Top of Mind
Form, Function, Intention
By Crown Affair
We have grown quite a bit since our launch last year. It’s been an incredible journey for us to witness our universe come to life and see how our brand has evolved. Now, we want to take a moment to go back, pre-launch, and share the design story behind Crown Affair.
From the beginning, our founder and CEO, Dianna Cohen, sought out to both create products with the utmost quality and develop a brand identity that sparked moments of awe. Product quality and thoughtful design have been core to the brand from day one. To bring the Crown Affair brand design to life, Dianna worked alongside Sho Shibuya, an NYC-based graphic designer and founder of @placeholdernyc who served as Crown Affair’s art director. Dianna fondly looks back at those early days, gathering inspiration, getting lost in the works of her favorite artists, and printing out hundreds of logo variations in her NYC apartment and at Sho’s studio.
The Crown Affair brand is rooted in art. To design our logo, we drew inspiration from the sculpture shapes and forms of Romanian sculptor Brancusi. Our mark represents creating a path through a labyrinth or maze, as we believe the biggest impacts come from small actions, like a daily ritual. Crown Affair’s color palette, the combination of mint green, ivory, orange, and surf blue, is inspired by the retro-style works of American artist Ed Ruscha, to create a sense of serenity, calmness, and soothingness that is often found in nature.
Design is at the heart of everything we do at Crown Affair. To us, design encompasses more than visual aesthetics. It's also a reflection of the care and time we put into developing our formulas. We believe the things you surround yourself with become the visual literacy of your life. Connecting it all to create a universe of better, more thoughtful products and design. And when you see it, it hits. You can feel it.
𝘚𝘩𝘰 𝘚𝘩𝘪𝘣𝘶𝘺𝘢, 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘥𝘦𝘳
- Where do you live and what do you do?
Shelcy: I live in Brooklyn. By day, I’m a Commerce Editor at Popsugar, and the rest of time, I manage business and marketing strategy for our two brands, NYCxClothes and NYCxStudio.
Christy: I live in Brooklyn. I handle the creative and day-to-day operations of NYCxClothes, our fashion & lifestyle storytelling platform and NYCxStudio, our newly launched agency. I also do freelance social media management and consulting for brands such as Prabal Gurung.
- Are you working from home now? If so, how have you stayed productive and creative?
Shelcy: Yes, I’ve been working from home since March of 2020, and it’s been a really interesting experiment in productivity. At first, because I didn’t have to commute, I was feeling motivated from the additional rest. As the pandemic carried on, I started having bouts where I didn’t feel as driven. In those moments, spending time outside (Chris and I love to bike), taking cold showers, and working out helps me stay productive.
Christy: Yes, I’ve also been working from home since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s been a journey but having a schedule is one way I stay productive. My schedule allows me to set up hours to get work done and also be social. Separating work and play can be really tough, especially now, but it’s important to have that accountability through a schedule.
- What is inspiring you most right now?
Shelcy: The warm weather. There’s something about spring/summer that feels like a revival. We’ve stayed in New York for the entirety of quarantine, and it’s been a really emotional experience seeing it spring back from what the city went through. So I’m just really excited to go somewhere, get together with friends, and resume a sense of normalcy.
Christy: I’m inspired by the world’s resilience. I’m inspired by New York City and its inimitable energy.
- Books or writers you love
Writers - Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Joan Didion, Haruki Murakami, Hanya Yanagihara
Books - A Little Life, The Water Dancer
Christy: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
- Activities or hobbies you love
Shelcy: Biking, Watching fashion documentaries, Gardening, Reading, Writing
Christy: Making movies, Watching movies/documentaries, Reading a dystopian or Japanese fiction.
- How did you get started in your career?
Shelcy: I’d originally set out to become a pharmacist, but if I’m being honest, I just felt the pressure from my parents to follow a traditional path. My real passions were always fashion and writing, but growing up in Haiti, those opportunities weren’t as easily available. Coming to NYC changed everything for me. I majored in neuroscience (it was the middle ground between my interest in psychology and my parents’ expectations), but I luckily had doors open for me in the media industry while in college. I’ve contributed to Forbes, Who What Wear and Apartment Therapy, and that set me on a path in editorial. But it was honestly thanks to my hard work and hustle that I’m where I am today, with a job that I like and two businesses I’m super passionate about.
Christy: I majored in international business because I’ve always been curious about foreign affairs. My interest in fashion developed later, when back in 2014, I became obsessed with YouTubers. I loved the way they expressed themselves so authentically, and how social media gave you a new kind of access to people. So I launched NYCxClothes with my sister, and the rest is history. But after graduating, I was offered a full-time job from my internship (at a global DTC skincare company), which I took, but when Covid-19 hit, I made the switch to freelancing and working for myself full-time.
- Where do you see yourself professionally in…
1 year - Developing a well-rounded network of brand partners and agency clients for both NYCxClothes and NYCxStudio.
5 years - Turning both brands into full-fledged operations with a team and several income streams, such as merchandise, more studio spaces, and digital products.
10 years - Let us think on that one :)
- What does ritual mean to you?
Shelcy: Ritual means spending time with myself and my thoughts. They are special moments where I get to honestly reflect and see how I truly feel.
Christy: Ritual means carving out a dedicated time to engage in an activity that brings peace and joy.
- Do you have a morning or evening routine? Share it with us.
Shelcy: In the morning, the first thing I *try to* reach for is my journal. I’ll jot down my thoughts for a bit then make the bed. Once I get up, I go through a light cardio and stretch exercise, take a cold shower, then make breakfast.
Christy: In the evening, I tend to light a candle at home, read a book, or watch the latest documentary, then fall asleep.
- How would you describe your hair?
Shelcy: My hair is 4B. It’s becoming more defined and voluminous.
Christy: My hair is 4C and very voluminous.
- How do you take care of your hair?
Shelcy: I go to my hairstylist who’s trained in Black hair, and knows all the right products and treatments to keep it looking hydrated and lustrous. I trust her wholeheartedly.
Christy: I have a hairstylist I fully trust with my hair. She cuts my hair regularly and treats it with amazing products in between protective hairstyles.
- Have you had a major hair moment or do you have a major hair memory?
Shelcy: I made the switch to embracing my natural hair in August 2014. I had a really bad experience with my last relaxer application and almost burned my scalp by keeping the product on for too long. So going natural was such an organic decision that I haven’t regretted since.
Christy: I was on set three years ago and met this hairstylist who told me a life changing tip about hair care. He said that it's important to cut the ends of your hair for it to fully grow. It’s been a game changer ever since.
- What would you tell your 18-year old self knowing what you know today?
Shelcy: You have all the answers, or at least, you know how to find them. Stay curious. Keep asking questions. Don’t apologize for who you are. Your best days are still ahead of you.
Christy: I’d tell her to not be afraid to try new things with your hair even if they don’t turn out great. You learn so much by doing.