Gabrielle Union On How 13-Year-Old Zaya Inspires Her To Take Fashion Risks
Plus, the one item she steals from husband Dwyane Wade's closet.
Nothing can stop Gabrielle Union, not even a global pandemic. The actress and entrepreneur recently founded a production company, I’ll Have Another; announced the relaunch date of her hair care brand, Flawless by Gabrielle Union; and just released a new fashion collection with New York & Company. While Union has been designing for and collaborating with the brand since 2017, we think this is the star's most vibrant offering yet.
"The full collection is fun and really channels the energy of Little Haiti, which inspired it," Union tells HelloGiggles when we speak in mid-July.
The campaign was shot at businesses and culture centers in the Miami neighborhood, and the area's rich history, art, music, and dance scenes are clearly reflected in the clothing's designs. "Through a theme of 'Community,' the campaign pays homage to these locations while celebrating the people of South Florida who are responsible for turning Little Haiti into the cultural mecca that it is today," New York & Company wrote in a press release on the collection.
The campaign's bright imagery is a reflection of Union's own style, too. "This summer, I’m loving bold and bright color palettes, as seen throughout my new collection," the 47-year-old says.
The star's already a fashion inspiration to her millions of followers, and as many fans know, Union's family is also one of Hollywood's most stylish. She and her husband Dwyane Wade are constantly killing the red carpet and street style game; Union and their 1-year-old daughter Kaavia regularly sport cute mommy-and-me styles; and her 13-year-old step-daughter Zaya is a style star in her own right (Union is also step-mom to 18-year-old Zaire and 6-year-old Xavier). Zaya first gained the public's attention in late 2019, when Union posted an Instagram of the transgender teen wearing long nails and a cropped top. Soon after, Zaya publicly started using she/her pronouns, and Wade and Union have made their support for their child and the LGBTQ community loud and clear. These days, Union and Zaya frequently post pictures together on social media, with Union writing captions that express how much she loves and is inspired by Zaya.
"[Her] personal style evolution has inspired me to truly go for it: To try new things, trends, pieces, designers," Union says of her step-daughter. "I’m opening myself up to experience fashion in new and bold ways." In March, for instance, she, Wade, and Zaya attended a red carpet event wearing coordinating outfits that reflected the genderqueer flag—and the trio looked incredible doing so.
Each member of the Union-Wade family has such unique style that the actress says there's not much closet-swapping, short of the occasional snatching of her husband's sweaters. "We’ve coordinated as a family on occasion, but we really love our individual vibes for the day," she explains. "Sometimes those vibes match up and sometimes they clash."
Lately, Union's been sporting many of the pieces from her New York & Company collection, which boasts everything from ribbed sweater dresses and belted sweater skirts to dotted utility shirts and high-waisted linen shorts. She says she adores all the items, of course, but she does have a favorite piece. "I love the vibrancy of the whole collection, especially the prints and colors in the Cotton Voile Maxi Dress with Side Cutouts," Union shares.
Shop it! $69.96 (orig. $99.95), Newyorkandcompany.com
All of the collection's pieces run from sizes 0-20, or XS-XXL, and are available online or in-store. You can pick out your favorite, or snatch a few items to mix and match; when creating the clothes, Union focused on making sure there were many different ways to play with and wear each design. "Versatility plays an important part in my summer style, so I always want to ensure this is reflected in all my NY&Co collections," she says.
Shop the entire Gabrielle Union x NY&Co collection at newyorkandcompany.com.