Style and City Diaries

Power duo Prinny Rae and Amber Leaux call out brands and raise issues within fashion and black culture on their weekly Style and City Diaries podcast...

Style and City Diaries has been around for just under a year, but your podcast has caused a real buzz lately - how have you found the sudden success?

It’s been amazing! It’s sad the circumstances that people have discovered us, but we’re so happy to know that we can reach people world wide and educate them on important topics, whether it's political or fashion based. This is exactly what we wanted, so we just feel super blessed and cannot wait to see where else the podcast is going to take us. It feels surreal at times that people actually want to listen to us and are interested in what we have to say every week. It’s nice building a community with like minded people.

What are the similarities and differences between your style preferences?

Prinny: I would say we both have a girlie style but in different ways. I would describe my style as extra extra read all about it! With my style there will always be an element of doing the most in there … whether it’s a dramatic flared sleeve, double leather or heels for absolutely no reason!

Amber: I’m very... oh gosh i’m not too sure how I would explain my style. Some days I may dress like i’m off to a festival, the next I’m in a full suit on my way to brunch hahaha. Where as Prinny is a bit more consistent in her style. I dress more for the occasion, on my off days you can catch me in baggy jeans and a random tee.

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Prinny (left) and Amber (right)

We’re screaming out for more representation in fashion, but in what ways would you like to see this happen in real life?

Representation in all areas and at all levels. It’s great for brands to collaborate with black and ethnic influencers and creatives but we want to see more representation in the organisation where it really matters. Having diversity in the ideas and opinions of a business really makes a difference and moves brands away from seeming performative in their efforts to address racial inequality in the industry. It’s about actively creating spaces for there to be representation rather than doing it as a tick box exercise. We want to see brands collaborating with more people from black and ethnic communities. These collaborations should go beyond instagram and they should allow them to have a seat at the table and contribute and collaborate with brands beyond quick edits and collections

BLM put the spotlight on a lot of brands and their diversity - were there any brands that surprised you (in a good or bad way) during this time?

We actually discussed this at length in Episode 31. 'They See Us Now'. Where we touched on how poorly some brands reacted which is clearly a reflection of a lack of diversity within those companies. Some brands who impressed us with good responses include Marc Jacobs, Adidas, Reebok and Nike. The majority of the poor responses came from fast-fashion brands

Do you believe in cancel culture? Or is it possible for brands to redeem themselves without seeming performative?

I believe that cancel culture is necessary to hold brands to account but the problem with cancel culture in this day and age is that people quickly forget and continue supporting and buying from brands that they had previously cancelled momentarily. This makes it difficult for brands to take accountability and respond in an authentic way because they know that they just have to do a few performative things to tick boxes to regain support from consumers.

A really good example of where cancel culture proved to work was when L’oreal was called out by Munroe Bergdorf for being performative during the BLM movement. In return they appointed her on the UK diversity and inclusion board which will have a positive and beneficial effect for the black and trans community. This is discussed further in episode 32. 'Am I Black or White'.

Top 3 Black-owned brands that you’ve discovered thanks to BLM?

Pyer Moss, Kai Collective and Mina Novski.

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Do you think there is an appropriate way for fashion and beauty brands to borrow from other cultures?

Yes definitely, I think fashion and beauty brands don’t because they’re lazy. To really credit and show appreciation would take time and a lot of research, which I just don’t think a lot of brands are willing to do, and that’s where the issue lies. We speak about this at length during Episode 33. Stealing the culture discussing the fine line between appropriation and appreciation. It’s less about borrowing from cultures but more about celebrating the cultures in the right way. With research, going to the originators and experiencing it first hand, that way brands can portray a true reflection of this to their consumers. What brands need to also remember is that showcasing different cultures is not a substitute for diversity. Bringing out a one off collection showcasing a minorities culture is not enough to show that their brand is diverse and representative.

Who have been your icons to listen to, read and watch during the BLM movement?

At the time there was A LOT of conversation and content so it was quite hard for there to be stand out icons but we would say within the fashion and beauty community Jackie Aina did an amazing job pulling up brands and steering the conversation in the right direction. It was great to see how her influence encouraged more influencers to be brave and speak out on injustices and also share more insights on their personal experiences.

Do you feel like the BLM movement has influenced the direction of your podcast?

Prinny: Prior to this we have always been pretty consistent and unapologetic in regards to our thoughts and feelings on representation of black people in fashion and within popular culture more generally. The BLM movement gave us the opportunity to have more lengthier discussions on this topic that we are so passionate about.

Amber: I would say we have always spoken up inequalities and representation in fashion before the BLM Movement. However our discussions around BLM helped us to dig deeper and really look out how it affects us and the people around us personally, reflect on past situations and share our honest feelings and emotions on the situation. I would say though we are definitely more conscious of shouting out black owned brands and directing our listeners their way. Although we did this before, it’s definitely done more frequently now.

Her Style Secrets

Quickfire questions...

Favourite piece in your wardrobes?

Prinny: Topshop rain mac.

Amber: Zara faux leather trousers.

What’s your payday splurge?

Prinny: All Saints Leather Jacket.

Amber: Easily a zara shop.

Favourite episode of the Style and City Diaries podcast?

Prinny: Honestly I fall in love with every new episode. My favourite to record was our most recent episode 43. Just Vibes

Amber: This is a hard one, can I choose them all?

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