theGrio Style Guide: Hip-hop fashion’s female pioneers and Sergio Hudson’s star power

In this week’s Style Guide, Lil Nas X and Coach make dreams come true, Janelle Monáe and Ice Spice cover Vogue, Sephora’s new Accelerate cohort, and more.

If thinking about streetwear from the Y2K era conjures up brands like Phat Farm and Baby Phat, you’re not alone. But when it comes to hip-hop fashion, even Baby Phat had its predecessor. 

With Juneteenth approaching and in honor of hip-hop turning 50 this year, Women’s Wear Daily is paying tribute to two women who pioneered marrying hip-hop with fashion: Kimora Lee Simmons, owner of the aforementioned Baby Phat, and April Walker, the groundbreaking stylist and founder of Walker Wear

Designer April Walker walks the runway during the Universal Hip Hop Museum’s “The Drip: 50 Years of Hip Hop Fashion” at Hard Rock Hotel New York on February 24, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

“I reverse-engineered into fashion because of my love for hip-hop. It was the soundtrack of my life at the time,” Walker told the outlet. 

Walker, who many consider the first woman in streetwear, can claim rap heavyweights such as Tupac, Biggie, Queen Latifah,  LL Cool J, and more as early clients. As hip-hop culture began to influence style, she was inspired by the remixing of “off-the-rack” clothing with street-inspired embellishments and tailoring. She soon mastered the art, offering streetwear enthusiasts more of what they were looking for when they scanned the aisles. 

As streetwear and the genre that inspired it evolved through the generations, new names in hip-hop fashion began to crop up during the 2000s. Baby Phat offered a more feminine approach, exploding onto the scene with cropped puffer jackets, tight low-riding denim, and velour sweatsuits adorned with the brand’s bejeweled cat logo in dainty cursive. 

“We were influenced very much by music and very much by some of our artists at the time and contemporaries,” said Lee Simmons, excerpted from a previous WWD profile published at the height of Baby Phat’s reign in the early aughts. “But Baby Phat was very much setting the tone there because it’s breaking away from the men’s establishment.”  

Baby Phat, 50th anniversary of hip-hop, Juneteenth, April Walker, Walker Wear, Black fashion, Black style,
Models walk the runway at the Baby Phat & KLS Collection Spring 2010 fashion show at Roseland Ballroom on September 15, 2009, in New York, New York. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Throughout the profile, both women vividly depict what life has been like in the famously cutthroat industry. Walker describes how she’s managed to stay on top as new generations enter the genre and influence its style. In addition to celebrating hip-hop’s 50th year, a Baby Phat relaunch is currently in the works, making a return to hip-hop fashion especially relevant.  

Coach and Lil Nas X made dreams come true with surprise styling sessions 

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Lil Nas X attends the Versace FW23 Show at Pacific Design Center on March 09, 2023, in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

This week, singer and Coach ambassador Lil Nas X teamed up with the fashion house to surprise a lucky group of students with a career-ready styling session. As a part of the Coach Foundation’s Dream Day, the “Old Town Road” singer worked with stylist Matthew Mazur to make this special day happen. 

“I’m really happy to be partnering up with Coach and this program that’s helping other people’s dreams come true because I know how it feels for me to be achieving my own dreams,” said Lil Nas X, per People magazine.

Every year, the foundation presents Dream It Real scholars with a day of networking, mentorship, and professional development opportunities. The program is a part of the brand’s efforts to support historically marginalized students with unique, life-changing opportunities.  

In addition to modeling pieces handpicked by Lil Nas X as the artist cheered them on and coached them through professional headshots. The students then got one-on-one time with the star to discuss music, career advice, and more.

SCAD FASH Museum + Film names Black alum as new leader

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A view of fashion designs at the opening reception for the Christian Siriano “People Are People” exhibition presented by The SCAD Museum Of Art on October 22, 2021, in Savannah, Georgia. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SCAD)

There’s a new leader at the helm of Savannah College of Art and Design’s SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film; the museum has named alumna Alex Delotch Davis its newest executive director. According to WWD, Delotch Davis will lead exhibition development, marketing, fundraising, and the strategic vision for SCAD FASH and SCAD Atlanta exhibitions. She will also oversee the museum’s satellite location in Lacoste, France. Delotch Davis previously led experiential marketing programs and branded content for Cadillac in the southeast and earned a master’s in Luxury and Fashion Management from SCAD.

Meet the 2023 Sephora Accelerate cohort

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(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Over the past few years, Sephora has committed to increasing BIPOC representation on its shelves and throughout the beauty industry through its Accelerate program, offering emerging founders a comprehensive six-month experience that includes a strong curriculum, mentorship, assistance with merchandising, potential funding opportunities, and valuable investor connections. Seven new founders recently graduated from the program, and are now ready to launch their unique brands at Sephora. 

This year’s cohort features Brianna Arps, founder of Moodeaux; Malaika Jones, Tai Beauchamp, and Nia Jones, founders of BROWN GIRL Jane; Alicia Scott, founder of Range Beauty; Sienna Brown, founder of Glosshood; Camille Martin, founder of Seaspire Skincare; Karen Young, founder of OUI the People; and Simedar Jackson, founder of Of Other Worlds.
While we don’t know when these brands will become available at Sephora, learn more about the founders and their products on the Sephora Accelerate webpage.

Sergio Hudson is having a major moment

The girls can’t seem to get enough of Sergio Hudson. From Keke Palmer to Jennifer Hudson, some of Black Hollywood’s brightest starlets have been appearing on red carpets and at events dressed in his sultry color-blocked dresses and statement pantsuits. According to a release to theGrio, during the White House’s Juneteenth celebration, performers Patina Miller and Hudson both wore pieces by Hudson onstage. Hudson donned a strong-shouldered black tuxedo, while Miller wore a strapless black-and-white color-blocked gown. 

In addition to Palmer, who wore a gown by Hudson to the 2023 Fragrance Foundation Awards on Thursday, Kandi Burress, Mary J. Blige, and Robin Roberts have also been spotted wearing the designer in the past week.

Keke Palmer

Keke Palmer attends the 2023 Fragrance Foundation Awards at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on June 15, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Sergio Hudson runway

(Photo courtesy of Sergio Hudson)

Patina Miller

Patina Miller performs during a Juneteenth concert on the South Lawn of the White House on June 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. The White House hosted the concert to mark the nation’s newest federal holiday that was established in 2021. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sergio Hudson runway

(Photo courtesy of Sergio Hudson)

Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts is seen arriving to the Harry Belafonte Voices For Social Justice Award honoring Jane Fonda during the 2023 Tribeca Festival at Spring Studios on June 10, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige wears Sergio Hudson on Live with Kelly and Mark on June 9, 2023 in New York City. (Photo courtesy of Mary J. Blige)

Sergio Hudson runway

(Photo courtesy of Sergio Hudson)

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson performs during a Juneteenth concert on the South Lawn of the White House on June 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. The White House hosted the concert to mark the nation’s newest federal holiday that was established in 2021. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sergio Hudson runway

(Photo courtesy of Sergio Hudson)

Keke Palmer

Keke Palmer attends the 2023 Fragrance Foundation Awards at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on June 15, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

HFR ICON360 Partners with Pensole for Inaugural HBCU Professor Retreat

ICON360, a nonprofit subsidiary for Harlem’s Fashion Row, and Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design Academy joined forces this week to host the 2023 HBCU Professor Summit. On June 14, HBCU professors and fashion stakeholders came together to discuss the lack of funding and visibility of HBCU fashion programs and find solutions to help advance Black students in the industry. 

“If we want to see a change in the fashion industry, we have to start at the grass root level where students are educated,” said Brandice Daniels, CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row and Founder of ICON360, in a press release. “This meeting, a meeting with industry stakeholders and the HBCU fashion professors, will offer greater insight into the struggles faced by HBCU Fashion programs and how they can best support them.”

Summer starts with stunning Black magazine covers

The first wave of summer Black magazine covers has arrived, and is making its rounds across our timelines — and we have no complaints. Ice Spice is opening up about her quick succession to mega-stardom in Teen Vogue; Janelle Monáe is reintroducing herself in British Vogue; Keke Palmer has her eyes set on the next generation of talent in Adweek; Alaya High, otherwise known as “That Girl Lay Lay” is the model for the modern child star in the Hollywood Reporter, and Niecy Nash is serving sultry vintage glamour on the cover of Variety

It’s not just the ladies who are shining in June features. “Strangers Things” star Caleb McLaughlin, who recently beefed up for his role in the film “Shooting Stars,” takes fans behind the scenes of his physical training and conditioning routine in Men’s Health.    

“A good refreshing workout in the morning helps me with my mental space,” he told the publication. “Helps me get in a good workspace for the whole day.”

Take a look at them all in theGrio’s gallery below.

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