Zerina Akers is taking the fashion industry by storm. The Maryland-bred fashion guru is known to the Beyhive as Beyoncé’s stylist and the Black woman responsible for the singer’s most iconic looks in her music videos, IG posts and red carpet appearances.
Most recently, Zerina gained notoriety for the gorgeous looks she created for Beyoncé in her latest visual album, Black is King, which included fashion pieces from runways, boutiques, undiscovered Black designers and even custom pieces by Zerina herself.
If you caught Black is King, then you know that a lot of Beyoncé’s looks were inspired by African culture. Everything from the dances to the colors to the hair styles were straight from the Motherland, which Zerina says all came from her creative mind.
“Beyoncé wanted to explore an exaggerated silhouette, and her personal tailor, Timothy White, created that amazing gown,” she explained to W Magazine about the inspiration behind the looks in ‘Brown Skin Girl’. “I had the shape in my mind, and we worked on the braided headdress. The idea was to take it over the top but still retain simplicity and beauty. And we were also exploring the idea of monochromatic dressing, with a nod toward the elegance of Nigerian women. We did a lot of research.”
Now, after the success of Black is King has catapulted her to a whole new level of fashion design, Zerina has launched the IG account and website, Black Owned Everything, where she gives visibility to Black-owned companies all around the country. Through this website and social page, she’s been able to get Black-owned businesses in front of the eyes of almost 200k followers, and counting. “I created the page in order to support some of the brands and people I knew,” Zerina told W Magazine on the creation of the site and IG page. “But I couldn’t keep it to myself—I was finding so many Black-owned businesses in so many categories. I had 10,000 followers in three days! Four months later, we’re approaching 200,000 followers. It became my passion during the pandemic.”
Zerina says that out of all the company’s that she’s featured on her new site, she’s fallen in love with the Detroit based business, Mims Motors. “She rivals Tesla! And Estelle Colored Glass, in the Carolinas. Her stemware is rainbow-colored, and I love color,” Zerina told W Magazine.
Being a style icon has doesn’t mean that Zerina loves all of the looks she’s ever created. Like most of us, she cringes when she looks back on some of the styles she adopted as a teenager and names “wearing a visor” as the one fashion trend she wished she’d avoided. “I did that in high school, and I have no idea what I was thinking,” she said. Thank God for growth!
Catch the full interview with Zerina Akers on W Magazine, here.