Chiney And Nneka Ogwumike Talk Black Women As Trendsetters, Gen-Z Fashion And Personal Style

I stepped into a cool air-conditioned dressing area trailer, only to be greeted by melanin and the smiles of 4 lovely Black females. In the course of Super Bowl LVI weekend, adidas hosted a pep rally at Audubon Center School in partnership with PENSOLE and the Iovine and Youthful Academy, established by Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. While prepping for their out of doors overall look at the center faculty pep rally, two Black ladies had been sitting down rather side by aspect in their adidas kicks, infant hairs laid, and eyebrows slayed – it was truly an on-camera sight to see. Understanding that we were being all in attendance to celebrate the “Wood U” workshops’ mission to empower youthful little ones to go after a job in design and style, I completely understood that I had to chop it up with these women about their personal type and relationship with vogue.

“I’ve often said like, ‘sophisto-ratchet,’ ‘boug-etto-‘ , ‘clachet’ – like, in-amongst function and the club.” reported Los Angeles Sparks player Chinenye “Chiney” Ogwumike about her individual style. Usually referred to as Chiney,  the Sparks forward turned the to start with Black girl to host a nationwide radio demonstrate for ESPN, whilst also remaining the initial WNBA participant to do so. While you can typically obtain her on the basketball courtroom in a jersey and shorts, Chiney prefers form-fitting, colorful, traditional silhouettes and attire. For sneakers, the 29-12 months-old prefers a adaptable decision simply because she never appreciates where her working day may possibly guide her. “I may possibly be going from studio to work out to wherever it may be, so owning some interesting stylish sneakers or very low heels, I guess that is form of my swag,” she continued.

In comparison to her younger sister, Nnemkadi Chinwe Victoria “Nneka” Ogwumike, who was drafted No. 1 total in the 2012 WNBA Draft, describes her fashion as a bit much more eclectic and just one-of-a-kind. “I’m often the one particular in the spouse and children that absolutely everyone finds really hard to shop for,” Nneka laughed. Though she cites her sister as a single of the only individuals who understands her style really well, Nneka deems herself as “the type of individual that no 1 really is familiar with what to buy” owing to her “unexpected” model options, in accordance to Chiney. “Honestly, I dress based mostly on how I really feel. So a good deal of moments I’m not sporting the very same matter above and over again, but it could be anything. I will attempt something,” Nneka stated proudly.

“Overall with fashion, authenticity is becoming now valued in a way that it should really have been. For occasion, with tattoos or hairstyles, we’re now demystifying what acquiring sure hair usually means at do the job. That is effective in the corporate space, or no matter whether you’re on courtside or you are in a suite,” Chiney chimed in just after her sister. Though the girls were conversing about Tremendous Bowl type and how to costume for the sporting occasion, Chiney mentioned that the crucial matter about personal fashion is ease and comfort and remaining true to your aesthetic. “We grew up in Silicon Valley the place the individual behind you on Starbucks could be the head of a startup individual and he’s wearing sweats and sneakers. Today people today are coming in their very own genuine types, and I truly feel like which is the most critical matter.”

Through the adidas x PENSOLE pep rally in Inglewood, ESSENCE caught up with the Ogwumike sisters about their thoughts on Gen Z fashion, the assistance they’d give their youthful selves about own fashion, and how Black women of all ages have constantly been the number 1 trendsetters in the style universe.

ESSENCE: How do sneakers engage in a position in your personal type, and what are the ideal techniques to design sneakers when it will come to heading to sporting gatherings?

Nneka: I’m happy you explained personalized for the reason that I was like, “Sneakers? We perform in those.” When it comes to sneakers, I appreciate that you can dress in sneakers with something. I really mentioned this to an individual who runs one of the W style accounts, and I was like, “It’s actually upsetting to me because I’m not like a sneakerhead, but I have some hearth kicks. I just really do not wear them all the time. It’s definitely upsetting to me that you fellas actually only deem individuals modern when they wear very hot sneakers that are sneakers.” I was like, “I be putting on some hearth heels and you fellas don’t say just about anything about it.” There’s certainly a functional way how you can type your shoes. From time to time individuals decide their shoes initially and then select the outfit. I’m an outfit person and then I decide on my sneakers. If I don sneakers, it could be like, ‘Okay, permit me just have on these Discussion boards with some tights.”

Chiney: Ease and comfort is key. Simply because you know, we are an outfit-initially-and-shoe-following relatives. Getting a functional pair [of sneakers] is like, “okay, possibly the Superstars are at ease, probably the Community forums, maybe the Yeezys.” Yeezys are incredibly snug to me. I consider possessing a multipurpose, different seem kind of sneakers that all are comfy can make everyday living much easier in the unique molds of common Superstars. With styling, I think it is also the sock for me. If you do have low cuts, you can also get a interesting-colored sock to tie your outfit jointly. With a very low Forum, you could put on a mid sock and at Adidas, they do three stripes and you can decide on up what shade. It can really select up on your outfit and I imagine that’s another way to decorate. Socks are entertaining and when it comes to heels, people today are now sporting socks with heels in a unique way.

ESSENCE: How would you say that Black girls have definitely been the blueprint for streetwear?

Chiney: You answered your personal concern. Can we not even speak about streetwear? Can we just speak about just body? It is not what you don, it is how you don it. Our normal bodies make it possible for us to don what we want to have on and search excellent when carrying it. We’re setting up to last but not least press our have makes and have ownership more than it so we can reap the added benefits and not enable them be copied and imitated during cultures. We can now be owners and creators at the exact time.

Nneka: I would say that Black females have truly been the blueprint. To start with of all, style is cyclical. At the close of the working day, whichever will come out, when it arrives to manner, it is generally accomplished improved by a Black particular person. Let’s just take Crocs for example – they’re hearth now. Even if we’re talking about nails, jewellery, or nameplates, these are all items that have been all close to when I was six. It’s coming back, but back again when we were being six, it was all of the Black women of all ages who were being undertaking it.

Chine: It is also pop lifestyle. We function at the intersection of sporting activities of amusement. We’re here in Los Angeles for Super Bowl weekend and a lot of the persons that are heightened in these ordeals are athletes. Now you’re starting off to see us form of maneuver all those areas in techniques that can clearly show homage to Black designers, feminine designers, minority enterprises. It’s no extended, “the narrative is carried away from us and we have nothing at all else to do.” Now we can decide on intentionally to have interaction with manufacturers like Nneka does. She set me on to Hanifa and now I’m ready on Thanksgiving for a sale. We know exactly where it commenced. We know that there’s no a person way to determine a Black girl, in particular when it will come to manner and self-expression. As very long as there’s no hate, it’s wonderful. As lengthy as we are celebrating every single other, as extensive as I figure out your fashion, that’s you – do it. The most effective area to be in is when Black women of all ages are hyping each other up.

ESSENCE: How have you witnessed Gen Z is having additional fashion pitfalls these days with their private type?

Chiney: I like that they are assured sufficient to specific on their own. I remember going to middle college and a female would come in red skinny denims, and I was like, “Whoa! Crimson skinny jeans?” Gowing up, I keep in mind all the ladies would want to have on the shirt that says Hollister, American Eagle, or Aeropostale, and all glimpse the identical. Things have flipped now. You want to be exceptional. Little ones are possessing their have type in a way that is so excellent mainly because it shows interior self esteem. From hairstyles to sneakers to outfits, mainly because they have accessibility to social media, they can consider and piece in means that we just got to study maybe when we’re in university. We went through that publicity so I just feel the expression is amazing.

Nneka: I primarily enjoy, also, the expression exterior of just what is getting worn, it’s how it is becoming worn. It’s nail, hair, jewelry. I do appreciate the interest to element. It’s not just in the clothing, it’s in everything else – how you pose, how you have yourself.

ESSENCE: If you could give your younger selves any suggestions about individual design and confidence, what would you tell her?

Nneka: Truthfully, I would tell myself that your big butt is not a issue. I experienced this kind of an difficulty playing volleyball [and] feeling so insecure about me getting to put on those people tiny tights. It was often like I had to assume about it. I always wore shirts that have been tremendous massive to address my butt since I considered it was way too huge.

Chiney: For me, I assume it would be, “Your extended legs and your huge toes are not an challenge. You’re proportional.” As a kid, I would’ve informed myself, “You have a even bigger-sized shoe, but guess what? It’s proportional.” Really do not resolve your prolonged legs. That is unique. Your trousers might be “high waters,” but search what’s in craze now – straight denims exactly where they really don’t have to contact the ground. What would make you you is what makes you distinctive. And lastly, I would say [my] dim pores and skin. Celebrate getting a darkish-skinned female, because colorism is a little something that we’re reckoning with suitable now in society and attempting to push previous.

Primarily as a darkish-skinned female and also coming from African heritage, it is challenging to find a location wherever as a little one at that time, you’re like, “this is what the conventional of attractiveness meant to me.” If I saw Naomi [Campbell], I really should have had Naomi on my wall, Lupita [Nyong’o], and individuals images, but these were being just now being identified, we have been just finding those. Rather, we experienced, not to shade, N*SYNC and things. You are not able to be what you simply cannot see. If we could see that, probably I’d really feel greater since I know I’m not the only just one that seems like this even although that was my working experience in school. 

Nneka: I would also add not getting insecure about my hair. I have totally embraced it now. Obviously, I have developed my hair out. I went via all various varieties of stages with my hair, but you still deal with a whole lot of uncomfortable discussions when persons have questions about it. Men and women want to contact your hair and all that things. Absolutely, last but not least getting relaxed with my hair and also embracing what it takes for it to be balanced and not just for me to use it as a quick deal with or to be easy for other individuals to digest.

Chiney: Now I fully grasp protective types and why your mom and dad place you in certain variations. I’m energized to be a dad or mum so that I can be like, “You can have crimson braids. Do you want pink braids?,” and “Your hair’s likely to be taken care of, but you can express on your own.” I consider that sort of flexibility, I’m psyched to give my children. I know our mothers and fathers ended up executing the most effective with us. We have been in braids and accomplishing the right factor, but now you are starting off to see the expression is superior for young children as nicely.

Matters:  Adidas Chiney Ogwumike Nneka Ogwumike Pensole wnba