GSyndicates Black: Honoring Black Fashion History (Part II)

Black by Popular Demand

Excerpt from Part I of this series

The National Association of Fashion And Accessory Designers (NAFAD) was founded in America in 1949, to promote equal opportunities for Black fashion designers. Today (as with ever before – just that it is now not so much silenced), with the rising tide of Black talent, the fashion industry is facing its deficits and calling forth its hidden giants as Black lives demand more Black fashion designers.

GSyndicates Black honors the history of Black fashion designers. In my journey to discover my designer genes that inspired designer jeans – among other fashion plates, I came upon these great shoulders…

Stephen Burrows

Stephen Burrows (born in Newark, New Jersey on September 15, 1943 to parents Octavia Pennington and Gerald Burrows) is an American fashion designer based in New York City. Burrows was raised by his mother, and maternal grandmother, Beatrice Pennington Banks Simmons. Burrows learned to sew watching his grandmother at her zigzag sewing machine. At age eight, he made his first garment for a friend’s doll.

Burrows took dance lessons in high school. He loved the mambo. He danced on Sundays at the Manhattan Palladium night club. That led to sketching dresses he imagined for his dance partners. Burrows initially enrolled in the Philadelphia Museum College of Art when he graduated from Newark Arts High School. He intended to become an art teacher. During a tour of the college, he encountered and was inspired by some dress forms. He transferred to New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). However, FIT professors taught draping rules that frustrated Burrows’s trademarks of asymmetrical cutting, off-grain edge stretching, and drape-as-you-go garment building. He graduated in 1966.

Burrows studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology before beginning work in New York City’s Garment Center. Burrows epitomized what many fashion designers do in their early years, working closely with established designers and also being self-employed as small business owners.

Burrows is known for breaking the international fashionpreneur ice as the first African-American fashion designers to sell internationally with a mainstream, high-fashion clientele. Burrows’ trademark of bright colors and “lettuce hem” curly-edges, became an integral part of the “Fun City” New York City disco-dancing scene of the 1970s.

Burrows started his working career with a job at Weber Originals, a blouse manufacturer. His work was slowly picked up by small shops. “Burrows’ clothes were described as the fashion embodiment of the electric sexuality of this era. The women who wore his clothes gave off an aura of frantically creative days and wild nights filled with disco music and glamorous people.”

In 1968, Burrows began working with Andy Warhol and his entourage, selling at Max’s Kansas City and the O Boutique across the street. Burrows had yet to be satisfied. As a former FIT student Burrows shared his classmates’ desires to sell their lines at the famous Fifth Avenue retailer Henri Bendel. Burrows was introduced to Bendel’s owner, Geraldine Stutz, in the summer of 1968. She loved the coat he wore to meet her. She immediately allowed him to open a boutique in Henri Bendel. In Fall of 1973, “Stevies”, Burrows’ first lingerie/sleepwear collection, debuted at Henri Bendel’s, Bonwit Teller, Lord & Taylor, and Bloomingdales, as well as stores in Chicago, San Francisco, and elsewhere.

Burrows was one of the five American fashion designers chosen to showcase their work at the historical fashion show billed as divertissement à Vèrsailles, held on November 28, 1973. This event is referred to as “The Battle of Versailles Fashion Show.” Burrows was the youngest of the American designers to feature a collection at the show.

Among other exciting fashionistas, First Lady Michelle Obama, the first African American First Lady of the United States, wore a Burrows Jersey pantsuit to an event in Washington, D.C. of which Vogue Magazine wrote, “It was a wonderful acknowledgement of Burrows, one of the great African-American designers and a Harlem resident known for his inventive cuts and bias technique.” Burrows opened his new showroom and design studio in 2010 in New York City’s Garment Center.

Wikipedia. 2021. “Stephen Burrows (designer).” Last modified 17 December 2020.

Dapper Dan

Daniel Day (born August 8, 1944) is best known as Dapper Dan, an American fashion designer and haberdasher (a retailer of men’s clothing, including suits, shirts, and neckties) from Harlem, New York.

Day grew up with three brothers and three sisters on 129th and Lexington Avenue. His father, Robert, was a civil servant. His mother, Lily, was a homemaker. He recalls seeing horses and buggies on the streets of New York in his post-World War II early childhood days in Manhattan. By age 13, Day was a skilled gambler – the success of which helped him finance his first store.

In the 1960s, Dan worked for a Harlem newspaper called Forty Acres and a Mule. He eventually became a vegetarian and gave up drinking, smoking and drugs. In 1968–74, he toured Africa as part of a program from Columbia University and the Urban League.

His influential store, Dapper Dan’s Boutique, operated from 1982–92 and is most associated with introducing high fashion to the hip hop world. Over the years, his clients have included Eric B. & Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, and Jay-Z. Dan likes to call his designs, “high-end, ghetto-fabulous clothing.”

Returning to New York in 1974, Dan decided to be a clothier. He started his business by selling shoplifted items out of his car. He opened Dapper Dan’s Boutique in 1982 on 125th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues. The store was sometimes open 24 – 7. Dan faced prejudice as he aspired to be a clothing wholesaler. Most companies in that era refused to do business with him because he was Black. He struggled to obtain the textiles and other supplies that he needed. This lack of access to ready-made products inspired him to learn how to create his own designs.

Dapper Dan developed a collection of brash knockoffs using bootlegged fabrics he designed himself after learning by himself to do textile printing. One of his most notable inventions was the a new creative process for screen printing onto leather. Later, Dan also designed jewelry and luxury automobile interiors. “Dan’s trademark was his bold usage of logos from high-end luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Fendi.”

Day’s illegal use of logos in his custom-made designs eventually led to counterfeiting raids and litigation, followed by his first store’s closing. For decades later, Dan continued to work “underground” as a designer, although he was shunned by the mainstream fashion world.

Dan launched a fashion line with Gucci in 2017, revitalizing his career and showing that there is room for second chances. The fame of this collaboration led to his opening a second store and atelier in 2018, Dapper Dan’s of Harlem. Dapper Dan is included in Time magazine ‘s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.

Wikipedia. 2021. “Dapper Dan (designer).” Last modified 16 January 2021.

Segran, E. (2019, January 15). How Dapper Dan, Harlem’s Tailor, MAINSTREAMED “Ghetto Couture”. Retrieved February 02, 2021, from

Wikipedia. 2021. “Haberdasher.” Last modified 29 November 2020.

Willi Smith

Willi Donnell Smith (February 29, 1948 – April 17, 1987) was an American fashion designer who pioneered the streetwear movement. By the time of his death from complications of the AIDS virus, he was regarded as one of the most successful young African American designers in the fashion industry. WilliWear, Smith’s fashion company, grossed over $25 million in sales since its inception in 1976.

WilliWear was the first clothing company to create both womenswear and menswear under the same design label. The accessibility and affordability of Smith’s clothing helped to democratize fashion.

Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to extremely clothes-conscious parents, Willie Lee Smith (an ironworker), and June Eileen Smith (a homemaker). Smith toiled for hours on the floor of his home as a child, and at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, sketching. Smith’s mother told him (so prophetically) that he would grow up to be an artist or designer. Following the divorce of his parents, Smith’s grandmother, Gladys Bush, ensured his matriculation into the fashion industry.

Smith studied commercial art at Mastbaum Technical High School and took a course in fashion illustration at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art. Then, he moved to New York City to go to Parsons The New School for Design. In 1965, Smith’s grandmother (who was the housekeeper for a family that was close to couturier, Arnold Scaasi) helped him land an internship with Scaasi, where Smith helped with the design of clothing for Elizabeth Taylor. Smith began studying fashion design at Parsons in the fall while taking liberal arts classes at New York University.

After dropping out of Parsons, Smith began designing for Digits Sportswear, where he met Laurie Mallet. In 1976, Smith founded WilliWear, with Mallet. Smith was known for his reasonably priced designs that were called “… ones you would see everyone wearing on the street…” WilliWear mixed elements of relaxed fit sportswear with high-end tailoring before the melange was a fashion staple. WilliWear’s seasonal collections saw 11 years in his lifetime.

New York City was Smith’s inspiration. He is quoted as saying, “Being Black has a lot to do with my being a good designer…” and “Most of these designers who have to run to Paris for color and fabric combinations should go to church on Sunday in Harlem. It’s all right there.”

After his death, Mallet continued WilliWear. However, the brand never recovered from the loss of Smith. The company failed to meet financial benchmarks and ceased production in 1990.

Wikipedia. 2021. “Willi Smith.” Last modified 21 December 2020.

Ciao for now!

GSyndicates Black: Honoring Black Fashion History (Part I)

Black by Popular Demand

The National Association of Fashion And Accessory Designers (NAFAD) was founded in America in 1949, to promote equal opportunities for Black fashion designers. Today (as with ever before – just that it is now not so much silenced), with the rising tide of Black talent, the fashion industry is facing its deficits and calling forth its hidden giants as Black lives demand more Black fashion designers.

GSyndicates Black honors the history of Black fashion designers. In my journey to discover my designer genes that inspired my designer jeans (among other fashion plates), I came upon these great shoulders…

My Designer Genes

“I have designer genes and designer jeans!

Shenica Graham

Celia Lucinda (Upshaw) Lane

Lucinda Celia (Upshaw) Lane

First, since Black hair is certainly a topic on the fashion front lines, let me pay homage to my own maternal Great Grandmother (at left), Celia Lucinda (Upshaw) Lane (born c. 1909), who was the first Black woman to own a Velvatex College of Beauty Culture in Kansas. She was the twin daughter of her slave mother and their slave owner. Many of the women in my family would say that I inherited my great grandmothers’ gift for haircare.

The following is an excerpt about the founder of Velvatex: “In 1926, M. E. Patterson of Little Rock incorporated Velvatex College of Beauty Culture, then known as Velvatex Beauty College, which was the state’s only approved beauty school for people of color… Patterson dubbed the school “Velvatex” because she believed African-American hair emulated the feel of velvet.” « read more

Hayman, Syd. “Like Velvet.” Arkansas Times, February 2019. Online at (accessed February 1, 2021).

Hayman, Syd. “Velvatex College of Beauty Culture.” Encyclopedia of Arkansas, August 2020. Online at (accessed February 1, 2021).

Annie Lucinda (Lane) Evans

Annie Lucinda (Lane) Evans, Seamstress

Celia Lucinda’s daughter, my maternal Grandmother, Annie Lucinda (Lane) Evans (September 15, 1931 – April 20, 2013) was one of the Lane owned Velvatex College’s first graduates. Lucinda was born on September 15, 1931 in North Little Rock, Arkansas to Mr. and Mrs. James (Lucinda) Lane. Annie was the oldest girl of nine children. Annie married Harrell K. Evans on May 14, 1950. They were married for 48 years, 9 months, and 28 days. Grandma Lucinda was also a prolific seamstress who was gifted to make fine apparel without patterns, simply from the ideas in her creative spirit – that entity shared by all designers.

Deborah Kay (Evans) Morris

Deborah Kay (Evans) Morris, Founder / CEO, House of Sherell

Annie Lucinda’s daughter, my mother, Mrs. Deborah Kay (Evans) Morris is the Founder and CEO of House of Sherell, a fashion design business. Deborah was born on February 21, 1956 in Wichita, Kansas. From the age of six, Mrs. Morris carried the dream of launching a fashion mogul. She is now capitalizing on the many skills gained from her leadership role as a Supply Sargent in the US Army.

In 2007, she founded Sherell Ra Sha Inc, a consignment and service company with a vision of helping families recover from poverty and natural disaster.

Deborah Kay (Evans) Morris, Supply Sargent, US Army

This leap secured the fact of faith in her vision. The business saw its first major progress when Mrs. Morris enrolled in a fashion design program at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in the fall of 2011, leading to development of the first fashion show, which was held in 2013. I debuted my first fashion line at that show.

Part of my heritage of fashionpreneurs, my mother has served veterans and civilian families for over fifty years with a variety of talents. She is a highly gifted seamstress and creative force who has inspired and empowered many others including myself (I am still writing my own fashion history).

Shenica Renee Graham

Shenica Renee Graham, Founder / CEO, GSyndicates

I (Shenica Renee Graham) was born on October 14, 1977 in Long Beach, California. I am the great-granddaughter of Celia Lucinda (Upshaw) Lane, the granddaughter of Annie Lucinda (Lane) Evans, and a lifelong apprentice of my mother, Deborah Kay (Evans) Morris (Owner / Designer of Iowa’s premiere fashion house, House of Sherell).

I learned to sew as a child while sitting on the floor near mother’s chair as she whisked her Singer classic sewing machine through everything from hats to draperies. I have been designing doll clothes since age 6, sitting at the feet of her sewing mother. Her maternal grandmother was also a talented and influential seamstress. I began began designing clothes for myself at age nine. I like to say, “I have designer genes and designer jeans!

Though I naturally developed a love for fashion, my dreams were diverted by nagging health problems including severe depression. I battled low self-esteem and had a difficult time breaking free from a downward spiral that left me in a virtual hermitage.

In high school, I could from time to time be found sewing throughout the night, making clothes to wear the next day. As a Sophomore, I made the graduation dress for one of my Senior high school friends. his friend was her my first paying client as a teenager. Furthering my fashionpreneure spirit, I made and sold plush bears dressed in my original designs. A high-school counselor bought my most-expensive item: a bear dressed in a red, couture gown with hand sewn embellishments. In college, Shenica continued to create wearable art including custom painted t-shirts.

In 2013, I founded fashion label, GSIA – one of the best decisions I ever made. I still recall the mélange of excitement and anxiety of stepping out of my comfort zone to launch a creative project beyond the borders of self-seclusion. After battling depression for several years, I was inspired by my mother to take up a lost art from my youth. Following a series of hospitalizations, I was once again at a crossroad. My mother, who had gone back to college to pursue a fashion design degree, was already well on her way to becoming a Senior in her program (class of 2018! Whoot! Whoot!). She offered me the chance of a lifetime…

My mother and I are traditional pageant watchers. Our favorite competitions are the evening gown, talent, and costume competition (as with the Miss Universe pageant). With the rise of reality television, we have become regulars in the home-front row, watching the likes of Project Runway and Making The Cut (we love Tim and Heidi!). When I accepted my mother’s offer to join in a fashion business as Chief Information Officer (CIO, based on my compu-tech savvy) and Senior Fashion designer, Mom was already planning to host a fashion show in November.


It felt like I had stepped into a Cinderella story. The pumpkin bloomed and I had made it to fashion week!”

Mom and I even had a private competition. We sequestered ourselves to a sewing environment with our own one-to-one challenges in a mock project runway. I won that contest (to be fair, Mom did have some heart trouble the week before and had just been released from the hospital when we started the competition. Thank God she came out well).

I am so humbled and grateful for this opportunity. The power of someone else believing in you when you cannot see your value is priceless. Becoming a fashion designer is something I had dreamed of yet did not have the courage to pursue. It was too personal; and that made it too risky. My mother is my hero for giving me a gentle nudge, picking me up every time I fell, and supporting me whilst I learned to stand on faith. Helping her to build this business is something at which I work very diligently. I want her to know that she can count on me to be her best champion, the way she has always been for me.

Coming out of that shell to do something so public; putting all of me into a product and subjecting it to scrutiny, was an is frankly, terrifying. I had spent so much life force building walls to protect what was my fragile shell. It was difficult to see myself any other way.

In this whirlwind of new experiences, I finally found my niche beyond the written word – a hobby turned into several published articles and unfinished manuscripts. Thus, I joined Mom and one younger brother to officially launch the fashion business. This trio hosted a fashion show and banquet, which received rave reviews. As fate would have it, my finally look (which I entitled, “Marilyn”) was, “… the show maker,” according to Mom. The success of my first line preview sparked a new venture, Haute Midwest Magazine. The magazine allowed me to fulfill my love of journalism and creative writing, while staying informed in my new career field and advancing the goals of House of Sherell, our family’s premiere fashion house. The magazine is a testament to the constant flow of new ideas and talented energy in our entire family.

The second chapter in GSIA history has already begun. With the success of Haute Midwest magazine and finding a new creative voice, I am launching full-time into fashion. Yet a computer programming student, I plan to add fashion design to my educational portfolio, which includes two Bachelor of Arts degrees. To pay success forward, I am happy to sponsor future fashion moguls, which is part of my new design business including expertise in fashion and media, GSyndicates.

HM Model Sawanda in “Marilyn” by GSIA

My designs complement a variety of body shapes and sizes. My first full-sized (not just for dolls and bears) apparel and accessory collection, GSIA™ (GSyndicates Iowa, now part of GSyndicates™), was featured at the November 2013 House of Sherell Fashion Show & Banquet. The star of the collection was a pearl white suit dubbed, “Marilyn.” This show stopper (shown at left) was born in one of Shenica’s bursts of manic energy (a nod to her Bipolar battle – Shenica was diagnosed with PTSD, Major Depression, and Schizoaffective Bipolar Disorder (following a near death experience). My condition is managed by medication, allowing me to thrive creatively (learn about my mental health activism).

Reprinted by permission from Haute Midwest Magazine.

Ann Lowe

Newlyweds, John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy. She is wearing Ann Lowe’s design. – Wikimedia Commons

Ann Cole Lowe (December 14, 1898 – February 25, 1981) was America’s first Black high-fashion designer, from rural Clayton Alabama. Lowe and I share an element of history (including our culture and designer genes: we are each the third generation out of slavery – the great granddaughters of an enslaved woman and a plantation owner. Lowe’s grandmother was raised as an enslaved dressmaker for her white owners. After the Civil War, she opened her own business. Ann, like myself, learned to sew from both her grandmother and her mother, and showed marked talent even from the early age of six.

Lowe’s designer genes came from her mother Janey and grandmother Georgia. These influences both worked as seamstresses for the first families of Montgomery and other members of high society. Lowe was just 16 when her mother passed. Lowe inherited her mother’s unfinished fashionable work including four ball gowns for the First Lady of Alabama, Elizabeth Kirkman O’Neal. Lowe finished the dresses.

Although Lowe was (perhaps unbeknownst to herself) married to her design work, she wed Lee Cohen in 1912, with whom she had a son, Arthur Lee. Cohen’s lack of admiration for Lowe’s design prowess likely led to their parting. He wanted her to give up working as a seamstress. While she complied for a time, the #fashioncall could not be put to rest. After being hired to design dresses for a Florida based tycoon, Lowe took her son and left (Arthur Lee later worked as Lowe’s business partner until his untimely death in 1958 from a car accident (a second marriage, to a man whom Lowe quoted as having said he, “…wanted a real wife, not one who was forever jumping out of bed to sketch dresses”, also ended)).

Lowe enrolled in a couture course at S.T. Design school in 1917, taking a sabbatical from her Florida job. The school was then segregated. Lowe’s classes hosted only one student – herself! Her white schoolmates refused to sit in the same room with her. In fact, the college head was shocked to learn that Lowe’s application was that of a Black woman. Despite the potentially lonely education, Lowe studied hard and graduated early in 1919. Lowe and her son returned to Tampa, Florida and opened her first dress salon. It successfully catered to Tampa’s high society. However, Lowe returned to New York City in 1928 and lived in New York for the rest of her life.

After working for a time under the auspices of various labels on commission – including Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, Lowe grew weary of not being credited for her work. In 1950, Lowe and her son opened a second salon, Ann Lowe’s Gowns, on Lexington Avenue in New York City.

Lowe’s unmatched designs thrilled high society matrons from the 1920s to the 1960s. She became known as “society’s “best-kept secret” (Minutaglio). Ebony magazine called her the “Dean of Designers.” Much like my mother taught me, Lowe learned and practiced that the inside of the garment, however unseen, was as important as the outer appearance. The inside of her garments were beautifully finished with her trademark excellent technique.

Lowe is best known for her ivory silk taffeta wedding dress design worn by Jacqueline Bouvier when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953. However, Lowe was snubbed by Kennedy who when asked by reporters about her dressmaker, responded that she had wanted something French, but instead “a colored dressmaker” did it (Martin). Only one reporter, Nina Hyde of the Washington Post, actually followed up to discover Ann Lowe’s name (Martin). All of the numerous other stories ran without any mention of her. Understandably, Lowe was very disappointed.

While Lowe commanded high prices for her designs, she was often talked down and barely made a profit on what should have been lucrative sales.

This marked underprofitting plagued Lowe’s business years and left her at once bankrupt. She even had a loss of over $2,000 on the Kennedy dress that is one of the most iconic gowns of all time. Lowe charged only $500 for the ensemble that actually had to be made twice! The original gown was destroyed in a freak flood that ruined Lowe’s design studio and several of the Kennedy designs including the bride’s and some bridesmaids’ dresses. Lowe swallowed the cost, re-ordered fabric, and had her seamstresses working overtime to re-make the dresses. After all of the sacrifices Lowe made, she was still asked by guards at the wedding venue to use the service entrance because she was Black. Lowe refused, stating that the dresses would not be delivered at all if they had to be delivered under an umbrella of prejudice. She said, “If I have to use the backdoor, they’re not going to have the gowns!”

Lowe was challenged in later life with bad eyesight and completely lost one eye, with the other later being saved by surgery. She told the Saturday Evening Post that although she had to “work by feel”, people told her that she had “….done better feeling than others do seeing.”

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe
A children’s book, “Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Ann Cole Lowe” written by Deborah Blumenthal. Published in 2017. – Amazon

Sadly, Lowe died at 82 on February 25, 1981, without achieving notoriety or financial success that equals her current renown.

Though she did not live to see it, a collection of five of Lowe’s designs are presently held at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Three of her designs are on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Several other of her designs were included in an exhibition on black fashion at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan in December 2016. A children’s book, Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Ann Cole Lowe written by Deborah Blumenthal was published in 2017. Author Piper Huguley wrote a historical fiction novel about Lowe’s life.

“1953 – Ann Lowe, Jacqueline Kennedy’s Wedding Dress.” Fashion History Timeline, 13 June 2020,

Laneri, Raquel. “Why Jackie Kennedy’s Wedding Dress Designer Was Fashion’s ‘Best Kept Secret’.” New York Post, New York Post, 16 Oct. 2016,

Wikipedia. 2021. “Ann Lowe.” Last modified 16 January 2021.

Zelda Wynn Valdes

Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes (June 28, 1905 – September 26, 2001) was an American fashion designer and costumer. She is credited as the original creator of the Playboy Bunny costume. Valdes is frequently quoted as having said of herself, “I just had a God-given talent for making people beautiful…”

Valdes was born Zelda Christian Barbour in Chambersburg, PA, but grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina where she trained as a classical pianist at the Catholic Conservatory of Music. In the early 1920s, Valdes worked in her uncle’s tailoring shop in White Plains, New York. Around the same time, Valdes began working in a high-end boutique as a stock girl. Eventually, she worked her way up to sales and making alterations. Valdes was the boutique’s first Black sales clerk and tailor. She knew how to design for any body type and could accentuate the best of every body.

She claimed to own the first Black owned business on broadway when she opened “Zelda Wynn” in 1948, her design and dressmaking studio in New York. Valdes dressed a host of celebrities and charged near $1,000 for a single gown in the 1950s (that would be about $10,000 US today). Wynn was one of the founders of the NAFAD. The clothing label featured at the top of this post is from a dress worn by Ella Fitzgerald (circa 1940s), designed by Zelda Valdes.

Wikipedia. 2021. “Zelda Wynn Valdes.” Last modified 23 January 2021.

Mildred Blount

Mildred Blount (born 1907) was an American milliner (hat maker) noted for her creations for the production of Gone With The Wind, and for celebrities and other people in high society.

Blount’s worked at Madame Clair’s Dress and Hat Shop in New York City, where she developed an interest in millinery. She and her sister, who was a dressmaker, later opened their own dress and hat shop with target market of wealthy New Yorkers.

Blount’s career was energized after her designs were shown at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. She was asked to design hats for the films Gone with the Wind and Easter Parade, as well as for the cover of the August 1942 Ladies’ Home Journal. Later in the 1940s, Blount ran a hat shop in Beverly Hills, California. She catered to clients such as Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Gloria Vanderbilt, Marian Anderson, and others. Blount reportedly died in 1974 in Los Angeles, California.

Wikipedia. 2021. “Mildred Blount.” Last modified 25 September 2020.

« read Part II of this series

Ciao for now!

Uptown Fashion. Downtown Price.

Yes. You can afford to look your best!

GSNY (GSyndicates New York) is your fashion source for uptown fashion at a hometown price. GSNY is inspired by comfort and classic lines. Breathable fabrics complement lifestyles on the move. Convertible styles mean more mojo for your money. You can easily take daytime looks to nighttime flair. Whether you take to the catwalk, the office, or the shops on the avenue, you will look and feel great in GSNY.

GSNY Butterfly Mini Shirt

Update your little black dress! The GSNY Butterfly Mini Shirt is the long and short of comfortable style. Ruche at the waist for a daytime wear. Stretch to full length for nighttime flair. The mini shirt is made of organic jersey knit fabric. The V-neck collar is mirrored at the back and made of 100% American grown cotton jean fabric.

The GStyle Concierge is your personal GSyndicates Stylist. She says, “For a DAY LOOK: Wear the GSNY Butterfly Mini at 3/4 length for a form flattering shirt with butterfly sleeves.”

“Transition to a NIGHT LOOK: Wear the GSNY Butterfly Mini at full length (shown at left) for a lightweight mini dress with captivating movement even when you are standing still.” The GSNY Butterfly Mini Shirt retails for just $85 online (excluding tax and shipping).

I could not share GSNY without its forerunner, GSIA (GSyndicates Iowa) – the original GSyndicates brand. After battling depression for several years, I was inspired by my mother to take up a lost art from my youth. Read about my fashion design history.

F.D.L.F.D.B. That is, Friends Don’t Let Friends Dress Badly. Does your BFF need a #stylehaul? You’ve been there for her since kindergarten. Friend, don’t fail her now: help a sister out! Give her the gift of GSNY.

From Midwest to Manhattan

Making the transition from Iowa to New York, this post would be remiss without mentioning obvious differences between Midwest and East Coast style from the brief time that I lived in Manhattan over a decade ago (before GSIA was conceived). The Midwest founded GSIA is true to its traditional roots of high necklines and low hemlines in comfort-first creations with intermittent elements of Michael Kors and Coach (I see these on a daily basis paired with eclectic and even crafty (homemade) ensembles).

On the other hand, New York had its own fashion week on the scale of Paris and Italy (not to downplay the up and coming Midwest Fashion Week). Personal style was more of a collective fast fashion that ebbed and flowed with the global community where one wouldn’t be caught in last season’s wing tips.

Times are changing, though. With COVID re-shaping the way everyone does business, fashion is fighting a war like nothing it has ever seen. More and more people are having to choose between what not to wear and where not to wear it. Fashion businesses that hope to survive must pick up the virtual reins and find ways to meet fashionistas where they are – at home and online, becoming influencers with their self-made blogs and vlogs.

My GSNY Favorites

GSNY is the best of both regions: an homage to the international fashion Elders via the Eastern Seaboard, and a faithful offering to the love of comfort – even when it does not make the catwalk (since that is becoming more rare with restricted gatherings). Here is a look at some of my GSNY favorites.

Ciao for now!

Introducing GS Moxie Brand – GSyndicates’ Private Label Women’s Clothing

mox·ie/ˈmäksē/ : 1. Force of character, determination, or nerve. “When you’ve got moxie, you need the clothes to match.” (Google Definition)

Treat yourself to a little moxie!

It’s finally here! Introducing GSyndicates’ private label (PL) women’s clothing brand, “Moxie”. Inspired by the original GSJEANS CO Moxie Jacket, the new line has everything a Midwest Diva needs to weather this winter and come out like a rose. Here’s a preview of GS Moxie (PL)…

Women’s Asymmetrical Hooded Puff Coat (Short length)

You’ve gotta have a good coat in the Midwest. Check out this wearable winter style.

Good looking in gray. Want more color, try the long length.

We love the slimming chevrons in this coat. They speak motion for the diva who is on the move.

  • Short length.
  • Around Mid-thigh.

Women’s Asymmetrical Hooded Puff Coat (Knee length)

Outerwear / Coats

This coat is available in red, navy blue, and army green.

  • Longer length.
  • Around the knee.

From Chevrons to show-stoppers, you’ll turn heads this winter in a longer GS Moxie PL Puff Coat. Pick your color.

GStyle for every day you get dressed

Underneath that winter wear, put on more of our fashion flair.

Lace-Up Mini Shirt
High-Collar Long-Sleeve Sweater
High-Collar Long-Sleeve Sweater (white)
High-Collar Long-Sleeve Sweater (gray)
A-Line Dress with Bow Tie and Lantern Sleeves
Sleeveless V-Neck Sweater Vest
Women’s Handwriting Collared Long-Sleeve Blouse
Long-Sleeve Bingo Sweater
Long-Sleeve V-Neck Cardigan
Long-Sleeve Black Pearl Sweater (detail)
Long-Sleeve Black Pearl Sweater (back)
Long-Sleeve Black Pearl Sweater
Long-Sleeve Vintage V-Neck Cardigan Sweater
Silver Belted Midi Dress
Button-Front Poet’s Blouse (black)
Button Front Poet’s Blouse (cream)
V-Neck High-Waist Bodycon Dress (black)
V-Neck High-Waist Bodycon Dress (white)
Black Printed Midi Skirt
V-Neck High-Waist Bodycon Dress (red)
White Printed Midi Skirt
Sheer-Sleeve High-Waist Bodycon Dress (black)
Sheer-Sleeve High-Waist Bodycon Dress (red)
Sheer-Sleeve High-Waist Bodycon Dress (blue)
Brocade Print Midi Skirt
Asymmetrical Slit Dress
Sheer Pattern Lace Blouse (black)
Sheer Pattern Lace Blouse (white)
High-Waist Pencil Pants
Pleated Mid-Waist Pants
Long Sleeve Wrap Blouse
Lace Collar Blouse
Floral Print Dress
Vertical Stripe Jumpsuit
Mint Leopard Print Dress
Ciao for now!

The Perfect Fit

GStyle Custom Fit Profile

The GStyle Custom Fit Profile is a complete tailoring solution. Complete your personal profile to customize your garments and accessories for the right fit every time. An incomplete profile may not produce the same results. Read the F.A.Q.s below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a GStyle (GS) Custom Fit Profile?

The GStyle Custom Fit Profile is your key to getting the right fit every time you order custom apparel and accessories. We fulfill your order based on the details contained in your profile.

How do I create my GStyle™ Custom Fit Profile?

The GStyle Concierge can help you create a GStyle Custom Fit Profile. On the product detail page, click the “Buy Now!” button. You will be prompted to create or update your GS Custom Fit Profile before completing the payment process. Complete the required information to receive a GS Customer ID. This ID links your profile to your orders.

How do I link my GStyle Custom Fit Profile to my order?

Enter your GStyle Customer ID in the appropriate field on your product order form.

What if I am purchasing for someone else – do I have to link my profile to the order?

Yes and No. Yes, you should link your profile for account history purposes and order tracking. No, you do not have to apply your profile details to the garment or accessory you are purchasing. If you want to purchase an item for someone else, select the “This is a gift” option on the order customization page. Your GStyle Customer ID will assigned to the order. Your profile details will not be applied to the item your are purchasing.

Do I have to complete the entire profile every time I make a purchase?

No. If you have previously created a GStyle Custom Fit Profile, you do not need to complete all questions on the form each time you make a purchase. You can choose to complete only the required contact details and the questions for which you want to edit / update your profile information.

Is creating a GStyle Custom Fit Profile required to place my order?

No. Creating a profile is optional but recommended to ensure your best fit. If you do not create a profile, you can still place your order with standard sizing options.

Please read the following before completing the profile form.

  • A unique GStyle Customer ID is required to save your order history. You may also make guest purchases without saving your order history.
  • If you previously created a GStyle Custom Fit Profile, you already have a unique GStyle Customer ID.
  • If you have forgotten or lost your GStyle Customer ID, click here.
  • If you do not have a GStyle Customer ID, complete and submit the GStyle Custom Fit Profile form. After submitting the form, your profile will be saved and you will create a GStyle Customer ID.
  • If you previously created a GStyle Custom Fit Profile, you do not need to complete all questions on this form again. Complete only the GStyle Customer ID and the answers you want to change / update on your profile.
  • If you have a GStyle Customer ID and do not want to make changes / updates to your GStyle Custom Fit Profile, you may skip the GStyle Custom Fit Profile section of this form and proceed to customizing your item. Click the green GStyle by You: Customize This button on your chosen product page to continue.
  • If you have a GStyle Customer ID and want to add custom features to this item, complete and submit the GStyle by You: Customize This section of this form. Click the green GStyle by You: Customize This button on your chosen product page to continue.
  • If you have a GStyle Customer ID and do not want to customize your item, you can skip the GStyle by You: Customize This section of this form and proceed directly to the buy now page for this item. Click the blue GStyle Buy Now & Save! button on your chosen product page to continue with your order.
  • If you do not have a GStyle Custom Fit Profile and do not want to create one, you still need a GStyle Customer ID to save your order history. To create a GStyle Customer ID, complete only the contact information on the GStyle Custom Fit Profile and submit the form. You can leave the remaining sections blank.
  • If you do not want to save your order history, you may place your order as a guest. You will not be able to access your order history at a later date without incurring a fee.

« Request a consultation today for your custom wardrobe or other apparel including wedding garments and special occasion attire.

« Click here to create your GStyle Custom Fit Profile.

Ciao for now!

Welcome to the All New GSyndicates!

GSyndicates Design™, or just GSyndicates (formerly Graham Syndicates)(also GS) is a fashion / sewing / modeling / e-commerce, beauty, apparel, and accessories mashup e-commerce business and shop owned and founded by Shenica R. Graham. This mode forward fashion hybrid combines skin care, cosmetics, jewelry, bags, apparel, shoes, and custom tailoring to form a one-stop source for all of your fashion needs.

The GSyndicates Story

Our Mission

GSyndicates is about more than the clothes you wear. Our motto is, “This is the look you’ve been looking for.” Our mission is bringing “style from day to night and dazzle to divalicious™ by promoting positive self-image – something that will never go out of style.

Our Specialty

The specialty is “comfortable elegance, providing custom tailored apparel and accessories designed to turn up the style in any wardrobe.” Our services comprise total image consulting. We have a helpful concierge for all of your fashion needs. GSyndicates also creates opportunities for aspiring fashion industry stars including designers, models, photographers, artists, and more.

Our Vision of How GSyndicates™ Will Work

GSyndicates™ is style in motion, moving designs from concept to personality in the digital fashion world, driven by social media as designs are shared on Facebook, pinned at Pinterest, Tweeted, blogged, and worn with confidence. We create opportunities for aspiring fashion industry stars including designers, models, photographers, artists, and more. The infographic below illustrates this visionary process.

GSyndicates Model

The Beginning

GSyndicates began as a “Made in the USA” project of fashion and couture artist, Shenica Renee Graham. She founded GSyndicates and Haute Midwest Magazine with Sponsor, House of Sherell, following her apparel and accessory designer début (collection titled GSIA – now part of GSyndicates) at the House of Sherell Fashion Extravaganza on November 6, 2013.

About GSyndicates’ Designers

GSyndicates apparel and accessories are designed by Founder / Owner / Designer Shenica Renee Graham, and through collaboration with GStyle Experts in the fashion community. GStyle Experts vote on new designs, request in-store releases, and more. These fashion experts bring their marketing, design, fabrication, and other skills to the community and earn a stake in the GSyndicates business.

About This Project – GSyndicates Design

Design Specs

These are the project design requirements: Create a new logo banner for GSyndicates™ Design (shown above) that matches the GSyndicates brand. Display the words “GSYNDICATES DESIGN” as a main heading. Display the designer’s name above the main heading. Display the words “We Have The Look You’ve Been Looking For” as a subheading.


Update the previous website cover / banner (Circa 2013, shown above), by Shenica R. Graham (with silhouettes by sattva). Photo(s) preferred over non-human graphic illustrations. Update the current website at Include a minimum of the following pages: Home, About (subpage: Brands), Blog, GStyle Concierge, Shop, Contact. Add other sub-pages as appropriate. Update the brand’s social media presence. Create an e-commerce website combining all GSyndicates shopping portals. Update the product descriptions with more fashion flair copy. Refer to project sources provided by the client for current descriptions of all categories and pages to be updated. Create a subscription based, branded fashion magazine to promote and support the brand.

The new look should reflect the forward motion of the new brand strategy, the designer has a vision to update the brand from mid-level to a triple threat – ready to wear, mid-level, and high fashion – taking the brand from six to more than a dozen categories including clothing and accessories (adding watches, neckties, and shoes!), skin care and cosmetics (including a specialty line for African American skin like mine!), and home making products like blankets, bath accessories, and even furniture!

Project Fulfillment: The How

The website cover / banners shown above were designed using pexels images by Dellon Thomas as backgrounds with the new logos as transparent overlays. The color scheme and background match the black and white or grayscale trademark of the original GSyndicates logo.

Logos, taglines, and descriptions were updated for each the GSyndicates Brands. The GSyndicates Stamp” or initials monogram is shared by every logo, whether or not the main brand title is spelled out or the brand name starts only with the monogram.

GSyndicates Brands

GSyndicates is a collection of over a dozen exclusive brands with common style threads – a fashion syndicate where each brand has its own flavor.

GSyndicates Classic

Our GSyndicates Classic brand is preserved as the first spin off of GSIA, which grew up in Iowa, USA. Our expansion to the more universal GSyndicates brand, allowed us to remove the ceiling that limited us to local merchants. Today, GSyndicates is a fashion staple with over a dozen unique brands.

GS Accessories

GS Accessories™ are made of unique and non-traditional materials that create stunning pieces to complement your best looks.

GS Gifts

GS Gifts™ is a curated collection of custom gift bundles and services that can be added to any purchase.

Give the gift of style with GSyndicates gift cards. Give any amount from $10 and up. Digital gift cards are available immediately after purchase.


GSCA (GSyndicates California) is your year round summer style maker. Add a splash of color, a pinch of flavor, and a taste of fun to your look whatever the weather.


Model Bree in GSIA

GSIA (GSyndicates Iowa) is the Official Designer of Haute Midwest Magazine and an exclusive House of Sherell brand. GSIA will get you ready for cool nights and winter getaways. Designs are inspired by a love of bold looks that capture the heart in breathtaking moments and fuse elements from East and West vogues.

GSIA was the first member of the GSyndicates design group and made its debut at the House of Sherell Winter 2013 Fashion Show. Haute Midwest Magazine™ was launched the next day. GSyndicates Magazine is the next revolution of that publication.

GS Intimates

GS Intimates™ by GSyndicates™ has everything you need for daywear comfort and nighttime elegance.


GSJEANS CO apparel is made from 100% American grown cotton jean fabrics made in the USA. Styles are bold enough for your fashion statement, and hip enough to last. GSJEANS CO jeans are always in style: so, take your look to the next level.

GS Kidz

The heritage of GSyndicates™ is passed on from generation to generation. With GSyndicates Kidz, you can train up a style in the way it should go.


GSNY Butterfly Mini Shirt Full Length

GSNY (GSyndicates New York) is your fashion source for uptown style at a hometown price. GSNY™’s “Hotline” will get your heart pumping with fitness and wellness products to help you feel your best in everything that looks good on you.

GSNY is inspired by comfort and classic lines. Breathable fabrics complement lifestyles on the move. Convertible styles mean more mojo for your money. Whether you take to the catwalk, the office, or the shops on the avenue, you will look and feel great in GSNY.

GStyle by You

GStyle by You™ is a feature rich fashion experience driven by your own personal style. You can customize your GStyle apparel and accessories to make them truly your own.

GSyndicates Black

GSyndicates Black honors African American heritage and GSyndicates Founder, Shenica R. Graham. GSyndicates Black includes African American culture inspired apparel, signature accessories including bags, shoes, and scarves, a jewelry line, a skin care line, a fragrance line, and so much more!

GSyndicates Home

From pillows and cozy throws to comforters and shower curtains, GSyndicates Home is your source for practical homemaking designs with a high-fashion touch.

Now you can decorate anywhere in GStyle. « more

GSyndicates Swim

GSyndicates Swim™ suits are built for all figures. Get smooth fabrics and slimming cuts in flattering designs. Our motto is, “A suit for every body.” That’s a suit for everybody!

SteppIn’ by GSyndicates

STEPPiN’ by GSyndicates™ is for savvy people like you, who love what they do. Whether you’re stepping out for work or play, or the all too common hybrid –  since you love to mix, we’ll keep you stepping out in style. So go ahead and love every step.

GSyndicates Shop

The Woo Commerce platform was used to create the all-new main shopping portal at, which also links to other existing shopping sites managed by the brand. Woo Commerce won over other options because as a Web and CSS designer with over 9 years experience working in online sales, I have not found a better, more user-friendly, consistent, reliable, robust and completely customizable content management system than WordPress. Woo Commerce integrates seamlessly with WordPress.

This project implements a customized version of the Shopify template (theme). Both the main brand website and the shopping portal include extensive graphic design and online copywriting.

GSyndicates Magazine

The next edition of GSyndicates Magazine is available online and in print at Here’s a preview (at left). Subscribe to the free online edition. Subscribe to the print edition.

For the magazine heading (shown above), I implemented my trademark 180 degree word spin, taking the minimized word, “Magazine” from horizontal to vertical.

Social Media Profiles

Habla Stylish?

Fashion For-Word Lexicon

Fashion is the word for life in Style!

The Fashion For-Word Lexicon is a fashion forward (see what I did there!) modern glossary. It expands your ability to define a fashion related experience (as in your answer to the question “What’s the word for a specific fashion event (such as a runway selfie pic)? Example: “The #fashionforword of the day is #styleselfie.”

This glossary originated with the foundation of the predecessor to GSyndicates Magazine, which is a publication that was also written by the GSM Editor In Chief, for Haute Midwest Media.

Go ahead, have fun with it! Grow your style vocab with the Fashion For-Word Lexicon.

Hash Tag



A fashion ensemble that is perfect from head to toe. Example: “You dressed #bangstoBlahniks for this _________ (insert a fashionable event).”


The serendipity of GSyndicates fashion. Discovering in an unplanned experience, that GS has the look you’ve been looking for. Example: “What #brandipity will you discover next?”


A fashionista’s educational and or professional credentials. Example: “Get your #divagree in #fashUcation.”


A fashionista’s world of style. Example: “Welcome to the #divaverse: it’s a beautiful world.”


When when you have whatnot to wear that’s what “not” to wear. Example: “Did your #fabgodrab? Get style help from the GStyle Concierge.”


A fashionista’s nationality – ‘cause we’re all divas – every color, every language, everywhere. Example: “Vogue is my #fashionality.”


How to say that you are defining a fashion experience (as in the answer to, “What’s the word for (a fashion experience such as a runway selfie pic). Example: “The #fashionforword of the day is #styleselfie.”


A dictionary of fashion related words founded by #HauteMidwest. Example: “Look up #divagree in the #fashionforwardlexicon.”


A fashionista’s anthem. Example: “Girls just wanna have #fashionfun!”


A curriculum or program of fashionable education leading to a #divagree, or a degree in a fashion driven industry. Example: “Get your #divagree in #fashUcation!”


Haute Midwest Fashion University, affectionately known as #FashUversity; an online fashion education program. Example: “Get your #divagree from #fashUversity!”


The unique ability to apply a peak fashion sense and sensibility to more than the clothes you wear. Example: “I’m living life in #GStyle.”


The fashionable Midwest. Haute Midwest Magazine – The Midwest fashion experience. Example: “Iowa is the heart of the #hautemidwest – and the home of Haute Midwest!”


A spa holiday to refresh your inner fashionista. It will make you say, “Ahh.” Example: “Win a #Spahhliday“.


Show and tell for the fashionable masses. Example: “Share your best look: #styleandtell.”


Fashion on your 6. Example: “GStyle has your styleback.”


A fashionista’s creative portfolio (design sketches, garments, and accessories, modeling portfolio, photography book, hair show reel, etc.) Example: “Update your #stylefolio before submitting your application.”


A style overhaul. The ultimate makeover. Example. “Seriously, you need a #stylehaul.”


A deep appreciation for the professional skills of a true fashionista in her or his element. Example: “I have #StyleLove for you!”

Featured Product

Rep that GStyle! Get a gaiter (facial covering) like the one featured at the top of this post. Buy it from the gsyndicates shop.

Ciao for now!

Happy National Mentoring Month

Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Day is observed in the US on the third Monday of January. This year, “MLK Day” is Monday, January 18th. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on October 14, 1964. This honor was majorly in recognition of his untiring work to end racial prejudice in the US by leading a non-violent resistance.

On MLK Day, people worldwide recognize the historic and empowering service and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by serving their community. If you are looking for ways to get involved in the National Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, visit

Quality mentoring is one of many ministries that empowers people to continue in positive ways, and to make needed changes for the better. Have you thought of how you can make a difference in the life of a youth this year? Here is one way…

Through publications and other resources that will be added to SandLine Productions, I am offering the opportunity for parents, teachers, and other leaders, to be a part of a powerful mentoring program for at-risk youth.

Mentoring is Ministry

Christ always took time to teach others what they needed to know to grow – not only what He wanted them to know about himself. Of course He taught about His role in God’s plan. He also taught many practical lessons. His teaching was not as one know-it-all to another. Christ was a people-builder. He understood and embodied the difference made with proper guidance. Even in His divinity, He always acknowledged the connection to His Father, God – the ultimate role model.

What would you guess is the biggest problem facing youth today?

One of them is discouragement (the same boulder that may have blocked many of your own roads). We can solve that problem with life investors – people who invest their life energy in mentoring, apprenticeship, financial and spiritual support, and BEING CREATIVE in their response to what ails the world.

What a Difference a Mentor Makes

I nearly lost my own life to suicidal depression. I know what a difference a mentor makes; what else has helped me; and how to teach (much of) what worked best. That being said, I will be posting to this blog, elements of the SandLine Program – a mentoring and leadership intervention for at-risk youth. This program will be offered freely to anyone who can and needs to participate.

The SandLine curriculum will include high-impact courses, which will be delivered via online educational platform. Related materials including applicable tools and resources that I may be able to present, will be made available for streaming, download, printing, etc. as appropriate. The full content of the original SandLine Program | Mentoring Workbook will be donated to an appropriate entity upon completion to ensure that the original form remains free to the public, even if later compiled in a traditional format.

You’re Invited!

You may already be a life investor. If so, thank you. If not, you can still make a positive difference in the lives of others. Whether you are a Doctor of Leadership, or a teen looking for a reason to give good a chance, this is your personal invitation to start 2014 by becoming or training to become a mentor for at-risk youth. Your training is free here; and you can access it from anywhere in the world. If you need the program for your personal growth and are not ready to be a mentor, there is also no fee to participate.

Happy National Mentoring Month.

Each ONE reach ONE. EveryONE teach ONE.

– Shenica R. Graham
Ciao for now!

Meet The GStyle Concierge

From day to night and dazzle to divalicious, the GStyle Concierge is at your service.

The GStyle Concierge™ is your personal expert digital image consultant, fashion advisor, color analyst, fashion stylist, apparel designer, makeover artist, personal shopper, and wardrobe stylist. From sourcing the perfect accessories to education on how to maximize your looks, the GStyle Concierge™ has your #styleback.

Did you land a new job? Are you getting ready for a special occasion? Even if you just need a lifestyle lift, the GStyle Concierge™ has just what the stylist ordered.

GStyle Concierge™ Services

Color Analyst

The GStyle Concierge™ can direct you in personal color analysis (PCA) and skin-tone matching, as well as determining a custom color palette for clothing and makeup that are in harmony with your unique complexion, eye color, and hair color. This vital information will benefit you when working with the GStyle Concierge™ as your personal style consultant and when selecting your custom wardrobe.

Custom Tailor

The GStyle Concierge™ has over forty years experience in custom apparel manufacturing. If you are looking for bespoke fashion to complement your unique style and expressive personality, the GStyle Concierge can assist you with everything from design to delivery of custom tailored clothing that will fit your figure and your life.

Fashion Stylist

Got what not to wear? We can fix that. Discover the fundamental elements of a wardrobe that works as well as you do – for you. Learn the 3 C’s of your personal GStyle™ (cut, color, confidence) and never let your #fabgodrab again.

What is the GStyle Fashion Stylist?

The GStyle™ Fashion Stylist is your personal fashion consultant. She selects the clothing you wear for published editorial features, print or television advertising campaigns, music videos, concert performances, and any other public appearances you make.

The GStyle Fashion Stylist is an everyday stylist who can also meet the demands of celebrities. She creates custom looks for red carpets, catwalks, and office parties. Even if you are not famous, the GStyle Fashion Stylist can help you upgrade your personal style from “unknown” to “best dressed”.

The GStyle Fashion Stylist is a perfect addition to your creative team. She can collaborate with your fashion designer, photographer/director, hair stylist, and makeup artist to create the look you want and or the look your team is working to build for a particular theme or project.

The GStyle Fashion Stylist uses your GStyle Custom Fit Profile to curate your perfect wardrobe and complete your makeover. Request a consultation today for your custom wardrobe or other apparel including wedding garments and special occasion attire.

Adapted from Wikipedia.

Image Consultant

Get the inside look to bring out your best and take your image to the next level. The GStyle Concierge™ has the expertise of a custom tailor and a proven stylist with the tools to rebrand you without breaking the bank.

What You Will Learn

  • Your color palette / profile
  • How to coordinate your clothing and accessories
  • Proper etiquette
  • Proper body language
  • Effective communication
  • Personal presentation
  • Personal branding

Plus++ you’ll save more $$ when you purchase an exclusive wardrobe including custom apparel and accessories. Request a consultation today for your personal image makeover.

Makeover Consultant

Get a GStyle makeover and work your wow factor. Plus++ you’ll get custom spa essentials and more to re-create your new fabu. Contact your personal makeover consultant, the GStyle Concierge to get started.

Shop Plus+

Shop Plus+ services enhance your gift giving.

  • Free Shipping for GStyle Community Members.
  • Gift Cards. Select a gift card amount from $5 to $5,000. Get instant digital delivery.
  • Gift Boxing. Add $10 to any purchase for delivery of your custom order in a GS gift box with a  greeting card that you can personalize for your gift recipient.
  • Gift Wrapping. Add $10 to any purchase to include external gift wrapping over a  gift box containing your purchase.
  • Greeting Cards. Add $2 to any purchase to include a greeting card that you can personalize for your gift recipient.

GStyle Concierge™ Solutions

  • Community. The GStyle Community is important to the success of GS brands. Members share their fashion experience and style expertise with their family, friends, and social networks. Select GStyle customers are invited to become GStyle Experts.
  • Custom Fit Profile. Get the right fit every time. Read the FAQs to learn more.
  • Personal Shopper. The GStyle Personal Shopper helps you shop by giving advice and making suggestions according to your color analysis and other GStyle profiles. Get advice and suggestions before you buy.

Free Initial Consultation

Request a free initial consultation today for your custom wardrobe or other apparel including wedding garments and special occasion attire.

Ciao for now!

My Life Is a Tyler Perry Movie (almost) (Video)

This article continues from Editor’s Letter – Spring 2021

Most recently, I watched Tyler Perry’s “Good Deeds” for the first time.

This movie touches my life in so many ways (the way that only Tyler Perry movies seem to do). I found myself (literally) all over this movie. I think that stories like this need to be told for those of us who have lived some part of it; and they need to be told by people like Tyler Perry.

When I saw Lindsey Wakefield (Thandie Newton), a single mother and cleaning worker for the Deeds Corporation, desperately picking up trash bags filled with her belongings (about 13 minutes into the movie) as everything from her apartment was being thrown out on to the curbside because she could not pay her rent (with her child waiting in the van that was almost towed just hours earlier), I almost cried.

I thought, “Thank you Jesus!” Because there but for the grace of God go I.” I recall being a single mother of a toddler while we were both transitionally homeless and everything we owned was in a van my cousin sold to me for $100.

Living in that van, I remember going to Quick Trip bathrooms to wash up and change clothes (Lindsey and her daughter do this about minute 42), dropping my son off to a stranger’s car in the parking lot, and trying to go to work without worrying about him. Finally, I remember being evicted from our first home and having to leave my job as my depression and bipolar symptoms flared leading to a mental breakdown and residence in a psychiatric ward (the first in a series of stays).

All of those memories came flooding back when I watched Lindsey go to work and leave her daughter alone in a broom closet, promising to return in an hour. I never had to leave my son alone, but I did have to leave him with strangers. This terrified me because it reminded me that when my mother was a single parent and I was left in another family’s care, I was sexually abused at the age of six. It has taken me thirty-six years to re-gain steady ground in my life, after living a downward spiral despite many accomplishments (mental disorders are often “off and on”. So, a high functioning person can be sometimes high functioning, and sometimes dysfunctional). As a result of abuse, I live with three mental health disorders that almost killed me on several occasions.

About minute 26, Wesley Deeds (Tyler Perry), head of the family-owned Deeds Corporation where Lindsey works, recounts a story to her of almost drowning in the Maldives on vacation. Although his father warns him not to go into the sea (neither of them knew how to swim), Deeds jumps in anyway. Lindsey asks, “How did you get out [of the water]?” Deeds tells her, “My brother jumped in and saved me.” I thought, Wow. I remember thinking the same thing about my eldest brother, E

He was the second child born to my mother, almost 13 years after I came into this world. Somehow, I knew that he would be a blessing to me specifically – not only to my mother. While mom worked to take care of us, I practically raised him to the age of five. My brother went on to be a high school valedictorian, West Point graduate, military captain, devoted husband, and doting father.

When I was drowning in sorrow, my brother stepped in and saved me. I was even able to forgive him for putting a sandwich in the VCR player (we didn’t have DVDs in the early 90’s) and rendering it useless; and for pouring glue into my Lego phone making the receiver stick to the base and all of the keys unable to be pressed down (I loved Legos and that was my first real phone. Losing that phone hurt, but I loved that child immensely. When I was sixteen and announced that I wanted to go on missions to Africa, he said, “I want to go with you.” That’s who he is to me. He always has my back. I haven’t been to Africa yet (although I believe God sent me a gift all the way from Kenya in the person of my son’s father (Oh yeah, I prophesied as a child that I would have African children), but I have been to France, Germany, and Austria – with him + 1 of my brothers). Below is a view from our trip to Paris in 2003.

When I had my son, it was only natural that I also named him Emanuel after my brother (translated,God with us”). Little did I know that God was not going to stop there. Despite my lonely beginning, I now have five +1 brothers and a sister, all of whom I am extremely proud of for various reasons. I have also gotten to know amazing men and women in my cousins, aunts, uncles, and extended family.

Now here’s a throwback tribute to three of the greatest games of the 80’sFrogger, Pac Man, and Ms. Pac Man! About minute 32 of Good Deeds, Lindsey’s daughter Ariel (Jordenn Thompson) plays the Frogger arcade game.

As a child of the late 70’s, I was just 3 ½ years old when Frogger hit the US market in 1981. But it was one of the first games I ever played, along with Pac-Man (1980) and Ms. Pack-Man (1982). These are still the only video games that can hold my attention for hours (even though I don’t really play any video games these days) Just ask my siblings)).

O.K., back to the movie…

About minute 32, Ariel’s stomach growls and Deeds offers to take she and her mother to a pizzeria. They go to the restaurant and Lindsey explains over dinner that she was previously in nursing school. I still remember getting my CNA diploma; but I never actually worked in the field. Unfortunately, Lindsay recounts, she had to drop out of college with just two years left in her program after she lost her daughter’s father to Iraq.

Suddenly a single parent having to carry all of the bills, Lindsey needed a job. She became a janitor. No, that wasn’t the fulfillment of her dreams. She was a college student, working most probably for minimum wage. I totally understand. After mental illness ravaged my life, I worked for minimum wage despite holding two college degrees.

About minute 40, Lindsay states (and how ironically), “That man is persistent.” This couldn’t describe Deeds (or Tyler Perry) more. About minute 45, Lindsey is trying to get a space in a shelter. I remember doing the same thing. I felt like I was being asked so many intrusive questions, but I was thinking the entire time, “God, please let this woman tell me I have a place to sleep tonight.” Thankfully, she did. I do not know what I would have done if she had said otherwise. As if I did not have enough reasons to feel like I was seeing my life in this movie, one of the women in the line to get in to the shelter (minute 46) was named “Renee” (my middle name, which I was primarily referred to as during high school and in my twenties).

About Minute 50, Lindsay and Deeds have a heated discussion about parenting. Lindsey asked Deeds some tough questions that prove he does not understand the plight of a single mother trying to make ends meet and failing. Minute 53. Lindsey and Ariel check into the shelter. They go to sleep in their clothes and shoes (not abnormal in a shelter). In the middle of the night they are attacked by a shelter resident. Lindsey grabs and Ariel and runs out of there.

About minute 55, Deed’s fiancée, Natalie (Gabrielle Union) calls him “predictable.” Granted, throughout the entire film thus far, she has been able to finish his sentences and knows what he will do before he does it. But what Deeds does next could not be more surprising. What does Deeds do? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

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Cover photo source: Tyler Perry at the 82nd Academy Awards by Sgt. Michael Connors – 302nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment / Public domain.