Founder. Activist. Style Muse. There's no stopping Candace Reels! The founder of Female Collective, Candace has created a community that is dedicated to empowering, celebrating, and supporting women - and she's only just getting started! We sat down with the amazing entrepreneur to discuss the history of Female Collective, intersectional feminism, and where she finds her greatest style inspiration.
ModCloth hearts Female Collective! Can you tell our audience about the history of Female Collective? What motivated you to start this endeavor?
In 2016, at the age of 26 and in the midst of an existential moment where I was recalibrating my life path, I found myself searching for support and community. Like any self-respecting millennial looking for meaning in their life, I turned to social media in search of a community that intertwined intersectional feminism and self-love. I couldn’t find the home I was yearning for, so I started to curate the content I was craving as a tool for my own healing. I quickly discovered my need for a safe space to explore these topics was not unique, and so Female Collective was born, and it began to grow quickly into a community that celebrates the struggles and successes of our individual journey.
The Female Collective Instagram is like an instant pick-me-up. In life, what helps you stay positive? Where does your inspiration come from for the @femalecollective feed?
I’ll admit, this past year it has been hard to stay positive! I’m also someone that doesn’t believe that you need to be positive all the time - I think it’s toxic to not allow yourself to feel all your spectrum of emotions, whether that is sadness, anger, or joy. But my family and friends have been a constant source over this past year. I wouldn’t be where I am, or the person I am today without them. They continue to inspire and motivate me. Also, watching reality tv has helped me escape from my own reality for a short amount of time, and has allowed me to not think about current pandemic-life struggles. My inspiration for Female Collective content comes from my personal life struggles and triumphs. I speak from my own experiences in hopes that it will help others.
Fashion can be used to make a statement. What do you want the Female Collective designs to express to the world?
I want Female Collective designs to help women express who they are without even saying a word. I’ve always been a shy person who has expressed myself through my clothes. Therefore, I make strong statements on Female Collective’s designs to help women feel strong, empowered, loved, and worthy.
Intersectional feminism inspires and drives Female Collective. What does intersectional feminism mean to you? What do you think is a small action we can all take to be better intersectional feminists?
Intersectional Feminism - a term coined over thirty years ago by professor and lawyer, Kimberlé Crenshaw - looks at traditional feminism through a lens that considers additional factors such as race, class, ability, sexuality, and other individual characteristics and how they overlap, rejecting the premises that gender discrimination exists in a bubble.
As a Black woman, I face inequality and discrimination because of my gender and race. Other women or non-binary people might experience it based on their gender and sexuality, ability, class, age and/or religious beliefs.
I believe the key to becoming a better society is having an understanding and awareness of the intersectionality of each of our individual differences. When people are uplifted and treated with dignity, it makes space for us to have better human connections, which are necessary to build a more equitable society for us all. Equal pay, access to safe, unbiased medical care and clean food, air and water are fundamental human rights owed to every person on this planet. They will not be a reality until we dismantle systemic racism and inequality.
We love, love, love your personal style! Where do you get your fashion inspiration from? How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as bold and colorful. I’m not afraid to mix colors, patterns, and fabrics. It’s the Libra in me that likes to be noticed when I walk into a room, and I do that through my clothing. I find inspiration everywhere, from people watching, paying attention to the way colors change throughout the seasons with nature, and from watching classic movies. There is inspiration all around me and I really input that into my everyday wardrobe.