7 Black Women in Fashion Share Their Valentine’s Gift Lists

Pioneering designers, business owners and tastemakers recommend unique pieces from their favorite brands.

Despite never having a Valentine—unless you count the 23 girls in my first grade class with whom I shared That’s So Raven-themed cards and Dum-Dums lollipops—I wouldn’t consider myself a hater of the holiday. I resolved years ago to let the happy people be happy on February 14th, and to focus my attention on the day before: Galentine’s Day. Although it was entirely made up in a 2010 episode of Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day is about celebrating the great friendships in your life. And at the risk of sounding cheesy, it’s a reminder that love really does come in many forms.

With both holidays in mind, I reached out to some of the Black women business owners, designers, and tastemakers I most admire, to ask them how they’ll be celebrating, what they’re gifting to their friends and significant others, and how they’ll be treating themselves. Meet each barrier-breaking woman and shop their one-of-a-kind ideas below.

Sami Miró, Designer and Founder of Sami Miro Vintage

Sami Miró doesn’t love Valentine’s Day, but she loves that you love Valentine’s Day. “I’m not a Hallmark holiday kind of person,” the designer says. “Especially when it’s telling me what I should be doing or wearing.” This makes sense, as Miró’s style has always stood out from the crowd. “I used to work in tech,” she says. “I was always that weird vintage girl who cut up all of my things. In a world of white men and pleated khakis who were the minimum age of 40, here I was, a young woman of color, dressed crazy.”

But she never let any raised eyebrows deter her from wearing what she wanted. Instead, she was motivated to start her eponymous, eco-conscious vintage label, which is now adored by the likes of Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa, and Billie Eilish. “I wanted to do something differently to show the world that you can create something beautiful and fashion forward without it having to look sustainable,” she says. Miró’s V Day picks work equally well for a night out on the town or on the sofa.

For when you want to get dressed up, but keep things comfy.

Pair this grunge-inspired skirt with sheer tights and a cardigan for a date night look.

Just OTT enough—the perfect date night statement.

This flawlessly fitted tee feels festive on the 14th but works all year round.

Cozy and sexy all at once.

Pair these with the matching zip-up hoodie for a full look.

Telsha Anderson, Founder and Buyer of t.a.

When W last spoke to Telsha Anderson, the 28-year-old was in the midst of planning the wedding of her dreams. Now, the owner, buyer, and “everything-er” of the downtown New York shopping destination t.a. is gearing up for her first Valentine’s Day as a married woman. “I love holidays when people are all celebrating the same thing at the same time, but I want to try and make every week a good week, a week of love,” she says. “ I just want it to be a constant. Like, always buy me candy, always give me gifts!” Come February 14th, she’s focusing on ways to celebrate outside the box: “I think the biggest thing for us is to plan activities that aren’t necessarily Valentine’s Day-esque but where the idea is just us spending time together.” In terms of gifts, she recommends a few home and jewelry pieces from her boutique’s extremely chic inventory.

"There’s nothing better than a set of candles," Anderson says. This chic little box contains four of Byredo’s most popular scents.

"It’s a fact. Everyone loves jewelry!"

"Giving the universe to someone in a necklace is a genius idea for a Valentine’s Day gift."

"I love all things home," Anderson says. This blown glass vase combines a traditional technique with a perfectly off-kilter aesthetic.

This playful, two-pronged vase "always makes me smile," she says.

"There’s nothing better than gold."

Serena Morris, Vintage Curator and Founder of @shes_underrated

Serena Morris doesn’t think Valentine’s Day has to be romantic. “It’s just about love. Love for yourself and love for the people around you,” she says. “I purposefully celebrate myself every year.” If you don’t know Morris by name, you’ve likely come across her Instagram account, @shes_underrated where the 28-year-old curates fantasy looks and mood boards inspired by fashionable women, often of color, who defined 90’s and early 2000’s pop culture. For this guide, she chose to share a party-ready gift mood board that highlights vintage items from BIPOC shop owners around the Internet. “It’s very She’s Underrated to be like, ‘You know what?’ I’m buying myself flowers. I’m taking myself to Carbone,” Morris quips.

Start things off by treating yourself to a cheeky vintage purse.

"Pull up on your date or your girlfriends in this vintage Benz and the night will be a guaranteed hit," Morris says. "Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a candy paint convertible."

"Be the star of your own romantic novel and take yourself on a date."

"The ultimate multi-purpose Valentine’s Day top! Perfect for a saucy Galentine’s night out on the town or a solo night in ;)"

"The most important Valentine’s Day gift is the one you give to yourself—you deserve it!"

"You may not be Lenny himself but you can certainly channel the king of cool’s energy with this super rare tee."

"First you’re sour, then you’re sweet! These shoes speak for themselves."

"A classic LBD but with a V Day twist—simple, sexy and to the point."

Aurora James, Founder and Designer of Brother Vellies

Aurora James will look for any reason to make the people in her life feel special. “I love love in all of its forms,” she says. “While Valentine’s Day is often commercial, it is a great excuse to celebrate your loved ones.” While the Brother Vellies designer and 15 Percent Pledge founder often enjoys a romantic dinner out with her partner, this year her big plans involve her couch and a good movie, but she’s also focused on celebrating her female friendships, too. “I do enjoy cooking at home with my closest girlfriends,” she says. “Maybe that is something I will get in motion this year.” Her picks include on-theme accessories from her own collection, as well as an ultra-luxe upgrade on your standard bouquet.

"Each item in this monthly subscription is a different surprise," James notes. "It could be our favorite ceramic vase handcrafted in Mexico or an intoxicating hand-poured candle from our new studio."

Ideal for your most ladylike friend or your chic mom.

"Our Cloud Socks are at a great price point and are a wonderful gift for anyone!" James says.

Bored of a bodega bouquet? Try this extra special way to give flowers.

Add a little spice to an otherwise simple look with these show-stoppers.

The perfect pump for a girls’ night out.

Sherri McMullen, Founder and CEO of McMullen

Boutique owner Sherri McMullen is focused on her six-year-old son this Valentine’s Day. “He loves to paint and draw, so we’re going to make cards for everyone in his class,” she says. But her Oakland store, McMullen, is stocked with a plethora of gift options for the women in your life. McMullen started her business fifteen years ago as a way of supporting emerging designers, female designers, and designers of color (fun fact: her’s was the first store to carry Christopher John Rogers). “Many of the designers and brands we carry have really not gotten the recognition that they deserve,” she says. “We’ve been able to tell their stories through investing in their products, mentoring them and really allowing our customers to be able to buy, support, and wear them.”

"I love creating a spa experience at home with these bath salts," McMullen says.

Five beloved shades for anyone who loves to experiment with color.

A gem-studded kiss is kitschy and glam all at once.

This traditional Jamaican style looks incredible with a pair of loose jeans.

These sculptural earrings will add a little drama to any look.

"If you know someone who is wine drinker, a nice bottle of champagne from their favorite winemaker plus this set makes for a really pretty gift."

Amira Rasool, Founder of The Folklore

In the eyes of Amira Rasool, founder of shopping platform The Folklore, Valentine’s Day is just another day. “It’s a Monday, I’ll be on calls!” the 26-year-old jokes. “I’m traveling alone in South Africa right now, so I’m thinking I might get away and make it a self-love weekend.” Rasool has spent the past month traversing around Africa, catching up with the makers behind the brands she carries on her site, which features luxury and emerging designer brands from the continent and the diaspora. To her, The Folklore is about more than just selling beautiful (and highly giftable) products, it’s equally important to work on figuring out meaningful ways to support African economic development: “There’s a huge market out there of really talented brands that need a platform in order to be able to globalize, and need certain resources to reach customers like myself, who are craving unique, handmade, and sustainable designs that have some sort of cultural context purpose behind it.”

"I love everything that LIHA Beauty stands for," Rasool says. "Their rollerball scents smell amazing, they last all day and they have no harmful chemicals, which makes them even better."

"Bags that can be dressed up or down make very useful gifts. This is the perfect size to fit the essentials and the color goes with just about anything. "

"Kente Gentlemen’s unisex suit is the perfect gift for a fashion-conscious partner. It’s handwoven from beautiful fabrics from Côte d’Ivoire and you really won’t find anything like it around."

"With Octave, you’re giving a truly one-of-kind gift, as no two of its hand-carved pieces are the same."

"It goes without saying that jewelry is always a great gift," she says. "This cuff from KHIRY is a classic piece that suits any style."

"Ibeka’s Amivi bag is the perfect date night companion."

Shannon Maldonado, Founder and Buyer of Yowie

Shannon Maldonado opened her concept store, Yowie, in 2016, with the hopes of bringing something new to her hometown of Philadelphia. “It’s somewhere between a store, a gallery and a community center,” she says. “It’s really a place for people to connect and meet.” Expansion plans include a hotel and adjoining café, both of which are slated for later this year. This Valentine’s day, the store owner is having just as much fun picking items for her store as she is gifts for her loved ones. “I am a double Cancer, so I love love,” she says. “The key to giving a great gift is always being a good listener. It never has to be expensive, just thoughtful.”

"I’m telling myself that if I give someone a beach towel for Valentine’s Day, it means we are inching one step closer to Summer," Maldonado says. "I love this graphic print by Carne Bollente."

"Giving the gift of art and vintage screenprints and posters are one of my love languages. This monochromatic screenprint by Nadine Prado is such a beautiful work to add to a friend’s collection."

"I love how the small hint of sparkle sits against the organic shape of the stud. Gives me an excuse to add another piercing to my ears!"

"This candle smells heavenly, and I love that the stunning ceramic vessel will fit perfectly into any home long after its melted."

"A good vase is so necessary. You never know when you’ll be given a beautiful bouquet or feel like treating yourself to stems at Whole Foods," Madlonado says. This understated piece was made for Yowie by Ekua ceramics.

"From the first whiff there is something so romantically familiar about this scent. It’s woodsy and sexy but has a subtle sweetness to it—in my experience smells good on everyone."

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