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Wearable Art Aficionado Melissa A. Mitchell Dishes On Her Foot Locker Capsule Collection [Exclusive]

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Wearable Art Aficionado Melissa A. Mitchell Dishes On Her Foot Locker Capsule Collection [Exclusive]

“I add an exclamation point to anything I’m involved in…”

 

Source: Sergio Martinez / Sergio Martinez

A connoisseur of her craft, Melissa A. Mitchell’s penchant for executing abstract art has opened numerous doors.

Most recently a serendipitous meeting led the Abeille Creations artist to be tapped by Foot Locker to increase the diversity of fashion. Mitchell is in partnership with the sportswear and footwear brand as part of their LEED initiative – a $200 million five-year commitment to support the Black community through economic development and education. With that, her signature vivid pieces are going from canvas to fabric for wearable via a 13-piece capsule collection of athletic apparel.

Melissa Mitchell

Source: Courtesy of Foot Locker / Courtesy of Foot Locker

BOSSIP recently chatted with this master manifestor/designer about her creative process, her favorite piece from the collection, and her unstoppable ascension as a Black female artist.

What makes your Abeille Creations pieces wearable art?

When I first started painting, I was having trouble with selling artwork because people didn’t really understand why they would buy something for $2,000 on a sheet of paper. So it’s just kind of helping people understand how to purchase Black art and the intrinsic value of investing early. One thing about our people, we love to talk about clothes and fashion, so before they [people] even asked me if I was an artist, they would ask about what I had on. And then I said, ‘Let me start wearing my artwork out.’ It really was a pivot early on to teach people about the value of art and how eyes are drawn to beautiful things. So if they love what I wear, why don’t I start wearing my artwork? That got me a lot of attention from the fashion standpoint. I began to bridge the gap between just being an artist and now finding myself being a designer. So it’s actually my canvas on clothing now.

 

Do you have a favorite piece from the Foot Locker capsule collection?

It ended up being our bestseller. The pieces are named after our inspiration and I really wanted to honor older Black designers that we don’t talk about a lot, specifically, Patrick Kelly from the ’90s. He passed away from HIV/ AIDS and he was the person that taught us how to wear a polka dot with flowers and taught us how to wear stripes with neon colors. And I was like, ‘Wow, nobody ever talks about his influence.’ When I was designing, I was in the throes of really, really learning about Black designers ad so that was the inspiration behind the collection.

I turned in all three of my collection pieces and then I had a fourth one that popped up in my spirit and I said, ‘I want to do one more!’ When I did that fourth one, it was called “Wild Factor.” “Wild Factor” is the one that has animal prints with pink and green and orange and green. That was my way of paying homage to FAMU, my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and just my love for being the “Wild Factor.” Anything I’m a part of, I just came out of the wild, I add an exclamation point to anything I’m involved in. That particular piece is really named after myself because I feel like this whole experience I have come in and wowed people just by being myself and that’s always been enough. So that was my way of paying homage to my own plight as a designer and a way to just give a good pop to the collection.

Melissa Mitchell

Source: Courtesy of Foot Locker / Courtesy of Foot Locker

You’ve seen great success with art in fashion, but as a Black woman working in this industry, have you faced any challenges?

As a Black female artist, it is difficult when you’re attractive and people don’t always take you seriously. So if you look at my page, I do minimal selfies. I like people to see my artwork and my clothes and my spirituality and my inspiration because I don’t ever want to get into the position that I’m in, based on looks or just because I’m Black or just because I’m a woman. That’s even why I named my company something kind of ambiguous, Abeille. You don’t know if it’s a woman, a man, you don’t know if it’s French, American, Haitian, you don’t really know what it is. With my clothing line and the brand, I want you to focus on the colors and the artwork. And so I haven’t really had any obstacles, but I had to be a couple of steps ahead because I am a Black woman and because Black people in art is already a minority. I’m like a minority within a minority within minorities, so I had to be very strategic. Being in apparel, I’ve been in more art conversations by having wearable art than I have being just a painter or fine artist. You know, we always gotta find a way to get in there without getting in there the traditional way so that’s allowed me to break up the conversation on platforms that I wouldn’t have gotten just being an artist alone.

Melissa Mitchell

Source: Cendino Teme / Cendino Teme

What is next for Abeille Creations?

So it’s just consistency, I think a lot of people when they have these big lands, they don’t know where to go from that, and they kind of hit a plateau. For me, it’s remaining consistent, it’s of course more head wraps, it’s getting into couture wear, more red carpets. On the art side, doing more gallery shows, really investing in the people who’ve invested in me. I just won a  contest with Hennessy as a “Never Stop, Never Settle” fellow. With that, I pitched the ability to expand my empire by really investing in the community, so it’s having those round table discussions with other Black female artists saying,  ‘Hey, what are we doing, right?’ What are we doing wrong? How are we really growing?’ For me, it’s really building that artistic ladder to make sure that I have as I climb I help other people climb up. This platform with Foot Locker is allowing me to have those conversations with larger companies. and it’s really just digging into what it’s like to be a full-time entrepreneur because I just quit my job in February. Now I have the opportunity to see what this art life is really about and who am I really becoming, it’s growing the relationship with Foot Locker, of course having more wearable art and it’s really just keeping myself individual, but also, pouring into people who have poured into me.

Melissa Mitchell

Source: Melissa Alexander / Melissa Alexander

 

FootLocker.com

Champs.com

FootLocker.Ca

Melissa’s Foot Locker capsule collection is also available in stores at Atlanta’s Perimeter and Greenbriar malls, Miami’s Wynwood Foot Locker location, and New York’s Washington Heights Foot Locker location.

 

 

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‘Crying Myself To Sleep Every Night’: Rico Nasty Opens Up About Struggles On Playboi Carti’s ‘King Vamp’ Tour

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‘Crying Myself To Sleep Every Night’: Rico Nasty Opens Up About Struggles On Playboi Carti’s ‘King Vamp’ Tour

Rico deserves so much better!

Source: Phillip Faraone / Getty

No matter how larger-than-life celebrities appear to be, they are very much human. Life on the road is difficult even when the thousands of people in the crowd are adoring fans. On Saturday night, Rico Nasty took to Twitter to vent about the strain of being mistreated and disrespected night after night opening for Playboi Carti on the King Vamp Tour.

“I dead a** need at least two hours out of each day. To just cry,” she wrote in the now-deleted tweets. “Crazy how I wanted a tour bus my whole life and now I just be on the tour bus crying myself to sleep every night.”

Fans and friends were even more concerned when Rico also tweeted, “I wish I was dead just as much as y’all do trust me…Y’all win.”

Despite the massive tragedy that happened at Astroworld Fest a few weeks ago, there seems to be no effort to control the crowds at these shows as they’ve been seen verbally and physically abusing Rico during her performances. Tour attendees have made a habit of booing Rico, chanting for Carti to come out while she’s still in the middle of performing.

It’s hard enough to tolerate the constant disrespect, but it’s escalated to throwing bottles at her on stage. JT also called out that disgusting behavior earlier this month.

Carti brought Rico onstage during one of his performances last week to hug it out, but he still hasn’t publicly said anything to defend Rico or condemn his fans for mistreating her on tour. Meg Thee Stallion, Kehlani, and “Money” collaborator Flo Milli have posted loving messages for the artist online.

Fans also responded to Rico’s vulnerable and concerning tweets with an outpouring of love and support, noting that she has more than enough talent, hit songs, and amazing performance skills to headline her own show.

Maybe we do need Rico in an all-women line-up with Megan, Kehlani, or Flo Milli because this current situation is unacceptable.

We love you, Rico! Keep your head up, sis.

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Virgil Abloh: 5 Things About The Iconic Louis Vuitton & Off-White Designer Dead At 41

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Virgil Abloh: 5 Things About The Iconic Louis Vuitton & Off-White Designer Dead At 41

Design icon Virgil Abloh, who was formerly Kanye West’s Creative Director, has passed away after a private battle with cancer.

The fashion world is mourning over the loss of Virgil Abloh at 41-years-old. The Illinois native was the Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton and creator of iconic contemporary label Off-White who worked closely with a number of celebrities over the years, including Kanye West and Hailey Baldwin. The news of his death after a private two-year battle with cancer was announced via his Instagram page.

Virgil Abloh. (Gregory Pace/Shutterstock)

“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh, a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend. He is survived by his loving wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and numerous dear friends and colleagues,” the message began, going on to share details of his health battle.

“For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma. He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture,” it read.

“Through it all, his work ethic, infinite curiosity, and optimism never wavered. Virgil was driven by his dedication to his craft and to his mission to open doors for others and create pathways for greater equality in art and design. He often said, ‘Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,’ believing deeply in the power of art to inspire future generations,” it also said. “We thank you all for your love and support, and we ask for privacy as we grieve and celebrate Virgil’s life.”

Learn more about Virgil here.

He was from Illinois.

Virgil was born on September 30, 1980 in Rockford, Illinois to parents Nee and Eunice Abloh. He is one two siblings, and is the older brother of his sister Edwina, 46.

After completing his high school diploma at Boylan Catholic High School, he went on to pursue his post-secondary studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 2002. He fell in love with fashion while studying for a  Master of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he graduated in 2006.

He worked with Kanye West.

Virgil Abloh first met rapper Kanye West in 2007 while on the steps of Chicago print shop Custom Kings after Don C had commissioned the young designer for some work.

“Kanye wasn’t going to put his art form in the hands of the art department at the record label. So he was like, ‘I am going to hire you, and let’s literally work on this 24–7, laptop in hand, nonstop,’” Virgil recalled to GQ in 2019. “So more than any title, I was just his assistant creatively. I believed that this was going to be another chapter in hip-hop,” he explained.

The pair then collaborated on Kanye’s first sneaker collaboration with Louis Vuitton back in 2009, which put streetwear on the map in a big way. “When Kanye and I were first going to fashion shows, there was no one outside the shows. Streetwear wasn’t on anyone’s radar, but the sort of chatter at dinners after shows was like ‘Fashion needs something new. It’s stagnant. What’s the new thing going to be?’ That was the timeline on which I was crafting my ideas,” Virgil also said. The two also interned together at Fendi.

He later worked as creative director on Kanye and Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne album and tour in 2011.

He was Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton.

Virgil took the reigns of Louis Vuitton‘s mens line as Artistic Director in 2018 — a role formerly held by fellow fashion icon Marc Jacobs. “When I was in college, Marc Jacobs was the American designer that went to Europe and injected life into Louis Vuitton by bringing Takashi Murakami or Stephen Sprouse,” Virgil said a year after the history making appointment, which made him the first Black person to lead the French luxury house’s mens line.

1638128337 822 Virgil Abloh 5 Things About The Iconic Louis Vuitton
Virgil Abloh attends the Met. (RMV/Shutterstock)

“When I stepped into the role, my office is [Marc’s] exact same office. I’m coming in at a time to re-interpret or channel this brand into the modern era. And I’m very much following in the steps of someone who I admire and put a great deal of belief into. I was carrying on a tradition that I believed in,” Virgil also said.

Virgil Abloh 5 Things About The Iconic Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton remembers Virgil Abloh. (Credit/Twitter)

LVMH, the parent company of Louis Vuitton, also issued a statement paying tribute to Virgil after his death. “LVMH, Louis Vuitton and Off White are devastated to announce the passing of Virgil Abloh, on Sunday, November 28th, of cancer, which he had been battling privately for several years,” a tweet read, including a statement from chairman Bernard Arnault.

“We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” Bernard wrote.

He created Off-White.

Off-White has become one of the most influential contemporary fashion labels in recent years, blending high fashion and streetwear. American-born Virgil founded the label in Milan back in 2012, which quickly went on to become a celebrity favorite worn by the likes of Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, Beyonce, Travis Scott and more.

He also designed Hailey Baldwin’s wedding dress for her nuptials to Justin Bieber in 2019.  “@virgilabloh thank you for making my vision come to life and creating my dream dress. You and your @off____white team are incredible and I’m forever grateful I got to wear your beautiful creation,” she wrote on an Instagram post after the wedding. The backless gown included a long veil that included one of Virgil’s signature design traits of bold text statements, this one appropriately reading “Just Married.”

He has a family.

Virgil married wife Shannon Abloh (née Sundberg) in 2009 after initially meeting in high school. The couple are parents to kids Lowe and Grey.

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Mick Jagger, 78, Snuggles Up To GF Melanie Hamrick, 34, As They Enjoy The Miami View – Photos

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Mick Jagger, Melanie Hamrick

Mick Jagger and his girlfriend Melanie Hamrick were spotted having a conversation and cuddling while standing on an outdoor hotel balcony in Miami, FL, where they’ve been enjoying time under the sun.

Mick Jagger, 78, and Melanie Hamrick, 34, looked like a loving couple on a hotel balcony in Miami, FL last week. The Rolling Stones rocker and his girlfriend were dressed in comfortable-looking casual attire, including a long-sleeved shirt for him and a tank top for her, in pics as they happily chatted and got cozy with each other during the relaxing day. They flashed smiles as they enjoyed the seaside vista below and appeared relaxed.

At one point, Mick was seen wearing a pair of white-framed futuristic-looking blue light glasses when he hung out on the balcony by himself. The blue light shades are reportedly therapeutic and supposed to help improve mood, regulate sleep and ease depression, anxiety, chronic pain and seasonal affective disorder. Once he removed them, he was joined by Melanie.

Mick Jagger and Melanie Hamrick during a previous outing. (MEGA)

The lovebirds’ latest outing comes after they were photographed having fun on a Miami beach together on Nov. 23. They were walking barefoot along the sand and dressed in stylish clothing. Mick donned a black V-neck shirt and black sweatpants with orange detail down the sides as well as a white hat and sunglasses while Melanie wore a long sleeveless red floral patterned dress with a black sweater draped over her shoulders.

Mick also took to Instagram to share pics of himself sitting on a lounge chair and standing on the same beach and admitted he was enjoying his time in the sunny city. “Enjoying Miami… See you at the show tonight!” he wrote, referring to the Miami show on The Rolling Stones No Filter tour.

Mick Jagger, Melanie Hamrick
Mick Jagger and Melanie Hamrick looking fashionable during a night out. (MEGA)

When Mick and Melanie are not spending time alone together, they’re doing so with their son Deveraux, 4. The proud mom brought him to a screening of Peter Rabbit 2 along with Mick’s Rolling Stones bandmate Ronnie Wood‘s wife Sally Wood, 43, and their four-year-old twin daughters Gracie Jane and Alice Rose, in May and posed for pics on the carpet. The little tot looked just like his dad as he adorably walked with the group and stopped in front of the cameras.

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