different experiences. I can't wait to share their stories with you through this collection while giving you bomb pieces that you'll be sure to keep in rotation for years to come. 

Shades of a Black Woman will be available for pre-order on August 28, 2020! If you can't wait until then, exclusive pre-orders of limited pieces from the collection are available now on our crowdfunding page.