Summer Fashion: Free the Melanin

Free the melanin! FREE THE MELANIN! That is all I want to see, hear, and breathe. Summer is here and time to unveil all of my glorious melanin that had been suppressed under mounds of jeans, boots, sweaters, winter coats, and hair. The snow has vanished, the cold has come to naught, and the white witch of Narnia is dead. The first rule to fashion is there are no rules, boundaries, or limits. From internships, networking events, date night and girls’ night with my sisters, I want my skin to be seen and identified. While working in Chicago’s downtown and north side, I observe more fashion looks on a broader spectrum than I have previously been exposed to. Off the shoulder shirts are a must.

Forever 21


I love watching people play around with bold colors and patterns. This summer the colors that will be engaged with my melanin are YELLOW and ORANGE. Those colors are so radiant. I bought a mustard yellow jacket at the end of the school year, relinquishing my last bit of campus cash before heading home. I knew that jacket would be my summer go to for the cool summer breezes. It is the one that my sister constantly “borrows.” It also garners: “GIRL where did you get that?”

Last weekend, our editor-in-chief Ronda Lee, met designer Reuben Reuel. He designed Beyoncé’s baby shower sarong. His use of patterns is everything bold and colorful. Be inspired by his brand, Demestik by Reuben Reuel.

Andre Leon Talley, Ronda Lee at Saint Louis Fashion Fund Incubator. Ronda modeling Mujus Locura Necklace


Rompers are perfect for any fun gathering. I found so many cute rompers with beautiful prints. Since I am tall and have long legs, rompers are a wonderful way to showcase them. They are like staircases to heaven, so I always find rompers that will give them even more attention. Rompers with little embellishments on the end tend to make people focus on your legs more. Jean shorts will always be a must, but this year it is time to jazz up the jeans. Gucci included flowers and other decorations on jean apparel this year. If like me, you lack Gucci money, go old school and sew different patches on your jean shorts.

Forever 21


Clutches and handbags are a good way to introduce a pop of color. Be inspired by luxury handbag designer Allison Mitchell’s brand, Allison Mitchell. Fashion icon, André Leon Talley, “loved the audaciousness of her colors and oversized bags – fuchsia, canary, and crocodile tail.”

Gold jewelry will always be my number one. I love to play around with accessorizing. Big hair, means big hoops, and a simple necklace or choker. They are how I make a statement and express my style.



Go for a short hair style. I recommended that Ronda-isms editor-in-chief get a cut and color update. She went for a shorter bob with light blonde highlights. If you are thinking about going natural, summer is a great time to do “the big chop.” A good summer protective hair style for natural hair is braids. Summer braids, a la Angela Bassett in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, are fun and funky.

This summer, be bold and brave with colors, patterns, and accessories. Find styles that complement your body type. Love the skin you are in!

Free the melanin! FREE THE MELANIN!

Editor’s note: Do not forget to use sunscreen. Contrary to belief, people of color, can burn and get skin cancer.


Rachel J. Jones
Editorial Intern/Contributing Writer
Rachel is an English/Journalism major at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff. She previously worked as a creative arts intern at After-school Matters producing a short play.

One Reply to “Summer Fashion: Free the Melanin”

  1. Good Day Ms Rachel Jones I enjoyed your article. It was an enjoyable read as you gently guided the reader along the summer fashions hit list. I appreciate your eye for design and the details shared on how one can express their style. I too love the skin I’m in and appreciate the fierce flare of others.

Comments are closed.