02 Nov Five Style Lessons Courtesy of Danielle Kwateng-Clark
New York is full of those girls. You know the ones—on the train, ahead of you in the line for coffee, on the ‘gram with an aspirational feed you can’t help but scroll 85 weeks deep into—that leave you wondering ‘why haven’t I thought to wear that?’ These are their closets. Welcome to 5 Style Lessons.
Y’all know by now that I love an ambitious woman who takes the time to carve out the sort of space she seeks. Danielle Kwateng-Clark is one of those women. On Monday, she launched The Volta, an e-commerce website specializing in apparel, accessories, and apothecary from artisans of the African diaspora.
“I noticed how much of the fashion industry was white-washed. There is not a lot of melanin. I wanted to create a place where people can easily shop designers of color on a trustworthy-looking website that is beautifully curated.”
Dani is a fashion editor who decided to step out on faith. She began her editorial stint at MadameNoire.com bouncing from Glamour to This Old House, then PeopleStyle Watch, and finally, to StyleBlazer where she stayed for almost five years, writing all of the fashion-related content. “I was really blessed from my time there. It really was the foundation of me starting The Volta.”
“I want to continue to build up the brand roster that I have. There are six brands right now but my goal is to have as many as Opening Ceremony, as well as grow the lifestyle aspect of it. I want you to feel good about shopping because you’re buying from brands that are smaller but doing some great things. A portion of proceeds go to sustainable projects around the globe, beginning with Ghana.”
As she geared up to present her website to the public, Dani took the time to let me invade her closet, in the Brooklyn condo that she owns with her husband (“We were able to qualify for a lot of grants. I always tell people this. We are blessed but we did the research. We closed in 2014.” 🙌🏾 ). Keep scrolling to read her five style lessons and a peek into her beautiful home.
1. Keep It Comfortable
“I love a good pair of black sweat pants. If you don’t feel comfortable in your clothing, you’re not going to look good. My hell is being cold, in heels, and having to go far— walking. When I first moved here and I was clubbing more often, I’ve literally gone out and not danced because my feet hurt so bad. It’s the worst. As a result, my sneaker collection has definitely grown in the past couple of years.”
2. Play Around
“If you have time, play around with your look. I’m all about building, stacking, and layering, especially during the fall. Leather jackets, sweaters, maybe collared shirts, under sweaters, I just love layering. Even socks with cute clogs or boots.”
3. Seek Professional (Beauty) Help
“People always want to suggest cocoa or shea butter. I’m Ghanaian but I’m actually allergic to coconut, so that won’t work for me. I know people swear by different things but just go to a dermatologist. Specifically for brown girls, go to a brown dermatologist who knows your skin and understands hyper-pigmentation. Find a doctor who understands all the skin issues we commonly deal with.”
4. Find a Fragrance
“I love the idea of a signature fragrance. Mine is Le Labo Santal 33. It’s so good. It just smells like New York to me.”
5. Tap Into Your Heritage
“When I was younger, it was all about blending in, just being an American Black girl who’s generations go far back here, when really, I’m 100% Ghanaian, first generation. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become concerned about where I come from and what that means. How does that affect who I am subconsciously. In terms of style and way of living, it’s so vital, wherever you’re from, figure out what’s organic to who you are. It definitely comes with growth and understanding there is beauty in variety. For me, it translates to fashion, and it translates to what I want to do, really uplifting people, based on who they are.”