Alicia Keys & Swizz Beatz Support Amref Health Africa at Artball Gala by Dena Mekawi

Alicia Keys brightened our night by rocking a bright orange blazer, posing alongside hubby Swizz Beatz, attending the 2018 Amref ArtBall at A/D/O on Saturday, April 28th, in Brooklyn, New York.



Swizz Beatz, the 39 year old recording artist, founder of No Commission welcomes Toyina Odutola to the Dean Collection. Swizz Beatz promotes advocacy for the artists themselves being the driving factor behind the very platform he's building and every risk-taking move he's making has shifted culture, creating space for artist to shine by creating a dialogue through art. He has built a community and movement all in one. His resilience to push boundaries, while putting his vision to life is truly inspiring. No Commission is a platform for the artist, with a mission and unwillingness to compromise when it comes to making sure artists receive 100% of sales for their work. 


Alicia Keys, the 37- year-old singer and The Voice coach and Swizz Beatz, the 39 year old hip hop recording artist, and visionary, presented the Rees Visionary Award to Toyin Ojih Odutola, a visual artist from Nigeria. Amref Art Ball is a premier contemporary African art auction and philanthropic event with a purpose to raise awareness and funds for Amref Health Africa. 

Toyin Ojih Odutola was honored for amplifying African Culture and transcultural perspectives. Toyin creates intimate drawings that explore the complexity and malleability of identity. Depicted in her distinctive style of intricate mark-making, her sumptuous compositions reimagine the genre and traditions of portraiture.



Both matching wearing bright colors, founder of Style & Resilience, Dena Mekawi met with Alicia Keys at the Amref Art Ball. Dena mentions Alicia Keys' energy being radiant. Her energy was felt the moment you entered the room with her, says Dena. Alicia Keys has been an inspiration to her, from identity issues, to self-esteem issues of being muslim, and curvy growing up. Dena recalls Alicia Keys' music healing, and guiding her. We are inspired by these creative icons!

How I Met Michael Jordan by Dena Mekawi


Last week, I was in a business meeting on Park avenue in the lobby of a hotel. I look behind me and a tall man makes his way with two other gentlemen, sat down at the lounge area behind us. Michael Jordan, living legend sitting right behind me. The professional in me said don't bother him, but the human side of me said how often do you get to meet a living legend? 

Now, I've been around many celebrities, since my work consists of PR, and representing artist, curating social impact strategies. However, I must say I was a little star struck. Now, I want to give a simple strategy and advice on how it all went down. In the past, I had no self-esteem, let alone confidence to walk up to someone with such high influence. 

Over the years, I learned a few tips when meeting celebrities, especially if you're looking for more than just an "instagram picture" 

  • Make them feel human, especially if they seem to be in an intimate setting, do not disturb their peace by asking for a picture, thus causing others to recognize them.
  • Have an elevator pitch, don't ask for anything, try to invite them to your world by giving short intro to your work and why you'd like to invite them in the future. 

So I did just that, I waited until my meeting was over, kept my cool and walked over. Of course I hesitated, I had my design artist/ friend with me so she kept pushing me, motivating me to just walk over there. I did not ask for any picture, and I was content with that decision, instead, I had a conversation with Michael Jordan and his friends, his manager then asked for my business card. The lesson here is, make celebrities feel human, because that's what they are. Chat with them, wow them with the time you have. Sometimes a shared experience like that is worth more than a picture for the gram. 

So the next time you encounter a celebrity, take a moment and think about what you're going to say. Time and place plays a crucial role as well, if the person is sitting and you have the luxury to articulate your elevator pitch, make sure it's one to remember. Ask yourself what can this individual do for me, and what can I do for this individual. Sometimes we are so caught up in our minds, that this person would never give us a chance because they are so high up there. Trust me, I used to think that way, but you're only as good as you think you are. Confidence will also reflect your style of communication. Finally, remind yourself that you are your own brand. Your style, your words, your website should be a reflection of what you bring to the table. 

Busta Rhymes Hosts a screening of "Survivors Guide to Prison" by Dena Mekawi

Written by David Alm, contributor on Forbes;


Dena Mekawi (Founder of Style & Resilience) and Ardita Jani, artist and designer for Style & Resilience had the honor of customizing a hand painted jacket for Busta Rhymes for the screening of this powerful film. Dena Mekawi, uses art and communication to highlight social issues curated the idea, while Ardita Jani hand painted. 

Social activism in partnership with YWCA Brooklyn, FAMM, #cut50, and React To Film. 

The American criminal justice system trades in neither criminals nor justice. This is the premise of Survivors Guide to Prison, a new feature-length documentary from director Matthew Cooke, whose 2012 film How to Make Money Selling Drugs also couched a social justice message in a mock-how-to guide to make a serious point.

The difference is that Survivors Guide to Prison wants you to take its title -- and its advice -- to heart. The film reports that the United States now has so many laws in the books that the average American commits three felonies per day without even realizing it. Add to that a broken justice system governed less by due process and a presumption of innocence than by money, racism and a punitive approach to reform that does anything but, and the need for such advice starts to make sense.

Making matters worse, the United States imprisons more people than any other country in the world and each year arrests 13 million -- more than the entire populations of New York and Los Angeles combined -- and not a single state has use-of-force laws that meet international standards. If you are a person of color, the likelihood that you will be arrested, and convicted, multiplies exponentially. A black man will receive a 20-percent longer sentence for the same crime as a white man, and African Americans comprise more than a third of the total prison population, despite comprising only about 13 percent of the U.S. population.

Once inside, the injustices compound, and those of us on the outside know little of what really goes on. As Cooke notes in his narration, most of our understanding of American prisons comes from "corporate and commercially funded television" programs like MSNBC's Lockup, which the film suggests only contributes to our misguided belief that if you're in prison, you must belong there, and that prisons are essentially doing society a favor by isolating those who would otherwise break it apart. Ironically, Cooke later notes, the same Americans who blindly trust the justice system to exact justice are, in other contexts, equally prone to distrust the government.

Narrated by Cooke and Susan Sarandon, and featuring a parade of celebrities -- Chuck D, Patricia Arquette, Danny Glover, Danny Trejo, Macklemore, Deepak Chopra and Quincy Jones, among others -- Survivors Guide to Prison suffers somewhat from so many facts and figures that it can be hard to adequately digest, and its occasionally disjointed narrative conflates the numerous issues at stake, from wrongful conviction and inadequate treatment for the mentally ill to the ineffectiveness of cages as a mechanism of reform. It also relies too heavily on the stylistic tropes that seem to plague every documentary and TV show about prisons, especially those that Cooke rightly criticizes -- jumpy camerawork, scratchy title screens, frenetic cuts. 


Leanne Marshall Brings Sustainability with Uncharacteristic Edge to the NYFW Runway by Dena Mekawi


New York, NY (February 14, 2018) -- The always anticipated Leanne Marshall New York Fashion Week runway show brought romantic elegance with a hint of edge to Spring Studios this Valentine's Day.  The newly engaged fashion designer highlighted Cupid's day by placing a custom-made Valentine by Lovepop on each and every seat with a Fall/Winter sketch and love note to her fans. Hundreds of industry experts instantly felt a personal connection to Leanne opening and closing their interactive pop up cards as they took their seats and waited for the show to begin in the gorgeous light-filled gallery overlooking the Hudson River. Moody melodies overtook the space, and the first model took to the catwalk in a trendy wet hair look by Aveda and an uncharacteristic structured navy sheath dress. Audience heads began to turn with delight as chunky knitwear pieces, subtly striped separates, and oversized jackets passed through the runway threshold.  

Leanne Marshall stunned today with a vibrant runway dripping with gorgeous gowns and sweatered separates. Her palette consisted of charcoal, midnight navy, dusty rose, metallic bronze, citron, and cyan. The unexpected color combinations flowed gorgeously from one capsule to the next with her signature silk chiffon silhouettes, wool shift dresses, and organic cotton outerwear.  Waved and scalloped cutouts added a touch of drama and served as a departure from her usual penchant for flowy fabrics. Each piece in the collection was crafted sustainably, whether from leftover, hand-dyed bridal materials or organically sourced cottons.The show also featured a bevy of beautiful faces in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Forty models strutted the runway, many of whom were plus sized and real sized, echoing the designer's desire to dress all women. Flaunting the beauty of every body, Leanne chose to steer away from the norm and feature fitted, body-hugging silhouettes.  In true Leanne Marshall fashion, the runway show closed with a stunning, voluminous gown. This season in a statement making citron, the drop waist showstopper featured lace illusion and crinkle silk organza details. The designer's sweet fiancé Remy made his first catwalk appearance handing over a lovely bouquet of festive red roses to his bride to be as a loving "aw" trickled throughout the crowd. Notable attendees included actress Lizzy Green of Nickelodeon's Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn, Emma Myles and Francesca Curran of Orange is the New Black, musician Leslie DiNicola, Youtuber Sasha Anne, Taylor Louderman of Broadway's Mean Girls, actress Annie Q, Lisa Nicole Cloud of Married to Medicine, model Joy Corrigan, host Kristine Leahy of American Ninja Warrior and Fox Sports, and Vallery Lomas winner of ABC's Great American Baking Show. ##About Leanne MarshallLeanne Marshall was born in Yuba City, California. When most little girls were playing house, Leanne was playing fashion designer with a sketchbook, colored pencils and spare bits of fabric. In no time at all, with the help of a local seamstress, she began bringing her sketches to life. At age 18, Leanne won the Levi’s Dockers Scholarship and was awarded a year of free tuition at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco where she went on to study. In mid 2007, she was able to leave her money job behind and make the leap into designing her own label full-time.  In 2008, what would become a career defining year, Leanne was selected as a contestant for Season 5 of Project Runway. With an unwavering determination, she made it all the way to the finale where she showed her, now famous, wave inspired collection in shades of turquoise, ivory and sand. The judges, and audiences worldwide, were captivated by her final collection and Leanne was crowned the winner.  Fresh after her Project Runway win, Leanne relocated to New York City where she continued to develop her line. Her collections have shown at New York Fashion Week and fashion weeks around the globe every year since 2008. Her work has been seen on Carrie Underwood, Ashley Benson, Salt, Ariana Grande, Andi MacDowell, Julianne Hough, Dasha Palanco, Jackie Cruz, Jane Fonda, Paula Abdul and many others. Her dresses and gowns have graced the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, US Weekly, The Post, TV Guide, The New York Times, People, Grazia, Elle, LIFE, National Geographicand countless others.  Leanne Marshall’s sophisticated designs are known for their light, flowing lines, feminine details and timeless elegance. Each dress is made in New York using only the highest quality materials. The Leanne Marshall Brand is a staple for the woman who wants a dress that will showcase, not overshadow, her beauty. Attention to high quality standards, proper flattering fits and silhouettes, and her unique ethereal approach to design have made Leanne a go-to for the today’s woman. With touches of classic and modern, sophistication and youth, Leanne Marshall has captured an effortless grace and timeless elegance in her collections.  




For more information visit or follow on social at @leannemarshallofficial.   

About MISS GARCIAMISS GARCIA is the Spanish luxury footwear brand acclaimed for its standout styles, effervescent colors and impeccable, hand-crafted quality. The brand was founded in 2013 by entrepreneur and company CEO Elena Garcia who wanted to create a line that women everywhere would find compelling and irresistible. To learn more information about MISS GARCIA, please visit AvedaFounded in 1978 in Minneapolis, MN, Aveda creates high performance, plant-based products for beauty professionals and consumers.  Aveda innovates in botanical technologies, combining the principles of modern science and Ayurveda, the ancient healing art of India, to develop performance-driven hair, skin and body products—made with pure flower and plant essences—that are created with respect for the Earth, and a comprehensive menu of ritual-based treatments for holistic beauty. Go behind-the-scenes at Aveda on the blog at


Ready to Make Modestwear Mainstream by Dena Mekawi


New York, NY (February 11, 2018) — Vivi Zubedi brought her signature modest wear to the mainstream with her Fall/Winter 2018 collection runway show at Industria as a part of NYFW: The Shows. The fashion designer traveled from her home country, Indonesia, to display her embellished, statement RTW and hijab collection to the US fashion industry. 

The venue was packed with a stylish crowd chattering as the designer and her models prepared to make their mark. Guests were wowed as theatrical beats pumped through the room and the first model walked the catwalk impeccably adorned by handcrafted Indonesian elements.  

Zubedi's talent for combining textures, patterns, and embellishments was apparent. The designer mixed traditionally Muslim silhouettes like hijabs and abayas with sportswear elements like printed sneakers and gold embellished baseball caps.  Written across the caps and select velvet jumpers in the collection was "Banua Borneo"-- a region of Indonesia that Vivi Zubedi wishes to bring attention to. 

The FW18 collection, entitled Urang Banua, was originally crafted as a cultural statement for quality of life and economic welfare of weavers and fabric artisans in the area of South Kalimantan: Pagatan and Sasirangan. As an entrepreneur herself, Vivi has made it her mission to support other entrepreneurs especially these women in South Kalimantan.  

Vivi Zubedi's collection utilized the weavers' beautiful original fabrics from South Kalimantan. The difficult techniques used in the process of making these fabrics is what makes them so special. The human resources who created the traditional fabrics are women ranging from teenagers, to adults and elders. Vivi believes these women should be highly praised as they conserve Kalimantan’s traditions. Vivi dreamt to improve the economy of these entrepreneurs by introducing Kalimantan’s traditional fabric to the international fashion industry at NYFW.  

“When I saw the elderly weavers in the village in South Kalimantan, I suddenly wanted to create a collection inspired by the fashion of their time, the 40s through 60s. I want to make chic and stylish masterpieces with their handcrafted materials. I want this fabric to be the new trend in fashion.” -- said Zubedi. 

A rich, yet earthy color palette of velvet and the subtly printed artisan materials was embellished with flashy gold chains, crystals, and pearls. Wrapped coats in black and white polka dot, navy velvet, and ikat printed fabrics were decked out with zippers, beads, girly bows, oversized belts and Victorian collars stole the show along with Zubedi's stylish sneakers and mini handbags.  

The show closed with designer Vivi Zubedi graciously walking down the runway in her own design to a standing ovation from the crowd including her daughter who handed her a bouquet of red roses that she took and held close to her velvet Banua Borneo gold stitched top. As the show ended the room of modest influencers, celebrities, editors, buyers, family, and friends stormed the runway opening hoping to try and grab a selfie with America's next top modest fashion star!  

 Vivi Zubedi's FW18 runway show, Urang Banua, was sponsored by who will be selling both Vivi's runway and Zubedi by Vivi Zubedi collections.  

 Notable attendees included actress Johanna Braddy of Quantico, Genevieve Gorder of TLC's Trading Spaces, actress Catherine Curtin of Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black, Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, Miss USA Kara McCullough, Love & Hip Hop LA star Masika Kalysha, LeA Robinson of Bravo's First Family of Hip Hop, winner of ABC's Great American Baking Show Vallery Lomas, and Broadway star Ariana Debose of Donna Summer and formerly Hamilton. 


About Vivi Zubedi Vivi Zubedi is a fashion designer from Jakarta, Indonesia. Before working in fashion, Vivi graduated from Universitas Negeri Sumatra Utara (University of North Sumatera) with a degree in accounting. She soon realized that her passion was in the fashion industry, and started to learn how to sew and make clothing patterns from her tailor. 

In 2011, Vivi launched her first label using her own name “Vivi Zubedi”. Vivi first presented her collection at Indonesia Fashion Week in 2014 and received an incredible response from the fashion society in Indonesia. After that, Vivi continued to present her collection at Jakarta Fashion Week and launched in the U.S market through Indonesia Fashion Gallery in New York. Through her label, Vivi showcases Abaya collections to promote the Muslim women’s wear as a well-known entity in the fashion industry. With Vivi Zubedi’s brand, Abaya has become more renowned not only in Indonesia, but also in other parts of the world like London, South Africa, Germany, Dubai, and Qatar. 

In September 2017, Vivi Zubedi participated in her first fashion show at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) with IMG. Her collection became a spotlight, not only to the media, but also to the international fashion industry for her “fresh” designs, colors, and the meaningful theme “Makkah, Madinah, Jannah”.   


HIJUP is the world's first Islamic fashion e-commerce established in 2011. With an online mall concept, providing a wide range of the best online products from Indonesian Islamic fashion designers including clothing, hijab/headscarves, accessories, and more. 

Since its establishment, functions as an agent for designers and their perspective buyers around the world. With these designers can increase their profits more efficiently while making it easier for buyers to find the products they want.  

HIJUP stands for Hijab Up (just like in make up or dress up) because we believe that we can bring something Up to all Muslim women around the world. And that while wearing a hijab they are inspired to create something wonderful and earn a lot of respect from others. They deserve to be happy and look great in syar'I outfit and fashionable hijab.