Hello famm !!
I missed you guys so much, Sorry for the delays!!! I will just keep you guys updated about me real quick. I’ve been really busy with school, graduation, my business, my future show in Italy as well as the campaign I recently launched for it. Anyway this blog post is an insight about my current crowdfunding campaign. So stick around and enjoy the reading <3!!
My fashion journey started, back in high school, even though I found my love for fashion through the eyes of my mother. I knew I loved fashion, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted, until I started High school in the United State. My ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher encouraged me to pursue fashion as a hobby. This led me to start taking modeling classes at John Roberts Power. My time at with JRP made me realized that, the industry doesn’t open doors just for anybody. I wasn’t qualified to do certain shows, and it was difficult to book gigs at times.
It (I was not the only one who struggled to book gigs, most of us faced many challenges since we were not seen as ideal candidates many in the industry was looking for. This led me to think outside the box and take matters into my own hands. I wanted my voice to be heard and I wanted to create a platform that gives young people an opportunity to grow, to embrace themselves, and to be confident that they can achieve all that they wanted to in the industry. I wanted to be creative and have my voice be heard.
I knew there were a lot of people just like me who love modeling but didn’t have the opportunity, so from there I started teaching my friends and peers what I learned at JRP, which is how to walk the runway. My friend and I began helping other nonprofit organization during their event by doing mini fashion shows for their fundraising campaigns. The models would wear some of my African church clothes, that my mom sent me from Togo.
After graduating from high school, I moved to Brooklyn, New York the city that exposed me to so much diversity, culture and the freedom to discover myself. I started my brand Unique by Reelia in 2013. A wearable accessories brand, that I started with $1. The idea behind Unique by Reelia was to promote boldness, uniqueness, women’s confidence, women of color, and women of different sizes and shapes. I wanted to create a space for young women of all walks of life that allowed them to express themselves and their creativity freely with confidence.
I started making my pieces in my campus dorm. People on my campus began to acknowledge my work and I started to receive invitations to participate in fashion shows. For the past 3 years since my company has existed, I have been involved in various fashion shows, including international shows, while taking care of my brothers and going to school full time. In the midst building my brand, I lost my mother, it was a difficult period of my life but I couldn’t give up on what I had started with Unique by Reelia. I didn’t want to give up because I wanted my mother’s legacy to reflect in my designs.
I could have given up, however, that, wouldn’t have brought her back to me. The best thing I could do was to put all my efforts into my designs and my family. I wanted to create legacy where the world would see my mother’s creativity and personality through my unique pieces. Even though the world didn’t know about that strong and selfless mother of mine, through me and my hard work they would get to know her. My father is still alive and having him made me realized that I still have a chance to make at least one of my parent proud of me, I wanted to be a perfect example for my two brothers to look up to.
While building my brand. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in, African fashion week DC, Ankara Miami fashion Week, Fest Africa 2014 and 2016, Black Fashion Week Montreal. At least 10 University fashion shows, and participate to 4 majors campaign. I’ve done at least 10 shows for causes as well. I’ve could be a part of such amazing initiative by using my personal finances to cover traveling expenses, materials needed, accommodations, and my participation in some of these major shows. In February of this year, I participated in a few competitions including one with Angela Simmons in which I came second place in Miami.
This time around I wanted to do something different. I want to bring all that I’ve acquired during this few past years to Italy. My plan at first was a tour with my collection in Europe. I wanted to participate to few shows all around Europe like I was doing here in the state. Then I realized it was time for me to do something bigger than that. I picked Italy because it is one of the biggest Fashion Capital in the world. So, I wanted to bring diversity to it, I want to bring a different culture, I want to bring the celebration of diversity and give a platform to younger and uprising designer to showcase at this event.
I feel like here in the state we’re so lucky to be exposed to our culture and I think that something the Italy might be lacking. This time around I am bringing the show to this town call Farrara, a city full of immigrant students so we get to give them the touch of been home. That is why I need the financial support to be able to cover airfare for me and my tour assistant to be able to make this incredible event happen, because at this point not only I will be representing Africa but also the whole United State of America.
The campaign fund also includes my accommodations there in Italy as well and the place we will be renting for the event. The dj, the lighting crew, the decoration. and the performers as well.
As a young independent female designer, with no company structure or grants facilitating my projects, being able to come with this vision, is truly a milestone for me. I want to honor this opportunity not only for me, but to also to empower other young women just like me, that re going through a different aspect of life, the reason behind including my personal story to this project, to never give up. I believe everybody has a dream and to fulfill it you must keep on believe in yourself and that everything in this life is possible.
I am asking for your support for my first international fashion Show that I will be organizing in Italy Ferrara. Your generosity will be what makes this possible. THANK YOU!
Here is the link to my crowdfunding campaign