Sophisticated Lady: Tracy Reese


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A woman after my own heart. Bold beautiful colors and bold beautiful designs.

Tracy  Reese made her move to New York City in 1982 after graduating from Detroit’s Cass Technical High School. She attended Parsons School of Design (make it work in my best Tim Gunn) and graduated in 1984. For a time, she apprenticed under designer Marine Sitbon while working for a small firm, Alequin. After a few years, Tracy decided to start her own line. She was 23. This first attempt failed to generate enough revenue (a common issue for black designers) and it closed after two years. Reese went back to working for other designers (like Perry Ellis as design director for women’s portfolio) and after 10 years she relaunched her own collection.

Tracy Reese perhaps ranks as fashion’s most successful black female designer. New York magazine called Reese’s style “unabashedly girly.” She has a namesake label and has garnered recognition in many areas, from clothing and shoes to nail polish and hosiery. From a small girl, Tracy always knew what she wanted. “from a young age I knew I wanted to create beautiful things”, Tracy told the Atlanta Post. “I was influenced by the femininity of women like my grandmother. ”


Even after a bumpy first start, with a lot of hard work Reese has built an extremely successful company and sales topped 23 million in 2003.  Tracy involves herself in every aspect of her business down to the stitches per inch. She remains humble and has not let the fact that the First Lady is one of her biggest fans.  “While seeing my dress on First Lady Michelle Obama was one of proudest moments of my career, I still design for the everyday woman, ” says Reese. ” I design because I want women to feel good in what they wear and to help solve their wardrobe problems. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing a woman walking confidently in one of my frocks. It is also nice for the everyday woman to see the First Lady wearing something that they can also obtain.”

Tracy is a great example of where drive and determination and a lot of talent can get you and she is certainly a great inspiration to me.

Which Michelle Obama Tracy Reese frock is your favorite?

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Hey, I'm small town girl with a big love for design and the woman behind We Are F.A.S.H.I.O.N.This blog is about everything I'm interested in and everything that I want to share with the world. Join me in making, reading, creatively sharing and being creatively inspired.

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