“Stop putting us in Muumuus”

Goo Goo Atkins

Source: Lauren E. Williams / for HelloBeautiful

As fashion lovers race to stores to grab their new spring outfits, Macy’s has once again partnered with black designers for Icons of Style highlighting the diversity of voices and black excellence in fashion. This year’s cohort includes six unique collections from GooGoo Atkins, Areeayl Goodwin, Matthew Harris, Jerome LaMaar, Ade Samuel and Stella and Blaise Bennett.

Macy’s celebrated its new designers with a launch party on Wednesday, April 20 at Lavan 51 in Chelsea. Attendees enjoyed appetizers, drinks and an exclusive preview of each collection through live fashion presentations.

We chatted with some of the designers present.

GooGoo Atkins, a 20-year fashion veteran, stressed the need for greater representation when talking about her line. “It’s important that we are represented… We’re sexy here – stop putting us in muumuus. Stop saying you’re a plus size and then we go over there and it’s our grandma’s clothes, the dresses home and all that.

GooGoo’s collection for Macy’s Bar III is a celebration of curves and femininity and features matching jumpsuits, bold graphic prints and flirty accents. The line was inspired by the fact that she had to constantly improvise and design her own clothes. (As a plus size fashionista, I share her pain).

“We are sexy in the street. We wear fitted clothes. We wear bellies. We do all of that,” Atkins continued. “There wasn’t enough representation, so I had to make sure women who looked like me had clothes that looked like clothes I like to wear.”

Jewelry designer Areeayl Goodwin also shared how her HOME collection reflects who she is and her personal experience. “When I created the line, I wanted to make sure people carried with them symbols of hope and the light within us that never dies. The ancestors who walk with us, the angels who guide us, our homes childhood, everything that brings us comfort and love… For most of the pieces, it’s the symbols that represent that for me.

You might remember Goodwin’s “wearable art” pieces from seeing them on some of your favorite black it girls and celebrities like Keke Palmer, Naomi Osaka, Jill Scott and Tracee Ellis Ross. Goodwin credits Macy’s for providing a platform to increase access to some of its most sought-after pieces, further raising its profile around the world.

“Working with Macy’s is literally a dream come true. To have my pieces that are handmade, hard to find, fast selling, now available to so many people around the world? said Goodwin. “It is magic.”

Ade Samuel also sees his dreams come true thanks to his collaboration with Macy’s. Ade told us, “Working with Macy’s was quick, but I also felt like it took a long time because working [in the industry] we have been dreaming of these moments for so long. So for me, I feel like I’ve locked away a lot of dreams and ideas about the designs. When Macy’s reached out to me, it was so easy to pitch them concepts that I had been thinking about for so long.

Along with the other three new designers, Goodwin, Samuels and Atkins represent the second class of “iconic” designers. The first cohort included well-known influencers such as Misa Hylton, Zerina Akers, and Abdul Jillil.

“We are proud to announce the second release of Icons of Style featuring a new group of black visionaries who bring their creative excellence to Macy’s and inspire customers to own their style with unique pieces,” said Durand Guion, said. Macy’s Vice President of Fashion Office in a press release. “We are committed to helping diverse brands grow and amplifying diverse voices to create more choice and robust shopping experiences for our customers while shaping a brighter future with bold representation for all.”

To purchase the first capsule of the Icons of Style collection, visit macys.com, the Macy’s app, and select locations nationwide. The next series of collections will be available in July and October.

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