MY LIVE PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH LUXURY SHOE DESIGNER AND CEO SHATIARRA MONROE

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If you follow my brand and my blog, you may know that I had an article interview with emerging shoe designer in my city, Shatiarra Monroe. The original interview was very well received and it was a dope experience, connecting with a fellow creative entrepreneur in Baltimore who is serious about her business and her vision. (Check out the original article here)

You may also know that I recently relaunched my podcast, Style With Sharra: The Podcast Series, where I I discuss various topics regarding fashion, business, lifestyle, and well being. I was so adamant about having Shatiarra as one of my first guests because I knew she had first hand experience on building something from nothing in the fashion & business space and I knew her expertise, charisma, and relatable experiences would be great for my listeners to hear. Plus, it was a great opportunity to get to know her more! I brought the questions, she brought the wine (more than enough, we got a little lit) and we vibed.

Listen to us talk about everything from mental health and personal development, to how fashion is our safe place, to her inspiration, routines, and motivation behind launching an online luxury shoe line while balancing an engineering career.

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Comment your thoughts on our interview below! Follow Shatiarra on Instagram, shop her collection on shatiarramonroe.com for BOMB heels, and tune into new episodes of Style with Sharra on Wednesdays!

Sharra,

“The definition of walking art.”

3 STYLES THAT I SWEAR WERE MADE FOR ME! (+ HOW TO FIND YOURS)

WRITTEN BY SHARRA GREENE

Everyone has them. The looks that when you wear them, just seem to fit you like a glove, bring out your best features, turn heads, and make you feel like your flyest and highest self. As a stylist, I go through a lot of trial and error when trying new looks and over time, I’ve come across a few styles that I’m never letting go of. Here are mine, along with some of the ways I help myself, my family and friends, and my clients find their most flattering go-to pieces.

DRAMATIC EARRINGS

As you can clearly see, they’re a fave of mine. I get asked all the time where I buy my earrings and the truth is, I don’t discriminate. I get them everywhere from my local hair store to my favorite online shops. The busier the better, especially when I’m wearing a relatively simple look I love to throw on a pair of bomb statement earrings to change my look up in one step.

I am wearing a  ribbed fringe sleeve mini dress  by  Akira ,  PLT   studded belt  and  snakeskin thigh high boots ,  double disc earrings  from  Forever 21 , vintage clutch, bangles and ring I got forever ago.

I am wearing a ribbed fringe sleeve mini dress by Akira, PLT studded belt and snakeskin thigh high boots, double disc earrings from Forever 21, vintage clutch, bangles and ring I got forever ago.

THIGH HIGH BOOTS

Anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about my OTK boots. Anything over the knee keeps my legs warm while still showcasing my personal style through the texture and details of the boots that I choose, especially in the Fall & Winter months.

HIGH SLIT SKIRTS

I’m so quick to throw on a high slit maxi skirt because it makes my torso appear longer while showcasing my legs which I love. In order to switch it up, I’ll buy high slit skirts in different fabrics to diversify my looks. I have a faux suede one, a jersey material one, and a crochet one for Summer, but regardless of which I one I wear, I can never go wrong with this style on me.

HOW TO FIND YOUR STYLES THAT WERE MADE FOR YOU…

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WHAT LOOKS DO PEOPLE COMPLIMENT YOU ON THE MOST?

That great pair of gold pumps that has your calf muscles POPPIN’ when you put em on? That freakum dress that hugs your silhouette just right and has people noticing your gym wins? Pay attention to the details of those pieces. Why do you think people compliment you on them? Is it the shape that it gives your body? The color of the piece that pops on your skin tone? Once you figure that out, you can start to curate more pieces for your wardrobe that have those attributes.

WATCH YOUR POSTURE!

Which looks have you walking different when you slip them on? When your posture elevates, your shoulders are back, you hold your head a little higher after getting dressed, it means you’re feeling confident. Pay attention to the looks that make you feel this way and then ask yourself what you specifically like about the look that ups your confidence and gives you your supermodel walk. Whether it makes you feel sexier, edgier, or just more self expressive, try only wearing pieces that make you feel this good. It will radiate from within because of course, when you look good, you feel good and vice versa.

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LISTEN WHEN PEOPLE SAY “THAT LOOKS LIKE YOU”

Honestly, I used to get SO annoyed when I’d go shopping with a relative or friend and they’d point out a shirt or a bag and say “that looks like you.” or “that reminds me of you.” Sometimes I still do, especially if I’m not feeling the look they’re trying to show me. I don’t know if its the Leo in me or what, but I just felt like “How can you tell ME what is… “me?” Though I still tend to feel this way occasionally, I also have learned to not be so defensive about it because a lot of times the comment can really be a compliment in disguise.

For someone to stay something reminds them specifically of you, it could mean the person thinks you have a unique and distinctive style. Because I feel like my style is so versatile due to the fact that I wear whatever I think looks cute regardless of aesthetic, I'm now more open minded to other people’s suggestions because my style is constantly evolving and improving. You should be, too. Next time someone points out a look that they feel reminds them of you, ask yourself how you could style it to make it more “you”? Consider it an opportunity to help you find more flattering looks and build on your personal style.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for more style content coming very soon to the blog!

Sharra,

“The definition of walking art.”

4 TIPS FOR PUTTING TOGETHER THE PERFECT BRUNCH FIT

WRITTEN BY SHARRA GREENE

Shop Our Looks  : My friend  Comfort  of  CNK STYLEBOOK  (check her site out!) is wearing a  two piece plaid set  and  white ankle boots  from  Nasty Gal , and a thrifted DKNY blazer (shop a similar one     here  ) I am wearing a  ribbed fringe sleeve mini dress  by  Akira ,  PLT   studded belt  and  snakeskin thigh high boots ,  double disc earrings  from  Forever 21 , vintage clutch, bangles and ring I got forever ago.

Shop Our Looks: My friend Comfort of CNK STYLEBOOK (check her site out!) is wearing a two piece plaid set and white ankle boots from Nasty Gal, and a thrifted DKNY blazer (shop a similar one here) I am wearing a ribbed fringe sleeve mini dress by Akira, PLT studded belt and snakeskin thigh high boots, double disc earrings from Forever 21, vintage clutch, bangles and ring I got forever ago.

Over the past year or two, brunching has become THE go-to activity for my generation to link up and catch up with friends in the midst of everyday “adulting”. Many use their brunch dates as an excuse to bring out their best fits and flick it up. Here are a couple of guidelines to help narrow down your options for that perfect brunch fit.

DRESS IN LAYERS

This way you can get comfortable at brunch, and then throw your extra layers of jackets, dusters, etc, back on for any #ootd pics you may wanna take. Plus, if it’s chilly at the restaurant or outside, you can keep warm.

CHOOSE A THEME FOR YOUR LOOK

Whether it be leather and floral like the look I put together below, or stripes, monochrome, etc, try having each of your friends focus on a theme for their brunch outfit. This will give each of you a chance to stand out and express your individual aesthetics while brunching together as a unit. Commenting on the bomb looks everyone is wearing could also serve as a great convo starter.

Shop the look:       Top   ,    Jacket   ,    skirt   ,    heels   ,    bag   ,    earrings   .

Shop the look: Top, Jacket, skirt, heels, bag, earrings.

FOLLOW THE SLOUCHY / FIT RULE

I call this rule the slouchy/ fit rule because it involves going for a slouchy look with one article of clothing and going for a more bodycon fit with the next. This is something that I like to do a lot, especially when I’m going out to eat, I’ll pair tight fitting jeans or shorts with a more loose fitting top (that way I can eat whatever without looking full afterwards).

BRING OUT YOUR BEST HEELS

I like to choose days where I’ll be sitting most of the time as a break in day for my newest and favorite pairs of heels. It’s the ultimate cheat code where you don’t necessarily have to dress for comfort.

Stay tuned for more style posts coming very soon to the blog! Have an idea for a post? I’d love to hear it. Send ‘em all to styleadvicebysharra@gmail.com.

Sharra,

“The definition of walking art.”

REDEFINING LUXURY: GETTING RID OF THE STIGMA ATTACHED TO BLACK OWNED BRANDS AND PUSHING THE CULTURE FORWARD

WRITTEN BY SHARRA GREENE

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In an interview with Fashion Bomb Daily, luxury streetwear designer Milan of Milano Di Rouge opened up about the criticism she received following the release of her first $500 branded sweatsuit. “Who does she think she is? She’s not Gucci… Why does she have a $500 sweatsuit?” The backlash went viral, eventually creating even more buzz for her brand. But as I watched the interview, it made me start to think about black owned luxury labels as a whole and the attitude that some of our own people carry when it comes to supporting mainstream luxury labels vs. supporting our own. Milano says, “I don’t think that we as black people understand our value.” As a stylist who recommends various brands to clients, I’ve had an up close view at what black consumers see as valuable and I couldn’t agree more with Milano.

There have been countless times I’ve watched black consumers either refuse or hesitate to support black luxury fashion labels, claiming that the merchandise is ridiculously overpriced. However, these are some of the very same consumers that will splurge on a designer belt from a traditional luxury label without a second thought. We see this pattern very often. It always makes me question what makes something “luxurious” and why we are so cautious when it comes to purchasing luxury pieces from black owned brands. There are literally hundreds of ways this question could be answered. But, looking at the history of black people and the consequential need we have to feel validated, one could of course say that our dependence upon certain mainstream design houses stem from a desire to be associated with the majority, or the race who is thought to be “superior” within our society. When a group of people have been enslaved, abused, denied opportunities to better themselves, and essentially set back for generations, there’s no question that all of that breeds generational curses and deep insecurities that can affect countless aspects of our lives, even down to our buying choices. Many of us may look at who we consider to be “well off” and ahead in life and think, whether conciously or subconsciously: “I want to shop where they shop. It will show the world that I am important, just like them.”And if this is the thought process we’re adopting when it comes to our shopping experiences, then personally I feel it’s time that we really think about how we define “luxury” within our lifestyles and possibly begin to redefine it for ourselves.

Models wearing  Andrea Iyamah .

Models wearing Andrea Iyamah.

By definition, the word luxury is defined as “ the state of great comfort and extravagant living.” There have been so many black owned or black affiliated luxury brands that have come and gone. Very few have withstood the test of time while your traditional brands like Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc. have remained in the mix for as long as we can remember. While I’m well aware that there are multiple reasons for this, the one that we as a people can control is our ability to pour our money and support into brands that genuinely celebrate us, whether they be traditional and mainstream, emerging, or start ups.

Often times, I feel that we as black people are too hard on each other in business. We often complain and pick a brand apart when it comes to their price points, but splurge on other well known ones without question. We threaten to ruin new designers’ reputation with bad reviews when an item is slightly delayed, but when dealing with a major company we tend to grin and bear it. Don’t get me wrong, as a chronic perfectionist and a bargain lover, I definitely can relate on some fronts. But looking at the big picture, if we as black people truly want to leave our mark on the fashion industry, we have to be more patient and supportive of each other, especially when it comes to premium goods. This is when redefining luxury should come into play. We shouldn’t be ashamed or hesitant to give a new designer a try, as long as they are providing us with quality merchandise in materials that will sustain us for seasons to come, looks that inspire us and make us proud to wear them, and great customer service. To me, that should be our standard for luxury. Brands like Nichole Lynel, Laquan Smith (my fave ready to wear designer, period), Andrea Iyamah, India Monae, MWR Collection, and Sai Sankoh are just a few of the current black owned luxury labels who work tirelessly to maintain that standard. We should be open to them and brands similar, proud to wear them and proud to plug them.

Model wearing the  Adorn Jacket  by  India Monae .

Model wearing the Adorn Jacket by India Monae.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong at all with shopping a traditional luxury brand. I, myself CANNOT WAIT until I’m in a position to splurge on Fendi as that’s one of the mainstream brands that I covet the most. However, I think that more black consumers taking the time to discover and support emerging luxury labels that are black owned would only push the culture forward and open certain doors that we claim we so desperately want access to. This goes beyond just buying from them. It should also affect the ways we navigate the industry. For example, for all of the fashion hopefuls complaining that they can’t find employment or internship opportunities within the industry due to racism and discrimination, think of how many black owned brands would love to help their own people grow in the field, especially knowing that a majority of their sales has come from their own people. Additionally, supporting black owned luxury labels even as they are emerging would lead to us having more options when it comes to wearing a luxury brand; we wouldn’t necessarily have to opt for a design house that creates and sells racially demeaning merchandise to the very consumers that often support them.

Wearing creations by our own people with pride, providing constructive criticism that will give minority owned labels a chance to grow instead of tearing them down, and choosing to shop with brands that show respect to our people are a few of the ways that I feel we can redefine luxury, ensuring that blacks in fashion can have longevity in the industry and actually profit from it ourselves, heavily influencing the culture for years to come.

Sharra,

“The definition of walking art.”

Sources / Featured Brands : Fashion Bomb Daily, Andrea Iyamah, India Monae, Laquan Smith,MWR Collection, Nichole Lynel, Sai Sankoh