In celebration of New York Fashion Week 2018, EBONY will explore our favorite Black designers, models and trailblazers of the rag trade.
We asked fashion blogger Monroe Steele (Fashion Steele NYC) to give us the lowdown on her style, why Harlem stands out and the lines she’s currently loving.
When you discover your love of fashion?
Steele: I’ve always loved clothes. I used to play dress up in my mom’s things as a toddler and a preteen. I tried to get away with wearing her jewelry and her shoes. I was sad when I outgrew her footwear. What really solidified my love for fashion is television and what I watched, [including] Girlfriends and my favorite movie, Brown Sugar with Sanaa Lathan.
Harlemites are known for their standout style. How did growing up in such a diverse area shape your style?
First of all, thank you for even thinking I hail from Harlem. I’m originally from North Carolina and have called Harlem my home for the last 11 years. Harlem style is unlike any other borough [or] any other place, for that matter. People really get dressed in Harlem. Since moving here, it’s inspired me to take more fashion risks.
What items of clothing do you think are essential for traveling?
A silk slip dress. It’s easy and lightweight yet insulating for chilly days or nights. You can layer it with pieces such as a cardigan or blazer or just wear it bare for a night out. Also, a good layering piece such as a cardigan or a denim jacket.
What are the last three fashion pieces you bought?
Labor Day just passed, and I went a little crazy with the sales. I bought a tailored black blazer that I will wear with everything this fall, a leopard print skirt and a crisp white long-sleeved top with puffy sleeves.
Who are some designers of color you are currently feeling?
Christopher John Rogers is amazing. I just attended his fashion show yesterday and worked with him previously on a project for Black History Month. He has so much talent and is so humble. I also love Fe Noel for her resort collections and Undra Celeste for her statement pieces.
What is one thing you wish you had known about your style when you were younger?
That it’s not written in stone, and it’s OK to try out new trends and new looks and to have fun with fashion.