As we inch closer to the end of the wild ride that has been 2020, it feels like even though we’re all collectively stocking up on fall boots and cozy loungewear, we’re also spending a little more time than usual reflecting on what we’ve learned this year. For me? I skipped out on the banana-bread-baking phase (I shouldn’t be trusted with a spatula) and instead dedicated myself to learning about new causes that are making an impact on communities across the nation.
SOREL, we reached out to five women who are deeply passionate about and involved in a cause that hits close to home for them. Each of these women is multifaceted: From CEOs to new working moms, they’ve dedicated themselves to making a change in this world, and they’re inspiring me to learn as much as I can about each and every charity. It also really doesn’t hurt that these women have exceptional style. (I’ll let these five chic neutral looks speak for themselves.) From Britney Nicole, the CEO of The Boss Up and HerStyle Media (along with, you know, hosting a podcast), to Lisa Aidoo, a new mom and realtor who wants to amplify maternal support for Black women, I’m deeply inspired by these ladies. Here at Who What Wear, we’re actually so inspired as a company, we’re pledging to donate a thousand dollars to each of these charities.
Tell us about The Loveland Foundation. The cause I’ve more recently been passionate about is The Loveland Foundation, which serves as a resource for Black women and girls to help support them through therapy and healing processes. They provide fellowships, residency programs, and other powerful initiatives to help continue to drive their mission. How did you first get involved with the cause and what struck you the most about it?
. After learning more about them and how they serve Black women and girls by helping them receive therapy and access to further help their healing process, I knew I had to be a part in any way possible. As a Black woman who has entered the world of therapy for the first time ever this year, I understand the importance of promoting foundations that help make therapy/healing accessible for women in need. This year alone has shown the importance of having initiatives like The Loveland Foundation for those who are still trying to figure out how to adjust to the new normal while continuing to fight against the injustices the BIPOC community faces on a daily basis. The Loveland Foundation makes it possible for Black women and girls to receive therapy support, helps to break generational norms, and creates an impact that will provide healing for generations to come. How would you describe your personal style and how does it fit into your every day?
. My personal style is chic minimalist meets comfy cute. I love to layer bold pieces to make my outfits stand out more, such as a pair of statement boots like this SOREL Chelsea style or a unique handbag, since I tend to gravitate toward neutral colors like beige, black, and white. My days are spent talking to clients or shooting content, so I like to make sure I’m in an outfit that makes me feel confident and comfortable and ready to tackle the day!
Tell us about Girls Inc. I’m incredibly passionate about empowering young people to lead and create positive change. Girls Inc. is on a mission to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Through a combination of mentorship, a pro-girl environment, and research-based programming, they equip girls to lead fulfilling and productive lives, break the cycle of poverty, and become role models in their community. Do you remember the first time you heard about the cause? I was first introduced to Girls Inc. through participation in a local charity event. Proceeds from the event were being donated to Girls Inc., so I started to dig deeper into the organization. I immediately became passionate about their mission because it so closely aligned with my values. How would you describe your personal style and how does it fit into your day to day? I tend to build my looks around one statement piece, like a pair of chunky SOREL boots. The reason I do this is because I’m always on the go and active, so having a piece that stands out and makes me feel confident takes away the thinking and planning of a whole outfit. I also look for comfort because it helps me wear something throughout work and play.
Tell us about Black Mamas Matter Alliance. The cause I am most passionate about is providing Black women with the maternity support they need during such an intimate time in their lives—a time when support, patience, and understanding is so crucial yet dispersed sparingly to those of darker flesh. Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women are three-to-four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, and this disparity increases with age. Although my pregnancy experience was entirely blissful, it is unfortunately uncommon for other Black women to say the same, and that has to change. One organization that is doing the daily work against this is Black Mamas Matter Alliance, and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to continue my support. What made you feel like you needed to be involved in something that made a big impact on society? Giving birth to my son was the most empowering and enlightening experience I have ever had, and I attribute that to the positivity given by my midwife and doula. Every woman deserves that experience and that support, no matter what they look like. It’s pretty simple and yet so complicated to combat. How would you describe your personal style and how does it fit into your day to day? I am a new mom and a service-providing business owner in Los Angeles, so my style needs to be transitional, simplistic, comfortable, timeless, and adjustable. These SOREL boots help me stay stylish while I’m on the go.
Tell us about WalkGoodLA. WalkGoodLA is a community organization my older brother, Etienne Maurice, founded after he heard about the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. My brother himself was a victim of gun violence, and he was inspired to make a difference in our community by fighting and healing in solidarity through the arts, health, and wellness. WalkGoodLA consists of my brother, my cousin, and me. Describe how you’ve been involved this year? This pandemic has propelled me to become a leader and give back to my community along with others who are in need of healing. We as a family wanted to offer that to others in need. We offer WalkGood RunGood, which is a weekly 5-K running group that we do every Wednesday, starting at LACMA’s Urban Light, as well as free yoga every Sunday at L.A. High Memorial Park. Also, every first Saturday of every month, we do a protest and town-hall rally at L.A. High Memorial Park. How would you describe your personal style and how does it fit into your day-by-day? I definitely gravitate towards earth-tone colors, which is why these SOREL boots spoke to me. I love finding my Mom’s vintage tees and outfits because they tell a story about the past and they’re part of my legacy. My favorite place to shop is definitely my mother’s closet.
Tell us about Mary’s Place. Living in a region with some of the highest numbers of people experiencing homelessness around the country puts this social issue on the front burner for me. Dozens of other social issues are exacerbated by homelessness, and Mary’s Place is an organization that prioritizes women and families in the Seattle area, which makes Mary’s Place a priority for me, as gender equality and women’s rights are also passions of mine. What made you feel like you needed to be involved in something that made a big impact on society? I think 2020, more than ever, has forced us to look outside of ourselves and our own lives and give our attention to those around us. It’s not just the less fortunate that are suffering, it’s our neighbors in the house next door, too. Helping might be donating one coat to a homeless shelter. It might be making a five-dollar donation to a climate-change awareness group. But helping others makes me feel like there is a true purpose to being alive. How would you describe your personal style and how does it fit into your day to day? I like to think my style is very accessible, as I try and shop a lot of vintage and gently used items online or at thrift stores to try and lower my fashion carbon footprint. My closet is full of classic, simple pieces like these SOREL boots, but I always try to mix things up by layering textures (always in neutrals) or pairing unexpected items—a leather jacket with a silky skirt is a favorite pairing.