Crowns & Hops Brewing Co., the first Black-owned craft beer brand in Inglewood, CA, is further cementing its dedication to the City of Inglewood through its brand mission of preserving culture, building community, and expanding the palate of consumers in the area.
The commitment starts with the brewery laying roots in the community through its 14,000 square foot location off Manchester Ave. and Crenshaw Blvd. Crowns Inglewood is a community establishment based in the heart of Inglewood, and it will provide a safe family-friendly space to gather, dine and have delicious independent craft beer. To help support this mission, Crowns & Hops Brewing Co. recently launched their equity crowdfunding campaign “OWN CROWNS” to help raise the capital needed for the new location.
“We have always celebrated the mission of community and ownership in the craft beer industry. We’re excited to bring these concepts of investment and equity to a region that has been starved of resources for generations,” said Teo Hunter, COO & Head of Beer Operations.
This investment opportunity allows the community to participate in the revitalization efforts of a city. Crowns & Hops will offer locals and visitors alike an opportunity to publicly connect in Inglewood/South L.A. to enjoy premium products produced in Inglewood. Co-founders Beny Ashburn & Teo Hunter believe this opportunity will allow for the community to invest in the city’s development while supporting Black-owned businesses in the region.
As stated by Beny Ashburn, CEO, “Our brand started with the community. Now, we want to offer the community an opportunity to own a part of Crowns in the City of Champions and wherever we expand.” 360 Magazine is very excited to associate with a company, whose values are to give back to the community.
In addition, last month the brewery co-hosted a panel discussion and mixer at All In Co-Working with the Inglewood Chamber of Commerce and the City of Inglewood in celebration of Black Business Month.The panel specifically discussed balancing the benefits, resources, and initiative in a developing city, with Inglewood Mayor James Butts opening the event by announcing the official date for the ground-breaking of the new Los Angeles Clippers arena. Butts also delivered a heartfelt message about the ongoing progress and growth happening within the city and amongst its residents.
The brewery is also adding a new beer to its selection of craft brews. The beer is called “Inglewood Juice,” with the name paying homage to the city of Inglewood and showcasing the city’s place in their hearts. Inglewood Juice is a juicy IPA full of tropical notes and a traditional hop signature made popular by the West Coast IPA. This beer was brewed for the people of Inglewood, California, a city full of diversity, swag, hustle, resilience, progressiveness, and love.
The brewery will also be participating in two upcoming events. On September 18, they will join Beers without Beards, a female-focused virtual festival where co-owner Beny Ashburn will be speaking on a panel. On September 30, Crowns & Hops Brewing Co. will join the virtual event Gathering Spot LA.
adidas and Beyoncé Launch Fourth IVY PARK Collection: “IVY PARK RODEO”
Ditch the ten-gallon hat and say “howdy” to stylish, western wear. adidas and Beyoncé are returning to present the latest adidas x IVY PARK collection. Inspired by the inimitable style and undeniable influence of Black cowboys and cowgirls, the “IVY Park Rodeo” collection celebrates the formidable impact of Black men and women on American Western culture. Beyoncé recently featured the fierce collection on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. 360 Magazine is impressed at this fashionable collection that brings to light an important history that often goes unspoken. The collection celebrates the oft-hidden history of Black pioneers within cowboy and cowgirl culture and their continued influence and impact on the American Rodeo.
A bold celebration of classic Americana reimagined for today, this is a refreshingly contemporary take on classic Western wear. IVY PARK Rodeo is where audacious design meets thoughtfully remixed classic streetwear and athletic wear fused with inspiration from the Black cowboy experience. The collection features 58 adult apparel styles, 5 adult footwear styles, and 13 different accessories. Cowboys and cowgirls of all ages can join in on the fashion show. Boasting dark denim fabrics and washed heavy French terry materials throughout, the apparel and accessories are elevated with unique denim monograms and bold purple glow cow prints. Utilitarian-inspired zips and snap fastenings complete the details.
Highlights from the apparel collection include a denim body suit and wide leg snap pant, a denim tracksuit, a washed French terry hoodie and matching sweatpants, denim chaps, a denim bucket hat, and a small cotton canvas waist bag. The footwear offering is exciting as well, with two colorways of the IVP Ultraboost – one which mimics the look of denim and a new colorway for the IVP Forum Mid. This collection introduces the new IVP Super Sleek “Chunky”, with an exaggerated outsole combined with a classic upper in two dynamic colorways.
The fourth IVY PARK collection launches exclusively on adidas’ website for 24 hours on August 19th and is followed by a wider global launch on August 20th.
adidas x IVY PARK Drop 4 consists of the IVP Super Sleek “Chunky” (priced at $140), the IVP Forum Mid (priced at $150), and the IVP Ultraboost (priced at $200.)
It is clear that adidas x IVY PARK prioritizes inclusivity and diversity within all of their drops. Within this new capsule, clothing sizes range from XXXS-4XL / 1X-4X. Unisex sizes range from 4 US – 14 US, and specific women’s sizes range from 5 US – 14 US. Clothing prices range from $45 to $200 for adults.
With over 58 adult apparel styles, 5 adult footwear styles, and 13 accessories styles, there are plenty of choices for any wardrobe. Accessories including unisex hats, unisex bags, a denim bucket hat, a durag, socks, and bandanas. Accessory prices range from $25 – $75.
The collection concentrates on centering aesthetically pleasing colors and prints, including Dark Denim, Glory Blue, Dust Purple, Purple Glow, Ambient Blush, Prints are Dark Denim Monogram, Purple Glow Dark, Brown Cow Print. The soft, high-quality fabrics used in this collection include 100% Cotton 16.5oz blue twill denim, 99% Cotton 1% Elastane 10.8oz stretch blue denim, and 100% Cotton 13oz cow print cotton twill denim.
adidas and Beyoncé Introduce Kids’ Apparel for the First time with Fourth adidas x IVY PARK Collection: “IVY PARK Rodeo”
With this fourth launch, for the first time, adidas x IVY PARK introduces their kids’ collection, a capsule line of 16 apparel styles, offering an assortment of looks in sizes 2T-XL. Taking its creative inspiration from the adult collection, the line appeals to fashion conscious grown-ups who have a fresh eye on style and want their ‘mini-me’s’ to enjoy their wardrobe choices with the same enthusiasm and playful attitude towards fashion.
A bold celebration of classic Americana reimagined for today, this is a refreshingly contemporary take on classic Western wear. IVY PARK Rodeo is where audacious design meets thoughtfully remixed classic streetwear and athletic wear fused with inspiration from the Black cowboy experience reimagined for the next generation. Highlights from the collection include purple glow cow print tights and a graphic t-shirt which reads ‘brought up rodeo’ in a printed cursive script font, as well as hoodies, shorts, sweatpants, and plain t-shirts.
The fourth IVY PARK collection launches exclusively on adidas’ website for 24 hours on August 19th and is followed by a wider global launch on August 20th.
The adidas x IVY PARK Drop 4 Kids offering consists of 16 kids apparel styles that include foundation and activewear (t-shirts, hoodies, shorts, sweatpants, and tights). Colors used within the collection include Purple Glow, Glory Blue and Ambient Blush and Off-White along with the Purple Cow Print. Clothing sizes range: 2T-XL for kids’ apparel and will be priced from $20 to $65.
Foundation: Washed French Terry Hoodie, Sweatpants, Crop and Graphic Tee
Active: Base Layer Boys Top and Tight, Woven Windbreaker and Short, Cow Print tight for Girls
empyri is a cannabis wellness and skin care company based in London, Ontario, Canada. Founder Jen Grant fused her passion for personal health and wellness with her biochemical engineering background to create a revolutionary skincare company with three simple principles in mind: Clean Beauty, Conscious Consumption and Honouring Diversity. empyri is the first consumer brand on the market to use cannabis roots in wellness products, combining tenets of Traditional Chinese Medicine with evidence-based science. The brand is committed to empowering and inspiring individuals to achieve harmony – both with their health, and in their lives.
empyri products are formulated with cannabis roots, cannabis seed extract and cannabis seed oil to nourish and heal stressed out skin. Canadian made in GMP facilities, containing no THC or CBD, cruelty-free, chemical-free, vegan, and all packaging is 100% recyclable. For more information, please visit here.
“We’re all connected through culture. Basically, we all must learn to adapt. We learn more through traveling and seeing more. When you’re in a different environment, everybody must love and laugh and dance. I don’t need to know your language. But companies need to focus on connecting everyone through love, not war.” – Vaughn Lowery
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been around for years, with its’ roots being found as early as the 18th Century. In my CSR research assignment before, I wrote that “the key idea of CSR is for companies to pursue pro-social objectives and promote volunteerism among employees (such as through donating to charity and participating in volunteer work), as well as by minimizing environmental externalities.” As an international student trying to find my career path in the United States, I find that company CSR is one of the first few things I look for when finding a suitable company to work with: how genuine they are and how much they care for their employees. The process of researching and writing my essay on CSR in the modern day and CSR within my internship site provided me with the valuable opportunity not only to learn about an important business topic, but also allowed me to develop a better understanding of what it is.
For my CSR Interview, I got the opportunity to speak on the phone with my supervisor Vaughn Lowery. His career started from “humble beginnings in Detroit to a full scholarship in Cornell University under the ILR program. From there, he became active in modeling, acting, and producing screenplays.” Now, Vaughn is the publisher and founder of leading fashion and lifestyle magazine, 360 Magazine, which is also my internship site. His job involves fostering relationships within the community and being an editorial director that curates and oversees content for all columns of the magazine. The position also entails making sure that Apple News, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all other news sites are updated. As a pop culture and design magazine, it is important to constantly be up to date with relevant content and breaking news. Being a quarterly publication, 360 is also working on their summer magazine issue. Vaughn mentions that with COVID making everything digital, the team has been working on expanding the business: creating a self-publishing division, developing e-commerce, getting sponsors, and most importantly, waiting for things to start opening back up.
With a background in studying business and company culture, Vaughn says that his education helped him design a company culture that made sense, “Transparency, cool kids, intelligence. I wanted a space for comfort regardless of race, age, and religion. Education was not the answer to my business but a part of the process to help with preparing for my magazine. The most important thing is life experiences, there are no books on it.” Vaughn emphasizes sending people in his company for events and communicating with clientele because “you can’t speak about things you don’t know.” COVID has made jobs in the media a little more mundane, but he’s excited about things opening back up and is hopeful for the future. Without in-person experiences, it is hard to understand the inner workings of media companies with everything being digitally produced.
Vaughn defines Corporate Social Responsibility at 360 Magazine as “having an environment that is inviting and inclusive, especially showcasing inclusivity.” As a magazine that promotes culture and lifestyle, it is important that everyone he works with is aware of what is going on in the world that we live in and what is happening with minority populations. He speaks about being the only African American in a lot of his school and work experiences, and he created 360 with the ideal of having more minorities and women working in his company: “We all live in the same world… and some people don’t know that. But we need representation and for people to see us. It’s not on us to educate them, but it’s on us to speak up.” 360 avidly speaks up for diversity (#metoo) and openly supports nonprofit organizations.
When asked about how veritable he thinks big companies are with CSR movements, he says that they’re doing it for a myriad of reasons. Companies get away with more stuff as a corporation, “But the responsibility is about being genuine. The board of directors and Zoom calls and the whole spiel. If they’re trying to just make money, revenue principals are not true to themselves. 360 was founded on real culture. The diversity is important. It is what it is.”
“Your company diversity is a reflection of the world, we’ve been doing this since the start of 360, we’ve been ahead of the trend.” The magazine has always featured drag queens, people who are transgender, and minorities, “This is very important when doing events and stuff, it’s a big family. We have less than 50 people. And it’s important for our clients to know that we have each other and rely on each other. That we know how to respect one another and appreciate each other, despite all odds.” Vaughn believes that diversity and inclusion of people of color has always been important, and he emphasizes that 360 will keep pushing these agendas and morals as long as he’s the head of the company. I see this in his effort to get everyone together (even if it is just on Zoom for now) to celebrate big articles, book releases, sponsorships, and so on.
As I type this interview essay, I find two key points to really reflect on: 1) assumptions about company morale and 2) why diversity is so important to me.
1) I think back on everyone else I’ve spoken to during my time as an intern here with 360, and I find that these core values that Vaughn spoke about with me are reflected in all the conversations I’ve had with him and other employees. Coming from a very structured, patriarchal Asian background, I came into this internship thinking that it would be like all my previous experiences (they talk of diversity, but it’s never really executed once you’re a part of it – school projects, internships, part-time jobs, and so on). However, no one in the company has been curt or condescending when speaking with me, and they truly mean it when they point out mistakes and gently correct me. Maybe it is because of the way I was brought up, or the environment I was most familiar in, but these good intentions had me on my toes for the first couple weeks I was here, and I’m honestly still getting used to it.
2) With the rise of Asian hate crimes in the past year, I find myself turning very reclusive and immediately trying to find fault with people when something brushes me the wrong way (though sometimes it really is a racist comment or remark). It’s been difficult having to correct people when they say my name wrong or trying to explain my culture when these simple things can so easily be looked up online. I’ve been very lucky growing up well-traveled and seeing different parts of the world, and I understand that not everyone has that privilege, but how far does “I don’t know” get you in the digital age? I need to work in a company where people are willing to learn and grow new perspectives, and I see this quality in Vaughn too as he speaks about his loneliness as the only African American in his industry when he was first starting out.
After 45 minutes of talking about diversity and the whole CSR conversation winding down, Vaughn tells me to keep doing what I love, “Understanding the industry through work experiences is how you’ll get in. It’s constantly changing.” He talks about learning to forecast and foreshadow and having connections at arms’ reach. By the end of our conversation, I felt that I learnt a lot and could have a clearer vision of what I wanted out of this internship. I’ve had the opportunities to go for company events (for brands including Lillet, Chinese Laundry, Rockstar Original, etc.), though I would really like to be able to go to a CSR event in the near future to promote these same values that I share with 360 Magazine.
To read more about Vaughn Lowery, please visit his Wikipedia and IMBD.
The premiere one-on-one street dance competition will bring the country’s top street dance community together this fall
Red Bull Dance Your Style teams up with Caffeine to deliver interactive live streams from each stop on the 2021 USA Tour, allowing audiences everywhere to vote on their favorite dancers
The premiere one-on-one street dance competition Red Bull Dance Your Style returns, bringing together top dancers from around the world to connect and celebrate the diverse dance community. Returning with a stacked tour of U.S. qualifiers, the all-styles competition amplifies dance scenes from all corners of the country: Boston, New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, and Washington D.C.
Kicking off on Friday, September 10th from the iconic Boston harbor, the best in hip-hop, house, waacking, popping, krumping, locking, and more will battle one-on-one bracket style, performing against a spontaneous soundtrack – from mainstream hits to timeless classics. An audience of dance lovers will play judge, ultimately deciding which dancer will advance from each qualifier to the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Finals USA. With no panel of judges, no planned choreography, and no pre-chosen music, it’s all about embracing the moment, wowing the crowd and moving to the beat.
This year, for the first time ever, Caffeine will livestream all Red Bull Dance Your Style events taking place in the US. Caffeine produces and hosts some of the largest live streamed street culture events in the world. Millions of viewers tuned in over the past year to watch live battle rap from Ultimate Rap League, Tommy the Clown, and street dance from partners like BattleFest, and Turf Inc.,with new, related content launching every month.
The Red Bull Dance Your Style National Finals USA in Washington D.C. spans a full weekend, taking place from Friday, October 22 through Saturday, October 23, and provides a platform for artists to come together. The programming will have a line-up of curated dance events, workshops and performances featuring DJ, producer, label owner, and director TT The Artist and other iconic dancers and scene leaders. This final competition will give dancers a last shot to move onto the Red Bull Dance Your Style World Finals, by battling wildcards at random including Angyil, Krow and Princess Lockeroo.
Following 80 events in over 39 countries all around the globe, dance’s heavy-hitters will come together to battle for the third-ever Red Bull Dance Your Style World Championship title. For more information about where to buy tickets and event details follow the Red Bull Dance Your Style website and be sure to follow Red Bull Dance on Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube and Caffeine.
ABOUT RED BULL DANCE YOUR STYLE
Red Bull Dance Your Style is a global all-styles street dance event series with a unique battle format. From hip hop to house, to locking to popping – dancers participating in Red Bull Dance Your Style will need to ‘wow’ the crowd and ultimately win their vote. Testing freestyle and musicality skills through unpredictable mainstream tracks ranging from recent global hits to classic beats, Red Bull Dance Your Style will have the crowd deciding who will rule the dance floor.
On August 25th, Marvel will celebrate its most legendary Asian super heroes in MARVEL’S VOICES: IDENTITY #1! The latest in a far-reaching lineup of one-shots designed to uplift marginalized voices and celebrate the diversity of Marvel Comics’ characters and creators, MARVEL’S VOICES: IDENTITY #1 will be a thrilling collection of uplifting adventures starring Shang-Chi, Jubilee, Silk, Jimmy Woo, Ms. Marvel, Wave, Silhouette, Armor and Silver Samurai. This highly anticipated issue will also boast a series of exciting new variant covers by an all-star lineup of artists including Peach Momoko’s spellbinding take on Nico Minoru, a gorgeous depiction of Marvel’s greatest fighter by InHyuk Lee, a celebration of some of mutant-kind’s greatest stars by Uncanny X-Men artist Philip Tan, and more!
“It’s unreal to me that one of Marvel’s first Asian super heroes, Jimmy Woo, was first introduced in 1956. He predates the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the X-Men,” Editor Darren Shan said. “It just goes to show that Asians have been an integral part of Marvel’s history, both on the page and behind it. So I’m incredibly excited to celebrate that with all these amazing creators, new and established, featuring some of Marvel’s greatest (and dare I say it, best) super heroes!”
Check out all six covers now and click HERE for a special sneak peek at the stories that await you when MARVEL’S VOICES: IDENTITY #1 hits stands on August 25th!
Retailers, don’t forget to order your copies by Monday, August 2nd!
For the first time in the history of the Harvard Debate Council, two Black girls from Atlanta have made history as the first Black female duo to win the annual summer debate competition at Harvard University.
Each summer, the Harvard Debate Council, one of the oldest campus organizations at Harvard University, hosts a summer residential program for hundreds of gifted youths from over 15 countries around the world who converge on campus for two weeks of intensive study, which culminates in a program-wide debate tournament. This year’s residency and competition were held virtually due to COVID-19 protocols.
Jayla Jackson, 16, is a rising junior at Holy Innocence Episcopal School. Emani Stanton, 17, is a rising senior at North Atlanta High School. Both girls are current members of the Atlanta-based Harvard Diversity Project, an initiative founded by Harvard’s award-winning debate coach and author Brandon P. Fleming. In 2017, Harvard accepted Fleming’s proposal to establish the Diversity Project as a means to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus.
Fleming recruits underserved Black youth in Atlanta with little to no prior debate experience. He trains them every weekend for one year in Atlanta leading up to the Harvard summer program, exposing them to higher-level academic disciplines. In four years, Fleming has raised over one million dollars to enroll over 100 African-American students into the Harvard debate residency on full scholarship. All four cohorts trained by Fleming’s unique curriculum have gone on to win the international debate competition at Harvard.
This year, Jackson and Stanton secured the 4th consecutive championship for the Atlanta-based team with an undefeated 10-0 record. The topic of debate was, “Resolved: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization should substantially increase its defense commitments in the Baltic States.”
Fleming emphasizes to his students that the program is “bigger than debate.” He states, “The achievements of this program and our scholars reveals to the world the power of educational equity.” Jackson remarks about the historic win, “We want to use our platform to show people what’s possible when the playing field is leveled for those who need it most.”
The Harvard Diversity Project has already accepted a new cohort who will begin training in preparation for the Harvard debate residency of 2022.
You can read more about the story of the program and its founder in Brandon P. Fleming’s bestselling book, MISEDUCATED: A Memoir.
Check Out This Behind the Scenes Footage of Jayla Jackson and Emani Stanton.
Keep Up With The Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project:
Brandon P. Fleming is an award-winning, Harvard educator and author of MISDUCATED: A Memoir. His story of struggle, success, and service has inspired millions around the world. An at-risk youth and college dropout turned award-winning educator, Fleming is Assistant Debate Coach at Harvard University and Founder/CEO of the Harvard Diversity Project. Fleming was recruited to join the Harvard debate faculty at the age of 27. Harvard later approved Fleming’s proposal to establish a new department within the university system called the Harvard Diversity Project – an unprecedented pipeline program of the Harvard Debate Council. For four years, Fleming has led an executive staff and board that has raised over a million dollars to enroll over 100 students of color into Harvard’s international summer debate residency on full scholarship. Fleming recruits underserved youth with no prior debate experience whom he then trains to compete against hundreds of elite debaters from over 25 different countries around the world. Since the program’s inception in 2017, every cohort trained by Fleming has won the international competition. In 2020, Fleming was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list, and The Root magazine recognized Fleming as one of the top 100 most influential African Americans in the United States. In 2021, Fleming received an honorary doctorate from North Carolina Wesleyan College designating him, Dr. Fleming, Doctor of Humanities.
ABOUT THE HARVARD DEBATE COUNCIL DIVERSITY PROJECT:
A subsidiary of the Harvard Debate Council, Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project (HDP) is an Atlanta-based pipeline program that recruits, trains, and matriculates highly motivated black youth into a summer debate residency at Harvard College. HDP cultivates scholars seeking to further their education at elite colleges & universities.
The goal of the Harvard Diversity Project is to promote educational equity by creating opportunities for underserved youth to gain exposure and access to academic training that will distinguish them as top candidates in the college admissions process. Beyond the classroom, the HDP builds integrity-filled leaders who contribute to the community and value service.
Looking for fun in The Windy City after a year of lockdown? Celebrate night life’s reopening at the thirty-nineth annual Northalsted Market Days®. Ranked as one of the Top Ten Chicago Festivals by Bizbash, this weekend long event is one you surely don’t want to miss. While the event was originally founded in 1982, Market Days continues to expand to become exponentially more enthralling. The estimated attendance of the festival exceeds 100,000 attendees from across the globe. As Market Days emphasizes unapologetic pride and vibrant diversity, all are welcome at this event.
Taking place from August 6–8, the live music street festival celebrates Chicago’s spirited community across a half mile in the landmark Northalsted/Lakeview district. Recognized as America’s first gay village and Chicago’s LGBTQ+ historic landmark, Northalsted welcomes guests of all ages, colors and creeds to join in on the merrymaking. The festival will sprawl across the neighborhood from Belmond to Addison.
The music festival will feature live music line-ups all day, including performers such as Trixie Mattel, Todrick Hall, Greyson Chance, The FIERCE Project, Lisa Lisa, Jody Wately, CeCe Penison, Steve Grand and many, many more. These talented musicians will electrify the festival’s six stages: the Bud Light Seltzer Stage, the Nissan Partners of Progress Stage, the Peach Presents [stage], the Dance Stage by Hydrate, the Chicago Sound Stage, and the Community Pride Stage. DJs will also be mixing and mastering tunes so guests can get their groove on.
Market Days will feature additional entertainment, including 250+ unique vendors and arts and crafts. Food and drinks will also be available at the festival. The suggested admission donation is $15, and all donations go towards Chicago’s local non-profits and fund community projects like the Chicago Pride Crosswalks.
Northalsted Market Days is easily accessed via the CTA Red Line Addison station at Wrigley Field, CTA Red/Brown/Purple Lines at Belmont, multiple bus lines, and ride share car/cab services to hotels and other lodging. The event will go on rain or shine, though it should be notes that severe weather conditions may delay performance times. To purchase tickets and learn more, please visit HERE.
Armon Hayes is an editor for 360 Magazine and the creative director for Ace of Haze Style of Ace (AOHSOA). Armon’s innovative eye for detail allows him to create long lasting partnerships with clientele as he helps them develop their personal brands. His design brand offers styling, design services, brand management, and lifestyle products. AOHSOA’s brand motto, “It’s not who you wear, how” encompasses the thoughtfulness with which Armon addresses each individual client to best emphasize their strengths and build their brands. This personalized approach to brand management and styling allows for AOHSOA to stand out in the field of design.
Armon describes his career aspirations regarding AOHSOA: “I’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur in the retail/fashion industry. In addition to feeding my own design sweet tooth, I enjoy developing design ideas and working with others to help them fulfill their own creative dreams. I have married these passions with the creation of Ace of Haze Style of Ace (AOHSOA) in 2017. My brand offers not only a street-luxe clothing line, but also styling and design services, home and children’s decor options, and brand management–all with the goal of motivating and empowering other creatives to look, feel, and produce their best. Our goal is to express creativity through fashion, art, and lifestyle, encompassing all creative endeavors. The focus at AOHSOA is elevating our lifestyle and transitioning our mindset. We live on the cutting-edge and believe that the key to brand success is being a part of–and influencers within–movements of change. Our motto is “It’s not who you wear, how.” This approach means that personal style should transcend past fashion trends to reflect your personality and your brand: you. Whether you’re getting back into the workforce or celebrating a milestone, when you look good, you feel good, and the world around you recognizes such. With this in mind, anyone and everyone can benefit from my brand. My clients include individuals, retail clothing brands, non-profit organizations, an independent recording artist, beauty brands and a pop culture and design magazine. Through our products, events and services, each client’s brand has been elevated. In turn, clients have been empowered to dream, create and develop their potential as they share their gifts with the world.”
Armon originally worked his way up in the retail industry, and now has created his own brand. He explains his journey to reaching his current achievements: “To me, success is measured as any opportunity from which I’ve had to learn and grow. In 2015/2016, before creating AOHSOA, I had the opportunity to participate in a spring product review when employed by True Religion as a store director. This experience sparked ideas in me for my future and gave me a raw understanding of the inner workings of a successful brand. My creativity and marketing sense was ignited in a way that I still look back on with gratitude. This experience led me to working as the assistant stylist for Toure Designs’ fashion show in 2018. At the fashion show, I had an idea that I felt would elevate a look just moments before the model was to walk the runway: having the model walk while shirtless. Fortunately, it was a very well received style suggestion. In that moment, I learned to trust my instincts, which has helped, and will continue to help, my endeavors with AOHSOA.
“More recently, I worked on several projects with independent recording artist, LaJune. As her personal stylist and creative director for three years, this is truly a passion project. During the pandemic, we collaborated on two live performances and two music videos. Additionally, we worked on an editorial shoot featuring Land Rover’s Defender to be featured in 360 Magazine. More recently, I hosted my second pop-up shop activation, The Bodega. The relaxed shopping event featured AOHSOA trunk options, and introduced a new assortment of blouses & dresses called “Onesie”. The one-size-fit-most offerings were a success, selling out of samples and having many orders placed. 2020 highlighted my need to develop a multifunctional living space, which has been an integral piece to my growth and development as a business owner. With the help of talented friends, family and supporters, we developed a space for myself and other creatives to come to develop their art and conduct business, with a twist. This living space has proved successful for both LaJune, AOHSOA, and my partners, as they may continue working, producing and creating safely during the uncertainty. The space, #360TRAP, has led to invaluable collaborations and partnerships.”
“While the pandemic has weighed heavy on small business owners, Armon found a way to take advantage of his downtime. He continues explaining how 2020 affected his career path and personal vision: “The pandemic has helped me realize the need for businesses and artists to pivot and evolve in order to overcome challenges. It became important to use the down time of lockdown wisely so that I wouldn’t lose the momentum I’ve generated, nor plateau creatively. I found myself unemployed and unable to operate AOHSOA in the traditional way. However, I felt even more committed to making AOHSOA successful and on the front lines of a movement of change. With the time the pandemic afforded me to commit myself to this passion full-time, I developed my administrative and brand management skill set in preparation for a resurgence. Additionally, the social justice movement gave people like myself an opportunity to reflect on the times and ways in which we can impact the world and its ecosystem. AOHSOA is committed to progress in diversity and inclusivity – it’s who we are. Expressing myself creatively supported me with a clearer perspective, and more importantly, an outlet for my process. I began sewing more, creating merchandise, and focusing on building my inventory and my social presence through blogging. I strategized around ensuring AOHSOA could survive and thrive in a pandemic, and set goals for the next six months. After creating a space, #360TRAP, in partnership with 360 Magazine, I developed concepts and ideas that mutually benefitted my business and my clients. I grew my client list and increased sales by $515 over this time last year. I honed in on social media engagement, adding a layer to my brand by sharing lifestyle aspects via my blog. On the blog, I discuss all things fashion, music and lifestyle, with elements of design. I am also working toward evolving this business into a bespoke brand with customized curations, as well as capsule fashion.
“As a precursor to World Blood Day and my birthday in June 2021, AOHSOA hosted a pop-up shop called the Bodega that featured several clients and sponsors. These collaborators included Respire by Design, The 6th Clothing Co., a local NYC tattoo artist, Chinelos Tacos NYC food truck, CocoOil, and Zavor. The event was a direct response to realign and reconnect with my community post-isolation. I continued to develop concepts for LaJune, including a streetwear collection of merchandise for her third EP, Mind. The merchandise collection is titled #mindmerch, and has been made available to her fans and supporters of AOHSOA. Our partnership, live performances, and music videos led to a collaboration with Viacom and a video shot at Smash Studios. These challenging times have taught me to pivot (sometimes at a moment’s notice), adjust, and be consistent in executing my plans. Having a network of talented supporters and friends has allowed for delegation and shared responsibilities, and most importantly, resources. All of these efforts resulted in a 47% increase in site sessions over 2020, with 51% representing unique visitors retaining 38% of existing traffic. As we enter the fourth quarter of this year, at my digital shop we anticipate an increased in traffic shy of 26% of last year’s visitors. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, I committed myself to elevating my brand with proven success. I embrace future challenges with an open heart because I know they will only make me smarter and stronger.”
Armon continues to work to grow his innovative, fashionable design brand, Ace of Haze Style of Ace. Through conducting SWOT analyses and evaluating his business practices, Armon looks to the future with determination and his signature creative flair. He is committed to inclusivity and actively works to pay forward his successes. Armon looks to use the platform AOHSOA has granted him to continue to pursue his own dreams, and help others do the same. He looks to not only building his brand empire, but also giving back to his community through charitable endeavors and his design abilities. Through creating opportunities for and mentoring the next generation of future fashion entrepreneurs, Armon aims to aid other young creatives in finding their own personal brands.
In describing his brand’s business model, Armon remarks that ” I believe that newly formed corporations should add activations for their diverse team members to feel comfortable and accepted no matter their color, creed, belief, sexuality or religion, and I aim to have AOHSOA be a leader in this effort. I want to position my organization to reflect the “Ballroom” culture within the LGBTQ community, by fostering a movement in life & style and allowing creatives a safe space to hone their skills and talents while they build their network. I am also looking forward to becoming more active in charitable endeavors, specifically working with kids/teens to help them find their brand within.”
The automotive industry is a dinosaur. Existing for over 100 years and failing to adapt fast enough to society as it evolves.
New research from global mobility brand Lynk & Co and global market & consumer data analysts, Statista, compared gender ratios from some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers and found that the industry has large equality gaps. On average, automotive brands are 15% female, with numbers ranging from 30% at the top and 2% at the very low end.
In response to the seriousness of the problem, Lynk & Co is pledging to achieve an equal 50/50 gender split across the company by the end of 2021 and an equal 50/50 split in management positions by the end of 2023.
While Lynk & Co tends to define itself as a mobility brand, it is still, in many ways, part of the automotive industry. Lynk & Co was founded as an alternative to traditional car brands, and the company is dedicated to creating a more fair, progressive and sustainable society. Sure, diverse teams are linked to increased profitability. But (much) more importantly: it’s also simply the right thing to do. Huge numbers of talented people are still being excluded and discriminated against based on factors like gender.
“The gatekeepers of the automotive industry have excluded women, and pretty much anyone that isn’t a straight white man, for too long. Lynk & Co is committed to changing that. How can we create solutions that work for everyone, if we don’t have everyone at the table?” – Alain Visser, CEO of Lynk & Co
In general, Lynk & Co is doing well compared to others in the industry…but it’s a pretty low bar. Lynk & Co currently has a 3X better ratio than the industry average (15%), with 45% of the team identifying as female. The industry numbers are bleak when it comes to women in management as well, with an average of 11% women in management teams and 18% female board directors. At Lynk & Co, 33% of management teams are made up of women and there is an even 50/50 split at board director level.
“Equality within the workplace should not just be a goal or a target, what we have found is that it is absolutely critical to the growth & productivity of a company. If people are held back, then we shall never move forward as an industry. Today we have revealed some truly sobering statistics and we are not perfect. That is why we’re setting ourselves a challenging and bold pledge to have a total parity between genders across our entire workforce by the end of 2023.” – Telma Negreiros, VP of PR and Communications
Lynk & Co has taken immediate action in developing a long-term strategy to further improve gender equality and diversity across the brand in the future.
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