Black Velvet | Vegan Lifestyle, High-Fashion, Beauty Blog & Shop with a sophisticated edge

Style / Fashion

THESE SHOES ARE MADE FOR MORE THAN WALKING

Style / FashionAmarilis SarangoComment
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THE SEARCH FOR NEW SUSTAINABLE & CRUELTY-FREE SNEAKERS

Since adapting the vegan lifestyle, It’s been a challenge finding clothes and accessories that are vegan and sustainable, let alone my style. Keeping my body in shape and exercising has become an important part of my physical and mental wellness, so it was time to replace my 8 year old black and white New Balance sneakers. I knew I wanted to invest in shoes that were non-leather and proven to last. What I didn’t know is that sometimes the glue used to hold shoes together are sometimes animal based. So that means a shoe could look like its vegan on the outside but still use animal based materials in the construction. 

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STYLE OR ETHICS?

My go-to sneaker brand of choice for style has always been either Nike or Adidas. Both have non-leather options and use synthetic based glue. Ok great, but how do they perform on sustainability and ethics? According to this article by Good On You, Nike still has a long way to go as far as human rights labor is concerned, and Adidas has made noticeable improvement towards fair treatment and sustainability compared to Nike, but is it enough? I prefer to support a company where ethics is first before style, and not an afterthought. Does that mean I only have bohemian looking shoes as an option?! No way. That’s not me. I was on the search for shoes that didn’t compromise on ethics or style.

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ECO-FRIENDLY VEGAN SNEAKERS WITH STYLE

Thanks to Good On You’s article, I found the Spanish based eco-conscious brand Ecoalf. This B-certified company has made it there mission to practice sustainable fashion “because there is no planet B”. Their Oregon classic sneaker is lightweight and made from vegetable fiber and recycled plastic bottles recovered from the sea. With an all black, sleek design and a touch of white, it was exactly what I was looking for. But was it vegan? Not all “sustainable” products are automatically vegan, and vice versa. It wasn’t explicitly stated on their website or product description so I contacted them directly to make sure. They reassured that it was stating “they are vegan, we have been 4 years now working only with 100% vegan materials for our sneakers.” They are super-lightweight and great quality. I always look forward to working out with these bad girls. 

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BOSS BY DAY, BABE BY NIGHT

Style / FashionAmarilis Sarango1 Comment

HOW TO TRANSITION OUTFIT FROM DAY TO NIGHT WITH STYLE

Collaboration with Urban Gilt.

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DAY

I'm always more productive on days I'm wearing an outfit that makes me feel confident and chic. Minimal and sharp is my go-to look. Black and white leaves no room for colorful distractions, helping me stay focused. A luxe tee under a sophisticated blazer is one way I add a casual flare to my usual work day outfit. The Urban Gilt Draycott White Tee makes me reminisce of my Nine Inch Nails music addiction, bringing out my rebellious side. Nevertheless, with this combination I feel badass and can still show up to a meeting where everybody knows I mean business. Coffee also helps keep the motivation going. I grab my oat milk latte at Portola Coffee (aka my remote office) and slay away. The Exec Handbag makes it easy to carry all my work essentials wherever I need them. It's sturdy like a briefcase to carry my MacBook and planner, but also stylish and sleek as a handbag. I love what I do, and the day goes by fast.

 

Top: Urban Gilt | Draycott White Tee
Handbag: Black Velvet | The Exec (Prototype)

 
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FROM WORKING HARD BY DAY TO HARDLY WORKING BY NIGHT


 
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NIGHT

In California, spring or summer, the weather and the vibes don’t change. But going out for happy hour with a friend or co-work rebel, calls for a change in look. I’ll keep my Urban Gilt Tee because they are designed so you’re ready for anything — Moscow Mule or Prosecco, shaken or stirred — but trade my Exec Handbag and blazer for The Luxe Clutch and faux-leather moto jacket. And then of course I’ll be stepping into a black faux-leather skirt and strap heels. I’m all set and head over to Central Bar, ready to unwind and be present. More than acting the part, rocking a sexy and edgy look for the night draws a balance between boss and babe, rebel and chameleon — never losing touch with either side.

 

Top: Urban Gilt | Draycott White Tee
Clutch: Black Velvet | The Luxe (Prototype)

 
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Agency: Nouveau Creative Agency
Creative Director: Amarilis Sarango
Photography: Amarilis Sarango
Film Direction: Amarilis, Cody Coker
Film DP: Austin Sabado
Film Editing: Amarilis Sarango
Lighting & Assistants: Mark Lopez, Sarah Hilton
Music: Tobaggan - Silent Partner

Special Thanks: Danielle Schamp, Jackie Lovato, Vitalina Planida, Leanna Halabi

 


I hope you enjoyed this post! Did you love this collaboration? Let me know what you think in the comments below. As I further develop my prototypes, your feedback would be so helpful and much appreciated!

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TRIBUTE

Art / Decor / Home, Lifestyle, Style / FashionAmarilis SarangoComment

RECAP OF MY FIRST COLLECTION

As mentioned in my last blog post, Black Velvet is evolving. 

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Turning an ending into a new beginning is exciting, but I'll always remember where I started and how far I've come. With growth comes letting go, right?  While I'm currently working on some new amazing product ideas for Black Velvet, it felt a little sad to see my online store empty. As if it never happened at all. So I wanted to pay a little tribute to my first collection. Combining hard and soft textures, The Onyx Collection captured the fall in beautiful monochromatics geometric and organic silhouettes. It was a lifestyle inspired set of a few home decor, artwork, and fashion accessories. Each piece was handmade by me and had a personal touch.  Here I’ve featured a couple pieces from the collection.

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THE DESERT SKULL

The multiple layers in this paper goat skull artwork gives the illusion of a 3 Dimensional sculpture as you walk by it and view it from different angles.

 

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CAPTURING THE FALL IN BEAUTIFUL MONOCHROMATIc GEOMETRIC AND
ORGANIC SILHOUETTES


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THE WHITE PALMS

The multiple layers in this artwork gives it a depth as the top cut out palm casts a shadow beneath it.

 

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THE INTERSECTION

Geometric design that resembles the leafless branches with their many limbs and forks during the fall and winter.

See blog post for more about the inspiration behind this piece.

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TRINITY SET

The Trinity set included a zipper pouch and card holder that were versatile travel accessories that can be used to store everyday essentials such as cards, phones, money, or beauty items. The outside black faux leather texture and matte gunmetal studded accents made this a stylish addition to any handbag. The inside was lined with a black and white jacks print and included a small inside pocket to store small items such as business cards. 

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THE BLACK MAMBA

The Black Mamba was a hidden- zipper pillow case that made a bold and sophisticated statement. The faux leather gave it a luxe finish. Offset with The Aberrant, it brought drama to any modern sofa, chair, or bed set.

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THE ABERRANT

The chevron black and white patterns on this pillow case are reminiscent of the design found on The Aberrant California King Snake – hence, its name. Together The Aberrant and The Black Mamba make a uniquely contrasting pillow case set.

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THE V WORD

Style / Fashion, LifestyleAmarilis Sarango2 Comments
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THE V WORD: VISION. VALUES. VEGAN. 

To kick off the new year, I felt the need to write a post on the new direction Black Velvet will be heading. It’s been awhile since my last blog post, and, to be completely honest, 2017 was a tough one. Due to personal and financial hardship, I almost gave up on Black Velvet.

But then I remembered, that’s not my style.

Despite the pitfalls of life and struggles with my health, I began a journey of recovery, healing, and self-discovery. As my personal journey towards wellness continued, I regained momentum and noticed I wanted to make sure the values I believed in were also reflected in everything I do, including my passion project and brand, Black Velvet.

2018 AND BEYOND

My vision has always been to grow Black Velvet into a badass, minimalist, luxury, fashion lifestyle brand (that’s a lot of adjectives, but it's necessary). Black Velvet is my baby and it truly is a representation of who I am. So, when you say you get my brand, it’s like you get me.

With that said, I still want to pause and really think about where I want this brand to go. I'm in the process of restructuring Black Velvet and figuring out how I want to take it from here.

In the spirit of minimalism, I feel the need to scale back and narrow my focus. I may expand into new product areas while pulling back on others, or I might stop selling products all together and just focus on blogging and curating. It all depends on my resources and making the best of what I have to work with. Although, truth be told, I am a creative at heart and giving up making things by hand will be difficult for me to part with as I feel that's what makes Black Velvet unique.

We’ll see where this year will take me. But other than structure and aesthetics, I wanted to dig a little deeper.

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ESSENTIALISM AND VEGANISM

My love for minimalism as a lifestyle lead me to discovering the philosophy of Essentialism — the disciplined pursuit of less. I truly believe in essentialism as the bigger picture to minimalism where living a happy healthy balanced lifestyle can be achieved by only focusing on what is essential.

My personal journey towards overall wellness and compassion for animals lead me to exploring and adopting Veganism. While transitioning to a healthy whole food plant-based diet, I learned that veganism extends far beyond just taking a stand against animal cruelty in what we eat, but also in the clothes and accessories we wear, the skincare and beauty products we use, and much more. These choices impact the environment and the people who also suffer from it. As I found myself becoming more health and environmentally conscious, it made sense that my brand should evolve as well and reflect these values I stand for.

This is why I’ve decided to transition Black Velvet into a luxury vegan, cruelty-free, lifestyle fashion brand.

My fashion accessories were never made with animal products, but I must be more aware of where my materials are sourced and make sure they are ethically produced, eco-friendly, and non-toxic.

I’m also going to be more mindful with which brands I promote on my social channels and blog while seeking collaborations with similar vegan lifestyle companies.

In the meantime, if I’m unsure of whether the products in a “style inspiration” post are vegan-friendly, I will tag the post with #styleinspoonly. Eventually I’ll exclusively only promote vegan-friendly style inspirations as I find more and more brands with my sense of style.

So, if you’re out there, please reach out! Together we can be a unified voice in an industry that needs change.

I invite you to join me on my journey. Follow me at @blackvelvetstyle #wecandothis #veganisthefuture #ethicalfashion #veganminimalist #positivechange

TIGER SAINT

Style / FashionAmarilis SarangoComment

“Wear what you want, and stare down the fools.” - James Dean.

You know me. Usually anything black, leather, and rebellious make my day - and not just in womenswear. I'm very excited to share a Q&A session with my friend Matthew Bragonier about his newly anticipated menswear line Tiger Saint. Tiger Saint will be hitting the runways this fall. Awesome stuff to come, so be sure to follow Matt @thetigersaint

What is your inspiration behind Tiger Saint?
My inspiration for Tiger Saint originated from having trouble finding what I wanted to wear personally as a guy that is everything I am into. I wanted to capture the ruggedness, yet simplicity of the rebellious undertones alongside my favorite things. You will find it’s a combination of biker, badass, and early western all combined with the 1970’s rockstars. I’m obsessed with leather, denim, and more leather!

How would you describe Tiger Saint and what makes it unique? Who would wear it?
Tiger Saint is a menswear brand that is it’s own in a sense. I’ve been inspired by many throughout my time but seem to never follow anyones lead. That is usually just by coincidence if someone is dressed similar. It’s a dark, bruiting, and mysterious style that i’ve conjured up. I’m starting to see people dress to those aspects out there, and that’s awesome! I’m just putting a name to the combination and hopefully give them a single place to find all of it. I wanted to create cool clothes that I would wear and know others are out there looking for too. I thought to myself, “why not just create the cool shit I would want to wear, and I’m sure someone will like it too.”

Who are your favorite designers / influences?
I aspire designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Mike Amiri, who both capture an essence of my aesthetic. However, I wanted to capture the ruggedness, yet simplicity of the rebellious undertones alongside my favorite things. Jimi Hendrix and legends like Steven Tyler have always left impressions on me, and with all of the black you will start to see more complex retro patterns and florals soon to be integrated with the minimalistic black and gray tones of what is my brand.

MUSE

Style / FashionAmarilis SarangoComment

SAINT LAURENT

SAINT LAURENT | Fall Winter 16/17

Saint Laurent has always been one of my biggest fashion/style influences. From sexy evening wear to power suits, the dark and sophisticated designs have always made an impression on my style and taste. The Fall Winter 16/17 Saint Laurent Fashion Show by Hedi Slimane caught my eye recently. Watch the entire show below.

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”
- Yves Saint Laurent

PARIS, SAINT LAURENT / THE COUTURE HOUSE. Photo: www.hedislimane.com

NEW YORK / AGYNESS / VOGUE CHINA / NOVEMBER 2010. Photo: www.hedislimane.com


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Photo: @hedislimaneworld


ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

FALL WINTER 2016

Another huge inspiration to me is the work of Alexander McQueen. My favorites from the Fall Winter 2016 show were the beautiful and regal black and colored floral patterns. However, what stood out to me the most from this show was the music soundtrack. I absolutely loved it - so much so, I had to look it up and share it. Kelly Owen’s track Arthur is now on constant repeat on my playlist. Listen to Arthur. Watch the entire show below.

ROCKER MINIMALIST

Style / FashionAmarilis SarangoComment
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There’s nothing that makes me feel more confident and ready to conquer the world on a chilly day like a cup of black coffee and a little black, faux leather fur jacket. Black buckle ankle boots with some black skinny jeans complete the picture, and, before heading out, a Black Velvet Trinity Zipper Pouch and Card Holder with a few business cards thrown in seals the deal. Work steals the day, but I am grateful--there's nothing like being a freelancer. Transitioning into a night out on the town, my Trinity wallet set is easy to throw into another bag that carries my night-out essentials. It’s all I need - nothing more, nothing less. What’s inspires you to conquer the day?

RIVER ISLAND FAUX FEATHER FAUX LEATHER JACKET
BLACK VELVET TRINITY ZIPPER POUCH
BLACK VELVET TRINITY CARD HOLDER
SAM & LIBBY ANKLE BOOTS