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How Today's Tastemakers Are Channeling Style—Even During Quarantine

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Lawrence Schlossman

“I would describe my style these days as ‘retired professional podcaster,’” says Schlossman, brand consultant and cohost of the fashion-obsessed podcast Throwing Fits. Quarantine hasn’t changed his appreciation for personal style, Schlossman says, but it has “absolutely made me question why I own an absolutely ludicrous amount of clothing.” For fall, he’s been rethinking his approach. “Moving forward, I want to be as conscientious as possible,” he says. “I’ll be wearing what I already own and love to death and, if I do acquire something new, I am going to make sure it’s either vintage or from a local, independent brand, preferably one that is Black-or brown-owned.”

Aurora James

James, who founded the accessories line Brother Vellies in 2013, has been busy during quarantine. In April, she unveiled a subscription service called Something Special, focusing on small-batch, artisan-made items; a few months later, she announced the 15 Percent Pledge, an initiative that calls on major corporations to invest in Black-owned businesses.

It has since taken root in wallets and wardrobes across the world. “We have received overwhelming support. We are hearing from a lot of consumers who are willing to make the pledge in their own lives in how they spend their money,” says James. She’ll be welcoming fall wearing “no-fuss clothing, similar to how I pack for travel. A lot of linens, a lot of things that can get rolled up and go into a bag, things that are easy and that I don’t have to worry about,” she says. It’s a hopeful moment: “I think that people are starting to equate luxury more with brand values and sustainability than they are with logos.”

Related: Black-Owned Businesses to Support Now

Taylor Tomasi Hill

“I love shopping,“ says Tomasi Hill, a former fashion editor and the current creative and fashion director of THE YES, an AI-driven shopping app that launched in late May. For fall she’s prioritizing comfort and versatility. And shoes. “I love sexy, beautiful shoes as much as the next girl, but even more I adore a weird piece of art on my feet.”

Tabitha Brown

“I’ve never worn more T-shirts and tights in my life,” Brown says of her time in quarantine in Los Angeles: “I do miss getting dressed up.” Not that she lets such a thing as a lack of occasion get her down. When the mood strikes, she says, “I just get dressed up in my house because I can—LOL—and that’s my business.” The actress, vegan foodie, and feel-good Internet sensation first rose to stardom off her viral video review of a Whole Foods breakfast sandwich in 2017. Her teenage daughter persuaded her to try TikTok in March. “She told me I’d be the cool mom of TikTok,” Brown says. Her daughter was right. Millions of users now regularly tune in to see her share her vegan recipes and off-the-cuff uplifting messages: content, she says, that makes people “feel seen, loved, and heard.” Sudden Internet fame—and an accordant influx of scripts to read and new projects to write for—hasn’t changed “America’s Mom,” or her cheery, colorful personal style. “If anything, it only encourages me to keep being me!” Brown says. “I’m enough.”

Related: Here’s What Fashion and Beauty Brands Are Doing to Be More Sustainable

Waris Ahluwalia

“I know I can’t fight mass consumption and creation, but I can do my best to support an alternative way,” says Ahluwalia, an actor, designer, and—since launching House of Waris Botanicals in 2019—tea entrepreneur. “My dollar is a vote, one I can use to support brands that push sustainability and work to balance social-justice inequities.” Ahluwalia has spent his time during quarantine taste-testing new teas, recording meditations for the Rainforest Alliance and the U.N., raising money for arts, social-justice, and conservation organizations, and spearheading a Digital Dinner Club cook-along series. Eventually he says he’ll trade in quarantine comfort attire like Hesperios’s baby-alpaca sweat suit and Desmond & Dempsey pajamas for vibrant separates by Studio 189, classic tailored pieces by J. Mueser, and custom pink desert boots by Esquivel. He favors handcrafted pieces that take time to make as an antidote to the hyper pace of life in New York and beyond. “It’s the simplicity I’m drawn to,” says Ahluwalia. “It feels like a suit of armor that one would wear to battle all the indecency in our world.”

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