Meet Our All-Star Mentors
Anifa M. is the CEO of Hanifa Official, a brand full of stunning pieces that are super chic, feminine and sexy. Hanifa is revolutionizing the way wearable art is presented on runways through 3D and virtual fashion shows.
Claire Siobhan Sulmers is CEO and Founder of Fashion Bomb Daily, a direct-to-consumer fashion company that leverages content and community to power a multicultural shopping experience. Her pioneering work ushered in a new wave of digital journalism and e-commerce that fed and fueled an under-served community of African-American and Latino style lovers wanting to know more about brand from the culture.
Beyond developing and directing content for FashionBomb Daily and its affiliate sites, Sulmers has done extensive style writing for other platforms including Vogue Italia , Vogue Paris , and ESSENCE Magazine. Her body of work and online following – now numbered above one million – has made Ms. Sulmers the influencer of choice for major corporate brands who want to reach her audience including Camry, Verizon and others.
Ms. Sulmers, who hails from Atlanta, Georgia, holds a degree in French and African American studies from Harvard University. In 15 years, Claire has accumulated over 1.6 million followers, written a book “The Bomb Life”, and now Leads a Team of 20 for Fashion Bomb Daily’s media, e-commerce, marketing, and event platforms.
Emil Wilbekin is a multimedia maverick who contributes to Architectural Digest and Town & Country. He is the Co-Producer and Writer on the documentary The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion (Netflix). Wilbekin also does public speaking centering conversations around culture, diversity, equity, inclusion and LGBTQ+ issues.
He is also the Founder of Native Son, a platform created to inspire and empower Black gay and queer men.
He has appeared On-Air discussing pop culture, fashion/style, entertainment and current affairs on The Today Show, NBC Channel 4 News New York, E! VH-1, MTV, BET, CNN, The Insider, Arise 360, Revolt, and PBS.
Wilbekin has an expertise in editorial creation, content curation and multimedia story telling (print, digital, social, video and live events) having served as Chief Content Officer at Afropunk, Editor-at-Large at Essence, Managing Editor of Essence.com, Editor-in-Chief of Giant and Giantmag.com, Style Guru at Complex Media, VP of Brand Development at Marc Eckō Enterprises, Editorial Director/Vice President of Vibe Ventures and Editor-in-Chief of Vibe Magazine. Under Wilbekin’s leadership, Vibe won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in 2002.
Wilbekin holds B.S. in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University, and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. He resides in New York City.
Tiffany Williams is the creator and owner of one of the largest streetwear brands coming out of Philadelphia PA: Bellargo Piarge. Tiffany launched the brand in 2003, beginning with one simple t-shirt logo, and selling shirts from the trunk of her vehicle. Through drive, determination and consistency, Bellargo soon became a city favorite and household name! With the opening of her first Philadelphia boutique location in 2012, Tiffany was able to take Bellargo from a T-shirt line, to a mega brand and established business.
After five retail locations and major distribution, as well as a strong online presence, Bellargo has generated multi-million dollars in sales, and has become a recognized Brand in the Streetwear industry. Spotted on influencers from Meek Mill, Yo Gotti, 50 Cent, Karen Civil to Nicki Minaj, just to name a few; as well as prominent placements in motion pictures, indie films, reality television and music videos.
Now with almost 18 years in business, Tiffany is paying it forward! Her resume now includes “Adjunct Professor” by way of the MIsa Hylton Fashion Academy, and “Entrepreneurship Instructor” in the Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey School Districts. Last but not least, she’s developed her own business and branding platform for entrepreneurs: Bellargo Consulting.
“During my years of entrepreneurship, one might say that I’ve learned a thing or two (ok I’m being modest, I’ve learned a lot lol). My mission is to now help as many entrepreneurs reach success – minus all the bumps and bruises I’ve endured along the way.”
Kalilah Wright, born in Jamaica W.I., migrated to the United States at the tender age of 4 and was raised in Brooklyn, NY. She is the Founder and CEO of expressive brand Mess in a Bottle. As an accomplished designer and trained architect, she used her Masters degree from Morgan State University and Bachelors of Arts from Penn State University to establish the brand in January 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Mess in a Bottle allows you to put messages on t-shirts and are packaged in reusable bottles.
The Mess in a Bottle brand was established to evoke change, question Kalilah’s audience and allow individuals wearing their messages to be vocal without saying anything at all. Each item is designed and printed at her Baltimore in-house studio space.
Kalilah has participated in multiple pitch competitions and won the Wells Fargo Business Pitch competition at Blogalicious in 2016 and the 2018 iFundWomen pitch competition in conjunction with the Baltimore Ravens. Mess in a Bottle has collaborated with numerous brands and created limited edition capsule collections with Warner Brothers Studios for their movie The Kitchen as well as Roc Nation artist Rapsody. Celebrities such as Serena Williams, Luvvie Ajayi, Lena Waithe, Yvonne Orji, and fashion gurus Claire Sulmers and Ty Tyrone, are all proud supporters of Mess in a Bottle.
Tamiko White is a fashion entrepreneur, media personality, and a writer. As an experienced fashion merchandiser, Tamiko has worked with an impressive and extensive list of designers, brands and institutions – in front of the camera and behind the seams – to help everyone she works with build a profitable brand. With over 25 years in the fashion industry, Tamiko has worked as model, actress, wholesale showroom owner, tv style segment host, adjunct professor at FIT, brand manager, global marketing director, and fashion business consultant.
Adding author to her CV, she wrote her first published book, CAREERS IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY, to give fashion creatives the guide to jobs in the fashion world so they can match their skills & passions to lucrative careers. Her widely read “Trend Statements by Tamiko White” are released quarterly which teach creatives how to understand trends that impact their businesses. Her weekly “Accessories are Punctuation” edits for the Accessory Council highlight what’s happening in the accessory industry. Additionally, she has written over 15 e-books that teach strategies for creative brand building.
As a fashion entrepreneur, Tamiko teaches, hosts, speaks and informs the fashion community about branding, the business of fashion, and brands to watch. Staying informed is her job and sharing it with the world is her passion!
Sakina Pitts is a fearless, thoughtful, and bold leader. She learned these very principles growing up in Newark, NJ and being educated by the Newark Board of Education’s public schools. Sakina has been the proud appointed Principal of Chancellor Avenue School located in the South Ward of Newark “Brick City” for five years prior to her becoming the appointed Principal of Newark School of Fashion and Design in 2021.
She is an active member of the Educational Coalition “Off School Grounds” (OSG) since its inception and collaborates weekly with like-minded School Leaders around the country who are dedicated to closing equity gaps and creating real change in the school-wide communities they are servant leaders of across the nation.
Principal Pitts is also an engaging public speaker who is passionate about infusing Hip Hop culture into education. She uses rap as an art form to connect the learning to the students’ sensibilities. She can be seen around her school building, in her educational leadership forums, leading administrative meetings and connecting with her community dropping lines. Any chance she gets, she is quick to “spit barrrrzzzz,” especially in the name of education… “ergo” Principal Barrrrzzzz.”
Sharifa is an American fashion, business, and lifestyle expert. She currently serves as Chief of Impact at Kith, where she spearheads the brand’s diversity and social impact initiatives. She also serves as Chief Executive Officer at ENVSN, where she aims to bring the next generation together through robust and interactive female-driven networks while providing greater access to experiences that will help shape our next generations’ futures.
Sharifa previously served as co-founder of premier fashion trade shows Liberty Fairs and the PROJECT alongside her mentor, Sam Ben-Avraham. Her philanthropic work includes The Brooklyn Intern and The Kin Foundation – which provide opportunities within the fashion industry to young creatives – and sitting on the boards of Africa Health Now and the Black Fashion Council.
As a fashion stylist, the New York native, has run the gamut from editorials, music videos, and advertising. Anyone, anywhere can effortlessly relate to the down-to-earth way Wouri parlays the latest fashions and beauty tricks into realistic, wearable looks. His adeptness to recognize trends and convey style from inexpensive to luxurious, makes Wouri an informative and accessible source of fashion guidance.
Wouri’s work as a fashion stylist has graced the covers and layouts of such publications as Essence, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, In Style, Harpers Bazaar,Glamour, Allure, Cosmopolitan, SOMA Seventeen, and People. As an image consultant he has worked with celebrities across the board from Kerry Washington to H.E.R and Tika Sumpter to Andra Day. His status as a stylist to the stars has provided him the opportunity to broaden his resume as an on-air television/radio fashion expert.
Arian Simone is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, investor, best-selling author, and international speaker. Arian is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Fearless Fund, the First Venture Capital Fund built for WOC by WOC with a focus on investing in pre-seed, seed level, and series A financing which includes institutional investors such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Mastercard, Ally Bank, and more. She received her MBA from Florida A&M University.
A pioneer in her field, Arian grew a successful public relations and marketing firm with a portfolio of billion-dollar corporate clients such as Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, Universal, and other Hollywood studios. Possessing an innate ability to guide strategic growth and enhance company value, Arian’s resilience has led to her appointment to the Board of Directors for the Steve Madden Company as well as serving on one of Mastercard and Amazon’s Advisory Boards. She has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the “100 Women of Impact.”