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Conversations with Neka Zang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Neka Zang.

Hi Neka, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I grew up always loving fashion. When I was about seven years old, I discovered singer/song writer “Madonna.” I was immediately mesmerized by her unique and charismatic image, and though I was still a budding child, I realized that singing and dancing were only part of the equation. Clothes – and how you choose to wear them – were an integral part of expressing and defining yourself. Having a career in performance was my earliest goal, and in the same year I graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York, I was cast as the lead performer in a regional performance of 42nd Street. From there it wasn’t long before I was performing on the Broadway stage in musicals – Wicked, Mary Poppins, Rock of Ages, and American Psycho. Performing on Broadway is every actor’s dream. And there, I was exposed to the most beautifully tailored stage costumes in the world. I was able to observe, first hand, the incredibly detailed construction of these creations, which, could be quite dazzling, or just as often, understated and simple. Clothing helped to “build” my stage character in much the same manner in which a stylish dress helped to define and mirror my own personality. It was during my time on Broadway I first became aware that I had an “eye” for beautiful materials and style. I enjoyed wearing vintage clothes (they were always more unique and I took great pleasure in having my finger on the pulse of evolving fashions. Initially, I began to source several vintage ideas for my upcoming wedding and post wedding party. I didn’t want to simply “show up” at my wedding – I wanted to make a “splash,” creating my own personal “red carpet” moment. It was such a joy and I had such a great response to the “looks” I received that I quickly decided to take the “giant leap” and establish my own vintage clothing shop! If I enjoyed beautiful, unique fashions, I was certain I wasn’t alone, and this inspired me to introduce people to the experience of “small shop, sustainable vintage fashions” as opposed to shopping “fast fashion”. For me, I didn’t want to see someone else wearing the same outfit I’d purchased. Individuality helps to define us, and it also helps boost your self-image.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Owning and operating your own business comes with many unexpected challenges. I initially launched my business selling vintage clothing on Instagram. It was a crash course on what to do (and not do). It was also extremely helpful that I had a wonderful “mentor” come into my life at around the same time. She encouraged me to create an online shop, patiently guiding me through the process. Of course, I have had ups and downs, and sometimes second guess myself with decisions along the way, but with each positive feedback I received from very happy customers, or when someone would “tag” themselves wearing my vintage fashions, it reinforced that I was truly on the right path!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am absolutely a creative person. I think I’ve always been that way. I specialize in identifying trends and special pieces. I’m always able to pull a piece from my online store and do a “side-by-side” with a major celebrity wearing something very similar. I also specialize in sourcing great looks for everyday wear, office, or special events. I genuinely enjoy dressing and styling people in sustainable, unique fashions!
Of course, I’m very proud of my Broadway career. When I was a child my parents took my sister and I to New York to celebrate the Christmas holiday. That became a family tradition, and for the next 10 years, we’d visit Manhattan and try to see as many Broadway and Off Broadway productions we could. During a performance of Phantom of the Opera, I remember whispering to my father “That is what I want to do someday.” It’s really a humbling when you realize your childhood dream of being on stage. It’s an indescribable feeling having an exciting dream as a child actually come true. I feel similarly to opening my own business. Lots of people have dreams and ideas, but most people don’t take the next step which is to actually go for it! I think what really defines me – sets me apart from others – is my exacting eye for great fashion. I see style through my own unique lenses. Sometimes I see “super trendy,” and other times I see “totally classic!” But most of all it’s my voice, Neka, my style, and my flair.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I’m actually a very shy person. I can unconsciously be quite an introvert at times. And though I come from a performing arts background, where being extroverted in front of audiences is expected of me, I really value my privacy and soothing quiet time. I don’t reveal much of my private life on Instagram. I don’t feel everyone needs to know everything about who you are. Just the important points.

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