Two women, who became friends at Florida A&M University, bonded over their love for the clothing brand Lilly Pulitzer and connected thousands of other Black Lilly Lovers in the process.

Andrea Pugh-Kelley, a 27-year-old mother, travel enthusiast, and PhD Candidate and Ciera Campbell, a 27-year-old marketing strategist met in the laundry room of their dormitory. Growing up their mothers often bought them various Lilly Pulitzer items. After the two became members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, their love for Lilly was sealed by a pink and green pineapple print, ‘Pink Pout Flamenco’, released in 2016.

When you think of Lilly Pulitzer, you might not think of what you find on the Melanin in Lilly Instagram Feed and newly launched Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter Accounts. They feature at least four generations of Lilly Lovers of color.

Andrea and Ciera would FaceTime each other after each shopping haul to try on their latest finds. They would go through blogs to get reviews on different items yet very rarely saw women of color in the clothing. “I honestly want to make an Instagram for Black Girls wearing Lilly,” is the text Ciera sent to Andrea that sparked the movement.

Melanin In Lilly was started in the thick of the pandemic and social unrest. “We created Melanin in Lilly to highlight black women and their love for Lilly Pulitzer. We saw an opportunity to hold space for women of color to be seen and feel even more included in a brand that they love and support, said Andrea, Co-Founder of Melanin in Lilly, “We seek to always promote diversity and inclusion by showcasing women of different shapes, sizes, and colors.”

It was during a time in which we all surely needed a little sunshine. Lilly Pulitzer’s motto is ‘Be the Sunshine.’

“For us this means choosing to live life on the bright side, striving to find the good in everything, and spreading joy along the way. Creating Melanin In Lilly, was an act of bringing the sunshine.”
“This platform can be used to inspire the next generation by showing them that there’s always a chance to create opportunities. When we launched Melanin in Lilly, we had no idea how enjoyable and impactful this would be. Just two weeks after launching we hosted our first of many virtual shopping events to support a
local Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store. Since 2020, they have hosted virtual sip and shops with local Lilly Pulitzer Signature Stores, Lilly Pulitzer giveaways and nation-wide meetups. Our comment section and inbox is always full of women thanking us for creating a space where they feel they see a reflection of themselves.”

“I ALWAYS loved Lilly growing up, but it always seemed like a brand that wasn’t really for me! Melanin in Lilly has helped me to connect with so many beautiful women of color who have similar goals, interests, & lifestyles as me! This community has helped me to feel seen, celebrated, & not alone in my obsession! I love seeing all of the diverse shades of beauty within this group!” Shakemia Jones, Melanin In Lilly Community Member.

During the month of February, Lilly Pulitzer will be highlighting Andrea, Ciera and Melanin in Lilly on its social media sites and website. Melanin in Lilly hopes to be the first of its kind, diversity and inclusion bridge between consumers and the brand.