With over eight million people living in New York City, there are plenty of opportunities to feel lost and overwhelmed by the excess of people, opportunities, and experiences. Any New Yorker will tell you that finding just a few real people to hold onto for support or an encouraging group message can be the thing that will keep you moving forward. Edas designer Sade Mims, skin therapist Samantha Mims, and stylist Mecca James-Williams are a shining example of the type of NYC friendship that fuels growth, love, and success.
Sade and Samantha are fraternal twins from Philadelphia. Sade, the designer and creative director of accessories brand Edas, describes herself as a humanitarian who has a strong connection to human beings. Much of her work within the design realm, has been centered around connecting people–drawing upon human needs and socialism. Samantha is a licensed skin therapist who works alongside an oculofacial plastic surgeon in Brooklyn.
The sisters connected with Mecca a few years ago through social media. Mecca, a freelance stylist who once served as the Senior Style Editor at The Zoe Report, was at the time developing the conscious living platform itsapt4. Sade was drawn to Mecca's apartment, which frequently appears on the platform's Instagram, and though it would be a great place to host an event for Edas. Sade messaged Mecca and shared her idea of hosting an event in her space. To Sade’s surprise, Mecca agreed. Ever since then, the three have formed a relationship that goes beyond business and events and builds upon their shared interests.
According to the trio, there is not a day that goes by where they do not receive an alert from their group message or a phone call to check-in with one another. Communication serves as a pillar in their relationship, especially during unprecedented times. These three ladies have manifested a bond that fuels their passions. Whether its fashion or beauty related, there are always ideas to be bounced off each other.
Sade and Mecca share a similar creative eye and collaborate with each other often on creative projects spanning from editorials in New York to campaigns in Mexico. Samantha, being an expert in her field, makes sure everyone is 'skin goals'. She knows which products to recommend, how to identify problem areas, and how to properly treat breakouts depending on each skin type. Does it get any better than that?
For women living in New York, their advice is to make an effort to form a community with trusted women who you can call or tap on. Sade, Samantha, and Mecca, who are in different but similar spaces, have developed their own community and space for peer-mentorship. Now, reaching a more experienced level in their careers, they grapple with the idea of when is the right time to become a mentor to someone else. Sade and Mecca especially being in the fashion industry understand that one-to-one mentorship is uncommon. In contrast to Samantha who is an understudy to her boss.
For Sade, this sisterhood empowers her creativity. Samantha and Mecca nurture her dreams and speak life into her ideas. Each individual offers something unique to the group. And collectively, they share a deep understanding of what is to be women today living in New York and pursuing their dreams.
Listen to episode five of 'Our Folklore' featuring an interview with Sade Mims, Samantha Mims, and Mecca James-Williams. Available now on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or Google Play. Find excerpts from the interview below.
Black women working in skin therapy are still emerging. There is definitely not a lot of black women in the work that I do, not even a lot of black female dermatologists. I can say that I am one of the youngest skin therapists that I know. It is really nice and refreshing when I meet women that are studying in my field and doing the same kind of work as me. –Samantha Mims
I use these ladies as my muse. A lot of times when I need faces for content to showcase on my Instagram page, I choose beautiful black women with beautiful black skin - women who follow the same ethos as me. These girls are my go-to’s in a lot of ways. I think that is how we work together. –Samantha Mims
From a designer’s perspective, I feel like there have always been black designers but I do think there has been a lack in the New York area, especially in the accessories lane. I navigated it by being confident in my voice and my work. Also, when I am collaborating, I am very intentional about who I bring up with me within the industry. That way, the next person who comes in after me does not have to experience the same things that I did. And they will not feel alone because when they look to their left and right they can see me or someone else of color. All that is to say, I take the responsibility to create the change that I wish to see. –Sade Mims
It goes hand-in-hand, sometimes I am very aware that I am bringing more people of color into this space and on the other hand, it is as simple as these are my people. On any project that I am working on, whether it is related to EDAS or a side project, I am always tapping into both Samantha and Mecca to get their opinion on it. I know when it comes to collaboration, we think of the end goal and the people who are mentioned in the credits but realistically, a lot of the things that I do would not come fully into fruition without having them to lean on. So I am constantly collaborating with them. –Sade Mims
We collaborate with people we can identify with and with people who can see a vision that we have. These two black women that happen to be my best friends are great examples of that. Sam knows my skin. She knows when I am having a hypertension breakout or pimples and why. And Sade, we have a very similar eye. We see things similarly, we are attracted to things in the same scope and I think that is because of our experience as black women living in Brooklyn. All of those things tie into why we collaborate with each other. –Mecca James-Williams
I think media is a reflection of the times. There have been so many questions in the fashion industry on what is diversity and inclusion. There are a lot of people of color and women of color that want to be seen and have a seat at the table. I, being one of them. I started interning and assisting right after I moved to New York and worked my way up the ladder. A conversation about who was at the table and who was deserving of a seat was always a discussion that we were having. We were always trying to break the mold and break-in. It is such a beautiful scope now to see so many different people are succeeding in the industry and creating their own voice. I am happy to be one of those people of color. I have my perspective and a different perspective that I can bring to the table as an editor, having worked with so many different media companies and publications. –Mecca James-Williams
My space is my home. So it is very intimate, not like a listing online where people can come and host things. It is a space where I have friends over and host parties and book club meetings. It is a community collective that serves my community. I love creating spaces that align culturally with myself and push the boundaries of what modern is. - Mecca James-Williams
When it comes to collaboration, we are best friends so it happens on a daily basis. For example, whenever I am having a freak-out, I call them and whenever I need help with a photoshoot, I call them. I call them daily on FaceTime, a little bit annoyingly just to get their insight, feedback, and love especially during this time. It was very destined that we would be surviving a pandemic in New York solo in our own individual homes. It has definitely been a process on how we navigate that and how that looks. In terms of collaboration, with Sade, I love working with her on EDAS. I love her brand and I love what she is creating. It gives me another avenue to create things with a friend and with someone who has a similar creative eye. I brought in Sade on many projects from creating jewelry with a brand that I am working with to creating pieces specifically for a shoot that I am having. We have also traveled together. We shot one of her lookbooks in Mexico together. - Mecca James-Williams
Words: Gelina Dames
Photo: Maria Clara Macri