Whitley Adkins Hamlin, aka The QueenCityStyle, has always married her love for fashion & style with her caring and love for the Charlotte community as a whole. Back in 2013 she joined forces with several other locals to create WARM CHARLOTTE an overwhelmingly successful Winter coat drive that ran for a few years.
As a local stylist and style editor at SouthPark Magazine, Whitley prefers to shop the local boutiques and vintage whenever possible to style her vibrant looks. At least until the advent of COVID 19, and the shutdown of the local shopping scene.
“My most fulfilling partnerships are with the local boutiques and store salespeople. I always try to support other local entrepreneurs whenever possible. We rely on one another. Retailers can’t stay in business without customers. Stylists can’t do their jobs without retailers, particularly local retailers,” says Hamlin. “We are all connected. And while our businesses are all hurting greatly, there is another common theme: We all want to help others with an even greater need.”
With these two objectives in mind, to help CLT retailers stay in business and to help those in need during this crisis, Whitley has joined forces with other Charlotte stylists and fashion stores to create FASHION FORWARD to offer a positive force in the local fashion community.
FASHION FORWARD is an online platform for QC retailers, designers and stylists to share and showcase their brands, as well as any discounts currently being offered. And, perhaps most importantly, to highlight the ways these Charlotte businesses are all giving back to those with an even greater need. From percentages of sales being donated to local charities in dire need, to giveaways for deserving medical works or teachers, to employee relief funds, each of the participating businesses is giving forward in their own unique way.
Still in early days, the platform features 22 stores (and counting) and 6 local stylists and several independent fashion designers along with their shopping deals & discounts and how they are donating to support those in need.
You can learn more about the individual owners and the stories behind their businesses on the instagram for the coalition, @fashionforwardclt where Noelle Munoz (@noellemunozjewelry) is spearheading the storytelling portion of the project to enable followers to more closely connect the the businesses involved.
“Each of the businesses involved has been adversely impacted by Covid-19, yet they are all doing something unique to help others,” explains Whitley. “We are all stepping up and out of our comfort zones to meet this challenge, and I can’t wait to see what the future of Fashion Forward will bring.”