The most undeniable force in this world is the Black woman. They’re creative, resilient, selfless, and undefined. This Women’s History Month, Upscale salutes Black women who are disrupting their industries from global fashion councils to costume design and everything in between. Let’s take a moment to highlight some of these amazing women.
Joycie Mederick, Founder, St. Lucia Fashion Council and Director, Miss Universe, St. Lucia
Joycie Mederick is an internationally recognized powerhouse and one of the champions of the global fashion revolution in St. Lucia and beyond. Originally famed for her signature runway stomp, sinewy frame and Caribbean appeal, the supermodel has turned her attention to inspiring creative entrepreneurs.
As a founding member and the president of the St. Lucia Fashion Council, Mederick is campaigning hard to build the profile of the St. Lucian fashion industry. Her commitment to St. Lucia’s economic empowerment in order to transform society is reflected in her work, which spans from the local to global.
In a world where male voices often dominate, it’s important to recognize the value of our own perspectives and opinions. I’ve learned this lesson myself, whether it was in creating spaces for emerging creatives or advocating for branding changes. When I failed to stand up for my ideas, both the company and I suffered the consequences. But when I trusted my instincts and found my voice, not only did the company thrive, but my leadership skills blossomed as well,” says Mederick “So my advice to all women is this: have confidence in your ideas, trust your intuition, and never stop learning.
Tracee Dundas, President and Chief Executive Officer, NOLA Fashion Week
Tracee Dundas is an award-winning lifestyle marketing and communications leader with over 20 years of experience in establishing strategic direction, developing brand narratives and setting communications strategies across multiple consumer-centric industries in luxury, fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle.
Dundas is the founding curator, http://neworleansfashionweek.com and ABOUTFACES model & talent management one of the largest modeling agencies in Louisiana with offices in New Orleans and Lafayette. Currently, Tracee serves as the Director of http://dressforsuccess.org/
My advice to all women is this: have confidence in your ideas, trust your intuition, and never stop learning. Don’t let anyone “mansplain” your own expertise to you. Remember, your unique perspective is what sets you apart and can make all the difference in driving success.
Akilah Love, Innovator, Creator and Serial Entrepreneur
Akilah Love is the innovator and creator behind the fast-growing brand The DNA Brand Group. She created http://www.thednabrand.com/ after identifying a gap in the market for a single entertainment platform with a mission to promote and encourage the sustainable development of communities through activities relating to entrepreneurship, education and financial literacy.
“There’s always at least one person who’s quick to cast doubt on your vision or strategy, or your ability to do something, especially that which has never been done before. To lead with confidence, you’ve got to continually ‘separate the wheat from the chaff’, assessing all the incoming, and quickly and carefully disposing of that which serves no meaningful purpose.”
Akilah isn’t afraid to set big audacious goals for herself or her clients. She sets them high and takes the time to put milestone goals in place that help her, and her clients reach those lofty goals. She also believes the higher you reach, the higher you will go. Her strongest advice is to be accountable for your goals and your success.
Nwane-Rose Willams, Designer, Philanthropist & Founder of SokanaRose
Nwane-Rose Willams is the founder of luxury fashion and accessories brand SokanaRose, bringing African craftsmanship to the world in an authentic, appropriate, and positive way. Nwane’s business philosophy and mission is simple: to bring African artisanal craftsmanship to the world through luxury goods while promoting preservation of culture, economic sustainability, and charity.
She is known for her ability to blend West African designs with modern global aesthetics, which are responsive to trends but not driven by them. SokanaRose specializes in working with the finest textiles sourced in Africa and handmade using traditional techniques ensuring that each design balances quality with sustainable production methods.
Nwane-Rose throws her heart and soul into any business she undertakes but uses analytics to guide where the business needs to go. She believes there’s no straightforward pathway; however, she believes “if you can latch on to a clear mission, people will support it.”
Her dedication to this mission has earned her widespread recognition as a leader and role model in the fashion community.