January 17, 2016 by LaToya Chenelle
Who is Al’eena? She is beautiful stylish fashionista that I was blessed to meet some years ago. We had the same circle of friends and both had a passion for fashion. We kept in touch and I’ve loved to watch her journey in fashion and life unfold. She decided to move to New York over a year ago and has been climbing the fashion scene every since. Lushes meet Al’eena!
SLTV: Where did your creative spark in fashion begin-can you trace the path/timeline that got you to where you are today?
Al’eena: In 2009 I lived in Dallas, TX and I was actively pursuing the Buyer program for Neiman Marcus but then my mother got diagnosed with Breast Cancer. My mother is my hearts joy so it was only natural that I moved back to San Antonio and told her I would fight and be there for her every step on the way. I decided to pause my fashion career and substitute teach in order to have the flexibility to go to all her appointments.
Fast forward a year later my mom was in a chemotherapy treatment which was a big room with 20 plus recliner chairs and each chair had a person in it. They were hooked up to a machine getting a toxic chemicals pumped into her body, that moment changed me. I started thinking of my mom, my overall life and my want to live my dream. My mom said to me after this is all done its your time to be great. So I stated to research what fashion retail companies had a corporate offices based in San Antonio. A’gaci popped up and it just so happened that my old manager worked there and she hired me as a part time sales associate.
Finally my mom was 100% cancer free and it was go time. I met the Corporation Visual Merchandiser and learned that this position is a stylist but for a corporation and that’s was what I wanted to do. I began persistently working to show her my styling talent then 1 year later I became her assistant. A year after that I got her position as a Corporation Visual Merchandiser and stayed with the company for a total of 4 1/2 years. Unfortunately I felt I hit a glass ceiling and needed more growth and a new city. I always wanted to move to New York and I went a couple of time for work and felt I could grow there. So I prayed about it, quit my job at Agaci and moved to New York.
SLTV: What inspires your creativity?
Al’eena:God, Life and everything I see. I get inspired that in my mind I can see things in a visual way that don’t exist. I feel God has placed a fire with a creative purpose in me that I must fulfill as a follower. My mom, sister and close family and friends consistently provide me with fuel. That’s how I know I’m suppose to be creative.
SLTV: Where do you live & how does it influence you? What lead you to move to NY?
Al’eena: I currently live in Queens, NY.. I get influenced by everything from this city. The street art, the buildings, the musicians playing in the platform, the blind woman who knows exactly what stop to exist on the subway, the city overall is a influencer. I moved to New York because there is purpose in the air here. Everyone is on the go. Doing acting, dreaming, living and I felt I could relate, like I belonged.
SLTV: How have you grown your business from an idea to where it is now? Are you happy you moved? I started by moving to a city where I felt I had more opportunities to learn and work in the fashion industry. Then I searched and volunteered for whatever I could do that will give me more experience and networking connections.
SLTV: What do you create with & why?
Al’eena: I create inspiration thru clothing. It’s an amazing feeling to have an idea in your head. Then turn it into a design whether it be a visual display at a store or a personal styling session with a client. It’s a transform from a thought to a reality. The last but best part is watching that reality inspires a person to feel somethings like curiosity from that window display that caused the crowd walking by to stop and smile or the woman that you style and you saw a spark light a confidence in her that she forgot she had. It opens their mind to something new and that gives me a sense of gratitude.
SLTV: Do you keep a journal or mood board? Can you show me your workspace or a part of your process?
Al’eena: I make a vision board every year and I’m try to work on my journaling more hopefully this year I’ll be better.
SLTV: What did you overcome to be here now?
Al’eena: Doubt, Closed doors and Struggle. I am my worst critic so I tend to be very hard on myself but I have learned and I’m still learning that all those negative things have to be filtered somewhere. My doubt is filtered to fight, My closed doors are filtered to persistence and my struggle is filtered to lessons learned. My first year in New York was my hardest year in my adult life but I have learn more, I have grown more and I am more sure of who I am then ever before.
SLTV: What have you learned so far about business/creativity that you can share with others?
Al’eena: It is not easy being creative and sometimes people won’t understand you. Sometimes you won’t understand you but have faith. Know God has a plan and be obedient to his words. That will set your foundation and passion will do the rest.
SLTV: Where are you headed?
Al’eena: I would like to get more into the editorial side of fashion and expand my creativity.
SLTV: What advice would you give TEXAS fashionistas wanting to make the leap to New York?
Al’eena: 1.Be open minded, 2. It’s not easy at all but it’s worth every tear and smile., 3. Don’t lose your southern charm it will always set you apart from the crowd.
SLTV: How can people connect with you?
DM on IG a2bstyle
Thanks for keeping up with me: IG, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube @latoyachenelle