The costume designer and wardrobe stylist Zerina Akers doesn’t need individuals to suppose that her life is picture-perfect, even when she spends her time ensuring that her purchasers are.
“I want to dispel the thought that it is glamorous,” she mentioned of her days, which frequently embody piecing collectively ensembles for her movie star clientele, overseeing fittings and tending to her e-tail web site. “Yeah, you’re dealing with beautiful things, but you also have to deal with all the luggage, getting all the looks right and running around. It’s a lot of hard work and heavy lifting.”
And, recently, she has been doing all of that on a wounded ankle. She’s primarily worn consolation sneakers throughout the pandemic, however a pair of post-quarantine wedge heels led to her current mishap. (“Who did I think I was?!” she mentioned, whereas describing the stumble throughout a cellphone interview.)
Ms. Akers, 35, is the go-to stylist for Beyoncé Knowles-Carter — the long-lasting outsized black hat that the singer modeled within the 2016 “Formation” music video was her handiwork. She additionally compiled the wardrobe for Ms. Knowles-Carter’s opulent 2020 visible album, “Black Is King,” pulling designs from each established European trend homes and unbiased designers from throughout the African diaspora.
In February, she took her work of selling rising Black designers to a brand new degree with Black Owned Everything, an e-commerce hub that includes a curated choice of attire, equipment, magnificence and décor merchandise.
“Last summer, there was a huge surge in support of Black brands,” she mentioned, describing widespread requires inclusivity and illustration that swelled after the protests against racism and police brutality. That led some individuals to ask a brand new query: How lengthy would this final?
“Would it be something that’s going to stick around and really create change, or was it just a trend?” Ms. Akers mentioned. “I felt it was important to not wait around and gauge the reaction of the fashion industry. We were able to create something that we own, and we’re going to keep it going,” she mentioned of the web site, which options about three dozen manufacturers.
Ms. Akers, a Maryland native who relies in Van Nuys, Calif., has additionally been designing clothes lately, a throwback to her teenage years spent creating clothes for varsity trend reveals. Some of her work — a color-blocked gown, a chain-trim bodysuit, a trench jumpsuit — is featured in a capsule assortment of separates for Bar III, the personal label from Macy’s.
We spoke along with her in early May, as she mulled over concepts for revamping the Black Owned Everything web site and sorted via wardrobe gadgets supposed for the Colombian reggaeton artist Karol G and Chloe Bailey of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle.
Interviews are performed by e-mail, textual content and cellphone, then condensed and edited.
5:55 a.m. I’m awake however afraid to stand up. It’s nearly like if I keep in mattress, perhaps I don’t must cope with the entire issues.
Eight a.m. OK, I’m up. I’m up! (Because my cleansing girl is on the door. She’s an hour early.) I bathe, full my prayers and make my go-to smoothie, then do my make-up and pop on my wig.
10:30 a.m. Start a Zoom dialog with Brandice Daniel, the founder and chief govt of Harlem’s Fashion Row, as a part of their annual Designer Retreat. We’re on with the equipment designer Brandon Blackwood, speaking about our profession paths and giving recommendation to younger individuals on the right way to make it in trend. I discuss in regards to the significance of being in good monetary standing and doing what you like with out prioritizing being “internet famous.”
3:30 p.m. My assistant, Christian Barberena, arrives at my home and we chill within the yard, going over our subsequent two weeks of labor and divvying up duties. Usually, my workforce handles web procuring and sourcing gadgets in shops. Then, I’ll primarily deal with issues which are being custom-made by designers.
5:45 p.m. I notice I’m about 15 minutes late for a Netflix digital screening occasion for “Halston,” and Chris and I tune in to observe. It’s a must-see. Based on what I’ve examine him, it was well-cast — and it’s visually fairly beautiful.
Today in Business
Eight a.m. I awake with a bit of tension, as a result of I’ve been making an attempt to determine the right way to seamlessly do some development on the Black Owned Everything web site with out alarming our followers. I need it to have way more storytelling, interact extra Black photographers and graphic designers, and make it greater than only a generic e-commerce house. I even have to seek out an entry-level social media supervisor to assist make the Instagram account extra sturdy whereas the location is down.
9:30 a.m. I’ve a standing name with my enterprise supervisor to debate revenue and loss statements for the month, taxes and paperwork for my workers.
10:41 a.m. I used to be reviewing some wardrobe alternatives with my New York assistant and misplaced observe of time, so now I’m 11 minutes late for a Zoom name with an app that may assist preserve the location’s clients up-to-date with our modifications.
2:15 p.m. Pop into just a few showrooms to see what they’ve happening. I went to The Residency, Bryan Smith and Brooklyn PR, on the lookout for garments for a photograph shoot I’m doing with Chloe and for a undertaking with Karol G.
Four p.m. I interview social media candidates each 15 minutes for the following hour. I did the job myself earlier than, however I don’t at all times have the curiosity to be on social media that a lot. I do have the concepts, so I simply want to seek out somebody to make them occur. There’s a specific aesthetic that I’m on the lookout for that’s tremendous indie, barely European and with actually cool angles.
10:15 a.m. I’m debating which hoodie I ought to put on for my radio interview with The Beat London, discussing Black Owned Everything. They say it’s audio-only, however that seems like a trick, so I placed on an extended wig and my B.O.E. hoodie, simply in case. Thankfully, I did as a result of there was undoubtedly a Zoom selfie concerned.
12:15 p.m. Running late for my bodily remedy therapeutic massage, however I needed to eat one thing, particularly as a result of it’s two hours lengthy and I hadn’t had breakfast. I desire to schedule these on the finish of the day, however I needed to get in the place I slot in.
Three p.m. I take another cellphone interview with a job candidate from the automobile, as a result of my therapeutic massage ran over. I used to be chatting with my therapeutic massage therapist about new hair types and making an attempt braids for the primary time.
3:50 p.m. I’m working late to an early dinner date at The Rooftop by JG with Liza Vassell, the founding father of Brooklyn PR. We’re each late however make it simply in time to not lose our desk. It’s our first time connecting exterior of labor and we spent an hour and a half stuffing our faces, discussing our experiences being Black girls making our personal method, and investing in and supporting one another.
6:30 p.m. Today was a kind of bizarre days — productive, but in some way I used to be left feeling like I didn’t fairly do sufficient. I begin trying out mentally by watching trash TV.
8:30 a.m. My make-up artist, Leah Darcy Pike, arrives to assist me prepare for a portrait for this column. I made a decision to throw on an aqua blue look from my Macy’s assortment.
1:17 p.m. I name my product growth marketing consultant and ship the excellent news that I like our new Black Owned Everything candle pattern. It’s type of woody and form of like patchouli, with these different bizarre notes. We additionally focus on doable product concepts we might launch for Juneteenth, like a summer time journey equipment.
2:05 p.m. I open my storage in an try to prepare it, then shut it again. It’s full of jewellery, garments from previous photograph shoots, my private wardrobe overflow, B.O.E. stuff … it’s gotten just a little loopy.
Three p.m. It’s Chris’s birthday, so I run out and seize a cake from Sweet Lady Jane and we indulge for only a second.
4:15 p.m. I am going to a mall in Sherman Oaks to choose up monochromatic sneakers for my weekend shoot with Karol G. I like color-blocking, notably purple sneakers and purple baggage.
10 p.m. I go to sleep after watching a documentary about Sally Hemings. I’m at present obsessive about the narratives of slaves. The diverse experiences by no means stop to amaze me. I preserve them etched in my mind as a reminder of how resilient we actually are as a individuals.
8:33 a.m. I’m cracking open the week’s packages one after the other. There are 20 to 30 — a mix of items, issues from Black-owned companies that they need us to overview, and a few celeb stuff. For essentially the most half, I attempt to have some stuff go to my workplace, however since we’re blurring traces with the pandemic, I’ve simply been having it come straight to 1 place.
10:45 a.m. Head out to satisfy Chris so we are able to arrange a rack for Karol G earlier than heading right into a becoming. The very first thing I normally attempt to do with fittings is see what makes the consumer’s face mild up, then I’ll begin with these issues that they’re most enthusiastic about. Typically, the trickiest half is the alterations since you wish to be certain that they maintain up and final, however not injury the garment. On today, the whole lot went easily.
5:33 p.m. After grabbing a bowl of fried tofu with veggies and grits at Souley Vegan, I head to my workplace to work on a brand new undertaking with Chris. We’re making an attempt to begin a digital actuality character for the location. She’ll be dressed within the Black-owned manufacturers and you’ll observe her day-to-day.
Eight p.m. We notice we should always most likely cease working and head residence to pack for a shoot in San Francisco. When I fly, I’ve to have my journey blanket (proper now, it’s Burberry), my reminiscence foam neck pillow and a sleep masks — I can by no means keep awake on a aircraft, even when it’s simply an hourlong flight.