Hey, Style Mavens!! Today’s Top Five Fridays feature is very dear and special to the Row A Seat 1 Family! We love to see the people we’ve been connected to flourish and go off to follow their dreams. This week’s Top Five Friday is undeniably going to Ms. Chelsea Reese. Chelsea launched her menswear brand “Son of Reese,” on May 13th and we are ecstatic! The pieces are dope, versatile, and most definitely reflect her laid back personality. I had the pleasure of speaking with the Row A Seat 1 former intern about launching her new brand… Check it out!!!
Row A Seat 1: When did you decide to start your own brand? Why Menswear?
Chelsea Reese: It had to be 2017, and I used to work at BeBe. We got laid off that May of 2017, and that wasn’t my first time being laid off. During that time, I was like “you know what,” I want to be in control of my life and not have a job tell me, ‘oh well you can’t work or you can’t do this.’ I’ve worked in Menswear previously, and I got interested in it by blogging. I just found Menswear interesting because you have to be strategic and creative. Since I have a tomboy personality, it just really fit for me other than Womenswear. For me, Womenswear, I was always trying to fit in. But, Menswear, I just felt more comfortable and I can be me. So, I think that’s where/why I got started in Menswear. Definitely getting laid off made me want to be an entrepreneur because I didn’t always want to depend on a bi-weekly check and somebody to take care of me.
Awesome! What or Who is your biggest inspiration if you have one?
My biggest inspiration that keeps me motivated and driven is that I want to be a college professor. During the grit and grind of maneuvering through the fashion industry, I pretty much get to learn the ins and outs both inside and outside the classroom. I can take my experience and knowledge as an entrepreneur, as a student, as an editor, and really apply that to students because I do want to teach at an HBCU. I want to teach them that the industry of fashion has so much you can do and with many avenues. I think students become complacent with being a designer, and without knowledge of becoming a buyer, an entrepreneur, an interior designer, a blogger – there’s so much to accomplish. I just don’t want them to be in a box because I don’t like being in a box. I don’t like being told you can only do one thing. So being an entrepreneur and starting my own business allows me to touch all the areas.
Who is my inspiration would be the people I met along the way! BeBe (Jones) for one, Shawn Rush, my fellow classmates who are pursuing anything in the fashion industry. People I keep close and some of the influencers who decided to venture off in a different direction. For example, Olori Swank, who went to school for biology, but you see she’s running an amazing boutique. So, those people are showing us that no matter what your journey is, you’ll be great, but you must apply yourself.
I saw your video on Instagram about you battling with your health, what advice can you share with young entrepreneurs about self-care?
Pay attention to yourself! When you see those signs, take a mental note. It’s okay to stop and smell the roses, just don’t sniff too long. I always go a mile a minute and I don’t take breaks. One year in college, I was going to school for 21 hours and I was working part-time for 31 hours as well as taking shifts. It was no days off and I realized my body couldn’t take that after a week or two of not taking any breaks. My body would be exhausted and it would take days to recover. When I found out my diagnosis, it made more sense as to why I got tired so easily and extremely fatigued. Those signs build up. So please, get a routine check-up and pay attention to your body because only you know what’s going on. Slow down. Don’t take no for answer. I went to the doctor three times before I got diagnosed. Speak loudly, especially as Black people, and make sure they are taking the necessary precautions for you.
Last, but not least, what’s your 5-year goal?
Five years, I see Son of Reese being at the top. I see myself running a showroom, because as you see the direction of storefronts, and things of nature. I think fashion is going back to being exclusive and tapering to your own audience and niche. Giving consumers more time to see what’s coming out because I feel like we are always in a rush. I believe my business will have a showroom. It will be at the level of all the luxury stores, but still small enough that it’s accessible to a smaller demographic as well.
That’s really dope! I actually have an extra question now. Why did you choose the name “Son of Reese”?
I wanted my brand to have a lineage and I can pass down to my family. I was thinking generational wealth, but also reflecting back to me on why I’m doing Menswear. What personality am I trying to show? I’m trying to show who I am as a person, as a creative and my experiences. Like, hey this is me. Whether I’m picking it out or designing it.
She’s absolutely right in all angles! Especially because many of the younger generations think the only way to put your foot in the fashion industry door is via fashion design when in actuality the possibilities are endless! Whatever is for you is already yours, you just have to grab it. It was a pleasure listening to Chelsea, and being able to relate to someone who was once in the same position as you is always important because it shows you the sky is the limit. You can find Chelsea on social media here. Or even better, follow Son of Reese on Instagram and take a look at what she has in store because there is WAY more than what you are seeing right now. Ciao, Bellas!