All Articles Tagged "african american designers"
(The Root) — Tracy Reese, one of the top American talents showing at the tents in Lincoln Center this week, made her case for creative and fashionable clothes that women can actually wear. Dashing, ankle-length pleated skirt with a stylish caressing sweater, anyone? As always, her dad, Claude Reese, who backed his daughter’s business more than a decade ago, and her sister, Leslie, sat in the front row to lead the applause. It’s been a challenging and gratifying climb to the high rungs of fashion for Detroit-born Reese. After graduating from the prestigious Parsons The New School of Design in New York, Reese worked for Martine Sitbon in Paris and Magaschoni in New York before launching her own line.
After many setbacks, these days top models, a top venue, makeup by celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal and a star-studded audience are now Reese’s new normal. This season, Gabrielle Union sat front row alongside Veronica Webb and Sophia Bush. Last year, celeb guests included the buzziest couple in town — Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian; and then there was the first lady choosing a fetching raspberry Reese design to wear for her People-magazine cover. Reese now oversees two collections: the signature line seen on the runway this week and the whimsical and more affordable Plenty by Tracy Reese collection. Her boutique on Hudson Street in New York City features two of her favorite motifs, which have become part of her brand — hot pink and chandeliers. The boutique sells the collections, shoes, jewelry and handbags.
(Black Enterprise) — Yesterday, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week kicked off in its new home, Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park in New York City. The event draws tastemakers, editors, onlookers, and buyers to witness the hottest in design industry talent. The semi-annual fashion events, formerly at Bryant Park, draw more than 230,000 attendees every year and generate more than $770 million in economic activity in New York City, according to reports.
In the fashion industry, twin sisters Coco & Breezy exemplify the importance of individuality as designers and entrepreneurs. At the ripe age of nineteen they’ve already cultivated a line of sunglasses and accessories that can be seen on red carpets and in music videos. Their meteoric rise to success is a story that begins in Minnesota, where the two lovers of art and design were born and raised. It was a visit to New York City that made the twins re-imagine their lives and decide to try their chances in the Big Apple as teenagers. As designers and owners of an online boutique CocoandBreezy.com, their work is already being celebrated throughout the fashion industry.
How did you begin designing?
Breezy: We always loved to be different from others, and the way we expressed that was through fashion and art. The reason we got into designing eyewear is because we’re from Minnnesota, a state that is not very fashionable. We used to get a lot of stares and points, so we wore sunglasses to avoid making eye contact. We [merged]our artistic mindset with our interest in eyewear and started off designing glasses for ourselves. Once we made that big move to New York City, it became a hit.
How was your transition to the big city?
Breezy: We came to NYC with a dream and faith, we didn’t have a set place to live or jobs. We just felt like it was our time and had to take a risk.
Coco: Before we moved to NYC, we came to visit for 2 weeks, and we felt like “wow, this is home.” We went back home to Minnesota and told our parents that we were moving. From there, we sold our car, quit our jobs, and booked our one way tickets to NYC. It was an ambitious move that we were super excited to make. We knew that we would have to struggle and also knew it would be worthwhile. I think we are proof that when you go for your dreams, anything can happen.
Breezy: The first week of us living in NYC, Ashanti wore our glasses to the VH1 hip hop honors, so that got us a lot of press and made for a great start.
What is the creative inspiration behind your glasses and accessories?
Coco: We are really inspired by art. The inspiration used to design eyewear comes from our personal preference to cover our eyes. In fact, we don’t like to go out in public without our eyewear. It’s a comfort thing , almost like an alter ego that gives us a lot of confidence.
Our collections are definitely innovative. We love metals, studs, spikes, and always have had an interest in all things futuristic. In our minds, we feel like we live in another Universe, and on a planet called “C & B” which is our world. All of our pieces we design are statements, and our eyewear is the outfit and your outfit is the accessory, because our pieces standout.
How did you fund your first collection?
Coco: We funded everything ourselves by making sacrifices. Instead of shopping and spending money on eating out, we saved all of our funds and invested them in our company. When we started, we understood the keys were to first save and the invest if we wanted to be successful.
What has been the difference between that blueprint and how your careers are playing out?
CoCo: We always planned to be young business owners by using our love for art & designing. It was a blessing that it all came together.
Breezy: I agree. I must say, we are living our dream.
In your early experiences with designing, were there any internships or developmental experiences?
Breezy: We have learned a lot on our own and just doing what comes to mind and how we want to express ourselves. Since we were always the “outsiders” in school, and in our hometown, we stuck with one another and agreed the only way to express ourselves was through art. People didn’t understand us.
Coco: Conducting business is a unique challenge. We prefer doing our buisness via email, instead of over the phone. When people hear our voices the first thing they say is, ‘You guys sound young.’ However, with email, we can talk business without getting questioned about our age.
Many people doubted that we would make it. Some thought we were crazy for moving to NYC at such a young age. However, we had a goal and the mindset and willingness to do whatever it takes to see that goal through.
What gave you guys the confidence to say “I’m prepared enough to step out?”
Breezy: We were working two normal jobs in Minnesota and designing at home. Although we were living decently, I felt we were getting too comfortable. We had made it as far as we were going to make it in Minnesota.
Coco: Since we were comfortable there, we decided not to waste time and moved to New York. Since fifteen, we have been financially independent because we have always worked. That early exposure to work gave us the business mind that we use now and has essentially made us who we are today.
Why is your new collection named 20/20 and what’s included in your collection?
Coco: We named it 20/20 because our new collection is taking place on Planet C && B, in the year “2020″. This is the year that we turn 20, and due to the extreme sunlight on our planet we created eyewear so that our Aliens will have 20/20 vision.
We took it to the next level with this collection. We use metal bars, different shapes, spikes, and studs in the eyewear. We also include necklaces and rings.