Exclusively Kristen: A Clothing Company Finally Geared Towards The Big Busted Woman

By Ameera Steward

This year has been all about loving yourself and acceptance for all body types, but when it comes to women’s clothing things are a bit different.

Not all women are created equally is fashion. And the main woman who isn’t included is the busty woman.

Kristen Allen understood the struggle and decided to do something about it by opening her own online store.

It is called Exclusively Kristen: Clothes for “Busty” Women.

In an interview with RISE NEWS, Allen said ever since she was a teenager she’s had the issue of finding tops that fit properly because of her cup size.

She explained that the idea to start a business of this sort has always been in the back of her mind but there was always had school or work standing in the way.

Allen said that this is something she never thought she could do, but when she moved to New York she was inspired by everyone’s grind because everyone seemed to have a side hustle there.

She also said after doing research with many resources at her disposal she realized that she was still young so why not take the risk?

Exclusively Kristen has been a business for almost two years, launching in 2014.

Allen said that starting her company has been rewarding since she is solving a real problem that many women face.

“There are few companies in the United States catering to the busty woman,” Allen said. “And I’m the only one that has a variety of things to choose from.”

She said that with her business she wanted to start out with some basic pieces with a range of appeal without being too trendy.

“So this is just a product of me being the target audience, but my body type isn’t the same as everybody else’s,” Allen said. “I wanted everyone to pretty much try it out and then give me feedback. Now that I’ve gotten enough feedback from customers now I starting to do more adventurous pieces.”

she wants her customers to know that they do have options and they don’t have to settle for oversized sweaters just to fit their bust.

“I want them to know that we’re here to solve a problem and we’re here to help women look good and feel comforted in the clothes that they’re wearing, that the clothes will be tailored to them, to their bodies,” Allen said.

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Kristen Allen, the founder of Exclusively Kristen, a clothing line for big busted women. Photo Credit: Instagram

Allen’s products range from $25 to $100 and they’re all made in the United States.

Allen is involved in every aspect of the creative process. She said she draws a rough draft of the designs and then has someone make the technical sketches.

She is also the fit model and does all of the fittings and does quality control on each garment.

After her approval, the clothes go to the manufacturer.

Allen said she wants other women to be inspired to own a small business.

Allen explained that she is proud of what the company has accomplished so far.

Allen has future aspirations that involve more products on the website, a petite line and a plus sized line.

Her long term goal is to open stores in different states catering to women with D-plus cups.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Totally Ethnik: The African Fashion Brand That Is Proud To Be Both African And “Ethnic”

By Nate Nkumbu

When people think of fashion in Sub-Saharan Africa, they often think of clothing that is passed down from family members or hand me downs donated by the West.

But one fashion brand from the continent seeks to change those Western notions.

Totally Ethnik is a fashion company based in Accra, Ghana and they are real path breakers.

As a brand, the company mostly makes their clothes from local sources coming from Ghana, Mali and the Ivory Coast.


According to Totally Ethnik’s public relations representative Marie Kipre, the main force behind the clothing line is for their looks to be as real as they can be to the cultural identity of Ghana.

“We keep our clothing as ethnic as possible,” Kipre said in an email to RISE NEWS. “We use wax prints [a] lot however, we fuse it with other fabric depending on the idea we want to portray with each piece.”

Kipre said that the company don’t deal with many problems being a being a fashion brand based in Africa.

However, she did say that the biggest obstacle that they face is getting the product to the global market.

“Our designs are authentic and truly ethnic making our clients satisfied anytime they wear our clothes,” Kipre said. “Our challenge is being able to get our clothing to other countries and be able to secure chain shops that will be interested in stocking our cloths.”


According to the World Bank, Ghana is the 114th most difficult business climate in the world with very high import and export costs and a difficult trade relationship with other countries in the region including Nigeria.

But despite some of these structural difficulties, Totally Ethnik is plugging ahead and making progress into being a widely known fashion brand.

“African fashion has been accepted all over world now and continues to grow and Totally Ethnik as a brand is one that people will love to be associated with,” Kipre said.

To learn more about Totally Ethnik, you can visit their website:

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

This Gen X’er And Her Two Young Daughters Are Trying To Revolutionize Millennial Menswear

Who says that you have to be a millennial in order to know what they want?

After spending five years as a housewife, Mary Di Fede-Garcia, age 47 and a resident of South Florida, decided that it was time for a change.

She focused on the men’s online clothing market for young people, sensing that it was a soft market.

Then Di Fede-Garcia launched Solsburry last December.

Solsburry is a website where men, mostly millennials, can find affordable clothing.

According to Di Fede-Garcia, Solsburry was chosen as the name of the brand because of a story told by former Genesis front-man Peter Gabriele.

“Peter was not getting along with his band member, Phil Collins, and he got to a turning point in which he needed to decide between going solo or take the back seat at the band while Collins was the lead,” Di Fede-Garcia said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “Peter went to a place in England, called Solsburry Hill, where a sense of change came to him, decided to go on his own, and became very successful.”

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Mary Di Fede-Garcia, second from left, with her husband Alex and two daughters at a party in 2014.

Change has come to Di Fede-Garcia’s life as well, but the creation of Solsburry, the brand, was not an easy feat for her.

She had to face two of her greatest challenges: the Internet and social media.

“While I was building the brand in my head, I said to myself: ‘Let me face my biggest fears right on’,” Di Fede-Garcia said. “’If I am technologically challenged and I manage to do well on the web and social media, then I would know that there is nothing I can’t conquer.’”

To overcome her fear and after working for some months with a web developer, Di Fede-Garcia established Solsburry on the web, and it is spreading its name in social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

Di Fede-Garcia has had support from her family in figuring out how to efficiently use social media as a branding and sales tool.

“Seeing her struggle since the beginning in not knowing how to do certain things on the web led me to help her,” Mary’s 18 year old daughter Lauren del Pino said.

Lauren is helping with the social media marketing efforts for the brand while her 22 year old sister, Danielle del Pino, is leading the web styling and selection of clothing for the brand.

“My sister helps out with the social media section because that is natural for her,” Danielle said. “I love helping out putting together the styling and the organization for the brand, and, of course, the photoshoots.”

The two daughters not only help their mom build and maintain the brand but also, along with their friends have provided significant inspiration since day one according to Di Fede-Garcia.

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A view of a Solsburry photo shoot.

“My daughters have male friends who visit the house, and they are always commenting about how the women’s clothing market is over saturated while the men’s one is missing attention,” Di Fede-Garcia said. “I decided that I wanted to provide quality clothing that is durable, easy to wash and wear.”

Solsburry, is aiming at providing clothing for young men from high school to young adults who are starting their careers- men who want clothes that make them to look good but are also affordable.

Di Fede-Garcia said that she understands that young men at those stages have other priorities that are more important than looking good.

She also contributes a portion of the proceeds from each piece sold to some charities each month.

More Info On Solsburry:

[email protected]

Phone: +1 (305) 275-1829

Toll Free: 1 (844) 834-1829

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Photo Credit: Solsburry/ Submitted.

Miami Fashion Blogs Rise In Importance As Local Scene Grows

This story was originally published on on June 22, 2015.

By Damian Gordon

Fashion is forever and forever changing.

That reality can make keeping up with the latest a challenge without some serious help.

There are few places in the world where fashion is as prominent as in South Florida, making local fashion blogs a must to visit  since style changes more than our bipolar weather.

Fashion bloggers have made a major impact on the industry and public. Even designers and brands have embraced them in recent years, after realizing their importance. One of them is Maria Tettamanti of Tettamanti’s been on the scene for many years now and is a well seasoned vet in Miami’s growing fashion world.

“Bloggers have an undeniably huge social media presence and they can help spread the word on everything from under-the-radar designers to huge fashion houses,” Tettamanti said. “I know first hand that one blog post/Instagram/tweet can help open doors for a brand and that’s really powerful stuff.”

Of course for many young people in South Florida, the blogs can also be used as a way to learn some tricks about to stretch a dollar and still look good.

Many fashion bloggers have recommended for those on a budget places like H&M or Forever 21, attributing these stores because of their trendy clothes and accessible prices.

Photo Credit: Pancho Gómez/Flickr

Photo Credit: Pancho Gómez/Flickr

Tettamanti said that feminine midi skirts and dresses, off-the-shoulder blouses, floor-skimming maxi dresses, and matchy-matchy tops and bottoms are what’s in right now in South Florida during the summer.

With such a diverse display of cultures in South Florida, it can be a challenge to decide what to wear.

“In Wynwood, you’re going to find a more hipster vibe. Bal Harbour is going to be much more upscale, designer sheek. Miami is super sexy, less is more,” Kelly Saks, fashion stylist and creator of said. “Coral Gables is more preppy and more professional, since it’s in the business district.”

Miami continues to grow closer to becoming more entwined in fashion, as more events seem to take over the city such as Art Basel and Swim Week. With that increased democratization of fashion taking place, many people have turned to knock off goods to keep up.

“Everyone’s Instagram, Facebook or Twitter trying to floss what they have, trying to keep up with the Joneses,” Saks said. “The fashion industry right now has so much to offer at all price points, you don’t need to be buying crappy fake goods.”

“It’s not about the price, it’s all about how you style the look and really how you wear it,” Saks said. “It doesn’t have to cost a thousand dollars to make you look or feel good.”

Cover Photo Credit: acevvvedo/Flickr

Could Miami’s Next Fashion Icon Be This Home Grown FIU Student?

This story was originally published on on June 24, 2015.

By Jose Vicenty

Miami is known for many things – beautiful beaches, tourist attraction, nightclubs and great fashion.

With the Miami Design District and Miami Fashion week, Miami serves as a city that sets trends and grooms innovators in becoming part of the illustrious fashion industry.

Add Miami-bred Valentina Quiroga to the list of local trendsetters.

Valentina’s fascination with fashion began at the age of five. She started with a love for Abercrombie and Fitch.

Read Another Great Story: Miami Fashion Blogs Rise In Importance As Local Scene Grows

“I remember when I was like five I would see Abercrombie and Fitch, not being able to fit, and want to wear it because I knew that was what was in style,” Quiroga said.

As she grew older so did her love for the fashion industry and with the help and support of her parents, she was able to begin selling her own merchandise on eBay while still in high school.

“One of the most memorable moments as a business owner has to be when I sold out of my first item 9 hours after posting it on my eBay store,” Quiroga said. “That moment will never be forgotten”.

However, as amazing as it was to be a young owner, it was equally difficult.

“I think one of the hardest things I had to learn to overcome was when I had an eBay and eBay store and other sellers would say that my items were offensive or went against the selling rules of the sites,” Quiroga said. “The site would take the item down for seven days at a time and this would happen to like two or three of my items at once”.

Although she experienced a rough beginning, Quiroga saw the silver lining and decided to open her own website where she is able to sell directly to the costumer. That’s how Valdesigns was born.

Photo Credit: Valdesigns/Facebook

Young CEO Valentina Quiroga. Photo Credit: Valdesigns/Facebook

Valdesigns is a clothing site that sells everyday wear with fashionable phrases for men and women, as well as pets.

Moreover, she’s doing it with the help of social media but she owes most of her success to her parents.

“My parents have basically been the backbone for the business,” Quiroga said. “They are my investors to start new projects, they help with the design, and they make sure I do not lose motivation. If it was not for them Valdesigns would not exist, no exaggeration”.

As far as being a young owner- she is still a college student at Florida International University, Quiroga said that she has enjoyed the process of starting a business.

“Being a young owner is great. I do get a lot of praise because Valdesigns is not something I tell people right off the bat, I let them figure it out through my social media so it’s shocking for them when they find out,” Quiroga said.

What’s next for Quiroga and Valdesigns?

“I am definitely planning on expanding the business, getting custom materials to make shirts, maybe some bathing suit,” Quiroga said. “We’ll see but Valdesigns is not only going to stay in the fun phrase t-shirt sector, it will grow hopefully with support of customers and friends”.

In addition, she said that the company is looking into releasing a workout line next.

To learn more about Quiroga and her clothing line, you can visit You can also check out her pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #Valdesigns.

Kokoa Swim: A Young Miami Swim Line Grows Up Online

This piece was originally published on on July 23, 2015.

By Marcus Frias

It’s summertime and we all know what that means. It’s that time when the hottest bods strut down South Beach wearing the sexiest and spiciest swimwear pieces of the year.

For a while, all the rave has been about Wildfox, Mikoh, and San Lorenzo Bikinis, but now there’s a new girl on the block with a swimwear line that’s bold, innovative, and exciting.

Isabella Soto and her killer line—Kokoa Swim.

Soto says that she’s always had an interest in fashion although it wasn’t always something that she expressed through her clothing.

“It was something I was around constantly,” Soto said. “My mother graduated AI with a degree in fashion design and I’d constantly watch her create amazing projects.”

Read More: Swim Week Takes Miami Beach By Storm, Millennial Designers Show Out

But that all changed during her sophomore year at Miami Sunset Senior High School when she decided to stop watching and start doing.

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Isabella Soto, the owner of Kokoa Swim. Photo Credit: Kokoa Swim.

“As a sophomore in high school I would sew hair bows by hand and sell them to friends for $3,” Soto said. “My senior year I launched a fashion blog and another small business. I’d purchase thrifted jeans and distress them, dye them all sorts of colors, and stud them. I would also sell these to classmates.”

With Kokoa Swim still far in the future, Soto became the fashion editor of the school’s yearbook. Fashion became more than an interest—Soto’s hard work to make a name for herself while she was still so young was both admirable and astonishing.

One of Soto’s high school teachers, Natalie Gutierrez says that Soto’s success doesn’t surprise her at all.

“Ever since I’ve known her she’s had high expectations of what she wanted to be and what she wanted to do with her life,” Gutierrez told Rise Miami News. “She’s a go-getter with a lot of passion and dedication. It is that attitude that has helped her achieve this dream of hers at such a young age.”

Still, her hardworking and ambitious attitude remains.

“This has all been such a huge learning process,” Soto said. “I started this business entirely from scratch and have made so many mistakes along the way.”

Those mistakes, though, simply motivate the youthful 20 year old to work harder.

Soto dedicates an average of 30 hours a week to the growing line—but says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I wake up and do this until I have to head out to work. Sometimes I’ll come home from work and continue,” Soto said. “It’s not a burden. I love doing this.”

Photo Credit: Kokoa Swim

Photo Credit: Kokoa Swim

In those 30 hours Soto designs new collections, shops for fabric, handles social media accounts for Kokoa Swim, and networks for opportunities to showcase her work.

Despite participating in big events like Swim Miami Fashion Week Kokoa Swim’s success is mostly due to its internet presence.

“I am eternally thankful for social media. It’s been a huge contributor to Kokoa’s growth. Instagram, especially, has helped me network and build a following of amazing people,” Soto said. “Through social media, I was given the opportunity of participating in my first Swim Week event at the Broken Shaker. I met other local brands that are doing the same. It was amazing to see brands I’ve been following online, in action. “

Read More: An Inside Look Into One Of South Florida’s Most Important Fashion Houses

Kokoa Swim has over 8,000 Instagram followers and that number grows everyday. Models like Harley Gusman and Mahila Snyder have all hopped on the Kokoa wagon and have stepped in front of the camera to model for the swimwear line.

Soto loves the partnership with these up and coming models.

“Like myself, these girls are working hard to build a name in the industry and it’s fascinating that our work benefits each other,” Soto said.

Photo Credit: Kokoa Swim

Photo Credit: Kokoa Swim

Indeed, a name is being built.

Kokoa Swim, a line that was built on impulse—surely has consumers buying on impulse, too.

A sketchbook dream that has turned into an incredible reality, but Isabella Soto won’t stop here. She hopes to have her line available for purchase at local stores within the next year.

With all of this success tucked under her belt at the young age of 20, it is safe to say that Isabella Soto was not fashionably late, but instead fashionably focused and early to the scene.

Why Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kit Is Like LITERALLY So Cute

18 years old and ambitious, Kylie Jenner (yes, really) is making a name for herself in the cosmetic world.

After she confessed to the public that she got her lips filled, Jenner hasn’t let it stop her from creating a company out of it.

As much as people talked about her fake lips, they still wish they could look as good as hers; and that’s why her new business Kylie Cosmetics is skyrocketing in sales.

Every week she restocks a limited amount of lip kits on her website and they typically sell out within minutes.

All of her lip kits are reasonably priced (ranging from $15-$29) and the rush to get them while they’re still in stock creates a FOMO (fear of missing out).

It’s quite the sales tactic. Not only do people purchase these lip kits just because it’s Kylie Jenner, they purchase them because they’re actually really freaking good.

Apparently her lip kit lasts 11 hours throughout the day, that’s longer than your average lipstick/gloss.

There’s more; each individual lip kit has it’s own unique name for example, her new glosses are; Like, Literally, and So Cute…They are LIKE LITERALLY SO CUTE!

Kylie Jenner is really good at keeping her fans up to date on new releases, colors, and explaining on what she’s working on next.

I know exactly when Dolce K is in stock because I follow her on Snapchat and exactly how much time it took for it to sell out. If you’re really curious to know more, I haven’t bought her app, but there is a special app where she apparently leaks more information to her fans that people on Snapchat wouldn’t know. Again, this is an impressive business feat.

Being 18 years old with your own company can have it’s disadvantages, but in this case her advantage is she can relate to the people interested in her lip kits. The majority of people that are interested in buying her lip kits are her fans. When you’re a fan of someone you usually admire that person, and when fans want to buy Kylie’s lip kit it’s probably because they admire her look. Her lips are always perfectly plumped and colored to perfection so why wouldn’t you want her look?

She takes the time to connect with her fans., she does a really good job of getting them engaged and giving them the chance to understand the way she does her makeup, just in case you’re curious as to how her makeup is so flawless. I’m even guilty of watching “How to Do Your Makeup Like Kylie Jenner” tutorials on Youtube.

No matter how much you don’t want to become a fan girl it’s merely impossible when Kylie is absolutely killing it in every aspect.

Of course, not everything is perfect in Kylieworld. has reported that workers at the warehouse that make the lip kits have complained of poor working conditions. More reputable news organizations have yet to confirm those rumors however.

Anyway, Jenner just released her new Glosses video to promote her lip kit, that features girls that Kylie specifically chose through the realms of social media. Here it is:

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!

Cover Photo Credit: Youtube (Screengrab)

EXCLUSIVE: Maroon 5 Model Claims Wilhelmina Owes Her Thousands

Part one in a series highlighting allegations of mistreatment of foreign models in the American fashion industry.

Tereza Kačerová, best known for starring in a Maroon 5 music video for their song “Maps”, spoke out against Wilhelmina Models Inc., saying the company owes her thousands of dollars. Kačerová and other models said they believe the industry giant’s failure to reimburse Kačerová is indicative of the modeling industry’s culture to mistreat foreign-born models.

Wilhelmina is one of the largest modeling and talent management agencies in the world, with bases in Miami, Los Angeles, New York and London. Kačerová took to her Instagram to speak out against the Miami location in a two-part series that went viral in modeling circles. The company’s attorney said that Kačerová is falsely accusing them of improper activity.

A Czech-born actress and model, Kačerová said that she worked with Wilhelmina on a series of jobs, many of which were located outside of the United States.

“I’ve been modeling for over seven years now, been with dozens of agencies all around the world yet none of them has been as reluctant (to put it mildly) to pay me for my work as @wilhelminamodelsmia,” Kačerová wrote on Instagram. “These people have been withholding money from me for jobs I have completed as long as over a YEAR ago ago.”

Kačerová provided Rise News with a series of emails and documents that highlight the models’ growing frustration with Wilhelmina. Kačerová said she is still owed $4,279. Of this sum, Kačerová said that $3,600 worth of plane tickets were never reimbursed to her.

Typically, the client will pay for models’ travel expenses, but Kačerová said she chose to book her own flights and get reimbursed because she gained points on her card for flying miles.

“The foreign girls get treated as second-hand citizens. It’s disgusting.”- Roxanne Czajkowski on Instagram

Kačerová said that after a series of emails with Wilhelmina, she received three checks meant to reimburse her for these flights. Kačerová said that with every check, a seemingly random figure was deducted from the final amount, less than what Kačerová said she is rightfully owed.

A lawyer working for Wilhelmina was quick to contact Kačerová with a cease and desist email regarding the posts.

“I am in receipt of copies of Ms. Kacerova’s recent defamatory posts on social media, vilifying Wilhelmina and falsely accusing it of criminal activity. This is a very serious accusation, one that Wilhelmina does not take lightly,” Wilhelmina’s attorney Ali Grace Marquart said in an email. “Please immediately instruct your client to remove the defamatory posts and cease and desist from writing and/or speaking any such false accusations about Wilhelmina, including but not limited to any of its employees, officers, or directors.”

Despite this letter, Kačerová did not take down the posts. Marquart and Wilhelmina have not responded to requests for comment as of publication time.

Kačerová’s 29,100 followers were quick to support her, and in some cases, share their own experiences as well.

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Model Tereza Kačerová.

”Exactly, this is disgusting. Aside from all the bullshit that is dealt with in being with an agency, from looks to flights, to bookings, to fees. Running around, and not being payed should not be something anyone should put up with. It’s completely unprofessional,” model Roxanne Czajkowski said in the comments. “Especially for foreign girls. There [sic] so much priority over the American girls, and their pay, expenses, promotion. The foreign girls get treated as second hand citizens. It’s disgusting…No agency should treat any human being as a slave of labor. Glad someone spoke out about this.”

Kačerová is currently represented by Nous Model Management, a Los Angeles based company.

Kačerova said that Nous is no longer working with Wilhelmina.

Nous declined a request for comment.

Rise News just launched last week and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news.

For news tips, email [email protected] 

Photo Credits: Tereza Kačerová/Instagram.

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