Gabrielle Union is championing fashionable women everywhere in her new inclusive pre-fall collection and #AllTogetherNow ad campaign for New York & Company.
Her latest collaboration with the brand marks the one-year anniversary of the Gabrielle Union Collection, which seeks to empower women through Union’s line of statement sweaters, off-the-shoulder dresses, plaid jumpsuits, wide-leg trousers, and suiting.
Union has been a proponent of inclusivity since her line’s inception, and the big reason why comes down to her family. “When I was approached about doing a line with New York & Company, my biggest thing was I wanted to create a line that my own family could wear,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Union says she recognizes that the world isn’t made up of “prepubescent models”; instead, people are “all shapes and sizes.” With that, Union has also learned throughout the design and manufacturing process how much materials cost to create specific designs that accommodate a wider market, but accessibility was important to her, even if that meant “tweaking to make sure that [the clothes] stayed affordable.”
Inclusivity in the fashion industry is still a work in progress. Many European brands, in particular, are trailing behind New York designers. “It’s astounding that some people seem to think that exclusion creates … more demand,” she said. Although Union recognizes that inclusivity is a large issue affecting many industries, not just fashion, she doesn’t know why. “I think it’s an interesting business choice. I think it’s an interesting human choice, and by interesting — I mean terrible,” she said. For her collection, it was a no-brainer to create clothing for every woman.
The inspiration for the new Gabrielle Union Collection stems from her own personal style, her moods, and her travels with her husband, Dwyane Wade, which are famously tagged on Instagram as #wadeworldtour. “All of these #wadeworldtours have sort of influenced each collection in their own sort of way, whether it’s someone I saw on the streets of Shenzhen or, you know, a really fly woman in the south of France.” Union admits that even her husband’s style has influenced items for the collection. For example, Wade’s “denim kimono” will be iterated on in an upcoming collection. Still, the line has plenty of denim-inspired looks for fans to choose from — from chambray jumpsuits and blazers to wide-leg trousers and rompers.
One particular cropped sweater is Union’s favorite from the line. The back of the sweater reads “Rule the World” when you spread your arms out, which was part of the design intent. The sweater was “inspired by no sense of limits. The more free you are, the more open you are, the more inclined you are to sort of spread your wings,” Union says. “I just love that sweatshirt. It encourages women to feel empowered, dream big, and push their limits.”
This sense of female empowerment is also instilled in the ad campaign, for which Union enlisted a mix of her friends, colleagues, and, more largely, her “family.” Ajiona Alexus, Essence Uhura Atkins (who officiated Union and Wade’s wedding), and Valarie Pettiford star alongside Union in the campaign. “You know there’s the family that you’re born into and then the family that you create,” Union says in describing the women.
The new Gabrielle Union Collection is available in sizes XXS-XXL, or 00-20, and retails for $34.95-$129.95. Below are a few of our favorites; these and more are available on New York & Company.
Gabrielle Union Collection Zip-Front Jumpsuit, $130, nyandcompany.com
Gabrielle Union Collection Stripe Sweater Tank Top, $55, nyandcompany.com
Gabrielle Union Collection V-Neck Sweater Dress, $80, nyandcompany.com
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• Gabrielle Union opens up about her rape and infertility: ‘I’ve seen the devil up close’
• Gabrielle Union just got her first major haircut — and you’ll love her short, shaggy bob
• Gap’s new ad campaign features deaf trans activist Chella Man and the internet is loving it