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Blake Von D by Blake Von D - 6d ago

I recently visited South Loop Loft’s new location in River North and fell in love with the vibe of the space. It’s so luxe and every piece in the room takes your breathe away. It’s so opulent that the second I saw it I started to picture myself in myself lounging around the space in a gorgeous ballgown. And then it dawned on me…why just picture it? Why not make it happen?!

Photo credit: Ali Stone

Enter this Badgley Mischka gown from Rent the Runway! I knew it would be the perfect complement to the already stunning space at South Loop Loft. The smooth, velvety material had the same high end feel and worked so well with all the art in the room.  So, I placed an order for a 4-day rental and prayed the final product would match what I saw in my head.

They turned out even better than I thought! I absolutely love the images. But when I saw them I couldn’t help but feel like, “Wow. This woman looks like someone who loves to be the star of the show.” And the truth is, that could not be further from the truth for me. That realization really made me think about my own personality.

Use code ‘BLAKEVONDPERK25‘ for 25% off your first order with Rent the Runway

You probably wouldn’t guess it based off the fact that I’m a blogger and share a great deal of my life online, but I’m a pretty reserved and observant person. Not that I’m shy (I’m not!)…I just love my space and when left up to me, I prefer to observe other people rather than interact with them. But in situations where I have to—or feel drawn to—jump in the mix, I have no problem holding court. (Though, I hate small talk.) But once it’s over, I definitely have to step away and recharge.

I’m not the type of person you can spring last minute plans on and if I do decide to go out, you can be sure I’m going to ask who and how many people are going to be there. I need to be able to mentally prepare myself to expend the necessary energy.

If you’ve ever met me in a social setting, you’re probably reading this and feeling very confused. Like, I said, I can hold court with the best of them. But if you’ve ever talked to me the day after a gathering of some sort, this all makes total sense to you. It’s usually during that time that I’m most ‘me.’ I’m quiet, pensive, and generally in my head. A lot. That said, I enjoy the occasional opportunity to leave my thoughts at the door and let loose!

What’s your personality type?
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Blake Von D by Blake Von D - 1M ago

There’s been a lot of talk lately about sustainable fashion. We’re consuming so much—myself included—and in order to keep up with the demand fast fashion brands are producing more clothing than ever before. But unfortunately, much of it goes unpurchased or, due to low quality, not being worn for very long. All of this starts to take a toll on both resources and the environment.

I personally hate clutter and am constantly getting rid of things. Constantly! But I make a conscious decision to recycle, reuse and repurpose almost everything in my life. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m constantly giving away paint samples my apartment makeover, reselling items from my closet, or donating makeup to women’s shelters. It’s how I do my small part to keep items out of the landfills and actually being enjoyed by someone who could use them.

Photo credit: Rachel Bires

I rarely buy new clothes (one of the perks of being a fashion blogger), but whenever I do, I almost always check Poshmark first. I spend a good amount of time on the app each day selling clothing from my own closet (especially since my closet makeover), that it’s often top of mind. And since I typically end up using the money I earned from my sales, it also makes me feel like I’m not actually spending any money. Don’t try to make it make sense. It makes sense to me and that’s all that matters. haha.

This Maison Margiela x HM vest was my most recent purchase. I snagged it from Wendy Nguyen’s (of Wendy’s Lookbook) closet for $40. Yep, you read right. $40! It’s a great deal because pieces from this same collection are going for hundreds of dollars, even on resale sites.

I paired it with a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans and simple black Steve Madden heels. Stud earrings and a quilted crossbody finished off this laid back look.

If you’re looking for a way to save money and the environment, apps like Poshmark are a great options. So are thrift stores, clothing swap parties with friends and low impact clothing lines!

This was supposed to just be a “check out my new vest” post and somehow ended up being a lesson in recycling, but hopefully it’s inspired you to make a difference in some small way.

Shop This Look:

Boyfriend Jeans – c/o River Island | Maison Margiela x HM vest – Poshmark | Sandals – Steve Madden (similar here) | Quilted crossbody – H&M | ‘Stunna‘ by Fenty Beauty – Sephora

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Blake Von D by Blake Von D - 1M ago

There’s a saying: “You can have it all…just not all at the same time.” Well, when it comes to my apartment, that definitely applies.

The moment I walked into my apartment, I was in love and knew I wanted it. Everything was so shiny and brand new and exactly the pick me up I needed after weeks of looking at nightmare after nightmare. But if there’s one thing I didn’t like, it was the closet—and general lack of storage space.

Not only is there minimal storage space, but when I opened the closet the day I viewed the apartment, my first thought was, “Whose hair-brained idea was this?” Seriously. Who makes a closet without any kind of hardware? Not even so much as a rod to hang clothing on. What was I supposed to do? Stack my clothing in boxes on the floor?? Ridiculous. But for kicks and giggles, have a look at the before.

*face palm* A far cry from the #bloggergoals we’re all so used to seeing on Instagram. But like I said, you can’t always have it all. So, I told myself I would just find a way to make it work, because I loved everything else!

I knew I would eventually build it out a bit, but for a short term solution, I had my property manager come install a rod. (I added the makeshift shelf later #desperatetimescallfordesperatemeasures.) I’m not sure if it made it better or worse aesthetically. But at least, I was able to unpack my clothing and have some sort of storage.

*If the closet looks a little bare, it’s because I took this photo after I packed away (and listed a bunch of items in my Poshmark closet) in preparation for this makeover. Yay spring cleaning!)

Blah, right? And totally useless! I was constantly running out of places to put things—especially when my big winter coats were hanging—and no matter how hard I tried, nothing ever felt organized.

Enter a wonderful and inexpensive ClosetMaid shelving unit from Home Depot!

I had a friend come over and help me put it together. It was a really quick and easy process that took us entiiiiiirely too long. Lol. There’s brick behind several of the walls in my apartment and drilling into them takes a lot of strength and prayer. So we spent a lot time just trying to drill into the walls. But actually putting it together took no time at all.

NOW ABOUT THIS WALLPAPER!

Note: I installed the shelving unit first, but it would have been much smarter to wallpaper first. However, the truth is: 1) the clutter got the best of me and I was desperate for more storage and 2) I initially planned to leave everything all white, but once the unit was installed, I realized the space still didn’t reflect me or my decor style. It was at that point that I decided to wallpaper. Oops.

After we finished installing the unit, I started to brainstorm ideas to add a little pizazz to the closet and immediately thought of this panther print wallpaper from Target. I had previously come across it while shopping the Opalhouse collection for bedding for my bedroom makeover and knew it would be perfect. My closet is in my office and I wanted something that would play well off the Cynthia Rowley desk in the room. But because the unit was already secured to the wall*, I was worried about lining up the pattern and decided to keep looking. However, after over a week of searching day and night, I still couldn’t shake my draw to the print. So, I decided to go for it.

*I ended up partially removing the 4 screws securing the unit to the wall and pulling it out just enough to wallpaper behind it. That made the process a breeze and I was done in less than an hour!

I could stare at this wallpaper all day! I mean, it’s so good!

The closet system came with 3 adjustable white rods, but I wanted something a little more stylish. Gold! Once I had the system all installed, I headed to my local Home Depot…only to find that they didn’t have one. I was shocked and horrified. So I fired up the good ole Google and started my online search for one. I found this one from Buy Railings for less than $40! As fate would have it 72″ was exactly the length I needed for all 3 sections. (I had it cut at Home Depot for free.)

I also had the shelf above the bottom rod*. It’s supported by a shelf bracket that I spray painted green (I happened to have a can left over from another project) so it blended in with the wallpaper. *The long top shelf above the unit is the same shelf I added when I moved in last year.

picturedgold closet rod | melamine shelf | shelf bracket | hunter green spray paint

Once the shelf was installed it was time to, first, finish packing away the last few winter items I left out and then place everything back in the closet.

Check out the reveal!

I also added a few hooks on the walls—out of sight—to hang things. I’m currently using them as a place to hang my lighting equipment.

Bash supervised the entire project.

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Blake Von D by Blake Von D - 2M ago

The warm weather has FINALLY arrived! Two 80° days in a row and I already feel like a new woman. Although, if I’m being honest, in Chicago, it only has to get close to 50° for Chicagoans to head straight to pull out our summer clothing. I think we’re just a bit more desperate for appreciative of good weather days here.

But whether an 80° summer  day or 50° degree one, Macy’s has me covered in the swimwear department. I shopped their new collection and picked out the perfect bikini from Bar III.

I chose the Better Be Weave it bikini in periwinkle. Normally, I don’t gravitate toward such delicate color palettes, but the stitching details grabbed my attention almost immediately. It’s textbook “Feminine, but Edgy.” (Good news: It also comes in other colors!)

I also really love the way the straps cross in the back. It’s just one more added detail for the eye to focus on. Now, the tan lines are going to be a nightmare, but totally worth it to look this cute poolside.

Shop The Collection:

‘Better Be Weave It’ Bralette c/o Macy’s | ‘Better Be Weave It’ Bottom c/o Macy’s

DISCLAIMER: This post was created in partnership with Macy’s and Shopstyle Collective, for which I was compensated. However, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who help make make my site possible.

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Blake Von D by Blake Von D - 3M ago

Psst! *leans in and whispers* Want to get paid to travel?

Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret! With Ebates’ #TravelThursday savings, you can get 10% back on all of your travel purchases made via Ebates hotels and other participating travel partners on Thursday. I used the website to book myself a last minute getaway and saved some cash in the process.

I’m always posting international travel content, but for this trip I decided to stay stateside and head to a city and state I’ve never been to—Portland, Oregon. So I booked a flight through eBates and started my planning!

Where to Stay:

After you book your flight—and get more cash back from Ebates—you’re going to want to figure out where you’re staying. I, again, used Ebates to book a 3 day stay at The Heathman.

The Heathman

There were a ton of seemingly great options in Portland, but there was something about the The Heathman that grabbed my attention. (I think it might have been the paneling on the walls since I’m considering doing something similar in my place.)

*overheard in the elevator* “The Heathman is the 2nd oldest hotel in Portland.”

Judging from the decor and upkeep, you’d never know it. The space was modern and had a cute boutique feel. But don’t take my word…take a look for yourself.

Photo credit: Tasha James

Another great thing about the Heathman was the hospitality. On my last night, I was offered a complimentary bourbon nightcap brought right to my door. It’s almost like they knew whiskey is the way to my heart!

Since I booked my stay through eBates and Travelocity, I got an immediate savings over $45 added to my Ebates reward account. I’m looking forward to that Big Fat Check in the mail.

Places to Eat:

Prior to this trip, I reached out to my network—and my Instagram family—to ask for Portland recommendations. Almost all of the responses I received were for food. As a self-proclaimed foodie, nothing could have made me happier.

Screen Door

THIS. PLACE. IS. HEAVEN! No, seriously. Screen Door has some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life. I didn’t expect a restaurant in the Pacific Northwest to do Southern cuisine so much justice, but I was proved wrong on every level.

It was so good, I went 2 days in a row. I ordered the chicken biscuit sandwich and the shrimp and grits. Both meals were divine!

Pok Pok

The second I asked for Portland recommendations, Pok Pok was mentioned almost immediately…and kept coming up again and again.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a bit intimidated by Asian food—except the basic fried rice & pad Thai, but I figured if it was getting such rave reviews it was worth a trip. But my skepticism crept in again when the words “fried chicken” were mentioned. (Blame it on the Southerner in me.) But Portland and Pos Pos made me eat crow once again. The fish sauce wings were almost too good to eat.

Almost.

Voodoo vs. Blue Star Donuts

When it comes to donuts, there seems to be a bit of a hometown rivalry between Voodoo and Blue Star Donuts. Voodoo wins 1st Place in the Tourist Attraction category, but Blue Star seems to have the heart of the locals. I, of course, had to check them both out.

Verdict: If you’re looking for fun and flair, head to Voodoo. For top notch flavor, put your money on Blue Star.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Salt & Straw – great place to grab an ice cream cone for your stroll around downtown Portland.

Jack Rabbit – great food, even better ambiance. Perfect for happy hour!

Sights to See:

Japanese Rose Garden

If you’re into nature and cultural experiences, you definitely don’t want to leave a trip to the Portland Japanese Garden off your list. I almost missed it myself. I was worried about the weather and made the decision not to chance it and just skip it this trip. But my Uber driver convinced me that it was something I needed to see in this lifetime and this trip so I headed over.

I’m so glad I did because the garden is GORGEOUS.

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Blake Von D by Blake Von D - 3M ago

If you’ve been blogging for longer than 5 minutes, you’ve heard of Chiara Ferragni. Chiara, also known as The Blonde Salad, is arguably the biggest and most influential blogger of the moment and she’s proving it with yet another amazing collaboration. This time partnering with Disney—everyone’s childhood favorite—for her own collection of shoes.

I was lucky enough to receive a pair of the Minnie Mouse Glove Mules from the collection (as well as a cute pair of slip-on sneakers) and really enjoyed styling them to fit my personal style.

Photo credit: Tasha James

When you think of Disney apparel, it’s easy to imagine style that is very young or peppy. So although this particular shoe has a dark color palette and chic adult friendly silhouette, I still wanted to make sure I was pairing them with edgier pieces to ensure the look felt like “me.”

One of the first ways I did that was with a pair of fishnet hose underneath distressed denim jeans. I also layered on top a black tulle skirt. Not only does it add edge and texture to the overall look, it also plays into the whimsical fairy princess imagery that Disney is so well-known for. But in a way that’s appropriate for a woman of my many years. Lol.

If you’ve been following me for more than 5 minutes, you know I love mixing patterns. I seriously can’t get enough. So, if there’s ever an opportunity to wear plaid, stars and a great Africa-inspired print together, you can believe I’m taking it!

I really felt like together all the pieces really reflect my edgier personal style while playing to the fun and flair of the Disney brand and Chiara’s designs.

Chiara Ferragni x Disney | Minnie Mouse Mule

Keeping with the Minnie Mouse theme, I added in this really fun bag from the Melissa Disney collection. Bonus: The bag has a really awesome fruity smell and also comes in red!

Chiara’s new collection is proof positive that there will always be a Disney kid inside of all of us and that you’re never too old to dawn a pair of Minnie Mouse ears…or gloves.

Shop This Look:

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Blake Von D by Blake Von D - 3M ago

It’s finally here! The first room reveal of my home tour! I’m so excited to share this space because it’s been a such a long time coming.

When I moved into my apartment, I thought for sure I would be done decorating in a matter of months. Yet, here I am a year later and only one room as reached stage one of completion. (Because is a room ever really complete?) But given the number of threatening DMs I’ve received from you guys on Instagram, I figured it was high time I showed you something. So let’s just jump right into it!

When it comes to decor, I’m a ‘more is more’ kind of girl. Not necessarily more furniture (I don’t like the space to feel cluttered), but more for the eye to take in. Colors, textures, patterns, mirrors…just more. I am also a big fan of moody vibes. I mean, have you seen my IG feed? The problem with that is I often have so many ideas it can be hard for me to hone in on clear direction. So, when Demetrius of Savvy Settings Home reached out about a possible collaboration it was like all my prayers had been answered.

Photo credit: Nick Gerber

Gothic Garden Wallpaper c/o Drop It Modern |Wall paint – Behr ‘Durango Blue | Tufted Headboard – World Market (try this one!) | White Shag Area RugRugsUSA | Trunk – sidewalk find (can you believe it?!)

I immediately got to work sending him all of my ideas about things I wanted to incorporate into the space. He took all of my 6000 ideas in stride (because he’s amazing at his job) and after a few rounds of revisions came back with a design that really captured my style. It featured this absolutely beautiful wallpaper from Drop It Modern and immediately I was in love. I loved the dark moody color palette balanced against the feminine floral pattern. Seriously, pictures don’t do it justice. You have to come over and see it in person! It’s so stunning and showstopping. And the best part? It’s removable!!! That’s right. REMOVABLE. (Hello, renters!) What’s special about DIM’s wallpaper—in addition to being removable—is the fact that every pattern is customizable. Which means you can get the perfect pattern for you space. For example, every pattern comes as traditional/repeating wallpaper and as a mural. I loved the large scale of the floral print on the mural, but still wanted the patter to repeat on the wall. The wonderful people at Drop It Modern had no problem making that happen.

Dresser – Craigslist DIY (head over to this post to see how I made it!) | Velvet Tufted QuiltOpalhouse | Sheet set – Target | Dark grey pillow cases | Mongolian Pillows c/o Z Gallerie | Purple Velvet Pillow – Marshalls (similar) | Mirrored tray – Marshalls (similar)

‘BRAIDS’ print – Shani Crowe (sold out); gold frame – Michaels | Ceramic Table LampProject 62 | ‘Louis Vuitton’ coffee table book – Home Goods | Starburst – Home Goods (similar) | Bedside books – shop them here

My bedroom is essentially split into 2 different sections—one for sleeping, one for relaxing. When you come down the stairs into the space, the first thing that catches your eye is the stunning wallpaper. Next, your eyes land on the plush velvety texture of the headboard and bedding. Nestled under the staircase is the beginnings of what will be a relaxing sitting area. Currently, there are 2 velvet benches I purchased from Homes Goods and a faux sheepskin rug to define the space. I topped the benches with velvet embossed pillows from Etsy. Future plans include relocating my round oversized West Elm mirror from my living room down into space (to replace the floor mirror), more wall art and plants for added dimension. But for now, I’m happy with the direction things are headed.

Velvet Benches – Home Goods (similar here & here) | Faux Sheepskin – ROSS (similar) | Bird flock pillow cover – Etsy

Something you will notice about my bedroom is that there isn’t a closet or television in my room. This was intentional. Because I work from home, much of my space feels like ‘the office.’ I wanted my bedroom to be the one place in my apartment that’s completely quiet, relaxed and doesn’t contain any remnants of my work life—and, yes, that even means no clothes. (After all I blog all day long about clothes and fashion.)

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Blake Von D by Blake Von D - 4M ago

When it comes to “nude” or flesh colored clothing and accessories, if you’re of a certain, DARKER shade, it can be near impossible to find items to match your skintone. For many of us, we’re left feeling like either an afterthought or completely forgotten altogether. Well, DSW is doing their part to change this culture of exclusion with their new line of nude sandals!

I was lucky enough to get my very own pair in a shade that basically look like they were painted on. The match is that close! But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself!

Photo credit: Jules Kennedy

What I love about these sandals is the fact that they’re a great minimal accessory for an outfit. There are so many times when I’ve put together the perfect look and wished that I had a flesh toned shoe that wouldn’t distract from the overall look and feel of the outfit. These sandals do just that. You can pair them with just about anything and they’re going to complement it really well.

Another thing I love about truly nude sandals is that they help to draw the line of sight all the way through the toes…making you look taller and longer. What’s not to love about that?!

Overall, I’m just excited to see brands expanding their idea of inclusiveness and making products for EVERYONE. This perfect brown girl nude is a much needed addition to my collection and I’m going to get all the wear out of them I can!

DISCLAIMER: This post was created in partnership with DSW Shoes, for which I was compensated. However, all opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands who help to make blakevond.com possible!

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Blake Von D by Blake Von D - 4M ago

When it comes to “nude” or flesh colored clothing and accessories, if you’re of a certain, DARKER shade, it can be near impossible to find items to match your skintone. For many of us, we’re left feeling like either an afterthought or completely forgotten altogether. Well, DSW is doing their part to change this culture of exclusion with their new line of nude sandals!

I was lucky enough to get my very own pair in a shade that basically look like they were painted on. The match is that close! But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself!

Photo credit: Jules Kennedy

What I love about these sandals is the fact that they’re a great minimal accessory for an outfit. There are so many times when I’ve put together the perfect look and wished that I had a flesh toned shoe that wouldn’t distract from the overall look and feel of the outfit. These sandals do just that. You can pair them with just about anything and they’re going to complement it really well.

Another thing I love about truly nude sandals is that they help to draw the line of sight all the way through the toes…making you look taller and longer. What’s not to love about that?!

Overall, I’m just excited to see brands expanding their idea of inclusiveness and making products for EVERYONE. This perfect brown girl nude is a much needed addition to my collection and I’m going to get all the wear out of them I can!

DISCLAIMER: This post was created in partnership with DSW Shoes, for which I was compensated. However, all opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands who help to make blakevond.com possible!

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Blake Von D by Blake Von D - 4M ago

As bloggers/influencers, a lot of what we talk about and share is curated and aspirational in nature. But I’m a firm believer in the fact that in addition to being fashionable and fun, we should also aspire to use our influence to make the world a better place. Part of making the world a better place is using our voice to advocate not only for others, but also for ourselves!

In case you missed it, a few months ago, the mega-brand REVOLVE took a group of top influencers on a press trip to Phuket, Thailand. As the content started to go live on their Instagram page, users couldn’t help put notice that the girls on the trip all had one very obvious thing in common—they were all white (or white passing/fair skinned). In addition to there being little to no racial diversity, there was also a noticeable lack of body diversity and users wasted no time calling it out, igniting a media firestorm and the hashtag, #RevolveSoWhite.

our little geta-ouai ✨ @theouai #revolvearoundtheworld

A post shared by REVOLVE (@revolve) on Jan 7, 2018 at 6:09am PST

One of the individuals who spoke up about the lack of diversity was blogger and social justice advocate, Valerie Eguavoen (@onacurve). In doing so, she received a response from top influencer and one of the women on the trip, Aimee Song. In her response, Aimee defended and applauded the diversity of Revolve’s team and questioned whether the absence of bloggers of color—on the trip and in campaigns, in general—was simply a result of the fact that they’re “not as known.” The tone deafness of her response was…well…deafening!

What Song’s response failed to acknowledge was just how deliberate brands are when choosing who they’d like to make “known” in the first place. It ignores systemic exclusion. It ignores the industry’s favoritism of a particular (re: lighter) type of influencer. And it ignores the fact that social media growth is equal parts beautiful content and publicity.

Visibility Matters

There’s always the question of whether the influencers who land top campaigns do so just by virtue of their massive audiences. If a brand wants the most eyes on their products and the highest conversion rates, they hire the influencer with the furthest reach. It seems it’s simple math. No racism, favoritism, or colorism involved. But the reality of social media “stardom” is that no one starts with a million followers. Many of the household names we’ve come to love and adore got that way because they were elevated by other household names. This is not at all to diminish the incredible amount of work ethic these women all possess. Being a full-time blogger is hard work and these women not only do it exceptionally well, but they make it look easy. That is no easy feat and takes a lot dedication and discipline. We could all learn from mega-influencers in that regard.

That said, regrams matter. High level visibility matters. Every time an account with 3 million followers posts an influencer to their page, you can be certain that 2 things will happen—1) more people will know who they are and 2) they will gain more followers. That, too, is simple math. So, to ignore the fact that plus-size bloggers and bloggers of color are rarely given the same stage is shortsighted and clouded by privilege.

The bottom line is even when we don’t have millions of followers, brands who truly want to embrace diversity know exactly where to find us. They prove that when their Instagram feed changes overnight. They further prove it when they they email us in mass quantity when things hit the fan. And if they wanted to place us in positions of higher visibility and make us more “known,” they could.

“Begging for Inclusion”

The other (pettier) part of the conversation is the assertion that bloggers who speak out about these issues are simply jealous. That instead of “complaining” we should either work harder or “start our own sh*t”…rather than beg for inclusion. Such a response ignores the hard work of influencers at every level, but it also places a fork in the road where one shouldn’t exist. While investing in your own community is always important, it’s also not unreasonable for marginalized communities to demand equal space in mainstream society—particularly when it’s their culture that is being exploited and used to define mainstream culture in the first place. I don’t, in any way, think it’s about “begging for inclusion.” It’s about respect—respect for the work we do as content creators and respect for us as human beings worthy of such respect! I also don’t think we have to choose between either course of action. We are allowed to create our own lanes while also holding the brands who, more often than not, use our cultural contributions for their own personal gain—while actively excluding us from their platform—accountable for their discrimination. Requesting a seat at a table we played a big part in building is not begging. It’s the very definition of investing in one’s community. It’s self-advocacy. And while none of us want to stay where we aren’t welcome, I also don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to take that table—their brand equity, reputation, and profit—with us when we leave.

However, it is also my belief that how we, as influencers, confront the “jealousy” response, is by first being very clear in our demands and then by knowing our worth when what seems like an opportunity is presented. It’s not enough to say yes to free clothes and, as I’ve said before, it’s not enough to walk through the door if you aren’t going to leave it open for others. So, when Revolve reached out to me in the height of their media firestorm, I decided to put my money where my mouth is. In my response, I welcomed the opportunity to make the conversation about more than free clothes and trips. I wanted to have a genuine conversation about diversity and map out a plan for more holistic inclusion going forward. I was less than impressed—in fact, I was furious—with Revolve’s response. As much as it’s important for men in Hollywood to talk openly about their salaries or for white actors and actresses to incorporate inclusion riders in their contracts, I feel it’s important that I use my position as an influencer to ensure brands are doing more than engaging in lip service and tokenism.

It is for that reason, I’m sharing the exchange.

The conversation began like any other brand outreach. Timing aside, it was a pretty standard email. I wanted to be fair and give them the opportunity to lay out their plans. I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t shutting down the conversation before it started. So I simply requested more details. It should be noted at this point that the “more details” I received was a 3 sentence email offer to be brand ambassador in exchange for 2 free pieces of clothing a month. To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. And I expressed as much.  The response I received back nearly a week later was even more disappointing. The moment I read it I knew it was a canned copy/paste job because it didn’t address anything I said in my email, but I later confirmed that fact when another blogger sent me a screenshot of the exact same response they received. At this point, I was done. I was so disappointed with the response and exhausted with the entire “conversation” that I kind of just wanted to move on. (Hence, the 2 month delay.) But when I received the same exact outreach email again very recently (from a different account manager), I couldn’t help but feel frustrated all over. Not only was my email completely dismissed, but they couldn’t even be bothered to register what they saw as a ‘no’ and mark my name and email off the list of possibles. The conversation was that inconsequential. There was no change. No introspection. No growth. Does Revolve—and brands like it—really want to give us a seat at the table? Or do they just want to say they made the (often insulting) offer? You be the judge. But at this point, I’m done. Completely. Because sometimes you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Photos c/o Dayna Bolden // Vincent Alongi

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