Daphne Wayans Shares Her Love For China Royal

DaphneWayansA mom above all else, Daphne Wayans is a worldly woman who performs even the mundane on a fabulous level. As the ex-wife of Hollywood heavyweight Keenen Ivory Wayans, with whom she has five kids, Daphne has become a parenting and relationship expert who blogs regularly on the subject on The Huffington Post. She has been featured on VH1’s “Hollywood Exes” and “Marrying The Game” for her insight and reason. She is a strong supporter of a variety of philanthropic causes. Wayans shares pieces of her wisdom and reason at www.daphnewayans.com. Now she shares her love for China Royal, as a backer who helped the brand reach its Kickstarter goal for production of the Spring 2014 collection.

How did you become a fan of China Royal? 
I got lucky! And since Shikiri’s reputation precedes her–I’d known her to be an opinion leader in fashion–that interested me in supporting her.

Why are you a Kickstarter backer?
Rather than talk about it, I want to be about it. I always want to support projects that I believe in and want to help, no matter the size. I feel like the bonus doesn’t have to be on any one single person or a few; rather, if many come together and collectively support a project then it will all come true. Read more

China Royal Gets Kickstarter Love From All

ChefGarvinChina Royal continues to get and give love via Kickstarter. Whether supporters are in the food industry, the art world, or have worked in fashion for years, China Royal is a stylish fit for them. We get to know more of the brand’s Kickstarter backers and all around supporters.

Chef Gerry Garvin (pictured above) has known Shikiri Hightower-Gaskin for almost 15 years. After being the executive chef for her highly acclaimed Beverly Hills soulfood restaurant Reign, he blazed a career trail filled with household names, including working for the Ritz Carlton, Noa Noa, Morton’s and the Four Seasons Beverly Hills. The three-time author was also recently spotted working his magic at the New York City Wine and Food Festival.

What are some of your favorite items in the China Royal line?
I love the hoodies and the t-shirts. I think it’s all hot. Shikiri’s very good at that.

How would you describe your personal style?
I love a great suit, great shoes, and a nice timepiece. I work out six days a week so I like things to be fitted but not tight. I went to Nobu last night and had on a vest, a skinny Tom Ford tie, and Zegna pants. I’m not very funky though–I wear tees and things on the weekend but I like to travel in style.

What other brands will you mix and match with your China Royal rewards?
I’m a Neiman Marcus fan so I wear their jeans. Seven [For All Mankind] also makes great jeans so I can match those with a China Royal tee and a great Ferragamo shoe. I also have a couple of Paul Stuart slacks at home. I’m not really a fashion guy, and I’m absolutely not a trend follower. If it looks good to me that’s what matters. I just do me.

Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 8.44.07 AMPastor Richard Sherer has known Shikiri Hightower-Gaskin and her husband and business partner Bela for almost two years as members at his church Berith Christian Fellowship. He’s in the midst of organizing a boutique event that his Oakland  church is hosting in November where congregants and the surrounding community can donate one fashion or home item, and take a fashion or home item donated by another member.

How did you become a fan of China Royal?
Bela and Shikiri told me the plan before the line launched. They’re stylish, genuine people and they have a style that I think people would want to wear. Plus I saw their passion and excitement for the line.

How would you describe your personal style?
Business casual. I like suits, ties, hats, the whole nine. But people don’t dress that way now and I like to be comfortable. I have interesting dimensions so all my suits are tailored. I wear jeans all the time, relaxed but not baggy.

What are some trends you might indulge in this fall?
Boots are back in a big way for men, so are jean jackets, even layered with a vest. Where we live we have a few seasons, our temperatures change dramatically so you have to layer. Your look changes throughout the day. I’m interested in that China Royal [men’s] suit for mixing and matching.

Screen shot 2013-10-23 at 8.43.17 AMAzja Pryor–yes, relation to Richard Pryor on her grandfather’s side, is a busy Southern California mom who lives a lifestyle rooted in health and wellness. For her, comfortable clothing that also looks chic is a high priority for her. With a style always infused with Boho-Hippie elements she’s excited to pair her box braids do and stylish ‘tude with great new fashion finds.

Why did you become a China Royal Kickstarter backer?
Shikiri is my girl so I’ll support whatever she’s doing. That was my first inclination. Once I saw the pieces and spoke to her and Bela and saw the passion they had, and the admiration he has for her, it was touching. I saw the hoodie and loved it. I thought it was so fly I wanted to support and I wanted to get some pieces for myself.

What are some of your China Royal favorites?
I love the hoodie–the China Royal symbol on the back! I got a sample of the butterfly dress and wore it to a training in Vegas, I got so many compliments on it.

What’s your favorite look on a guy?
I love a clean looking man, a guy who can put on a button up and tailored pants or a suit with no tie, and I mean really wear that suit. Shoes are really important too, you can tell a lot about a man in his selection of shoes. I hate baggy clothes and I don’t like too tight either, those looks could just die.

What would you love to see next from China Royal?
More shoes, and purses! Accessories, a laptop bag, add-ons to the pieces I already love.

China Royal Gets To Know Its Kickstarter Backers

Kickstarter, the crowd sourcing platform from which great documentaries, adored movies, and comic books galore have been created, has proven to be a crucial piece of the plan for many emerging entrepreneurs. But it can also be a very anonymous place. Start a Kickstarter campaign, launch the Kickstarter campaign, get the money, fulfill the rewards—thank you, the end. That’s often how it goes. As China Royal is going through the process for a second time, the team wanted to thank its Kickstarter backers with more than an item from the line. So we reached out and got to know many of  the people who have pledged their dollars to help China Royal push out its next successful and stylish collection. So here’s to you backers, and here’s to getting to know you too.


Jenny Ming, President and CEO of Charlotte Russe (former president of Old Navy) has been a China Royal supporter from inception. A cousin of creator Shikiri Hightower-Gaskin on her mother’s side—Ming says she’s more like an aunt to Shikiri—she’s been the go to for retail and business expertise throughout the entire process.

Besides being a relative to the creator why did you decide to back China Royal on Kickstarter?
I just love an entrepreneur. It takes courage, vision, commitment and dedication to start a business. Shikiri’s driven and I think that speaks volumes. She also has a good eye for product and detail. I love the line, I love that it has a little edge to it.

What is your favorite piece from the line?
I love the butterfly dress and the butterfly top. They’re so pretty and sexy at the same time, they’re flowy and tight in the right places. For the dress [the outfit] is finished for you, so you just wear it. And the top is so flexible. I wear jeans probably eighty percent of the time so I’ll wear it with jeans and a great necklace.

How would you describe your style?
I’m classic with a twist. I really mix. I wear Charlotte Russe a lot. Today I’m wearing knit leather leggings with a stripe in the thigh, black boots, which are a staple, and giant iceberg earrings. If they were real they’d be like 10 carats!

Friend of the brand Tiffany Terry is always a supporter of affordable fashion. The certified sommelier met Shikiri through the Gaskin’s youngest daughter Monique, who goes to school with Terry’s 4-year-old son. After a private wine event it was a friendship made in retail heaven–Terry used to be a fashion and luxury buyer for years before moving into the food industry.

Why back the China Royal project on Kickstarter?
I’m always willing to support a fellow entrepreneur. I’ve also always been a lover of fashion, and casual affordable fashion is right up my alley. The designs look really comfy and cute, plus the hoodies, tees, and dresses were quite intriguing.

How would you describe your personal style?
Casual eclectic with a bit of an edge. I do mix it up with conservative pieces, relaxed pieces, but always with a fashionable edge.

Any fall trends you think you might want to indulge in this year?
I love the statement heels and boots. I also like graphics and black and white. My undergraduate degree is in fashion merchandising and business administration and I used to be a buyer for LVMH’s eluxury.com.

How are you going to sport your China Royal Kickstarter rewards?
My China Royal tee will go well with skinny jeans, a great blazer, and my Manolo B’s. (*side note: we’re also hoping she rocks this look with her pewter and gold hardware Hermès Birkin bag that she just got earlier this year for her anniversary. Work it girl!)

CR-SCozartBurtonStephanie Cozart Burton is used to being surrounded by beautiful things so synergies between the makeup artist to the industry and China Royal were par for the course. Wife of LeVar Burton and mother to a beautiful 19-year-old girl, she met Shikiri while shopping in the designer’s namesake Robertson Boulevard boutique years ago. Just having won an Emmy for Best Makeup for The Talk Cozart Burton is on a high note, and she’s spreading the positive energy, love, and warmth around town.

Why did you back China Royal on Kickstarter?
I believe in supporting those who are trying to do their thing. It’s not really about a dollar amount, it’s about showing that I support you and I’m cheering for you. And especially for another woman of color. I know Shikiri’s not coming in half-stepping. She’s about quality.

What’s a standout for you in this fall collection?
I’m such a dress girl. I believe in put on your dress, your shoes, your gun. I like simplicity. In the summer, it’s just about a dress, your flip flops and go. I’m also excited about the logo tee too. I would wear it with a designer jean and a leather moto jacket, a structured blazer and a nice piece of jewelry.

Who are some of your other go to designers you think you’ll mix with China Royal?
Michael Kors embodies my adult look with really simple and elegant, a little bit sexy and a little funky pieces. My style is sexy sophisticated. I believe in being appropriate. I would never want to be mutton dressed as lamb, but as an artist I can push it a little. I’m hip enough to know what’s going on, but elegant enough for the respect I deserve.

With 7 days left China Royal is close to its goal for production on the Spring 2014 collection, with 81% of the project backed. As we get to know our supporters, get to know the brand on official Kickstarter campaign.

Five Hot Trends To Try This Fall


As the leaves change colors we change our outlook on everything from work (we want less of it), to vacation (we want more of it), to the holidays (we become more afraid). Fortunately, we can also change our outlook on trends. And with the abundance of trends to rock this fall, it’s easy to get into the best ones. China Royal, and fast fashion retailers alike have got your covered. And we’ve got five hot trends for ladies to try this season, and where to get them!

Gold: It’s always in style and it goes with almost everything, gold is the metallic to indulge in when the leaves turn brown. The bright hue exudes royalty, class, and opulence. But luckily, it doesn’t have to break the bank. China Royal’s Gold Cross tank let’s you try the trend without going overboard, or dipping into the mortgage. Layer the tank under a sleek blazer with a midi skirt and booties, or wear it under a sheer sweater with super-skinny jeans and heels.

Novelty: Novelty can be anything from comic book jeans to heart adorned sweaters. It’s a great way to tap into your inner-child in the chicest possible way. Novelty doesn’t mean costume though, it just means creative and fun. Being playful with your clothes might make the earlier nights and shorter days feel less gloomy. Try Phillip Lim for Target’s Boom Sweaterdress, or even Batman leggings in bright colors from Forever 21.

Phillip Lim for Target Boom Sweater and Forever 21 Novelty Batman Leggings

Fringe: This late 80’s/early 90’s trend came back with a vengeance on runways a few seasons ago and is still enjoying it’s time in the spotlight. Rugged boots are boasting fringe. Skirts and tops are shredded at the bottom for a fringe effect. Even jewelry can’t escape the craze, no fashion item is safe. But fringe is executed most deliciously in leather goods–ultimately It bags. Whether high-end, fast fashion, or in-between (think department store), the fringe trend is available at every price point. Love it but still tentative? Don’t splurge. H&M’s faux leather fringe bag is super swanky and affordable.

Military: The military trend is everywhere this season, from camouflage jackets, to slim cargo pants, and duffel-like bags. Down to your feet, you can sport fashionable military inspired styles. The China Royal wedges are smart heels you can wear everyday that come in military inspired hues. In khaki or army green (top photo) they salute our boys and girls abroad, and mimic their signature colors. Worn with a peasant dress and grandpa sweater they’re casual and sweet. Take them into night with a cropped bomber, micro-mini, and aforementioned fringe date bag.

Florals: Florals are a classic that come and go as trend in different forms. This season florals are appliqued, large prints, small prints, mixed-media prints, and mixed prints with plaids and checkers. Eva Mendes’ debut collaboration with New York & Company includes a number of floral pieces for work and for play. The full skirt in black with large floral print is a classic that, paired with the right top, oozes sophisticated sex appeal, just like Eva. To give it a funky downtown look sport with the China Royal gold stitch sweater and metallic Doc Martens. That’s three trends in one ensemble without even trying.


China Royal Women’s Spring 2014 Sneak Peek

We’re in the throes of Spring shows, as Milan closed out yesterday with strong collections and Paris Fashion Week began this morning in the city of love. As a brand always on the pulse of what’s hot, China Royal is also in line with the high fashion houses and high-end retailers—looking forward to Spring.

For warm weather months, the look is very flowy and full of color.

CR-Spring 2014Style3

The palette runs the range from soft colors like Hemlock (sea moss) and Paloma (violet), Placid Blue and Tulip, to deeper hues of Sand and Celosia Orange.

CR-Spring2014Style 1

With lace and braid accents, hidden zipper details and clean lines, tops are at the center of the assortment. To pair with the beautiful tops, the China Royal team drummed up chiffon short shorts and sleek pencil skirts for the professional woman who loves to work smart and play hard.


China Royal on Arsenio Hall Show

Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson, a friend to China Royal, donned the beautiful Butterfly Dress on the all new Arsenio Hall Show earlier this month. Awesome!

Shaun Robinson wearing Butterfly Dress on Arsenio Hall Show

Shikiri Shares Her Fall Must-Haves And Secrets

Shikiri at fashion showAs summer ends and we begin to pull out our favorite jackets and tall boots, the China Royal team is working hard on the Spring 2014 collection—in fashion we always look to the future. Shikiri Hightower-Gaskin took a break from swatch buying and sample inspecting to gush about how she transitions to the incoming season.

What do you look forward to the most about fall?

Shikiri: What I love most about fall is wearing my favorite coats. I have been afforded an amazing collection of the most beautiful Roberto Cavaili, Gucci, and Chanel winter coats. I love when I have an excuse to rock them.

Besides Bela, what is your fall go-to accessory?

Shikiri: Cashmere is a must for me in the fall. I enjoy wearing all things cashmere—socks, pants, sweaters, coats, even underwear!

If you could name the it bag of all it bags what is it?

Shikiri: Hermès Birkin bag.

Do you own one?

Shikiri: Getting one was such a challenge, at the time, although I could afford one, I could not get one. Every Hermes store I passed I approached hoping they would have one in stock, I was on “the list” but was never called. Then while vacationing in Hawaii I got a call from Hermes Honolulu. They had a Birkin. We cut our trip short just so I could get that bag.

Was it worth it?

Shikiri: Last  year when I needed funds to begin China Royal I sold it on Ebay for almost double what I paid for it.  My Birkin (not mine anymore, it was shipped to Abu Dhabi) was the first China Royal investment. It was well worth it.

Shikiri posing at home in her cropped gold sweaterWhere did the fall inspiration for China Royal come from?

Shikiri: Gold is a central theme in fall. I have the gold collection of sweaters that are so beautiful. Everything in the line goes with gold.

What is your favorite piece from the China Royal collection?

Shikiri: The entire collection is my favorite but three items I can’t imagine not having in my wardrobe are the crop gold and black sweater, the butterfly top, and the cut out dress. The crop sweater goes so well with black skinny leather pants even a mini or short shorts too. The butterfly top is so versatile. When I’m feeling bloated, that’s my go top. When I want to feel sexy, let out my inner Rihanna, I rock my cut out dress. It’s super sexy, so I wear it with the black cashmere cardigan. That way I can go out to dinner and look classy, then take off the cardigan and show some skin when it’s time to go dancing.

Which designers do you plan on mixing your China Royal wardrobe with?

Shikiri: Tracy Reese, Gucci and Alexander Wang go so beautifully with China Royal.

Do you switch up your beauty routines for fall?

Shikiri: For fall beauty the only thing I really switch up is my hair. In the summer, for swimming and sweating, I rock my curls but winter calls for my blow dried, silky straight look.

How do you keep your hair looking its best through all seasons?

Shikiri: Deep conditioner, a dope hair cut from Neil Weisberg at Meche—he’s been cutting my hair for fifteen years—and a healthy straighten, from my longtime hairdresser Brownie Sims at The Brownie Brush Salon. Those three ingredients keep my hair healthy, growing and fly!

Shikiri Shares Her Summer Must-Haves

Shikir's summer must-haves

Summertime is a season to indulge in new routines, new beauty faves, new places, and of course new style trends. As the summer wraps up and Fall comes blasting in, it’s the perfect time to squeeze in last minute vacays and Labor Day trips. A travel buff herself, Shikiri Hightower-Gaskin is always inspired by the things she sees, smells, and hears during her travels. As she loves 90+ degree temperatures and the beach, summer is her favorite season. And for her favorite season certain items are a must to keep this California girl happy (often year-round). She shared what keeps her smiling and cool through the warm summer months in the Bay and beyond.

On travel…

My favorites places to vacation are Port Antonio, Jamaica, Koi Samui Thailand and the island of Lanai in Hawaii. I love bright colors and fun patterns. When I’m traveling I can’t live without pieces from my favorite designer Tracy Reese. I also have a deep love for Roberto Cavalli, Matthew Williamson and Catherine Malandrino.

On trends…

I love the spikes up top for summer travel (shown on Shikiri). I can wear it for nightlife and I recently wore it as a cover up over my bikini. It’ll be available on our new Kickstarter campaign as a rewards item for a $25 pledge. I also must have a versatile dress like the butterfly dress. You can wear it with flats for a sleek relaxed looked or in the evening add some heels and make it sexy.

I’m loving this summer’s trendy Asian-inspired prints as shown by the trend in EtroEmilio Pucci and Prada (pictured).

On classics…

For all season weather I love the China Royal long cashmere cardigan. In the cold months which are on the way it can be layered over a cashmere sweater or dress with a coat, and it’s also perfect for these last few summer nights with a cool chiffon maxi or cami.

On beauty…

I have three all time must have beauty products–Haute Face’s base face and Chanel’s Soleil Tan (pictured)in Sunkissed. The two products together give my face a perfect golden tan all year long. I also love Body Conscience’s Body Veil Dry Oil Mist in white orchard vanilla. The product is 100 percent natural and keeps my skin glowing and hydrated on hot days.

On accessories…

As far as accessories go I can’t live without is my hot husband, Bela. I don’t need an It bag with him on my arm–he always makes an outfit look smashing. But I do love my Havaianas and the China Royal wedge (both pictured). It comes in three summery shades of cream, nude and green.

China Royal Toasts An Encore and Successful Fall Launch

A Royal toast backstage before China Royal Encore Fashion Show at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle.The Fourth of July might have ended at the stroke of midnight Friday, but for China Royal and its devoted followers it was a weekend full of celebration.

So in case anyone missed the fireworks Thursday, China Royal delivered on a promise for a show full of sparkle. Back by popular demand, Shikiri Hightower-Gaskin and her grande new cross-cultural clothing brand hosted an encore fashion show. China Royal’s Weekend Wear Fall 2013 line was presented, nightclub style, at the historic Geoffrey’s Inner Circle on Saturday evening.

Shikiri and China Royal Chief Operating Officer Keonnis Taylor-Flores backstage with the models before the show.And because it was a celebration the China Royal team welcomed guests to toast the success of their launch with them. From 7:30 to 8:30 complimentary champagne was provided so guests could make their Fourth of July weekend a China Royal weekend too. At 8 o’clock as young fashion enthusiasts sipped bubbly and talked shop, the Fall 2013 Weekend Wear collection kicked off another must-see runway presentation.

Geoffrey’s hosted its usual Saturday night jam immediately following, packing the place with even more fine gentlemen, and swanky ladies, making it a true fashion forward celebration weekend.

Celebrate 4th of July Weekend with Encore China Royal Fashion Show

The Fourth of July might be over, but it’s still a celebratory weekend. And in case you missed the fireworks Thursday night, China Royal has promised to deliver on a show full of sparkle.

Back by popular demand, Shikiri Hightower-Gaskin and her grande new cross-cultural clothing brand are hosting an encore fashion show. China Royal’s Weekend Wear Fall 2013 line will be presented, nightclub-style, at the Historic Geoffrey’s on Saturday evening.

Because it’s a celebration, the China Royal team is welcoming guests to toast the success of the Fall launch with them. From 7:30 to 8:30 complimentary champagne will be provided so guests can make their Fourth of July weekend a China Royal weekend too. Doors open at 7:30 and are open to the public, and the show is free. At 8:30 Geoffrey’s will host its usual Saturday night jam (see Official Geoffrey’s website for dress code and their cover information).

It’s a celebration weekend—and there’s no better way to celebrate than with fabulous fashion and crisp glasses of bubbly. Grab the girls and get dolled up, or call up the boys and get fresh, because everyone will be out to see and be seen with the beautiful China Royal crowd. “Can I get an encore!” Check out our last fashion show.