It’s Kay Kay’s Way and We Are Just Witnessing It
Larger retailers are continuing their pledge to include minority-owned brands in their marketplace. This gives us a taste of different products that may have only been discovered at vendor events, tradeshows, or via a friend of a friend. Black-owned brands rarely were included in these spaces with high traffic before 2020. Now, just two years later we are reaping the benefits of this pledge. We can now shop more than 1-2 black-owned brands while spending money with retail stores.
One business in particular that came to our attention is a Detroit-based, African-American fashion accessory brand striving for sustainable luxury.
Kelechi Uchendu & Kay Kay’s Fashion
Kay Kay’s Fashion, owned by Kelechi “Kay Kay” Uchendu has broken the mold by getting her accessories into a major international retail store this month. Kay Kay’s Fashion creates headbands, chokers, backpacks, and other accessories. Currently, Kay Kay’s newest fashion pieces, a collection of scrunchies, are available on Macy’s website.
The designer has included bold Afro-inspired designs in a particular collection that has 6 hair ties. Uchendu tells us that despite the designs, there has been no pushback from the market. We are glad we are experiencing minority brands including cultural designs that allow them to honor their roots.
The Dream & the journey
Kelechi “Kay Kay” Uchendu is a Nigerian-American designer and author. She tells us that despite her family being traditionally African, they supported her dreams of going into this creative field. “It started with a dream that I was wearing a beautiful dress. When I woke, I just had to make that dress,” Uchendu continues, “It was while I was sourcing fabrics and creating the dress that I realized I should start my own company.”
Kay Kay’s Fashion first retailed at Spiral Circle Book Store and Tuesday Morning where she experienced her first “sold out” status as a brand in the market. In a move to become a sustainable luxury company, Kay Kay decided to get her products sourced and manufactured ethically. This opened the doors to get into exclusive boutiques such as Pample Mousse. With the help of Zack Gutin & To The Market, the fashion accessory creator entered the luxury retail market.
Now that we know about it, we now have to know how to use it
As a part of the company’s sustainability mission, Kay Kay’s founder gives us creative ways to use their accessories beyond their original use.
Headbands- “Times have changed since I originally made these. However, you could use them as a mask in case you forgot yours at home.” She reminds us that majorly populated cities around the world still do recommend the mask in heavily crowded areas. This use case is a brilliant backup plan if you do not travel with one frequently.
Scrunchies- “I was recently taught by an executive from one of the world’s most reputable fashion brands that our scrunchies can be used as a broach. Scrunchies will never go out of style if they become your statement piece.” This use case would make the product available to anyone of any gender if they seek to add color or statement to their outerwear.
What does an ambassador look like for Kay Kay’s Fashion?
Kay Kay’s styling guide is becoming unique, and the company plans to keep it that way. When asked about the type of influential ambassadors that could represent the brand in the future, she gave us a list that includes Aurora James (Founder of the Fifteen Percent), Beyonce, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), Mariah Carey, Zendaya, and Olivia Rodrigo. Uchendu states, “I like authenticity. All of these women live their lives unapologetically. That’s what it takes to become an ambassador with us.”
Learn more about Kay Kay’s Fashion
Though the brand is black-owned and has design inspirations from African patterns, the brand is all-inclusive. You can keep up with this brand on Instagram @kaykaysfashion to see how Kay Kay’s Fashion styles their pieces up or down.