The woman behind the brand Sheena Chantelle
A native of Philadelphia, Sheena Chantelle had a passion for fashion at a young age. She watched how her mother and grandmother put outfits together and from then on, she knew she wanted to have a career in fashion.
While attending Philadelphia University for Fashion Design, Sheena interned with FBH-The Agency (the founders of Philly Fashion Week). Sheena was given the opportunity to design a piece and showcase it at one of the events.
She received raved reviews for her design and went on to launch her custom design brand, Bella Chantelle. Now Sheena is the sole designer of Bella Chantelle. Her designs have graced various areas of the U.S. including Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Arizona and Atlanta.
Over a decade of design, pattern making and sewing experience. Her designs have emerged as the go to collection for fierce, fearless and fabulous fashionistas. Inspired by nature, various fashion eras and her favorite celebrities.
Sheena designs clothing to make any woman, regardless of size, feel chic, sexy and powerful “I love the smile I see on a customers face when she’s wearing Bella Chantelle. It’s like she gains a new level of confidence…and confidence is beautiful.”
Lateek: What city were you born and raised?
Sheena: I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA.
Lateek: Where does your artistic influence come from and when did you start making clothing?
Sheena: I was first exposed to fashion through watching my mother and grandmother put outfits together, whether they were just going to work or going to an event. Both of their styles were very versatile. They could wear bright colors, prints or neutrals with confidence and style.
I then started to translate that into what I dressed my Barbie dolls in, making clothes for them with anything I could find around the house. I took my first sewing class when I was 12. I made a tote back and it really taught me about the construction and process of what it takes to design and make something.
Lateek: Everyone has to start somewhere. What was your first job?
Sheena: My first job started as senior project in 8th grade. We had to work somewhere for a week and document our experience. I chose to work at a clothing store in Cheltenham Mall called Hot Chick, since I loved their clothes. I did so well working there that the owner ended up hiring me.
Lateek: What was the best advice you got from veteran designers in the industry?
Sheena: The best advice has to be to educate yourself on the business side of fashion. You can make the most beautiful clothes in the world, but if you don’t know how to market it you will never progress in the fashion industry.
Lateek: What was your most memorable challenge as a designer?
Sheena: I think every time I’m preparing for a runway show is a challenge. Its complete chaos! I’m constantly sewing and making sure everything is perfect for the show.
Lateek: How would you describe your fashions and style?
Sheena: I would describe my designs as chic glam. I like to experiment with color, prints and texture combined with feminine silhouettes.
Lateek: How did you develop your interest in fashion design?
Sheena: Since a child I knew I wanted to have a career in fashion, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the industry because there are so many facets to the fashion industry. After I took my first sewing class at the age of 12, I fell in love with sewing. I loved seeing yards of fabric and turning it into something wearable.
Lateek: Who is your dream client?
Sheena: Beyonce! Beyonce! Beyonce!
Lateek: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Sheena: As cliché as it sounds, never give up and follow your dreams. Have a support team who encourages you during difficult times during the journeys. Because there will be difficult times, but push through!
Lateek: What upcoming fashion show or event are you looking forward to?
Sheena: I’m really looking forward to Philadelphia Couture Fashion Week. I will be showcasing my collection along with 3 other designers on September 25th at the Sheraton Hotel.
Lateek: If you had a dream company to design for, which fashion brand would it be?
Sheena: Definitely Elie Saab.
Lateek: Who are some of your favorite designers?
Sheena: Elie Saab, Marchasa, Michael Cichael Costello and Christian Siriano.
Lateek: Name 3 celebrities who have the best style to you?
Sheena: Definitely Beyonce, Rhianna and Zendaya.
Lateek: How would you describe your own personal style?
Sheena: Edgy glam and very versatile. I can go from sporty chic to girly glam with ease.
Lateek: Where would you like to see yourself as a designer in 5 years?
Sheena: In five years I’ll be dressing numerous celebrities as well as running the Bella Chantelle boutique.
Lateek: What magazines do you subscribe to?
Sheena: I subscribe to Vogue, Elle and Cosmopolitan.
Lateek: What are some of your favorite pieces in your collection?
Sheena: My favorite piece is the Goddess Gown. It’s definitely a show stopper and the silhouette is beautiful.
Lateek: What upcoming projects are you most excited about?
Sheena: I’m very excited to expand into children’s wear and plus sizes. I’ve been getting so many request for them so I think its time.
Lateek: What does fashion mean to you?
Sheena: Fashion is what keeps me alive. It’s the blood that runs through my veins. Without fashion I would be empty. Period.
Lateek: What do you see in the future for the fashion industry?
Sheena: I see plus size fashion, especially on the runway, becoming the norm. It’s been a long time coming but plus size fashion is making its mark and it’s here to stay.
I would like to thank the wonderful Sheena Chantelle for granting FabFashionReport this awesome interview. We learned so much about the fashion designer during our Q&A.
You can contact Sheena Chantelle owner of Bella Chantelle Designs at: Bellaccollection@yahoo.com