"I felt most alive when revealing to women of color the realization that we have never been 'other'. "
A designer focused solely on empowering POC communities, Howell has designed a brand where she can properly shed light on the effervescent beauty of women of color and their cultures all around the world. Paying homage to both past and future, Howell combines her love of designing for the feminine form with a plethora of fashionable techniques, and is wholly inspired by the lively people, imaginative art, and vibrant customs from diverse communities. With pAx, she is forming a haven for WOC success, solidarity, and support.
After graduating from Princeton in 2020 with a Chemistry and Spanish degree, I had been preparing to enter the medical industry, and now I am currently attending Howard University College of Medicine. While medicine is an important part of my life, I’ve never let that hinder me from pursuing my other passions - namely, my interest in the fashion industry. Amidst organic chemistry courses and hospital internships, I founded TigerTrends my sophomore year of college - Princeton’s very first fashion editorial in 274 years. The absence of a fashion community and a space for creatives to convene created a void on campus that I felt within my core, perhaps due to the love that I’ve had for fashion since I was a little girl. What formed as a result was a vibrant, collaborative network that not only brought together stylists, designers, and photographers for the first time but also brought unforeseen levels of diversity to quite possibly the most traditional campus in the United States. The editorial covered topics such as body positivity and cultural pride; when our debut issue corresponded with the Black Panther release, we shot a Wakanda-themed cover, complete with an African model, natural afro, and tribal makeup. In just two years, what started as an attempt to bring inclusivity and creativity to a conservative campus resulted in a close-knit team of 50 artists, 9 full digital issues, and a partnership with Paper Magazine. Ultimately, this experience revealed to me that I didn’t just love fashion, but I loved bringing equity into an industry that had lacked proper diversity and representation for years. I realized that I felt most alive when revealing to women of color that we have never been 'other'.
After the pandemic hit, I was one of the students whisked back home to finish my Senior year. I finished my thesis and graduated from the comfort of my living room couch. Since the world was on lockdown and the healthcare system was overwhelmed, the original prospect of finding a job within a hospital was now unavailable. However, what was initially a disappointment resulted in a major life development: I could build the career in fashion that I always wanted to have. So, I moved to New York that summer and began working in the fashion industry. I interned under a few designers and brands in the city including Vaquera and Andre Walker. Simultaneously, I began planning what I truly wanted to do: begin my own brand.
pAx made its debut officially on the first day of 2021. With every new day, I’ve been learning, the business has been growing, and my team and I are making important strides towards where we want to be. We are just getting started, but I know pAx will revolutionize the fashion industry.