**An excerpt from the second installment of my Huffington Post series, “The Black Girl Crush Series”–an awesome new index of interviews with Black female iconoclasts.**
A fashion insider, who shall remain nameless, once told me that the idea of a Black female fashion collective was an impossibility. The idea of creative like minds — in its simplest form, a crew, and in its grandest, a nucleus of Black female talent and cool — could never be. Not because there weren’t any existing potential participants — to be sure, the numbers grow by the day — but rather, as they explained, because of the attitudes and drama our race and gender incite … no, no, no it does not bode well for us. We simply do not work well together.
Thankfully this ominous forecast was relayed to me via email, for I’m unsure how I would have responded if confronted with it in the flesh. Without the ability to type a poised, diplomatic response, I would have most likely swallowed hard and pointed to daring design stars, Darlene and Lizzy Okpo, the sisterly duo behind lauded womenswear label, William Okpo, as proof positive that such self-pathologizing conclusions are unfounded.
The young designers, whose diverse origins traverse the savannahs of Nigeria, to the beautiful chaos of the Bronx, to the quaint suburbs of Staten Island, are physical and emotional complements of one another; two sides of a single design objective, who have worked together cohesively since the line’s debut in 2010. The sisters have in turn branded a quiet cool about William Okpo in a short interval, having garnered support from the GenArt brand, which has sponsored both their Spring/Summer 2012 and Fall/Winter 2012 collections, and the patronage of such fashion darlings as Solange Knowles,
Darlene and Lizzy are also the subjects of the second installment of the “Black Girl Crush Series”, and have infused their infectious personalities into a thoughtful Q/A that touches on the brand’s muses, how they combat the struggles of Black designers, and above all, how they manage those signature knee-length cascade of braids.
Click here to read more….
Photo by Jason Eric Hardwick.