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Thrilling launches Black-Owned Everything collaboration with stylist Zerina Akers
If you’re looking to revamp your closet, then Thrilling is place to go.
The popular marketplace, which features vintage and second-hand items, hosts more than 150 boutiques.
But Thrilling is about more than being your first stop for epic fashions.
It’s also fervently dedicated to uplifting minority-owned businesses.
“As a Black- and woman-owned business, celebrating diversity is critical to us. 95% of our stores are women and/or POC owned,” reads a statement on the Thrilling site.
And Thrilling Founder Shilla Kim-Parker has continued to push that mission forward, having launched several collaborations and initiatives dedicated to Black-owned stores.
The platform’s previous collection, titled Black Vintage, featured a variety of beautiful vintage dresses from Black-owned businesses. And it’s hard not to admire the craft and beauty that went into these stunning pieces and stores.
So, it’s no surprise that its next collection would be just as amazing. And with a collaborator like Zerina Akers, we already knew it would live up to the hype.
Akers is best known for her work as Beyoncé’s personal stylist — with her crafting unforgettable street looks for the entertainer. This includes her highly celebrated contribution to the superstar’s “Black is King” and “Lemonade” visual albums.
Her impeccable taste and ability to merge fashion with entertainment and folklore make her an expert at her craft. And Akers added to her list of exciting ventures when she founded her Black-Owned Everything brand the past summer. The brand, which launched on Instagram, celebrates entrepreneurship and highlights Black-owned businesses. Since its launch, it has amassed more than 200,000 followers.
So this collaboration is definitely a nod to everything Akers stands for.
The collection, named Thrilling x Black-Owned Everything – A Sustainable Edit by Zerina Akers, is full of must-have pieces.
Dedicated to ’80s and ’90s fashion, it’s exactly what the culture needs. It’s full of everything that made both decades cool, with nods to sportswear icons like Aaliyah and Missy Elliot. There are also trendy mini-dresses and bra-tops that are reminiscent of rap legends like Lil Kim.
The effortless blend of monochromatic pieces, leather standouts and luxurious animal prints make it even harder to resist. Plus, with prices starting at just $20, you can shop as much as you’d like.
And to give us a little background on the fabulous collab, The Post caught up with Kim-Parker and Akers ahead of its launch.
So check out the interview and all the details on the collection curated from some amazing Black-owned vintage shops.
Why did you create Thrilling, and what’s your ultimate goal for the brand?
Shilla Kim-Parker: I started Thrilling a couple of years ago. And you know, we’re a very mission-focused company. Our goal is to support the livelihood and viability of small mom-and-pop, secondhand vintage shops across the country. We currently have 200 on our platform. Most of our businesses are women-owned, indigenous or other people of color-owned and we really want to support their life and their livelihood. We’re also trying to popularize secondhand and vintage shopping and make it more of a habit for more people. That’s why we’re so excited to be able to partner with someone like Zerina. Whenever Zerina does anything, people pay attention, and we appreciate the fact that she’s spending her time engaging with vintage fashion and local businesses to curate this incredible collection.
How did this collab with Thrilling come to be?
Zerina Akers: Shilla reached out. And when I was able to really review everything she was doing, I thought it was really cool and that it could be a really cool partnership because we hadn’t quite shined enough light on vintage. To be able to partner with all the Black-Owned mom-and-pop vintage stores was really perfect and a great way to push that conversation in vintage as it relates to sustainable shopping. We all indulged [in thrifting] at some point and it’s also a bit of a nostalgic thing.
What was your inspiration behind the line?
ZA: I was inspired initially by ’90s female hip-hop unity. I loved that everyone was supporting each other in their music videos. You had Da Brat in the Missy video. And then you have Lil Kim with Mary J Blige and this sisterhood that you still see very much alive. I feel like it’s been missing for quite some time in the way that it was in our faces. No matter if there was a petite woman, a plus-size woman or a tomboy, there was this support no matter what. Plus, the fact that there is this resurgence of ’90s fashion that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. To give people an opportunity to buy things that are still very relevant right now and very current, I thought was the cool way to approach the partnership.
What’s your favorite piece in the collection?
ZA: As I started to review the selection and put everything together, there were so many beautiful things. We found this Patrick Kelly garment which was so stunning and so iconic. To be able to own some of these pieces is really a kind of a full-circle moment in this particular type of partnership.
How have you used your own work to amplify Blackness in the vintage shopping space.
SKP: I’m a Black woman, and we support a lot of Black-owned businesses on our site. One of the things that drew me to Zerina is her centering the Black experience in all that she does. She’s definitely been an inspiration for me. We’re also really mindful of everything that we’re putting out in terms of representation and showing the beautiful diversity within our Black communities. Obviously, we know what it feels like when we feel excluded from that conversation. And having the privilege of being able to start my own company was really important for me that, you know, we were inclusive. And whether it’s our employees, whether it’s the people we hire, whether it’s the partners we work with. And it’s definitely the stores that we help support.
ZA: I got the opportunity to work on some pretty large platforms in that celebrity space. In the Black community, there’s kind of this like validation or legitimacy that comes with wearing like high-end brands. And to be able to kind of shift that narrative, I think it’s always just been a bit of a passion for me.
Why did you launch Black Owned Everything?
ZA: I curated the Black-Owned Everything page and showcase brands that people probably would have looked at their Instagram and thought they were a little dodgy. You know what I mean? But like there’s this great dress, and then you put it beside something else that’s photographed really well, and all of a sudden you don’t know the difference. All you know is that you want that dress and now you’re going to go and support that brand that probably you wouldn’t have looked twice at or wouldn’t have even crossed your algorithm so to speak. To be able to shift that conversation has been important to me from the very beginning.
What’s your biggest takeaway from 2020?
SKP: We will hold onto the grief of this year and the frustration and anger that we all feel. But you also have to try and channel that into kind of productivity and trying to kind of fight for a better tomorrow. Because I know that there are definitely times when I felt like I’m trying really hard to see that silver lining and trying really hard to kind of feel optimism. I think that’s important because otherwise it’s easy to feel there’s no point.
But I think this year was also a year where we saw how powerful we can be and how much agency we have. And I think it refueled our confidence and determination to invest in our communities and to lift each other up. So in that way, I think those are the kinds of themes that we have to hold on to next year. But also in the next five years, the next 10 years, like, you know. We’re not going to let this be a flash in the pan. We know that we’re going to continue doing the hard work.