‘Stop Putting Us In Muumuus’

Goo Goo Atkins

Goo Goo Atkins

Source: Lauren E. Williams / for HelloBeautiful

As fashion lovers run to stores to grab their new Spring outfits, Macy’s has partnered with Black creatives once again for Icons of Style highlighting the diversity of voice and Black excellence in fashion. This year’s cohort features six one-of-a-kind collections from GooGoo Atkins, Areeayl Goodwin, Matthew Harris, Jerome LaMaar, Ade Samuel and Stella and Blaise Bennett.

Macy’s celebrated their newest designers with a launch party event on Wednesday, April 20 at Lavan 51 in Chelsea. Attendees enjoyed passed appetizers, beverages, and an exclusive up-close look at each collection through live fashion presentations.

We talked to some of the designers in attendance.

20-year fashion veteran GooGoo Atkins stressed the need for more representation when speaking about her line. ”It is important that we are represented … We are sexy out here – stop putting us in muumuus. Quit saying you have plus size and then we go over there and it’s our nana’s clothes, house dresses and stuff.”

GooGoo’s collection for Macy’s Bar III is a celebration of curves and womanhood and features mix and match suiting, bold graphic prints and flirty accents. The line was inspired by her having to constantly improvise and design her own clothes. (As a plus size fashionista, I share her pain).

“We are sexy in the streets. We wear fitted stuff. We wear midriffs out. We do all of that,” Atkins continued. “There wasn’t enough representation, so I had to make sure that women that look like me had clothes that look 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 was creating the line, I wanted to make sure that people were carrying symbols of hope with them and the light inside of us that never dies. The ancestors that walk with us the angels that guide us, our childhood homes, all that brings us comfort and love … For most of the pieces those are the symbols that represent that for me.”

You may remember Goodwin’s “wearable art” pieces from seeing them on some of your favorite it girls and Black girl 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 her most sought-after pieces further raising her profile across the globe.

“Working with Macy’s is literally a dream come true. To have my pieces that are handcrafted, hard to come by, that sell out fast, now available to so many people worldwide?” said Goodwin. “Its magic.”

Ade Samuel also sees her dreams realized through her collaboration with Macy’s. Ade told us, “Working with Macy’s was a quick turnaround, but it also really felt like it took a long time because working [in the industry] so long we have dreamed for these moments. So, for me, I feel like I have been closeting a lot of dreams and ideas on designs. When Macy’s reached out to me it was so easy to get them concepts that I have been thinking about for such a long time.”

Along with the other three new creatives, 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 iteration of Icons of Style with a new group of Black visionaries who are bringing their creative excellence to Macy’s and inspiring customers to own their style with one-of-a-kind pieces,” said Durand Guion, vice president, Macy’s Fashion Office said in a press release. “We are committed to helping diverse brands grow to scale and amplifying diverse voices to create more choices and robust shopping experiences for our customers while shaping a brighter future with bold representation for all.”

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

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