While diversity in fashion still seems to be a work-in-progress — this year about a third of runway models were people of color — style bloggers of color have been ahead of the curve, bringing their perspectives on clothing and beauty trends to online audiences.
“I think this is both a wonderful and insane time to be a person of color in the United States, writing freely on the internet at that,” said Ishea Brown, a Seattle-based style blogger who writes about lifestyle in Seattle on her SixTwentySevenBlog.
Here are three Seattle women are building their own audiences, earning sponsorships and influencing the world of fashion and beauty blogs.
AikA, who blogs at AikAsLoveCloset.com, is from Kanagawa, Japan, and came to Seattle in 2008.
She says the goal of her blog and her personal style is to enrich both Japanese and American fashion. She likes to incorporate the “head to toe” fashion in Japan, where every detail is styled, from shoes to hats, with American influence. She describes her personal style as a “fusion of Japanese and American fashion.” This fashion fusion definitely shows with her cotton candy pink hair, 5-inch red heels and long shiny nails.
Her love for fashion began at a young age while she was living in Japan, although through rather traumatic experiences. She was bullied through grade school and to escape the hardships, she would read Japanese fashion magazines in bookstores. AikA realized early on, that fashion gave her confidence, and allowed her to express her individualism.
AikA started her blog in 2011, which eventually took off in 2013. However, that same year introduced new hardships — AikA lost her job, her sponsorship and her boyfriend. During this time of crisis, she turned her attention towards her love for fashion. Six months later, AikA got her first big sponsor — she was featured in retail store ASOS‘s blog.
With more than 42,000 followers on her Instagram account, it’s clear that AikA’s influence is far-reaching.
AikA has big plans for how she wants to expand her brand. Eventually, she intends to create YouTube videos that incorporate Japanese culture and English languages together, and play on her fusion style.
She also plans to incorporate her Buddhist values, which encourages making oneself and others happy. She wants to travel to struggling communities around the world and assist them in finding confidence through fashion.
She says she’ll “never forget who I am as a Japanese,” and plans on spreading her culture and values through fashion.
When Ishea Brown started the SixTwentySevenBlog nearly 10 years ago, she was living in Chicago and considered it a creative outlet instead of a business prospect.
Today, now living in Seattle, Brown has expanded her blog beyond her original intentions.
“I’ve tried to stay true to writing about the things that interest me and give myself the flexibility to allow those things to change,” Brown said.
It’s been a successful formula. Brown’s YouTube channel has nearly 6,000 subscribers, with more than 100,000 views on her most popular videos. Aside from her popularity on social media, she’s also had partnerships with The Seattle Art Museum, Naturally Curly, TheNest.com and others.
In Brown’s blog posts and videos, writes a variety of lifestyle topics, including store launches, weekend activities in Seattle and recipes. But her most popular blogs have featured her beauty tips for natural hair and women of color.
Brown also doesn’t shy away from talking about being a woman of color in the media.
“As a black woman in this country it’d be crazy to say my race/gender hasn’t affected me every step in the way,” Brown said in an email interview. “This is the lens through which I see things and [it] comes out in my writing.”
Estrada is a Seattle native, Filipino American, fashion and lifestyle blogger with a passion for ethical clothing, and Seattle events and culture.
Her blog FreshJess.com originally started in 2008 as a platform to share anything she found interesting in Seattle — things to do, small businesses, boutique sales and more. Since then, her blog has expanded into nearly every aspect of her life, now covering fashion, health and fitness, wedding planning and other topics.
She still loves discovering things to do around Seattle. Every Thursday, Estrada publishes a post that includes cultural celebrations, fundraisers and half-marathons.
She said the Obama administration first inspired her passion for sustainability. She became more aware of environmentally friendly clothing brands, and through her blog she introduced those brands to her audiences.
Estrada spends her days working at a nonprofit and has said that it has influenced her blogging. Some of her blog posts focus on helping people in the community and bringing attention to small businesses.
“I’ve always been interested in small business owners and their stories,” Estrada said. “So learning not just who they are, what they represent but, like, when they have a compassionate piece to them as far as giving back to their community or using eco friendly materials or ethical business practices, that really sticks out to me because it speaks to who they are as a person. So I like to seek those people out.”